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The Kennedy Center

Bob Franke


Bob Franke (rhymes with “Yankee”) is brimming with the wise songs for which he is best known, along with topical songs sugared with the hilarious. As Tom Paxton says, "It's his integrity. I always think of Bob as if Emerson and Thoreau had picked up acoustic guitars and gotten into songwriting. There're touches of Mark Twain and Buddy Holly in there, too." Franke began his career as a singer-songwriter in 1965 while a student at the University of Michigan.  He was one of the first people to perform at the now famous Ark Coffeehouse in Ann Arbor. Upon graduation in 1969 with an A.B. in English Literature, he moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts, and has since made New England his home. His songs are fueled by his deep faith and the real-life lessons taught him by his 30-odd years of playing everywhere from concert halls to street corners. He has appeared in concert at coffeehouses, colleges, festivals, bars, streets, homes and churches in 33 states, four Canadian provinces, and England. In 1990, he was nominated as an Outstanding Folk Act by the Boston Music Awards. Peter, Paul and Mary; David Wilcox; John McCutcheon; Sally Rogers; Lui Collins; Garnet Rogers; and June Tabor have sung and recorded Franke’s music. When he isn't writing or touring, Franke leads workshops in songwriting at music festivals and music camps. He was the Artistic Director of the Singer-Songwriter Project of 1999's Bethlehem Steel Festival. The Songs of Bob Franke, a songbook produced by the Folk Project, was published in 1992. Among his live radio credits are A Prairie Home Companion, A Mountain Stage, Our Front Porch, Sandy Bradley's Potluck, Folk Scene, West Coast Weekend, and Bound for Glory. In addition, Franke has recorded a number of albums with much well-deserved critical acclaim. Brief Histories was named one of the ten best albums of 1989 by Boston Globe critic Scott Alarik and was nominated as an Outstanding Folk Album by the 1990 Boston Music Awards. In This Night was named No. 1 Acoustic Recording of 1991 by WUMB-FM (Boston) and was nominated as Outstanding Folk Album by the 1992 Boston Music Awards. His first Daring release, The Heart of the Flower, was named one of the Boston Globe's top ten folk albums of 1995. 1997’s Long Roads, Short Visits became one of WUMB-FM Boston’s top ten recordings of that year.  The Desert Questions followed in 2001. His latest, 2005’s The Other Evening in Chicago, is a double-length live CD with new and old songs spanning Franke’s entire career.
Bob Franke