Growing up just south of Atlanta, Frank recalls hearing stories about the exploits of his banjo-playing grandfathers, as well as hearing about Fiddlin' John Carson and Riley Puckett. As a kid a neighbor introduced him to the music of Ralph Stanley, Frank became fascinated by the banjo. Immediately after high school graduation, Frank broke his femur in a motorcycle racing accident. His father bought him a banjo to pass the time in traction, and Frank's been playing ever since.
Frank began giving banjo lessons while he was in art school, and in the mid-80's started traveling with Clearwater, a bluegrass band that toured throughout the U.S. and released an acclaimed album, Willow of Time (produced by Rhonda Vincent). His focus gradually moved toward older, more archaic styles of Southern music. Clawhammer banjo styles took his attention away from the slick 3 finger bluegrass styles.
A few years later Frank moved to Bryson City, NC to take a job playing music for the tourists on the Great Smoky Mountain Railway, where he met fiddler David Bass. The two of them began playing old-time music at the train depot in Bryson City, and the Freight Hoppers stringband grew out of this gig. The daily work of the depot created a particularly tight band sound, and the group placed first in the stringband competition at the Appalachian Stringband Music Festival (a.k.a. Clifftop), appeared on A Prairie Home Companion, and signed on with Rounder Records.
The Freight Hoppers toured extensively throughout the U.S., Canada, and Europe, released three albums, and achieved a level of public recognition previously unheard of for a modern old-time band. Frank's old-time banjo playing can be heard on the three Freight Hopper albums, as well on a Freight Hoppers live concert video. He has a banjo instructional video out on Homespun Video. Slide guitar has become a part of Frank's concerts. A 1932 National Steel Duolian was added to the arsenal of banjos, along with a love for the oldest recorded blues players from the South, Son House, Willie Brown, and Blind Willie Johnson. Spirituals and blues round out a performance of unique arrangements of Old-time music from the deep Southeast.
Check out the artist's website:
1. what you gonna do when your liquor gives out
2. doctor doctor
3. the farmer is the man
4. fully saved today
5. riley the furniture man
6. ragged and dirty
7. run little rabbit
8. old smoky
9. let an old drunkard be
10. keep my skillet good and greasy
11. shout lula
12. keep your lamp trimmed and burning