Fans Of Leonard Cohen, Neil Young & Bob Dylan Should Check Out SHLOMO FRANKLIN

One of the more promising solo acts of the Hudson Valley is Shlomo Franklin, out of Bethel. Franklin just released “January Eyes”, a track recorded with Pete Seeger and Bruce Springsteen engineer C Lanzbom. His eclectic influences meld together into a sound of his own; the song reportedly caught the attention of the legendary Huey Lewis. Check out “January Eyes” below and read on for a little interview with Franklin, who touches on the Hudson Valley music scene and the facets of his flourishing career.

Who are some of your favorite artists and musical influences?

A lot of my influences aren’t necessarily songwriters or musicians. I gather a lot from authors, poets, painters, and comedians. Louis CK and Allen Ginsberg have probably influenced me just as much as Johnny Cash or Neil Young have.

Guns N’ Roses and Slash will always be one of my favorite heroes. I want to make a record with that guy someday.

I like Chance the Rapper too.

That being said when it comes to songwriters; Leonard Cohen is the first to come to mind.

It took me years until I really got into him. He’s one of those songwriters that can paint this otherworldly photograph of the mundane. He makes waking up and looking out the window seem beautiful, which it is. He’s written apartment poetry like no one else.

I miss him greatly.

Having influences is a double edged-sword because in the beginning, you want to sound just like them, you want to sound as loud and as passionate as they do but that’s only how it might begin.

Where it ends is you facing yourself in the mirror, all walls of denial torn down, with nothing left but your vulnerable self. You realize that your voice is your best weapon. You still want to sound like someone else because then you’re safe, no one sees you, they’re just seeing you as an actor and an actor is untouchable. Soon enough though you’d feel too much like a fraud so your only option is to wear your own voice proudly on your sleeve, put a loudspeaker to your heart, and broadcast whatever the hell you find inside there because chances are, other’s will find themselves in your world of feeling too because none of our experiences are isolated events. Emotions tend to walk through walls and move through your skin, you never feel anything alone. What you’re feeling is always being felt by someone else too.

Tell us a bit about the production of “January Eyes”.

We recorded January Eyes all in one night at my producer’s studio, Sherwood Ridge.

We had recorded it previously but we decided to do another version that did the lyrics justice and really brought the song home.

C Lanzbom is a great engineer but he’s first and foremost a guitarist, that’s where he begins and ends. All the way at the end of January Eyes there’s a space that I originally whistled over but I’m not as great a whistler as Axl Rose so we decided to remove the whistling. He heard that space and right away wanted to play a solo over it. I thought it wasn’t a great idea but our philosophy in the studio is that we try everything. There’s no such thing as a bad idea, so I watched him set up the mics, pick out the right electric guitar, and start playing.

At the third take, he played a series of notes that almost sounded like a human begging on their knees for food or love or something. He played the most exquisite guitar solo and there’s no denying that. You can go listen to it, It’s beyond description or scrutiny.

Needless to say, I was wrong, he was right, and this quiet folk song now has an electric guitar solo at the end. Long live rock and roll.

What can we expect from you in the future?

I’ve recently put together a band with some of the sweetest musicians and human beings I’ve ever met so that’s been a big focus of mine lately aside from my work in the studio.

We’re really growing into each other and the shows we’ve played so far have been really special, full of curve balls and drop dead gorgeous moments.

I want to see where this band goes, we might want to make it a real big band, sort of like the E Street Band or The Heartbreakers, add a few members, make it a band that can sound huge and also play tiny tender songs too.

We’re playing Rockwood Music Hall on Feb 2nd. You’d be a fool to not come through!

Who are some of your favorite local artists and venues?

Finding local artists that are on the same path as you is crucial to surviving and thriving as an artist, it reminds you that you’re not alone.

I’ve been lucky to come across and become friends with some really great songwriters and musicians that consistently blow me away. They make me go back to the drawing board and become a better performer and songwriter.

Recently I went on tour with a duo from New York called Thoughtdream and they absolutely made me happy. It would’ve been a really long tour if they didn’t rule but they rule and you should go check them out here:

My all-time favorite local songwriter would be Patrick Collins.

I wouldn’t even know where to begin with him but he’s just one of funniest most honest songwriters I’ve ever heard. His songs aren’t funny. They’re heartbreaking. They’re so real that it hurts. One owes it to themselves to go his see him perform. Check out his Ep that my friend Keith Lauria engineered!

I really like Belle-Skinner. Sadly, I also have a crush on her so don’t take my word for it and just listen to her song here: