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Denice Franke

Denice Franke
2001, Certain Records

Denice Franke has a rich, deep voice full of color and nuance. She sings of personal relationships and possibilities, and the downside of those connections when they fail. She hails from Texas where she has worked with the likes of Nanci Griffith, and has been lauded by Lyle Lovett. It's easy to see why. Her songs are so well crafted, and her lyrics are so knowing and true, that it's only a matter of time before the powers that be have her signing on the dotted line.

Songs like "Kindred Skin" [mp3 from] make her a singer-songwriter who is not easy to forget. Lyrics like these stay with you:

I hunger for your wisdom
I'm turning in your eyes
that always see the big picture
that always see through the disguise

snow don't fall in Houston, Texas
hurricanes rarely visit New York

It didn't even take an hour
to let this stranger in
many call it kindred spirits
I call it kindred skin.

On a recording filled with unforgettable songs, it is difficult to single out two or three for special mention. "Hard Comin' Home" [mp3 from]would certainly be on that list. With stellar vocals by Franke, the tune describes the difficulties of loving someone whose work often takes them away from home. Knowing the right moment to walk away from a love that has fallen apart is achingly expressed by Franke in the tender and lovely "Let Me Go" [mp3 from]:

walk away from me
and leave the keys when you go
don't hesitate, don't turn around
lift your head
you're always talking to the floor
you never look me in the eyes
I feel your fever comin' on
I cannot breathe when you hold on...

The recording closes with the delightful, celebratory "Dance to the Moon." [mp3 from] It's a tribute to life, to love, and to the wonder of the natural world.

Denice Franke's talent is a gift. And her latest recording, Comfort, is the beautifully crafted work of a truly original artist. I think it's time that someone takes notice. Franke sits on the threshold of greatness.—Roberta B. Schwartz

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