Adrienne Frailey is a northern Indiana singer-songwriter whose vibrant, acoustic sound has recently caught the attention of folk-indie and Americana DJs. Her guitar and keyboard melodies are innovative and memorable. A late-2012 effort with her third self-produced CD Definitely moved her to eighth place in Hoosier artists receiving radio airplay across the U.S. (Roots Music Review data, Jan. 2013).
More recently, her 2013 indie single "New Eyes" was written for Los Angeles author/Youtube personality Kaleb Nation as a theme for his novel Harken, released 01/13/13. "This song fits the book so well, and this is what writers pretty much dream of happening," he vlogged.
Of "the new artists on the Top 20 List, Adrienne Frailey stands out," Host Kelley Martin wrote (12/31/12) for Acoustic Pie. Adrienne transcends her Midwestern roots to explore the global human journey. Listeners use terms like goosebumps (Germany), and brilliant (Wales) to describe her music. Surprising as a snow leopard stepping from an Indiana cornfield. One Midwestern woodworker says, "Adrienne has a new #1 fan. I listened straight through the entire album three times in a row, then moved it to my truck." On the other side of the globe a mother from the Australian Bush writes, I sing Dying Breath to my baby. It's so beautiful."
Adrienne sings originals, traditionals, Celtic and cover music. Vocally she is often compared to Sarah McLachlan, Sara Barielles, Norah Jones, Eva Cassidy and Carole King. Solo and with other performers or a band, Adrienne played 105 concerts in 2012, including the Kent State Folk Festival. She likes performing at regional historical events. While she can rivet audiences with her renditions of traditional tunes, her original ballads have also been praised. Balladeer and Waterbug Records founder Andrew Calhoun calls her song Lilian "as spare and gripping as any in the Child collection." A Three Rivers, MI listener said, "Adrienne brings out such emotion in us."
Left: Adrienne Frailey at the 2011 Folk Alliance Regional Midwest playing her mother's guitar, Right: A young Joy Frailey (Adrienne's mother) in 1975
Left: Joy Frailey, Right: Drew Frailey (1976)
Left: Steven Seevers, Right: Drew Frailey (Adrienne's father) performing in duet music group, Cool Change (May 2016)
The Fraileys performing together at the Box Factory in St. Joseph Michigan, 2010
Adrienne is a fourth-generation musician, writing since the age of twelve and performing since sixteen. Her paternal grandmother was a classical pianist. Her maternal grandmother played in Tennessee live radio with a family band in the 1930s and 1940s. Adrienne credits God for her opportunities, her mother for her music ear, her father for her long fingers, and her family and older sister Andrea for their inspiration and support. "Thanks to Mom and Dad and literally several hundred of their concerts they dragged me to [she smiles as her eyes roll], I like many types of music."
Adrienne performed her first original song on guitar at her middle school talent contest and took first place. Someone yelled, "Adrienne, you rock!" That esteem booster encouraged her to attend open mics and perform with her parents. "Middle school is the toughest audience you'll ever have," she knew. "I began to write songs seriously at that point." At sixteen she wrote songs of struggle and recovery, like "Wasteland," which had emerged from what life was now throwing at people she cared about. At seventeen she sat at a ‘98 Roland E-500 keyboard, which she still uses, and reminded her fingers of the scales she’d learned as a child. At her final high school talent show, she had a hushed and expectant community audience and standing ovation. As her 2008 graduating class planned their summer before college, she recorded a demo and made concert bookings.
With Michiana layoffs, economic downturn and the housing crash, Adrienne’s father Drew turned to trucking. He was on the road much while Adrienne and her mother Joy finished their concert season. Adrienne’s generation was faced with challenges for which they had no experience: devastating losses and disappointments, domestic violence, substance abuse, and terminal illness. She uploaded songs to internet sites and got radio airplay. In November 2008 she was asked by Al Kniola (Host, The Back Porch, WVPE 88.1 FM, Elkhart, NPR) to be among nine artists at the University of Notre Dame to mark Pete Seeger’s 90th birthday.
