John Frazier, The A-Session musician’s musician, known for his brilliant mastery of the mandolin, guitar and the fiddle, is about to launch his sophomore album for FrazierBand. He has created an entirely new sound, developed by combining past musical influences of bluegrass, rock, and roots music, into what is being penned as “Progressive Bluegrass Fusion” and “Newgrass.”
John is a Philadelphia native and educated at the Episcopal Academy and the University of Colorado-Boulder. He brings a powerful, eclectic history as an acoustic and bluegrass performer into his leadership of FrazierBand. Moving to Nashville in the winter of 2006/2007, the veteran musician quickly established himself among Music City’s elite acoustic performers and is the liver and session musician of choice by such mentors as John Cowan and Jim Lauderdale due to his superlative musicianship.
Frazier’s earlier group Hit & Run Bluegrass made history as the first band to win both prestigious band competitions at Rockygrass (2002) and Telluride Bluegrass Festival (2003). One of the state’s most electrifying acoustic touring acts, the group brought its all-string, “authentic yet modern” bluegrass throughout the U.S. and Canada, including top festivals like Grey Fox and High Sierra. In 2005, they also won first place at the SPBGMA Band Championship in Nashville and showcased at the International Bluegrass Music Association’s annual conference.
In addition to scoring plum spots in newgrass ensemble John Cowan Band and Grammy winning Jim Lauderdale Bluegrass Band, he toured and performed with bluegrass legends Del McCoury, Tony Rice and JD Crowe as well as newgrass pioneers Sam Bush and Bela Fleck. John’s other newgrass influences are: Jerry Garcia, Paul Simon, Bill Monroe, Marty Raybon, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Little Feat, Paul Brady, The Bothy Band, and many other great artists from both the US and UK.
In 2009, Frazier toured with film and comedy legend Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers. During the tour, Frazier, Martin, and the Rangers co-wrote the song “Go Away, Stop, Turn Around, Come Back,” that Martin recorded on, Rare Bird Alert.
John has performed at venues all across the U.S. and overseas. These include the Grande Ole Opry, The Kennedy Center, Telluride Bluegrass Festival (four times), Merlefest, Bill Monroe Memorial Bluegrass Festival (Bean Blossom), Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, High Sierra Music Festival, The Station Inn, Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles and the Royal Festival Hall in London. He has also appeared on “Later with Jools Holland” on the BBC, and nationwide in the US on manyl PBS broadcasts.
John Frazier has further developed his freewheeling musical creativity with FrazierBand, a group he launched in 2010. The multi-talented singer/songwriter and mandolin, guitar and fiddle master spent a whirlwind two years and 125-dates on the road with acoustic and electric banjo players Matt Menefee and Kyle Tuttle and drummer James Kittleman.
The group continues to solidify their inventive mix of rock and newgrass via the infectious hook driven pop tunes from FrazierBand, their critically acclaimed 2012 debut album. The Nashville Scene said, “Frazier’s compositions, which account for most of the album’s material, are nicely executed blends of jazz, string band music and more, and both the picking and the singing are top-shelf.”
While showcasing John’s wide ranging skills as a vocalist and on mandolin, guitar and fiddle, the group’s new album Some People Change will also feature some of his most compelling original tunes ever. He has penned the spirited, “The Rod & The Cane” as a song of encouragement to a friend going through some intense life struggles, but it became a personal cathartic journey as well.
John and the band are currently scheduling a number of video sessions to further promote this innovative album and build a greater audience for progressive bluegrass and newgrass. In an effort to further support this new musical genre, the band’s management is pursuing booking the Some People Change Tour into major cities as well as the college circuit. Part of the exciting promotional plan is for FrazierBand to participate in the 2016 South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas. (Founded in 1986, SXSW® is the premier destination for discovery, offering the unique convergence of original music, independent films, and emerging technologies).
Frazier brings to the new album a completely different mindset than he had when they recorded their debut. “This project builds on and solidifies what we started with, and truly congeals a full band sound.” FrazierBand has also created an exciting country groove shuffle behind a heartfelt strum through The Beatles’ White Album gem “Mother Nature’s Son.”
“…I quickly realized I wanted a more unified ensemble sound, and two years of touring that album and recording a concert project really made that a reality. Matt and Kyle’s banjo solos and the strong bass and drum driven parts were as much a part of our success as my strings.”
John is an avid soccer player and plays regularly in a top amateur league in Nashville. His most treasured moments are enjoying being with family and his two beautiful children.
“awesome…one of the freshest sounds to come out of Nashville in some time.” -No Country For New Nashville
“The Rod and The Cane” is the perfect song to crank up with the windows down, the pulsating mandolin overlaid with cool guitar tones.” -Broken Radio Magazine
“Frazier’s compositions, which account for most of the album’s material, are nicely executed blends of jazz, string band music and more, and both the picking and the singing are top-shelf.” -The Nashville Scene
“John has put forth a new level of thought in his work. FrazierBand’s music displays a fiery level of enthusiasm to present a core of groove graced by tasteful licks and pure original tone. Almost like a newgrass and root-based version of the Flecktones, this music is refined and honorably cool.” -Colorado Bluegrass Music Society
“John Frazier, wow. I don’t think there is enough space here for me to accurately describe my fondness for John. Let’s just say that of the hundreds of folks I’ve encountered in a life of music, he is one of the most positive, thoughtful, intelligent, and gifted men I have had the pleasure to create with. By the way, the FrazierBand record is fabulous!” -John Cowan, The Voice of Newgrass
“This is the best new music I have heard in Nashville in years.” – Billy Block
“This music is BRILLIANT! Finally, something fresh in a bluegrass derivative.” -Pickin in the Pines