Frank Viele sets the mood with ease and captivates for his storytelling and vocal prowess combined, with Hearts We Left Behind.
Bringing together Americana or country verses – the acoustic warmth and humble vocal rasp of familiarity and calm – with an ultimately more pop-rock-ready progression that quickly shift its gears, Hearts We Left Behind stands tall on the strength of its songwriting and uniquely colourful arrangement.
Frank Viele’s performance is also second to none, impressively versatile in navigating the various sections of this release – from those country verses to the pop-ready pre-chorus to the eventually anthemic resolve.
The music and vocals work beautifully together, presenting a fully visualised story and soundscape that beg for audience participation, whilst showcasing a believably authentic level of passion from Viele himself, and depicting a full-band set-up that naturally creates a live-scene vibe to engage with and uplift listeners.
The final resolve to the title-line is particularly effective, and follows an unusually long-form lyrical journey, for an almost Springsteen-esque precision and presence that effortlessly stands out.
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What made you want to work with Jimmy Nutt and James LeBlanc?
Everything! They’re great guys, they’re incredible musicians, and from the first time we sat down together, it felt like something special was happening. They took the time to understand me as an artist. They understood where I was, where I wanted to go, and what I needed to do musically to get there. And in the end, I have an album that I’m certain is going to make an impact.
Did you go to Muscle Shoals with any songs already written? Did you find that songs changed as you were recording them?
Between songs I had written on my own, and songs I had co-written, I went to Muscle Shoal with over 60 new songs. We recorded 21, and we intend on releasing 13 of them. The ones that didn’t make the cut for this release, honestly, are tunes I still love to play live. But when we listened to all 21 songs, there was a sonic, stylistic, and storied theme developing that we knew we needed to capitalize on and weave together with a subset of the 21 songs.
In regards to song development, the songs did change throughout the recording process assuredly, but they changed in a way that I would tie to a deeper understanding of the song as it was written and me as an artist. We changed keys, we redeveloped tempos, and also my bandmates Tom Barraco and Anthony Candullo really added context to my original acoustic demos of the tunes.
Three guys from the New England and New York music scenes driving 17 hours down to historic Muscle Shoals to record with Jimmy Nutt and James LeBlanc – there was bound to be a lot of developmental moments where songs transformed in front of my eyes. I wish I filmed it all, because it was pretty magical.
Is there any truth to the stories in the song? Are there any hearts you personally left behind that made it into the lyrics?
Short answer, Yes. This song pulls from a lot of personal experiences. It fights against the storybook narrative of a perfect guy meets a perfect girl and everything is wonderful. Rather. It’s a guy who’s experienced some of the worst things this world has to offer, meets a girl who’s fought battles, and the two of them learned a lot about themselves in the process. They find each other after those wars are over, coming out stronger in the end, and know that going forward, they deserve the happiness they bring each other. They’re burning the bridge behind them as they drive towards the future they earned.
When can we expect to hear more songs from your session in Alabama?
I’m thinking the next single is coming out in March. There’s also a song on this record that I wrote for my mom that I may release on Mother’s Day. But it’s a new industry out there for a growing indie artist like me, so I’m kind of taking it one day at a time, or one song at a time, for the moment.
Are you going to tour this year? Where can we find you?
I’m doing this interview from a green room in St. Louis, Missouri right now, one third finished with my winter tour supporting the incredibly talented Lee DeWyze. This tour takes me from Colorado to Texas by way of almost the whole east coast with some great stops in the Midwest. I’ll be announcing some more tour dates and fully anticipate playing concerts in the majority of the US in 2023. So in regards to where you can find me, I’m either on a stage in one of the fifty states, in my van driving to a stage in one of the 50 states, or in my basement listening to my record collection.
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