The Reviews for the Last Card
Paulo Franco enlightens with his upcoming record, The Last Card. This is not your average Rock n’ Roll Americana record. The music that Franco creates spans genres throughout the record, as we even see the buzz-worthy artist sing in Spanish on the record. Proudly Franco boasts his musical journey as he wears his heart on his sleeve. The Last Card is the sophomore release from the artist, who has been garnering critical acclaim recently with his new single, “Leaving the River City.” Franco’s sense of storytelling is an element that stands on its own. The track itself offers a heavy and eye-opening dose of what to expect on the record.
As Franco pens some of his most ambitious pieces to date, he eagerly backs them up, with a performance that is extraordinary and well-rounded. One of the most standout and unique pieces for me on the record is “Catrina Y Su Calavera,” which Franco was inspired to write by a local craft beer of all things. Taking the inspiration and crafting it into a mysterious song of love, it proves that Franco is not your average singer/songwriter by far.
Emily Hinde, No Depression, 10/5/16
Possibly the most sincere record I have heard this year, not only in the Americana realm but overall, Franco proves to be an absolute musical treasure. His rich story telling weaves throughout the songs in the record, creating a listening experience that is engaging from start to finish. Lyrically, Franco can write a song like no other. From Spanish influenced songs like 'Catrina Y Su Calavera,' to heartbreakers like 'Rolling Back to Raleigh,' The Last Card offers up something for all listeners.
Louise Parker, Paste Magazine
Paulo Franco releases his long awaited record this week, The Last Card. An album with one hell of a background story, we get inside of every aspect of Franco’s life on his latest endeavor. Throughout the record we hear a songwriter that is wise beyond his years. His music speaks volumes as it takes us on a journey from one track to the next. The first single that started off the initial anticipation for the record is “Leaving the River City.” In the song Franco pours his blood, sweat and tears into every note, every melody, every strum, and it is obvious. This is a theme that continues throughout the record, as Franco never leaves a dull moment on the album. As the album dances between the lines of Americana, Franco also takes on a new role as he pens a few of the songs in Spanish. With an extensive family background in the region, he brings a dash of his roots into play, which makes the album even more personal…something that is a nice touch and is much needed in the current music world.
Paulo Franco is a margin walker. The constantly gigging, bilingual Richmond singer and songwriter makes Graham Parsons-inspired Americana, incorporating his Colombian ancestry on his brilliant new CD, “The Last Card.” On an album featuring songs sung in Spanish and English, tunes such as the organ-seasoned ballad “Leaving the River City” and the honky-tonked strut of “Rolling Back to Raleigh” invoke the sing-a-long era of early-’70s FM radio. On “Catrina Y Su Calavera” and “La Estrella del País,” his seamless Latin country-rock assimilations shine with horn punctuations, vocal hooks and memorable melodies. Impeccably recorded and produced by Bob Rupe.
Chris Bopst, Style Weekly
At first glance, Paulo Franco seems to be an anachronism. How could a guy with Colombian parents write and sing great, authentic country music? Paulo was born and raised in the Washington D.C. area (and now lives in Richmond, Virginia), but his parents are from Colombia. He grew up listening to both Colombian and American music (his father was a huge fan of Johnny Cash and Glen Campbell), so his songs reflect those dual influences. Paulo began playing classical guitar at the age of 9. He spent a few years playing in a cover band, but decided to begin writing his own music in 2008. Most of his compositions meld old school country, rock and blues, drawing inspiration from the likes of Steve Earle, Hank Williams, John Hiatt, Slaid Cleaves, Chris Knight, Gram Parsons, the Rolling Stones, the Drive By Truckers and The Grateful Dead. He recorded his first album By The Light Of A Paper Moon in 2012, followed by an EP of tunes co-written with his friend Shane Cooley a year later.
More recently, he started writing songs in Spanish, fusing traditional Latin and Colombian rhythms with American rock and roll. With his backing band the Freightliners (which is comprised of four talented musicians: Dan Sessler on lead guitar, Dave Hess and drums and backing vocals, Chad Bennett on bass, and Doug Thompson, also on bass), Paulo has released a solid new album The Last Card, featuring 13 songs, ten in English and three in Spanish. The combination of country, country rock, and Latin tunes on one album is pure delight. Paulo’s songs address themes common in a lot of songs – life, love and relationships, and the joy, pain and disappointment that emanate from them. And like many country tunes, his songs tell a compelling story. “Leaving the River City” has a pleasant, upbeat melody and music arrangement that contrasts sharply with the dark lyrics about a woman escaping an abusive relationship. In his mellifluous voice, Paulo sings: “Her dreams are faded as her jeans. Her nights are always filled with screams, and with his fury and his rage. She looks for courage to leave by any means, by mixing fire and gasoline or popping her twelve gauge / She’s leaving the River City. She’s leaving this time for good.” In “Rolling Back to Raleigh,” he wistfully sings of his mixed emotions while driving back home after dropping a child off for their first year of college. His love of being a musician on the road touring is expressed in “White Line Highway”: “Some people, they can’t wait to get off the road. As for me, I can’t wait for my next show. White line highway, take me back.” And with a story reminiscent of the Marty Robbins classic El Paso, the song “Run Rene Run” tells the tale of an illegal, falsely accused of a crime and on the run.
