A long time staple of the Central Alberta music scene – The Frank – will be opening for I Mother Earth (IME) this Sunday at Bo’s Bar and Grill.
Lead guitarist of The Frank, Denver Swainson, was often asked if the band – which has been together for 20 years – could cover IME.
“People have asked me if I have ever covered them and the truth is, their music was too complicated to cover when we were 14, 15 at the time,” he said, adding that IME’s album Scenery and Fish is a huge part of his development as an artist.
“If someone asked me back then if I thought I would open for I Mother Earth, I would say that would be incredible. I just didn’t think it would take 20 years,” he said.
The show comes as a precursor to the fall release of Long After the Storm, The Frank’s first full album since 2005.
“We had done a few three-song EPs now and then, but this album we hadn’t really planned,” Swainson said. “We had a whole bunch of songs ready and then our friend Mon (Duncalf) from England asked if we wanted to record some stuff at our house on our system. We hadn’t really used it yet, so we said sure.
“We recorded 10-12 songs the first time and then we said, ‘I guess we have an album’. We weren’t really expecting it but the quality was good. He came back down again and we recorded another 10-12 songs and it ended up being 23 songs. They were all recorded at home without a plan without really a rhyme or reason. We decided to make a double album out of it and they are all songs over the last 12 years that were either skipped on the three song recordings or were written within the last five years.”
The album is the culmination of 12 years of life experience, which had plenty of rocky patches for the band. Swainson explained that song writing was very therapeutic for his journey.
“There is a lot of different subject matter in the album,” he said. “We went through the house fire, which led to a loss of routine – I started writing a lot of songs in the rental after that. We also lost a couple of friends – one to a heart attack and one to suicide. It was hard not to be living somewhere were you are out of place and dealing with a lot of emotions. After that, we moved into our brand new place which has our brand new band room.
“We kept writing songs and perfected what I had done and it was clear sailing for a bit and then very quickly my wife Sara (Page) was diagnosed with MS. More songs came out of that. We sold our brand new house after that to move to an acreage to live out our dreams to own stock, animals and horses. A lot has happened and song writing has been my outlet for it. We ended up with a 23 song album, which is the most we have done. It all just happened and was recorded live off the floor at the new acreage house.”
Swainson said that creating the album was enjoyable because it has allowed them to record a live experience – something he feels fits nicely with The Frank.
“It is neat in the fact that it is not like the 2005 album, which was tracked and made perfect,” he said. “There are mistakes in this one and it is pretty raw. I have always like the way we have sounded live. When I listen to our 2005 album, I don’t quite hear the way we are live. What you hear on the album is exactly what you will hear at the show. It caught a snap shot. At the time, we were still settling in and we had been through a lot.”
Swainson said The Frank is excited to perform at a pub show, something they usually reserve for the winter – with the summer reserved for festivals.
“This album really ties the last 12 years together,” he said. “We have largely stayed in Central Alberta, other then seven months in California. We never have done a cross-Canada tour but we would still like to do one. As time went on from being a high school band to now in our early to mid-30s, we have developed our careers and lives while still maintaining the band with minimal personnel changes.”