By Jeffrey Allen Federowicz
For The Daily Item
— With a cowboy hat casually placed upon his head and a well-worn guitar by his side, Frank Wicher looks the part of a country crooner who has some stories to share, a tall tale or two to tell and a lot of good old-fashioned, stick-to your-ribs, may-I-have-some-more music to sing.
To put it frankly, Frank is good.
Saturday night, Wicher and the band that shares his name will hit a high note at the Hilltop Inn in Danville to help get 2014 off on a good note.
“If you want to have a great time, come on out to see us this Saturday and support live music,” Wicher said in a rugged voice meant for a good country song.
Born in Germany and raised in the Midwest, Witcher’s earliest memories of music was a combination of two totally different cultures.
“When I was small my parents would often play German folk music and when I was a little older I started listening to songs from musicians like Johnny Cash on the radio and the music just stuck with me,” he said. “The music the band performs now is a mix of great country songs from the outlaw era of country music famous. We put on our own twist of rock and blues to give it our own sound.”
Formed in 2009, the current lineup features the band’s namesake providing lead vocals and guitar, David Eisenhower on drums, Chris Trasatti providing vocals and country music’s favorite small instrument, the harmonica, while new band member Mick Edinger is featured on the guitar and lastly, providing vocals and some strong harmony is Bonnie Wicher, Frank’s wife and muse for one of his most touching original songs.
“We don’t want to be another Top 40 cover band, so we try and do things a little different. We’ll play some of the lesser known songs and the band’s original songs to make each show different,” he said. “Being able to perform some of our own music is a very satisfying experience when you see the audience enjoying the music that is ours.”
A perfect example of the band’s powerful originals is the emotional “Crazy About You,” a song Wicher penned for his wife of 32 years; a song that caused more than a few teardrops to fall in the audience.
A regular player at many music venues within a 30-mile radius of Norry, the band also brings its own interpretation to songs by country music royalty like Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Hank Williams Jr. and a host of others.
“We try and play some well-known songs and some that haven‘t gotten the airplay they should have,” he said.
With a set list that encompasses more than 150 covers and dozens of original tunes, the band is already off to a hectic 2014 start with eight gigs slated so far in January including one up north in Cogan Station on the 11th and a return visit to King Street Coffeehouse on the 17th.
No matter where the band performs, fun is always on tap and usually on their set list.
“I have written several funny songs so we always try and fit a few of those in,” Wicher said. “We try and make each show different and a lot of fun.”