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FRANK BENGIER ___Songwriter/Keys/Lead Vocals
The sound of his music lived in Frank Bengier’s head long before he assembled a group of seasoned musicians to bring it to life. Frank rejects flavor-of-the-month pop for combinations of folk and rock, with evidence of jazz influences and intricate instrumentals. "I want our sound to be the book that audiences can't put down," Frank says. "I want the song melodies to resound in their heads, but I also want them to feel moved on a deeper level by our music."
Born in the small, blue-collar town of Steubenville, Ohio, Frank saw firsthand what green valleys, a strong work ethic and family values could weave. These days are reflected in This Steel Town, Standing Alone In Time, Dallas Pike and other songs.
Frank recalls competing for the home piano bench with two brothers and three sisters. He began formal piano instruction at age 5 and has developed into a solid performer, with a demanding classical repertoire that includes works by Beethoven, Chopin, and American composer Louis M. Gottschalk. A foray into jazz and popular styles expanded Frank’s versatility with both piano and guitar. He has composed and played in rock bands since his early 20s but counts his college experience as invaluable. Frank credits music theory and composition studies with sharpening his craft, as well as studies under Jean Delphia and internationally acclaimed pianist Delores Stevens. He earned a B.A. in audio recording and music synthesis at California State University, Dominguez Hills.
“Every song that I write is a piece of a mirror puzzle that is a reflection of my life experiences,” he says. “Many are suppressed in my subconscious and are only retrieved through music."
Frank points to eldest brother Gary as his earliest songwriting influence. Although not a musician, Gary introduced the power of prose and verse. “When I was about nine or ten, he would sit down with me and dissect the poetry of Dylan Thomas or Gregory Corso or Paul Simon or Bob Dylan, line by line, word by word, until I understood the mystery as well as anyone could.”
The influence did not stop there. Gary brought a record home and said, “You’ve got to hear this.” Bruce Springsteen’s Jungleland made an indelible impression that comes through in Frank’s compositions today. “While many of my songs are story-oriented, I want people to be able to hear lines or phrases independently and apply them to their own lives and experiences,” he says.
That Frank’s lyrics can be described as sometimes sweet, sometimes haunting, sometimes soulful, should be no surprise to fans of Emily Dickinson. In his early songwriting days, Frank brought 19th century words of the lyrical poet to life. He used a piano to compose original melodies that reflected her states of want, inspiration and hope. Unlike Dickinson’s obsessively private nature, however, is Frank’s desire to connect through his art.
“Writing music is my way of reaching out to others,” he says, “because I know that there has to be someone else out there who sees and feels life like I do.” In doing so, he transforms personal experiences into a universality of message and style that give the Frank Bengier sound wide appeal.