by Adi Anand
First things first -- Frank Smith is not one man. The local alt-country outfit is comprised of Aaron Sinclair, Kevin Bybee, Kyle Robarge, and Steve Malone. After they dropped their original name (LaGuardia) a few years ago due to pressure from another band with the same name, they settled on the commonplace Frank Smith, assuming (accurately) that no one could claim their current moniker. Sinclair started the band in Boston, releasing four records before moving to Austin. He grew up in Houston and always knew he’d come back to Texas. When he returned in 2006, he says Austin was an easy choice. Malone also relocated from Boston and Bybie and Robarge joined up shortly after to complete the present make-up of the band.
Frank Smith’s fifth full-length (and first in Austin), Big Strike In Silver City is due this November. The band expertly walks on the edges of gritty Americana, churning out chugging country ditties, complete with mournful pedal steel strains and touches of the harmonica, but also flexing its muscles to deliver raw rock songs with plenty of bite and crunch. Memorable melodies, affecting lyrics, and whiskey soaked vocals are all a part of this package of impressive barroom stompers.
Big Strike was recorded at The Bubble in town with Alex Lyon at the helm; enjoy the fruits of their labor at the CD release show at The Mohawk on November 13th. Sinclair’s goal for the rest of the year is simple and succinct, “Hopefully we can talk some people into starting to come out to our shows.” And they sure are making it easy for us to catch them live -- Frank Smith will be performing at The Continental Club every Wednesday in October during happy hour. See you there.