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      Michael Fracasso and Charlie Sexton with Michael Ramos in Washington

      • Michael Fracasso and Charlie Sexton with Michael Ramos Photo #1
      1 of 1
      June 6, 2019

      Thursday   7:30 PM

      600 14th St NW
      Washington, District of Columbia 20005

      Michael Fracasso and Charlie Sexton with Michael Ramos

      with Alexander Peters
      On June 14, songwriter Michael Fracasso will release Big Top (Lucky Hound Music), the new-old album produced by fellow Austinite Charlie Sexton, who is probably picking guitar alongside Bob Dylan as you read this. Recorded in 1999 by Fracasso, Sexton and the late bassist George Reiff, Big Top begs the question: how could such an album be left to collect dust for all these years? Big Top was revived in 2017, when it was played at the memorial of Michaels dear friend, George Reiff, which Sexton directed. Lucky Hound A&R rep Michael Ramos was stunned by the music. Fracassos songs have never sounded so vibrant. Big Top was captured following the sessions that yielded the 1998 album, World in a Drop of Water, Fracasso and Sextons first collaboration. Sexton, like most of the Austin scene, had followed Fracassos thoughtful output since the early 90s. I called Charlie, and he showed up at [the storied Austin club] the Hole in the Wall, and that was the beginning of our relationship, Fracasso remembers. Hes been such a great supporter of my music. I sometimes feel overwhelmed by his generosity and spirit. Early on in the studio, their chemistry just clicked. On World in a Drop of Water, wrote Texas Monthly, Fracasso reinvents his seductive melodies in a panoramic setting, aided by the lush pop approach of producer Charlie Sexton; the magazine also remarked on how the complex arrangements decorate the rich character of Fracassos voice, and it all works beautifully. Fracassos songwriting takes crucial cues from what he terms the brutal simplicity of bluesmen like Howlin Wolf. The first single My Blue Heaven, which Fracasso wrote in response to his mothers passing, showcases his signature melancholy: Even at his most wistful, he offers a sense of uplift through the honeyed quality of his high tenor and his innate feel for melody. A cover of Mark Johnsons Crazy Little Cricket serves as a reminder of how potent Fracasso can be in his natural habitat, helming a hot band in a packed-out Austin joint. Following years on the New York City folk scene, Fracasoo moved to Austin in 1990 and made an auspicious debut with Love & Trust, featuring a duet with Lucinda Williams, and has released five critically-adored albums including Saint Mondayone of the two Fracasso records boasting a duet with Patty Griffinand Here Come the Savages. His songwriting remains impressive, the Austin Chronicle wrote of Savages, but with the addition of some well-chosen and often unexpected covers, he delves into his feelings of love, loss, and mixed emotions deeper than before. Despite its artistic success, however, World in a Drop of Water was more bust than breakout. I didnt feel like releasing another record and going through that again, Fracasso explains. So Big Top went straight into the vaults, and Fracasso - the first member of his Italian family born in the United States - began to focus on his rising career as a chef. Fracassos life today is transformed. Hes a proud father with a thriving cooking career that dovetails comfortably with his musicincluding innovative combined cooking/singing performances. In 2013 he released a book, Artist in the Kitchen: A Brief Autobiography in Food, detailing this lifelong passion, and his late-night , after-gig feasts have entered Austins lore. Fracasso is excited, and relieved, that the work is finally getting out there. It was a collaboration that just kind of existed in a time, he says. I think it speaks for itself.

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