2019 Old Time Country Music Hall of Fame inductee Randall Franks brings 38 years of recorded music to AirPlay Direct. His music career connects him to the legacies of 33 International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame, 10 Country Music Hall of Fame, nine Gospel Music Hall of Fame, and three Rock and Roll Music Hall of Fame members.
“I have been so blessed in my career to create music appreciated by fans across genres,” Franks said. “I knew that sharing that experience over again with radio could only be accomplished effectively through the amazing reach of AirPlay Direct.”
He has shared his catalog on the heels of garnering two #1 Global AirPlay Direct Albums in 2019 including the album “Americana Youth of Southern Appalachia” featuring his now popular country recitation “What About All These American Flags” (YouTube: https://youtu.be/KioilUgxvzo) released last week as his tribute to veterans.
Recognized by the International Bluegrass Hall of Fame and Museum as a Legend in 2010, the singer, multi-instrumentalist is known around the world for his fiddling and for his acting roles. He has appeared in numerous feature films, his latest “The Crickets Dance” and as a regular in three American television series since 1983 including his role in the award-winning cast of TV’s “In the Heat of the Night” as “Officer Randy Goode.”
He is also an award-winning author with 10 books, and a syndicated columnist of 19 years with his “Southern Style” column reaching over six million readers in the Southern and Midwestern United States.
Photos: (left) A Grand Ole Opry performance, from left, Randall Franks, Ralph Stanley, Wilma Lee Cooper and Bill Monroe in 1985 for CMA Country Music Fan Fair in Nashville, Tenn. (Randall Franks Media) (right) Randall Franks and Bluegrass Hall of Famers Jim and Jesse McReynolds backstage at a concert in 1989. (Randall Franks Media: Ronald Stuckey)
Franks began guest starring for Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry as a teen, brought there to appear with his youth band by the legendary Bill Monroe. Joining with Monroe in supporting Randall’s early Nashville success were Grand Ole Opry stars Jim and Jesse McReynolds and Roy Acuff. Their encouragement fueled his rise from music to films, and then American network television broadening his audience to in excess of 145 million fans worldwide.
In the 1970s, Randall brought together a group of boys and girls from area schools to create a youth band – The Peachtree Pickers – that featured over 25 youth in concerts at country fairs, bluegrass festivals, churches, schools, shopping malls and other venues. His first album was “Ivory Halls.” The earliest song included amongst the releases on his AirPlay Direct Randall Franks Music Page features the cast of that first release on a previously unreleased 1981 song “Blue Ridge,” written by Georgia songwriter John Farley.
“My music career was supported by the enthusiasm and encouragement of my dear late parents Pearl and Floyd Franks, whose business acumen helped our efforts find success and led me on the path behind me,” he said. “They encouraged so many youths in life and we continue to honor their vision through college scholarships for Appalachian musicians given annually from the Share America Foundation, Inc. Monies raised from many of our recordings such as our #1 ‘Americana Youth of Southern Appalachia’ benefit the effort.”
Photos: (left) Randall Franks and Charlie Daniels pause backstage at a concert in Wichita, Kansas in 1995. (Randall Franks Media) (right) Randall Franks and Garth Brooks appearing at a fan event for The Music City News in 1990. (Randall Franks Media: Donna Tracy)
Franks enjoyed recognition in mainstream country music for his artistry from the 1980s through the early 2000s hosting shows at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium, appearing with other country stars and performing for crowds as large as 30,000 with his Hollywood Hillbilly Jamboree show. In 2009, he won ASE Song of the Year for “The Old Black Fiddle” and performed it on America’s PBS representing Appalachian music alongside pop, gospel, and rock performers including Collective Soul, Third Day and Chuck Leavell. He continues appearing at fairs, festivals and concerts.
Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/embed/s0W7eWq5UIU
From among the recordings spanning the four decades released in Southern gospel, bluegrass, folk, country, and Americana, Franks added songs and recordings from his 12 biggest albums across all those genres: (1985) Pick of the Peaches Fiddlin’; (1989) Top 40 Best Traditional Folk Recording Golden River Fiddlin’; (1990) Top 20 Selling Album Handshakes and Smiles; (1991) 2019 # 1 Global Christmas Album In the Heat of the Night’s Christmas Time’s A Comin’; (1992) Top 25 Best Bluegrass Album Sacred Sounds of Appalachia; (1995) Top 25 Bluegrass Album Tunes and Tales from Tunnel Hill; (1999) Comedy Down Home; (2000) God’s Children; (2013) Mississippi Moon; (2013) Mountain Opry Memories; (2016) Keep ‘Em Smilin’ and (2019) #1 Global Americana Album Americana Youth of Southern Appalachia.
Photos: (left) Randall Franks at a 2015 Grand Ole Opry performance with Jesse McReynolds, Garrett McReynolds and the Crowe Brothers. (Photo: LuAnn Adams) (right) Randall Franks visits with former President and First Lady Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter following the debut of his “Keep ‘Em Smilin'” CD in a service for Pastor Jeremy Shoulta in 2016 at Plains, Ga. (Randall Franks Media)
Adding to the amazing historic nature of his body of recorded work are some of the legendary stars and musicians who have shared their talents on various recordings to encourage Randall’s career: from country music – The Whites, Pee Wee King, Little Jimmy Dickens, Hargus “Pig” Robbins, Kitty Wells, Johnnie Wright, and Bobby Wright; from bluegrass music – Bill Monroe, Jim and Jesse McReynolds, Jimmy Martin, