Many moons ago, deep in the heart of West Marin, California, a young man named Frankie Bourne discovered his calling; music. It was in the small town of Nicasio that this man first heard music coming out of the local roadhouse that would greatly influence his life. “I grew up regularly exposed to rootsy, blues-rock bar bands playing at Rancho Nicasio. I loved the sass of blues music, the soul in the stories, the crunchy telecaster guitars, and the attitude-driven grooves,” states Bourne. “A turning point for me was when I was 15. I saw Jackie Greene play a dinner show at Rancho. It was a trio, just Jackie and a cocktail kit rhythm section. I remember having a moment of reverence that night. I was so inspired. This light turned on. It was a moment of monumental clarity. I said to myself: “that is what I want to do”.
Bourne started his musical life on drums and taught himself guitar. As a teen, he began writing songs and has since become an amazing and prolific songwriter. “Lyrics have fortunately always flowed very naturally for me,” states Bourne. “I guess you could say I cull from personal experiences about the basic human condition, about personal experiences that we all share. It's about the shit that makes us human, and characteristically imperfect; relationships, friendships, family, loss, anger, love, curiosity, confusion, envy, jealousy, identity.”
Wildcards opens fast and furious with the fast-paced country romp “I Rode For Miles” and then gently lands on the stunningly beautiful “Listen To The Summer Rain” with its breathtaking guitar melody and lyrics that speak deeply to me, “Living in a life of illusion, this world done got me baffled, no it got me confused, and I'm lost, I'm lost, I'm losing. So listen to the summer rain…” I am very much in love with this song, and it’s been one I have listened to a lot while writing this review. I am a massive fan of Bourne’s guitar work, both on acoustic and electric, as it creates a wonderful cauldron for his personal and heartfelt lyrics, and his voice is soothing, soulful, and powerful. “Looking Up” brings me hope both lyrically and sonically; “Valley Of The Moon” has an Americana groove and a story of a personal landscape. “I’m Good Now”, has a lazy-river vibe, tinkling piano keys and hopeful lyrics of surviving a breakup. “Better Version Of Me” breathes life into my soul by building slowly then bursting to life as soaring guitar, sax and piano rip through my ears.
“For me, I think songwriting isn’t just about writing a piece of music and words to go with it. It’s about maintaining this genuine source of inspiration so you can foster the necessary perseverance to get it done,” states Bourne. “I think you’re more of a shepherd than a writer, guiding the song where it wants to go. You follow what you hear and try things, and somehow you find what sounds right to you. You make a decision, which brings you to the next one. Then the next, and the next. If you’re lucky, it ends up being something that sounds right to a lot of people.”
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