12 years is a long time for fans to wait to see their favorite band return to a festival in their area, but in this case the wait will be well rewarded.
A few weeks ago Hit & Run’s Rebecca Frazier announced the band would be returning to the Grand Canyon State. A lot has happened in those twelve years, including a marriage and the start of a family not to mention huge leaps on the career front. So we asked the Arizona Bluegrass Association’s James Reams to put the spotlight on Rebecca and the band to help us catch up. Here is his report:
“So Much More than a Pretty Voice: Rebecca Frazier is the Whole Package”
By James Reams
Arizona bluegrass lovers are in for a real treat this year at the Marana Bluegrass Festival as Rebecca Frazier with her incredible band Hit & Run headline the event on April 29 & 30. The festival runs from April 28 through April 30th at the Ora Mae Harn Park (13250 N. Lon Adams Rd.) in Marana, AZ.
Ralph Stanley once told Rebecca that she had a pretty voice…today she’s all that and more. Rebecca’s amazing on the guitar and is the first woman to have graced the cover of “Flatpicking Guitar Magazine.” Not only is she a first-rate singer and guitar picker, but she’s also an extremely gifted songwriter.
Her latest album, “When We Fall” was released to high acclaim in 2013. Grammy Award winner and 9 time IBMA Guitar Player of the Year, Bryan Sutton commented, “When We Fall is an incredibly strong record. These are great songs combining smart and inventive guitar playing with deep, emotional bluegrass singing.” At his latest IBMA win, Bryan urged IBMA members to stop giving him awards and look at new folks on the scene mentioning Rebecca Frazier by name.
Rebecca was also featured in a recent article entitled “7 Women Smashing the Bluegrass Glass Ceiling.” The author, Devon Leger, notes that women in bluegrass have not had an easy road, but these 7 women are “on the cusp of change.” Paired with Sierra Hull, Alison Brown, Melody Walker and a few more, Rebecca makes it clear, “I’m not interested in any special handout just for being a woman.” And she definitely doesn’t need it! Her work speaks volumes about her talent and skill as a musician. Kudos to Marana Bluegrass Festival for scoring a home run by enticing Rebecca Frazier and Hit & Run to headline the event.
I had a chance to sit down with Rebecca recently and talk with her a bit about her career. By way of background she offered, “[My] formative years on guitar and singing coincided with my jazz and bluegrass craze. I was simultaneously obsessed with Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday and jazz guitarist Emily Remler and bluegrass artists like Tony Rice, Dave Grisman, Doc Watson, Alison Brown and Alison Krauss to name a few. Diversity appeals to my ear!”
When asked how she juggles all the elements of a successful musician with being a mother to two young children, she smiled, “I feel blessed that my family supports my music as much as they do. For example, my parents will often fly in to help out with the kids when I play shows out of state.” Rebecca’s husband and musical partner, John Frazier, is also part of the band providing additional vocals and playing a mean mandolin. Rebecca has assembled quite a team of world-class acoustic artists.
With so much going for her, I wondered where she continues to find inspiration. Her answer is one that can inspire everyone, “When I lead a balanced life, my music remains inspired, and that’s the most important thing for me musically. I love it when I’m excited about preparing for a concert or an album or a video shoot. As long as I can keep my imagination flowing and continue to put out music that reflects creative inspiration, I’m a happy gal!” And we’re delighted to have the opportunity to see this happy and talented gal perform at the Marana Bluegrass Festival this April!
More information about the Marana Bluegrass Festival can be found on the festival website: www.maranafestival.com. Check out Rebecca Frazier’s website at www.rebeccafrazier.com. CDs are available for purchase or download from her website as well.
About James Reams: James Reams is an international bluegrass touring and recording artist. Coming from a family of traditional singers in southeastern Kentucky, James has played both old-time and bluegrass music since he was just a little sprout. Known as an “Ambassador of Bluegrass” for his dedication to and deep involvement in the thriving bluegrass and Americana music community, his original songs are important additions to the bluegrass repertoire, keeping this tradition alive with contemporary issues and new sounds. His music features driving rhythm and hard-edged harmonies that take you back to a time before bluegrass was smoothed out for the uninitiated, the ill-prepared or the faint of heart and his guitar playing was highlighted in Flatpicking Guitar Magazine's Masters of Rhythm Guitar column. To date, he has released 9 CDs with his latest, Rhyme & Season, making the top 10 for 2016 on David Morris’ list for Bluegrass