Denice Franke

You Don't Know Me

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When Denice Franke left Austin, TX, for the Bayou City in the late '90s, she not only abandoned her prominent folky post in a world-renowned music scene, she went and reversed the standard Houston-to-Austin route so common with Texas singer/songwriters. But the former backup singer for Nanci Griffith craved a place where she'd get lost in the shuffle, and she celebrates that nagging craving for anonymity on "Lowlands," one of the bouncier tracks from her solo debut. "Take me back to Houston where the streets are so wide/I can stand on any corner and never be asked why," Franke sings, her delivery grounded and resonant. "No one here knows me, it's nice to be alone/Thinkin' 'bout what you're gonna do when you get home." Produced with resourcefulness and restraint by longtime Franke supporter Eric Taylor, You Don't Know Me bristles with the unspent energy of an artist who's left her muse on the shelf far too long. Its sophisticated, jazzy sway (Franke's nimble acoustic picking, Eric Demmer's haunting saxophone, and Mike Sumler's piano figure prominently in the airy, refined mix) may shock fans of her earthier, more tradition-minded work in the Beacon City Band or with Doug Hudson in the Hudson & Franke duo. Still, it's a welcome evolution -- and one with which Franke is obviously quite comfortable.

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