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Franc Robert & The Boxcar Tourists / Press

“I met Franc Robert last year at the IBC’s in Memphis, first saw him sitting jamming away late at night, and he could play that lap steel pretty well. So when I got this release I jumped at it to hear what he would do with a full band of his own. Straight outta the box he hits the ground running with ‘Let’s Go Jukin”. A tribute to the quality and variety of Blues clubs down in Georgia & Florida he names names and the band rolls and thunders straight through. Smokin Joe Sadowski on harp and Lee Pons tickling those 88′s create a great wall of sound that makes ya wanna jump AirTran and get yourself down there.= to get with the jukin’. Franc knows the Blues Highway really well. We get a glimpse of riding the rails in ‘Coal Burnin Locomotive’ where we are reminded that no hobos allowed. With a beat and feel of said locomotive but with a Foghat familiarity he sets the rails afire with some nasty slide work over top of the chug-a-chug drum beat of Dave Simmons.”

“It is now October and as we head into the cooler months, there is really nothing that warms one more than a good hardy stew and when it comes to warming ones ears, there is really nothing better then a hearty serving of "Mulligan Stew", the super fine release from Franc Robert & the Boxcar Tourists. "Mulligan Stew" marks the 4th release for Franc Robert and the first under the name, Franc Robert & the Boxcar Tourists. Franc Robert & the Boxcar Tourists are considered the hardest working Blues band in Florida and now after 30+ years of hard grinding, it is all starting to really pay off, as they offer up a gritty blend of what they call Down N' Dirty Groovy Swampy Blues. "Mulligan Stew" consists of 12 great Tracks, all written by Franc Robert, that cover a wide swath of territory, from Memphis Blues, Acoustic Blues, Jazzy Blues, Blues Rock, Swampy Steel Guitar Blues, and Beyond.”

“Franc Robert & The Box Car Tourists are a solid set of musicians who play a variety of styles of original blues tunes. Robert pens all the songs for the band, plays all the guitars and fronts the band. Trent Sholl on bass and Dave Simmons on drums also provide backing vocals. Lee Pons on keys and Smokin’ Joe Sadowski on harp also lend a hand to the effort. The songs present a good mix of blues styles, and Franc plays his guitars (from acoustic and electric to lap steel) with great dexterity. The band is tight and in a good zone throughout, giving us a dozen nice performances. “Let’s Go Jukin’” and “The Devil at Your Door” are two cuts made available for radio download. “Jukin’” opens the CD and is a rousing party time cut. The band bounces and boogies through this one in a big manner. “Devil” is at the other end of the spectrum, a subdued acoustic cut that highlight’s Robert’s finger picking. “Lay My Body Down” an “It’s Morning Time” also showcase”

“Franc Robert & the Boxcar Tourists are a Florida based band that manages to hit the nail on the head, giving the audience some rockin' soul-drenched music while holding to the blues. All too often rock and roll bands tend to jump on the blues bandwagon trying to capitalize on the genre's popularity. The Boxcar Tourists deliver a diverse selection of blues, played from the heart and from their wells of experience. This is the music that has been played in jukes throughout the South on weekends as people would look for a way to cut loose, relieve a little tension and relax after a hard week at work. Top that off with the fact that the band plays material that the crowd can relate to and you have a real winner. The fact that all the tunes on Mulligan Stew are originals, written by Franc Robert, adds to the greatness of this recording. The musicianship is outstanding, pouring straight from the heart and, while there is nothing here that made my head spin, the CD is solid as a rock”

“Yep; get you a heapin’ helping of Franc Robert & The Boxcar Tourists‘ Mulligan Stew. Then, go back for more! This album is a breath of fresh air in a cluttered field of wannabes. It does not pretend to be anything other than good music and a good time. Overall, the album has a Juke Joint feel to it; great music with that back-to-basics, uncluttered sound, and an enthusiastic delivery. The Boxcar Tourists are Franc Robert on guitars, lap steel, and vocals; Trent Scholl on bass and vocals, and Dave Simmons on drums and vocals. Also along for the ride are Lee Pons on piano and organ, and Smokin’ Joe Sadowski on harp. Roberts has said that the Boxcar Tourists are “kinda musical hobos.” They take us along for an informative and exciting journey on Mulligan Stew. So, let’s dig in. ”

