Greenfield Lake Amphitheater
1941 Amphitheater Drive
7/24, 6:30 p.m. $25
Though West vs. East Coast beach music may not rival the degree of hip-hop and rap animosity, quite the opposite, each side conveys the harmonic sounds of oceans and shore in slightly different fashions: here, there’s a lot of shag, rhythm and blues, whereas our West Coast brethren evolved from pop-infused rock to more of a laid-back acoustical flow. Both are appreciated by the coastal cultures, and regardless of which side of the states, there’s a certain muse that touches those who can effortlessly write lyrics, music and sing to accompany the light-hearted feelings the coast bestows upon its inhabitants.
Singing the song of the surf now for most of his life, southern California’s Donavon Frankenreiter’s music is a combination of acoustic rock ‘n’ roll with electric elements blending a host of fun. According to Frankenreiter, since beginning his solo career—with help from buddy Jack Johnson and his new label Brushfire Records—his four albums have evolved with his personality and feelings over time. However, the goal of each always comes down to instilling good vibes through good music.
Some parents might cringe at their 10-year-old boy asking for a surf board—and later a guitar—to pursue seemingly lofty goals of professional surfing, while being in a band. Nevertheless, Frankenreiter was lucky enough to have parents who embraced his ambitions, no matter the amount of their understanding of them—or maybe lack thereof. “Nobody in my family played music or surfed,” Frankenreiter admits, “but my parents were very supportive.”
Throughout years of his career, Frankenreiter stayed clear of center stage, playing rhythm guitar for different bands until he decided to wing it on his own. His first album of folk songs included the hit “Free” and followed his 2004 self-titled debut with a full-band record. He continued to work on projects with people like Joe Chiccarelli (The White Stripes, My Morning Jacket) to produce 2008’s “Pass It Around.”
Known to join forces with multiple other artists and friends like Johnson and Ben Harper, Frankenreiter continues to open his music to almost anyone wishing to work with him. “I love collaborating,” he says. “It’s a lot of fun, and I’d love to work with Tom Petty, Bob Dylan or the Black Keys, anyone—yeah, even Lady Gaga, Ke$ha, Bieber [chuckling].”
It was during his time in Kauai with his wife and sons—named Ozzy and Hendrix, naturally—Frankenreiter was charmed by island sounds and has produced stress-free tunes like those found on his most recent album “Glow.” The song titling the album is a soft yet fast ukulele lullaby for the soul, accompanied by nine other songs, like “Keeping Me Away” and “Home,” written with soothing acoustic strings, a light electric backdrop and Frankereiter’s sweet raspy vocals.
Now celebrating “Glow” on tour, a record founded on new sounds, slight risks and a let’s-see-what-happens attitude, Frankenreiter saves a certain amount of spontaneity for his audiences. He plays without a set list or a plan but just a “feelin’ fine” philosophy inspired by his life’s passions.
Though it’s certainly hard to balance hard- core surfing and rock with a family of three at home, he makes it work. “I try to be the best father and husband,” he asserts, “with surfing and music; those are the four things I am most passionate about. I’ve got a really supportive wife and kids, and whenever they want to hit the road with me, they do.”
Regardless as to where and to whom his music may lead, in the end he is simply happy living a childhood dream. Such is the way of the easy-going wanderer, surfing from coast to coast, spreading the soothing sounds of his muse.
Wilmingtonians will be able to hang out with Donavon Frankenreiter at the Greenfield Lake Amphitheater on Sunday, July 24th. The show starts at 6:30 p.m., and tickets can be purchased for $25 at the Soapbox Laundro-Lounge, Gravity Records or online at http://www.greenfieldlakeamphitheater.com. Also, visit encore’s Facebook page for an opportunity to score a pair, to be given away on Friday.