BLUES / BLUES ROCK / Donavon Frankenreiter

Move by Yourself – DONAVON FRANKENREITER – 2006

Donavon Frankenreiter.


Donavon Frankenreiter.

Nope. I hadn’t heard of him either. But thank god for the miracle that is YouTube; I managed to find this guy and his actually pretty good music. All you need to know to get where he is coming from is that he is a guitar playing surfer.

So how is this Move by Yourself thing? Well, It breaks no new ground, but takes the existing rule-book, and executes it a particularly good way. In other words, this is old fashioned optimization as opposed to new fangled rocket science. Its all there, you know. Catchy riffs, the occasional guitar solo, groovy rhythms, and a one point agenda of dissing a previous special lady friend.

Frankenreiter’s voice isn’t particularly unique as well. In fact, for someone who looks as cool as Jon Lord, his singing is disappointingly pedestrian at first. He could have been Jack Johnson. Or Jay Kay. Or a cut price John Mayer. Or just another Stevie Wonder rip off. But the important thing is, his voice fits his music like a glove. His voice is to his music what Adam Clayton’s bass playing is to U2. He quietly breathes his words into your ear, as if he’s sitting right next to you, strumming away at his acoustic guitar. And his singing is very emotional. And isn’t that what music is all about? Using all these elements, Mr.Frankenreiter has come closer to conjuring up images of sand, sea and surf in my mind here in India, than the Beach Boys ever did. Kudos.

This music is not demanding. It doesn’t rip your head off your shoulders like the metal stuff that Baba T reviews. Nor is it as intellectually demanding and pretentious as some of the stuff that I review. And as I said, its not original at all. But you know what? None of that matters. It’s simple, beautiful music. Great melodies, nicely thought out lyrics, and musicians that serve the songs to a tee. The bassist grooves hard with the drummer. The guitar player serves the songs with his leads. And all of that is held together by nice, retro, Zeppliny keyboards.

The centerpiece of the album is undoubtedly the slow-ish, very sexy “Fool”. It is anchored by a fantastic conversant bass-guitar riff. And it has a fantastic, natural sounding groove and sound to it. Also, at a princely 6.01, its the longest track on the album. And a very enjoyable 6 minutes it is, as the last 3 or so minutes are just a long, sexy jam.

But that’s not the end of the good songs. There are more uptempo, fun numbers like “That’s too bad” and “Let it go”, and they all vaguely talk on the same general tone and theme of “Babe, I’m gonna leave you” of Zeppelin fame. Strangely, all the songs work. There isn’t a piece of shit throughout this album despite the fact that Frankenreiter talks basically about the same thing over and over again. Weird but wonderful. That said, I suppose I should recommend a few songs . “Fool” is highly recommended, as are “Move by yourself” and the “The Way it is”. The other songs are equal to these songs in ever respect, but I suppose these three are more equal than the others.

Clearly, a very relaxed man.

This is a highly recommended album for those too far up their own asses (such as myself), who might be losing touch with straight up good songs. And for the rest of you, you will enjoy this anyway. This sounds very right.

– El Bajista



2 thoughts on “Move by Yourself – DONAVON FRANKENREITER – 2006

  1. Though I do not agree with the fact that the songs are all about the same subject (it seems to me the only ones about leaving someone are That’s Too Bad and possibly Fool), this was a well-written review. I agree that the musicians on this particular record are top-notch. Out of all of Donavon’s albums, this is definitely my favorite. Every song offers up its own unique quality, whether it’s a funky riff, a jam, or a church choir, every song keeps you guessing.

    • Absolutely. I don’t know whether there is a DF Band or not, but the backing band were surely all great sessions players.
      And I agree about the different songs. To be honest, I thought ‘he’s just a guitar playing surfer. how good could he possibly be’. as it turns out, its excellent stuff. I was particularly taken in by his whisper in your ear singing.

      anyway, im glad you liked the review. do visit more often, subscribe, spread the word and/or suggest if you would like us to review any other album!


      el bajista

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