Frank Shiner is a unique new singer whose vocals evoke a certain sound associated with the old school American Songbook era. But all comparisons end there, as is clearly evident on Shiner's debut album, The Real Me, set for release on Bakerson/Pyramid Records, Universal Music Group on June 24th 2014. To celebrate the release of the CD, Shiner will perform at 54 Below in New York City on June 25th and at The Winery At St. George in Mohegan Lake, New York on July 8th. He will also be signing albums and performing songs from the upcoming release at Barnes & Noble in his hometown of Wilkes-Barre, PA on June 27th. The debut single from the album entitled "Feels Like Home" is currently Top 5 on the AC Radio Charts.
Many of the song selections on The Real Me have distinct blues overtones and are lyrically rooted in the generation that belongs to Paul Simon, Tom Waits, Van Morrison, and Randy Newman, just a few of the contemporary composers whose work is showcased on Shiner's album. The finishing touch is the deft studio mastery of producer Gary Katz, best known for his tasty work on the classic series of albums by Steely Dan, as well as landmark albums from Donald Fagen (The Nightfly), Laura Nyro, Joe Cocker and others.
A number of tunes on the album are dedicated to Frank's longtime love affair with his wife Suzanne - a fearless cancer survivor. Her bravery and encouragement led Shiner to follow his muse and rekindle his calling as a singer and actor that he had put on the back burner many years before, when he set out to provide for his young family. Recording these near-biographical songs was the realization of a dream that only resurfaced three years ago.
Shiner was recently introduced to audiences on the 2013 holiday single "Driving Home For Christmas" (also produced by Katz), a holiday evergreen from the pen of Chris Rea, the eclectic jazz and blues-influenced British singer-songwriter. The single hit Amazon's Top 50 Song Chart with proceeds from iTunes and Amazon sales of the single being donated to St. Jude Children's Hospital, the favorite charity of Shiner's late father.
Shiner's decision to chart a new course for the Standard Songbook follows through on The Real Me. With Katz establishing the well-crafted moods for which he is known, Shiner has succeeded in establishing himself as a modern singer in the genre of the Grobans and Bubles of the world. "The idea," Shiner says, "was to combine the attitude and musical values of the music that inspired me – the era of Sinatra and Darin – with a more contemporary body of material."
The arc of Shiner's musical artistry swings in that special place where his lifetime of experiences in singing and acting are able to breathe together and tell a story. Like the album's title tune, the Doc Pomus/Dr. John masterpiece "The Real Me," Shiner appreciates a story with a beginning, middle, and an end. "As a student of Shakespeare," Shiner explains, "as a student of language, the song is a play, and the lyric is the most important thing to me. If a pretty sound comes out after that or along with that, it's a bonus, never the goal."
Yet it is a goal that Shiner accomplishes with an unexpected jazzy ease, from the deliciously simplicity of Elvis Costello's "Almost Blue," to his cool sexy rhythmical approach of Tom Waits' "Temptation". Shiner takes a romantic vocal approach to Randy Newman's "Feels Like Home," Jimmy Webb's timeless "It's a Sin (When You Love Somebody)" and Van Morrison's overlooked song of eternal hope and yearning, "Brand New Day." Shiner's interpretation of the Roxy Music rarity "To Turn You On" and his sexy swing approach to Leonard Cohen's "I'm Your Man" are two of the album's welcome surprises. A pair of tunes are drawn from Paul Simon's blues-drenched One Trick Pony movie soundtrack, "Nobody" and "Long Long Day," well-handled by Shiner and Katz. The repertoire for The Real Me was developed by Shiner and A&R veteran Mitchell Cohen (Columbia, Arista and Verve Records) and will be available on June 24, 2014.