May 16th, 2018
Ethan Burke - Blues Rock Review
It’s very refreshing to see a performer like 28-year-old Dany Franchi keeping the Blues alive. When listening to him, at times you can easily forget he was born in Genoa, Italy, because on his new album Problem Child, Franchi sounds like a young Texas Bluesman. Although his vocal delivery is a bit Jonny Lang, the way he confronts his Fender Stratocaster comfortably sits between the tone and techniques of brothers Jimmie and Stevie Ray Vaughan.
Problem Child has been recorded in Austin, TX under the production of Texas Blues great Anson Funderburgh and Don Ritter of Category 5 Amps. We have Jim Pugh on keys (played with the Robert Cray band since ’89), accomplished drummer Wes Starr (Anson Funderburgh and Jimmie Vaughan), and Nate Rowe on bass (Warren Hood). Some tracks are nicely rounded out by the warm and inviting sound of the legendary Texas Horns section (known as the house band horns at Antone’s Blues club).
Problem Child starts with “Back to the River”, setting a great mood for the following tracks. Jim Pugh’s piano perfectly fits this song and the suspense really builds in waiting for Franchi’s guitar to break into the ensemble, but when it happens it’s good. Franchi has great control over his instrument, playing from the heart and never trying to shred out too many notes when they’re not needed. An honest musician with soul can be judged on the notes he puts in the right places.
Franchi’s often laidback and relaxed vocal style really shines on the slow, emotion-driven “Real Love” (a true contrast to the preceding Chicago Blues of “Big Town Playboy” – complete with a dirty electric mouth harp performance thrown in). The more riff-infused Blues-Rock of “Run Around” is one of the best on the album with a cool Hammond organ sound adding an extra layer of groove to the mix. The instrumental “Sensation” is an obvious tribute to Blues legend Freddie King and his song “Sen-Sa-Shun” (get it?). Satisfyingly, Franchi and the band get it so so right!
The album closes with two medium-paced songs “Wanna Know” and “Problem Child”, heavily piloted by Franchi’s chunky Strat licks and the tight but urging rhythm section. The title track in particular stomps along with a calm confidence which will have you nodding your head to the beat in pure contentment.
It’s clear to see (and hear) that Dany Franchi has potential to be as big as Joe Bonamassa or Walter Trout; it just depends on the next steps he takes. But, at this time, being fairly young, he possesses plenty more time on his side. Going by this latest album – we honestly can’t wait to see what he does next.
The Review: 8.5/10
Can’t Miss Tracks
– Back to the River
– Run Around
– Problem Child
The Big Hit
– Run Around
American Blues Scene…. Barry Kerzner
Every now and again the universe does us a solid and we find something
different, exciting, even inspiring upon our doorstep. There’s nothing like hitting
“play” and having our senses rewarded with cleansing, animated music that
revives us. And so it was when we discovered the treasures awaiting us on
Problem Child by Dany Franchi, out on Kara Grainger’s new label, Station House
There are three covers on the album: Eddie Taylor’s “Big Town Playboy,”
Freddie King’s “Sen-Sa-Shun,” and Willie Dixon’s “Everything Gonna Be Alright.”
We’ll talk about them in a bit. Now when we say that there’s a distinct Texas
flavor to this music, we mean it. It’s not the hard-edged rock-tinged beauty of
Lance Lopez’s work, nor is it the uniquely expressive rock dripping with blues
underpinnings that adorn ZZ Top’s masterpieces. The beauty here is
understated, uncluttered, texturally rich music that one would find in any Texas
roadhouse or dance hall worth its salt. And friends, Franchi and company give
us songs that are deeply satisfying.
Problem Child is produced by Texas guitar icon Anson Funderburgh, and
Category5 Amps amps guru Don Ritter. Recorded by Grammy Award-winning
engineer Stuart Sullivan at Wire Recording Studio in Austin, Texas, the clean
mix heightens the intoxication of the music, luring listeners in.
This is what is referred to as a “set and forget” album: You just put it on and let
it play, again and again. That being said we did have our favorites. “Back To the
River” has a winning roadhouse vibe, while “Give Me a Sign” is something you’d
be hoping to hear in any great Texas dance hall on a Friday or Saturday night.
Eddie Taylor’s “Big Town Playboy” is laid back and as welcoming as an evening
campfire after a hard day’s ride. “Real Love” is slow dance heaven – everything
is perfect; every accent is exactly where it needs to be. “Run Around” is a slow
shuffle with attitude. It’s back to ’50s soul, strutting & strollin’ on “Don’t Steal
My Time,” teasing us with a tasteful biting swagger.
Freddie King’s “Sen-Sa-Shun” is a killer instrumental and the organ is a great
nostalgic touch. When Willie Dixon’s “Everything Gonna Be Alright” queues up
and begins to play, sing this to your honey as you strut around the room and
smoke will emanate from your fingertips. This is serious stuff, so handle with
care y’all. Great solo too! It’s even better than Magic Sam’s version on the
This record comes together so well it’s frightening. The music is moving and
alive with promise, and we wait for every note like it was money. The vocals
keep us where Franchi wants us to be: in his crosshairs and captivated.
Even if you’re not from Texas, don’t despair. You too can bring home your very
own copy of Problem Child . We recommend everyone get a copy – soon.