12 Songs, 43 Minutes


About Ron Franklin

While Ron Franklin doesn't seem to enjoy giving out details about himself -- when or where he was born, where he's living, or even where he'll be playing -- he's become a vital presence on the Memphis, Tennessee music scene, working with a wide variety of noted musicians (among them Jim Dickinson, Jeffrey Evans and James Cotton) and releasing several acclaimed solo albums. Franklin once told journalist Denise Sullivan that he was born while his nomadic parents were making a rest stop during one of their frequent road trips, and that he lived in Texas, California, Chicago and the East Coast as a child, but had spent most of his time in the Deep South. During an extended stay with his grandmother when he was five years old, Franklin developed a taste for blues and early rock and roll while exploring her record collection, and he was introduced to Memphis music when vocalist Jessie Mae Hemphill and legendary fife man Othar Turner made an appearance on Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood. Memphis became the closest thing Franklin has to a real home, and in the Nineties he began making himself known among the city's musical community; he played with Turner as well as Magic Slim and Junior Wells, and became a fixture on the local rock and roll scene, leading the scruffy rock band Ron Franklin and the Entertainers and sitting in with Natural Kicks, South Filthy, Jack Oblivian and the Tennessee Tearjerkers and Mouserocket. Franklin also joined Arthur Lee's final version of Love shortly before Lee's passing in 2006. In 2007, Franklin self-released his first album, Blue Shadows Falling, and a few months later the Memphis International Records label issued his first nationally distributed disc, City Lights; both were cut at Willie Mitchell's Royal Recording Studio in Memphis. While informally touring -- Franklin told Andria Lisle of the Memphis Flyer that he liked to drive cross-country and play wherever he stopped for the evening, adding "If you can play a song, somebody is bound to give you a biscuit" -- Franklin wrote much of the material for his third album, a self-titled effort released by Alive Records in May 2008. When not busy with his musical career, Franklin has also dabbled in filmmaking, and directed a documentary about Monsieur Jeffrey Evans of '68 Comeback and the Gibson Brothers called The Man Who Loved Couch Dancing, which premiered in Memphis in the fall of 2007. ~ Mark Deming