Paula Franceschi Sings, Composes and Confounds Expectations

CitizenWire COLUMN: Everything you think you know about singer and guitar player Paula Franceschi is only half the story. She’s got grown-up kids, but onstage, singing and playing her Telecaster, she’s got the energy, enthusiasm and attitude of the New Jersey rock chick she was back in the ’70s.

Her commitment to music is the kind of no-holds-barred, DIY, go-for-it approach associated with artists barely old enough to vote, yet her band is multi-generational, including her son Alex Stensel on lead guitar.

“Wouldn’t it be hilarious to be interviewed by ROLLING STONE and AARP MAGAZINE in the same month?” jokes Franceschi. “I only retired from my day job,” she points out, “so I could get back to a life of music, clubs, gigs, rehearsals, composing and playing rock.”

Those two magazines, and their very different audience demographics, fit together in Franceschi’s mind: “If one magazine can feature Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber, and the other magazine can highlight the golden years of Leonard Cohen and Carole King, then clearly I am aiming in the right direction.”

Franceschi (which is pronounced “fran-CHESS-key”) and her band have played such noted venues as The Viper Room and Molly Malone’s, and are booked into L.A.’s premiere rock showcase club, The Mint, in early September. Since her former job was creating motion picture trailers, the odds are that when The Paula Franceschi Band starts making music videos, they’ll have the snap, bite and structure of Coming Attractions. Maybe one video will open with a voice intoning “In a world where. . .” laughs Paula, imitating the booming bass voice of “that guy who narrates all the movie trailers.”

Her EP “Songs for Singles” showcases her softer side. “I was inspired most by John Lennon,” she explains, “because he wrote in whatever musical form suited the message, even if it wasn’t hip at the moment. But when I’m playing with my band, I’m channeling Mick Jagger and Keith Richard…I wish!”

About the “Songs for Singles”
“Confrontation” is often called Tarantino-esque by listeners and certainly recalls some of Nick Cave’s dark visions. “Reality” is filled with hypnotic Hawaiian dreaminess while “Rome” has a nifty hook. The high plains longing of “Ride” and the zany exuberance of “Throw It Away” conclude the EP, which is a display of songwriting that is equal parts assured, quirky, romantic and full of sonic and storytelling pleasure.

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Copyright © 2010 John Scott G.

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