Frank Solivan’s ‘Family, Friends & Heroes’ Album Review

Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen are putting their own spin on Bluegrass music and having fun doing it! Last month they performed at Station Inn here in Nashville as a part of their 2016 album release tour. Appropriately named, this album contains collaborations with Frank’s family (mother, father and cousins), as well as many of his friends, who could also dub as Bluegrass legends; Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas and Johan Cowan (to name a few). The heroes come from the songs they selected to cover for this album.

There is no one tempo or emotion driving this project. It’s a compilation of songs that make you feel something, whether you want to tap your foot along or get lost in a memory.

The album opens with an eclectic rendition of Roy Orbison’s “Oh Pretty Woman,” a song I think it’s impossible to not sing along with. With the same attitude and sentiment as Roy, vocalist and mandolinist, Frank, starts out strong – walking the fine line between covering a classic and making it his own. His vocals lead way to a varied instrumental break that showcases the Bluegrass roots his music stems from. This makes for a very unique version of a well-known hit.

Frank’s mother, Lorene has the lead for their take on Emmylou Harris’, “Wayfaring Stranger.” Backed by an amazingly tight and put together instrumental that doesn’t overpower her vocals, her voice shines through with beautiful clarity. Much like the opening track, she does an amazing job of covering a classic with charm and grace.

Perhaps my favorite song on the album is their version of John Denver’s, “Leaving on a Jet Plane.” True to the folk tradition of the song, the instrumental is simplistic, leaving way for the lyrics and the story they tell.

I could go on about the emotion this album evokes for a long time, but really, it’s the sort of compilation that’s going to make everyone feel something different. The songs will remind you of a place and time and undoubtedly bring back memories you haven’t had in a long time. Take a trip down memory lane with Frank and the many people that contribute to the greatness of this album.


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