Born in the small, blue-collar town of Steubenville, Ohio, Frank Bengier saw firsthand what green valleys, a strong work ethic and family values could weave. Reflecting these values in his music, Frank sound rejects the typical flavour-of-the-month pop for combinations of folk and rock, creating an intricate fusion of jazz influences and complex instrumentals.
Born into music, Frank can recall competing for the home piano bench with two brothers and three sisters, eventually pushing on to formal piano instruction at the young age of five. Now older, wiser, and more refined, Frank has developed into a solid performer, with a demanding classical repertoire that includes works by Beethoven, Chopin, and the famed American composer Louis M. Gottschalk. A foray into jazz and popular styles expanded Frank’s versatility with both piano and guitar, shaping his sound into a hybrid of delicate styles and lavish compositions.
Lyrically, Frank’s words are often described as sometimes sweet, sometimes haunting, drawing an emotive path through the music that he composes. In his early songwriting days, Frank brought 19th-century words of the lyrical poet to life, Emily Dickinson. He used a piano to compose original melodies that reflected her states of want, inspiration and hope. Reflecting his many influences and inspirations in past songs such as ‘This Steel Town’, ‘Standing Alone In Time’, and ‘Dallas Pike’, his sound is developed and nuanced, with a lifetime of musical endeavours leading to his latest release, the deft ‘Tied To Your Heart’.
An expansive fourteen-track release, ‘Tired To Your Heart’ opens with an instant burst of electric guitar that transitions into a rough, melodic stream of Americana sounds. Rustic and charming in its own heartfelt way, opening cut ‘Every Morning Light’ flows with a shaky, folk-inspired sound that leans heavily on Frank’s evocative vocals. Second track ‘Shot Me Down’ shines with a touch of country class and Frank’s poetic, melancholic lyrics, shifting the focus to a stream of electric guitar and faltering vocals.
As the album continues, there is a definitive pattern formed, and as the title track comes into view, it’s now a familiar patchwork of familiar, nostalgic sounds built on steady percussion, calling electric guitar, and rolling, folk-rock sounds. Franks lyrics shine with an authentic tenderness and soul, but as the title track and ‘You’re Still There’ show, his vocals aren’t always as strong or melodic as you’d like, creating a rift between the raw, emotion and the human connection.
As an album, ‘Tied To Your Heart’ is something of a mixed bag, offering a cascading wave of rustic charm that carries the weaker moments, but doesn’t quite resolve them. Songs like ‘Until Now’ and ‘Midnight Express’ shine with musical variability and diverse, experimental sounds that capture the heart of his listeners, but the inherent weaknesses in production are a constant barrier between Frank and his audience, particularly in the more expansive emotionally charged cuts like ‘Driving Back To You’.
Available now on Spotify, Soundcloud, and Amazon Music, ‘Tied To Your Heart’ offers a solid and understated framework for the next great American album. The combination of Frank’s cultivated lyrics, well composed songs, and passion for what he does is impressive, and with some proper production and stronger vocals, you can see the album becoming a powerful new release.