You can’t discuss Donavon Frankenreiter without mentioning surfing. The singer/songwriter has spent his fair share of time on the pro circuit, calls sometimes Santa Barbara boy Jack Johnson a close friend (as well as a onetime labelmate), and lays claim to one of the largest quivers of antique boards of any wave rider out there. All shredding euphemisms aside, though, Frankenreiter’s ability to command a crowd is undeniable. This week, he returns to Santa Barbara for two shows in support of his just-released new album, Start Livin’. On Tuesday, June 12, you can catch Frankenreiter in an intimate acoustic (and free!) performance at Warbler Records & Goods at 5 p.m. Later that night, he will take to the stage at SOhO Restaurant & Music Club for a fully orchestrated show at 8 p.m. with opener Lucy Langlas. (The second one’s 21+, kids.)
As for the record, Start Livin’ finds Frankenreiter delivering a succinct nine-song collection that runs the sonic gamut. Opening track “Start Livin’” is an upbeat whistle- and clap-filled acoustic anthem that occupies the space between campfire folk and hip-hop. “Shine” pulls inspiration from ’70s radio, complete with vintage organs and tambourines, while “Same Lullaby” builds from a slow-brewing number into a plodding, funk-tinged cut reminiscent of the late, great Harry Nilsson. Of course, Start Livin’ also has its fair share of sweet and somber moments, like the lovelorn and flamenco-inspired “I Can Lose” and the slide-guitar–filled “You.” In any mode, though, Frankenreiter’s selling point is his voice, a road-worn and gravelly purr that works as well in country-western forms as it does delivering jovial pop. And in case all you ocean-dwellers were worried, there’s also a few coyly placed surfing odes tucked in for good measure. (See the strummy “West Coast Fool” for starters.) Who knows, “start livin’” may just become the new-school “hang loose.”
For info about Frankenreiter’s in-store performance at Warbler Records & Goods (131 E. De la Guerra St.), call (805) 845-5862 or visit warblerrecords.com. For tickets to the show at SOhO (1221 State St.), call (805) 962-7776 or visit sohosb.com.