The title track “The Last Card” is a standout, with a solid arrangement and some fine guitar riffs. Another great track is the bittersweet “One More Night,” a collaboration with Shane Cooley. The poignant lyrics describe a man with a drinking problem trying to reassure his woman that he’ll be OK. “One more night, and that’s enough. I could stop any day. Put it all away. Don’t you pour those bottles down the sink.” I also really like the country-rock “Too Far Gone,” which has an early Eagles vibe. The three Spanish songs inject colorful energy into the album. The fiery opening track “Catrina Y Su Calavera” impels you to dance, as does the spicy “Llorando.” Paulo’s vocals are so authentically Spanish that it’s easy to forget you just heard him effortlessly and perfectly sing a country tune. “La Estrella del País” is a gorgeous homage to his parents’ home of Medellín, Colombia. The Last Card is a first-rate album, and I highly recommend for lovers of Country music. To learn more about Paulo, check out his website. Support him by following on Twitter and Facebook, and stream his music on Reverbnation and Spotify. His music may be purchased on iTunes or Amazon.
Eclectic Music Lover - Album Review: The Last Card
Paulo Franco is a musical force that has been greatly welcomed this fall. With the release of his album this week, The Last Card, we experience one of the most heartfelt records of the year. For Paulo Franco, anything and everything is fair game, as he puts a whole new twist on the Americana genre. He brings in the help of a few friends to round out the record, for example Bob Rupe (The Silos, Cracker, Sparklehorse), Daniel Clarke (Ryan Adams and the Shining), Stephen McCarthy (ex-Jayhawks) and Johnny Hott (Gutterball, House of Freaks), which create an impression right off the bat.
Franco's spirit throughout the record soars with pieces such as the debut single, "Leaving the River City," and Spanish-flavored songs such as "Catrina Y Su Calavera." Franco knows how to write a song, but lyrically and instrumentation-wise, and he crafts a sound that is unique and easily accessible. His rising vocals and driving guitar playing, take center stage, as he leads his players to new heights.
Kay Arons, Arena.Com
This weekend was quite an eventful one for singer-songwriter Paulo Franco. With a release show and his newly released record, "The Last Card," he has been making quite an impression on the ears of music listeners. The charming record goes beyond Americana and Alt-Country, to bring life into his own eclectic vision.
He pens heartfelt songs that have made writers and listeners take note, as the subject matter and delivery go above and beyond to create music that truly stands out from the rest. With stunning vocals, an all-star backing band, and a brilliant collection of songs, Franco is ready to take the world, head on.
Jeremy Davis, Ethno Cloud
As the song takes us on peaks and valleys in tone, we experience Paulo not only creating a Southern-Rock Americana sound but also paying homage to his Spanish-heritage while penning songs in his native tongue. There is literally no ground untouched on the record, which makes Paulo Franco and The Last Card, one that will keep you interested, time and time again.
Carrie Lowell, Kurrent Music 12/5/16
Why it’s well known we love singer-songwriters around here, every now and then one strikes me that sets themselves apart from the rest. This my friends, is Paulo Franco, an amazing talent that currently resides in Virginia. Franco is definitely not a one trick pony. On his latest release to hit stores on October 15th, titled The Last Card, Paulo Franco drives the record home with a sense of an enchanting musical story.
Bringing to life key foundations that shows him pouring his heart and soul into the record, Paulo is not afraid to display his emotions on the album. The first single that was brought to our attention with an impressive debut on The Boot, is “Leaving the River City.” The piece quickly let’s listeners into his world, as the song immediately springs to life. His inspiring record soothes the soul and heals the heart within every listen. Proving he can do it all, Franco also showcases his song in Spanish on the record as well.
The combination of his eclectic style shows an artist that wise beyond his years. His talent is limitless, and as we gracefully see the album take full formation, we get a better understanding of Paulo Franco as a singer, songwriter, performer, and storyteller.
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