“After his foray into solo performance and recording (Check out the outstanding “Why Do I Never Win”) Franc Robert has moved back to the band format…And brought all his edgy slide guitar touches with him! (And did I mention that he wrote all the songs...and did the cover art and layout too?) The brash boogie of “Lets go Jukin“will get you into the spirit of the thang…It may be an invitation and it may be a dare! You’ll want to go though, pulled along by Franc’s guitar and old “Back Alley” cohort Smokin’ Joe Sadowski’s harp. “Ohh Baby” has a swampy, John Fogarty-ish feel to it; Franc tears it up on lead guitar while Trent and Dave keep on chooglin’. Fun! If you’re a Blues fan and “Ya Can’t Have Nothin” doesn’t drag you in you better check your pulse because you might be failin’! There’s massive electric slide-guitar of the “J.B. Hutto in slow-Blues trio” school, all underpinning the tale of a life turned sour. That’s all good Blues mater”

“No matter when you see them, it will be a great show. Franc Robert & The Boxcar Tourists has a cool, down-n-dirty, groovy-yet-swampy feel to their style that sometimes eludes other blues acts. I watched their set at the Chasco Fiesta this past March, and the audience was captivated the entire time. Go check them out; you won't regret it! Tim Cronin”

““Franc Robert sweats and sways onstage, his nimble fingers dancing along his guitar neck as he moans and howls the blues. It's still early on a Friday night, but already about 25 blues fans have gathered around the stage in Buckingham Blues Bar. They sip beer as they bob their heads to Robert's high-energy tunes about love, heartbreak and his "lemon-headed" ex-wife. "This next song fits this bar so perfectly," says the grinning, ponytailed bluesman from Port Saint Richey. "It's called 'Groovin' on the Outskirts of Town.'"” — Charles Runnells, Ft. Myers News-Press”

Charles Runnels - Ft. Myers News-Press

“No matter when you see them, it will be a great show. Franc Robert & The Boxcar Tourists has a cool, down-n-dirty, groovy-yet-swampy feel to their style that sometimes eludes other blues acts. I watched their set at the Chasco Fiesta this past March, and the audience was captivated the entire time. Go check them out; you won't regret it! ”

“Franc Robert’s stripped down blues stunner ‘Three Forks and Poison’ is the latest add to the Big Med Playlist for The Big One. Robert Johnson allegedly met his toxic end at the Three Forks Mercantile Store and Franc Robert crafts a great story about it in this amazing solo track. It’s a menacing piece in its steadfast pace and lyrics that take the listener out to a quiet end. This tune is just about perfect. ”

“Franc Robert sweats and sways onstage, his nimble fingers dancing along his guitar neck as he moans and howls the blues. It's still early on a Friday night, but already about 25 blues fans have gathered around the stage in Buckingham Blues Bar. They sip beer as they bob their heads to Robert's high-energy tunes about love, heartbreak and his "lemon-headed" ex-wife. "This next song fits this bar so perfectly," says the grinning, ponytailed bluesman from Port Saint Richey. "It's called 'Groovin' on the Outskirts of Town.'"”

“Overall, this Florida musician knows his blues, and isn’t afraid to show you. Listeners will be able to get a full dose of blues styles with a stripped-down sound that gives a raw and powerful thread that binds the album together.”

“Put it all together and what emerges is a collection of nitty gritty, gut wrenching, hard core, deep south blues, evoking images of smoke-filled bars along the Louisiana bayous and Mississippi deltas, or just about anywhere around the Tampa Bay music scene.”

“These words have been etched in my mind since first hearing the song, PIECE OF MY HEART" by that raspy blues goddess the late, great Janis Joplin. Yes the weekend is here and its time to party, rock & roll, boogie, get down, get funky, throw it down or just chill out! But any way I (or you) choose to do it, make music a part of it! To get everyone in the mood, here are a couple of bands that you haven’t heard yet playin’ some good Roadhouse Blues music. First up out of Florida comes Franc Robert with the new CD “Why Do I Never Win” released on Mind Balm Records. Be sure to check out the hot guitar licks on the track “Runnin’ Man I Will Be”.”

“He belted out first-rate Delta style Floridian blues, number after number in his unique voice. Franc has been playing for decades.  Franc rocked the house. ”

“After years of leading the Back Alley Blues Band in Tampa Bay, FL, Franc Robert finally steps out on his own with 49x61. Featuring the house-rocking music of 49 Cross 61. When Franc Robert gets his full due in the blues world, Tampa Bay will have to share its treasure with everyone. You pay your dues to play the blues and Robert has paid a lot of them. It shows.”

"Franc Robert may be one of the best Unrecognized guitarists in the Tampa Bay area. Discretely sidle into one of his shows, sit quietly, order a drink, tip decently, and listen to one of Franc's solos. He's not an imitator... and he can flat smoke!

George Willet, President, SBS - Suncoast Blues Society Weekly e-mail newsletter
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