In The Press
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"Groove. Funk. Gospel-flavored blues with blackened creole spice. Soul singing. Chunky horns. John Scofield on guitar. That’s what!"
Translation: "Singer and guitarist based in Connecticut, Carl Franklin offers a very good first album in the tradition of Steely Dan but with a good dose of improvisation and more."
Translation: "On 'False Profit', the musicians so serve their instruments that their playing earns only top marks from me."
Translation: "Franklin's sound is not the electronic grungy sound that characterizes some contemporary albums. It remains transparent, coherent and pleasing to the ear. It's a fine mix of jazz, R & B, soul and funk."
"Been a While has become a quiet listening piece."
"Had I heard this disc in 2013 (the year it was released) it might very well have made my “best of the year” list. It’s that good."
"It’s so wonderful when a completely unexpected CD arrives and proves to be real good. And this has happened again, with this CARL FRANKLIN album from the US. His music is soul, r’n’b and some westcoast mixed together. I think of bands and artists like HUEY LEWIS & THE NEWS, STEELY DAN and LITTLE RIVER BAND here."
- Ola Gränshagen, Melodic.Net
(Sweden) October 26, 2014
"Carl´s jazz/pop cover of The Beatles 'Drive my car' is awesome. Guitar legend John Scofield is guesting on the fusion trip of 'Chain reaction,' one of the reasons you should check out this album if you´re a fan of jazz and funk. Cool!"
"Fans and first-time listeners will immediately note stylistic similarities to sophisticated pop acts such as Steely Dan, Larry Carlton and Galactic, though there is a distinctive Franklin DNA that works beautifully with the distinctive talents of his core musicians."
"Been a While ... is a thoroughly worthwhile recording that features fine playing, very good material, and a healthy dose of the influence of Steely Dan. For many, that latter quality may well be enough to land this recording on many people's want-lists. But there's enough originality that it does not turn into a kind of tribute album, and there's enough variety to keep it interesting."
"... a continuous dose of smooth vocals, well thought-out articulate lyrics and solos... Lots of commercial potential and very easy to listen to!"
"The grooves are front and center. Each instrument takes its position in the mix. Tight vocal harmonies reminiscent of The Eagles (or maybe Atlanta Rhythm Section) are layered over the funk, adding a bit of chill. Scofield adds his signature licks and supporting comments."
"Carl is the King of Groove here on this release. With top-notch musicians, and a super-soothing voice, it's reminiscent of older Steely Dan, but for 2013. Love it!"
"I've heard some of these songs for years. From their infant stages to this final product, these songs have been a labor of love for Carl. And when a guy as gifted as Carl takes on a labor of love, the finished product is usually well worth the wait. 'Been A While' is no exception. The mixes, the performances, and the songs themselves are all top-shelf."
The Story of Been a While
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In February of 2009 I found myself in an unusual spot. I had a week to myself with no parental or other
responsibilities. I had just finished writing and arranging a bunch of new songs, so I hired a small
handful of fine local musicians to come hang out in the studio for a week and lay down the tracks.
The mantra for this project was “it’s all about the groove.” Forget about the notes. Notes will come if the
groove is right. I remember Andy asking me “what do you want me to play here?” The answer was “just
be awesome.” The idea being that I wanted the musicians to do what they did best, trying to stay out of
the way as much as I could. We recorded for six straight nights starting at around seven, rehearsing
for a few hours, stopping for dinner, and then recording until two in the morning. False Profit,
Drive my Car, Time Bomb, and Out of your Way came out of this session.
Big Butter and Egg Man was
recorded in November 2010 with the same lineup. Waiting for the Summer to Come started as a writing
project with Al. I recorded the tracks myself (except for the horns) one day in January 2011.
was another solo studio adventure, being written and recorded in one day in July 2011. I added
horns to “Waiting” and The Titanic with the help of Doug Woolverton, who has trumpet solos on
and Big Butter and Egg Man. Doug’s flighty solo on Boogie Groove turned
that song from a little shuffle into a true homage to the man who started it all: Louis Armstrong.
We unofficially released Been a While in May 2012 at a concert at the Garde Theater in New London, CT.
It was a joint concert with my band and The Franklin Brothers. It was great, but the album needed one
more song. I met John Scofield through a mutual friend. He really seemed to like the Franklin Brothers
and my solo stuff. To my surprise, he said yes when I asked him to record with us! I co-wrote
for the occasion with my brother Jay, and we rehearsed the band, who were psyched to get to
play with Sco. He came to Pwop Studios in May 2013 to lay it down. That was a great day!
Carl Franklin is accomplished at acoustic and electric guitar (since 1977), bass, and vocals.
At the age of 10, after 5 years of piano lessons, Carl started taking guitar lessons from Jesse
Casimono, a left-handed southern-rock tele player from New London, CT.
After surviving the ego blow brought on by listening to Leo Kottke
and Jorma Kaukonen
as a kid, somehow Carl managed to keep
picking long enough to master fingerstyle guitar by the time he was in his early 20s.
On the electric side of the fence, his early influences were Don Felder and Joe Walsh,
Peter Frampton, Brian May, and the like. Once he heard the voicings and phrasings of Larry Carlton
and the rest of the great players on Steely Dan's albums, he was doomed. Jazz was upon him.
In his late teens he was listening to Wes Montgomery, B.B. King, Les Paul, Django Reinhardt and
that crowd, but he never really got into fusion or progressive rock. He was still digging that hot tube
sound influenced by blues players and the 70s rock players that were influenced by them.
He came of age in the 80's where there wasn't really a lot of solo guitar playing in popular
music besides the old-timers (Clapton, etc.). In the 90s it was all about strummy-strum acoustic
songs and grungy power chords. So Carl was pleasantly surprised to stumble over John Scofield's
A Go Go
by chance around 2001. That album reassured him there was a market for fine melodic
expressive electric guitar playing that wasn't too jazzy or showy, but had balls. That's where
Carl likes to hang out these days.
Carl attended Berklee
after of High School
(1985) with an eye toward performance, but quickly fell in love with recording, engineering, and
production. The line for studio time was long at Berklee, so he enrolled in
in 1986 where he learned the basics
of audio recording and production. It was there that he was lured into the world of computers,
which took him away from the music business, into programming, software development, web design,
technical writing, speaking at software conferences, consulting, training, and
Carl started home recording in 1994, and in 1999 produced the first Franklin Brothers album,
with brother Jay on a PC in Carl's basement. By 2007, the podcasting
was in full swing and Pwop Studios
to support the podcasting business as well as Carl's music habit. Taking 4 more years to
complete and perfect, Carl and brother Jay produced their second album,
Lifeboat to Nowhere
at Pwop and released
it in August, 2011.
The people who know Carl in the computer world don't really know that he's been playing piano
since he was 5, singing since he was 8, guitar since he was 10, writing songs since he was
13, and recording in studios since he was 16. Likewise, his musician friends don't understand
the first thing about computer programming. That's okay. A person can have two passions.