Michael Fracasso

A Pocketful of Rain (Lone Star)

SXSW Records

Michael Fracasso

A Pocketful of Rain (Lone Star) Michael Fracasso has been away from recording too long. Not counting 2001's live album, his last studio release was 1998's World in a Drop of Water. The unbounded joy and straight-from-the-heart freshness of A Pocketful of Rain renders the question, "What took you so long?" moot. Simply put, this is Fracasso's finest, most cogent work to date. Being that he's one of Austin's finest singer-songwriters, that may be tough to accept, but A Pocketful of Rain contains one finely rendered tune after another, including a choice take on Townes Van Zandt's "Loretta." As with his previous work, Fracasso jumps around stylistically, from introspective folk ("Whiskey Mother") to anthemic rock ("Mean Ol' Place"), jangly country ("Turned You Down"), and laid-back blues ("Devil's Deal"). Each song is performed with a maximum amount of love and grace; Fracasso's talent for telling tales and capturing emotions is in full form. One surprising aspect of A Pocketful of Rain is that Fracasso produced the disc on his own and never gets self-indulgent or flamboyant. He draws on the assistance of local all-stars Patty Griffin, Eliza Gilkyson, Mark Hallman, George Reiff, Beaver Nelson, and Eamon McLoughlin to bring an umbrella full of color to his songs. Along with A Pocketful of Rain, Lone Star is releasing the 2-CD Retrospective, a best-of collection from Fracasso's past that includes previously unreleased material as well as the aforementioned live disc Back to Oklahoma. (Thursday, March 18, 1am @ the Lounge)

***.5

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