The song uploads were noticed. In March 2009 Folkalley.com named her Featured Open Mic Artist for that month. She was "already displaying real depth as a singer/songwriter...from the tiny town of Milford, IN (halfway between Ft. Wayne and South Bend) Frailey would get our vote any day" (folkalley.com, alley chat, 3/2009). "It was a tremendous opportunity for my music to gain exposure. There were days that eight of ten ‘Open Mic’ songs being played at any hour were mine. I am very grateful to Folk Alley for the doors they opened and the encouragement I received from all over." All month "Wasteland" was played in the Folk Alley podcast just before Roger McQuinn.
Left: Bruce Bartlett of Bartlett Audio (Bartlett Recording), Right: Adrienne Frailey (March 2010)
This encouragement spurred her to schedule sixteen weeks at Bartlett Recording with Bruce Bartlett (Bartlett Microphones). Bruce developed microphones at Shure and Crown (including industry-standard headworn CM311A). With his wife Gen he has written eight manuals, and 900 articles/reviews in audio magazines. Bruce said, "I have never been so affected emotionally by anyone I’ve recorded in 30 years...Adrienne writes songs of rare beauty and sophistication...I think she has a great future in writing musical soundtracks for cinema. Adrienne's also a skilled arranger with a golden ear—she knows exactly what she wants to hear."
Her debut CD Goodnight to the Stars—self-produced, released July 2009—was a goodbye to familiar life as we’ve known it, but with hope. Her piano ballad "Beneath the Spotlight," a love ballad born of that hope, was hailed as "better than Broadway" by Bartlett. Goodnight made The Back Porch list of "40 Top Albums of 2009." Al Kniola said, "Adrienne Frailey is a truly extraordinary talent. Her vocals are soulful and captivating; her lyrics and music are packed with meaning and emotion. You just want to listen to her forever." (Later Goodnight also made "Faves of 2011" at Folk Festival, WDCB 90.9-FM, NPR, College of DuPage, IL.)
Adrienne received a surprise invitation from JAM Entertainment—to deliver a singing telegram and balloons to WNDU 93FM radio station to promote the January 2010 season premiere of American Idol. (South Bend, like Las Vegas, was a target metro area where a local singer was scouted and picked for this media blitz.) That same week she recorded an hour-uncut concert at PMN (Public Media Network), Kalamazoo, for their cable show Hometown Pickin'. In March she was also featured in Riely O’Connor's Songwriters Spotlight Show.
Since Summer 2010
In summer 2010, Adrienne received an invitation from fellow youtube artist Kaleb Nation to create a full-length album inspired by his second bookBran Hambric: The Specter Key. She composed a digital 16-track CD called The Key, released the same day as the novel, 10/10/ 10 and featured in the book trailer. Michiana Irish musician joHn Kennedy played Irish whistle and bouzouki for "Dying Breath," her Celtic piano lullabye. "Talented people like Adrienne Frailey remind me why I like writing..The Key is amazing," tweeted Nation. "It sounds like something that might be on a Bran Hambric movie soundtrack...Adrienne continues to amaze me with her talent...I’ve listened to this [track Dying Breath] a half dozen times already. I love it :D—Kaleb Nation.
Nation also used some of Adrienne’s earlier instrumental music for Inside the Beautiful Darkness—his fall 2010 documentary on his book tour partners, New York Times best-selling authors of Beautiful Darkness (and Beautiful Creatures, due to be a movie 2/14/13).
Left: Norm Mast, Right: Al Kniola (of The Back Porch)
Adrienne’s 2011 CD Definitely was recorded spring 2011 and released on 9/10/11. It was the only local Michiana artist named in "30 Top Albums of 2011" by The Back Porch. "Adrienne Frailey is a major talent. Her latest album Definitely is clear proof of that. Her beautiful lyrics could stand alone as poetry, her voice is a lovely blend of velvet and soul, and her melodies and arrangements are captivating. This is an album that deserves, and will receive, repeated play by all who own it until it simply wears out."—Al Kniola
"How did I get so lucky to be Adrienne's recording engineer? Not only is she an amazing singer blessed with a warm, lovely voice; she creates these beautifully crafted songs."—Bruce Bartlett (2011)
—C 2016, Stormcall Music