Frank Shiner

We’ve tub-thumped the new CD from Frank Shiner, (The Real Me-Bakerson/Universal), a few times, but the Gary Katz-produced album is one of the richest and best things we’ve heard in far too long. Shiner’s taken some undiscovered gems (like Tom Waits’ “Temptation,” Elvis Costello’s “Almost Blue” and Van Morrison’s “Brand New Day”) and re-imagined them to greatness. His voice is like a fine leather glove that seems a perfect fit for these terrific songs.

We caught up with the Chappaqua-based Shiner in rehearsals for an upcoming gig at Steve Walter’s Cutting Room on March 21:

TSG: One of the things that caught our eye was the headline ‘Successful NY Exec goes home to pursue musical dream.’

Shiner: It has been a dream come true for sure. A chance meeting with former-Arista exec Ken Levy, who became my manager and hooking with up producer Gary (Steely Dan) Katz paved the way for the creation of this album.

TSG: It was a dream that you put on hold to raise a family, correct?

Shiner: Absolutely. I had a decision to make at that point in my life.

I had done some acting on One Life to Live, Guiding Light and All My Children. I was in over 40 episodes under my middle name Matthew.

It’s something I could begin to do again, no question, but, yes I had a family to raise.

TSG: You got up at an open-mic night and sang, which re-lit the dream.

Shiner: After the first 3 songs, the band leader invited me to audition for his band. That essentially re-ignited the singing career.

TSG: How did the concept for the album come together?

Shiner: With Gary, we began to sketch out a plan to record “new standards” written by some of the most successful composers of the last half century: Leonard Cohen, Randy Newman, Van Morrison, Paul Simon, Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, Doc Pomus and others. The idea was to combine the attitude and musical values of the music that inspired me—the era of Sinatra and Darin with a more contemporary body of material.

TSG: It was a great concept as you’ve managed to almost invent a new category – the new standards.

Shiner: The concept was terrific and contemporary and the reception has been very gratifying.

TSG: The album’s first single was Randy Newman’s “Feels Like Home” and the current single is the title track … which has been tied for the most added record to AC radio along with the likes of Kelly Clarkson and Maroon 5. What’s next?

Shiner: We have the Cutting Room gig on March 21 and several other dates in the works. It’s been a great ride.

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