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The Baltimore Sun

Donavon Frankenreiter's sun-kissed music and life-is-for-the-living lyrics evoke the feel of '70s AM rock. It's a cool, calming throwback in today's world of spiky digital soundscapes. Pass It Around, his new album and third release overall, extends the beach-and-tiki-torch vibe of its predecessor, 2006's Move By Yourself. The California native and avid surfer is on the road supporting the CD. He plays the Recher Theatre in Towson on Saturday night.

What did you get to do differently on the new record that you weren't able to do on Move By Yourself?

Pass It Around was the first time I collaborated with a lot of different people - just a bunch of guys who stopped by the studio. There's a lot of differences in the songwriting process this time. I liked the different sounds and tones I got this time. Everybody had different ideas that helped this record in some way.

What was that experience like, having so many cooks in the kitchen?

It was great, man. There's something really enjoyable about getting together with a lot of people to add some different textures and layers. It's just about passing some vibes around. That's where the title came from.

With your other albums, you were compared to your buddy Jack Johnson. Did that bother you at all?

For me, it's a beautiful thing. There are going to be comparisons, anyway. Jack is an amazing songwriter and got me started in this business - signing me to my first record deal on his label. But we're totally different people coming from the same place.

On your albums, there's hardly a trace of modern instrumentation. Everything sounds so vintage. Why that direction?

I like different tones. That's where the feeling comes from, the instruments. I just love that authentic, old-school tone from vintage gear. ... We try to incorporate all that in the studio and on stage.

How has your live show changed since you were out on the road with Move By Yourself?

Well, we do an electric thing in the beginning, then an acoustic thing, then back to the electric thing. Now we have a whole, two-hour show with a lot more songs to pull from instead of embellishing or jamming just a few. We have, like, 30 songs now. It's fun to pick from more songs and give a real show now.

Rashod D. Ollison


See Donavon Frankenreiter at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Recher Theatre, 512 York Road in Towson. Tickets are $20 and available through Ticketmaster by calling 410-547-7328 or going to

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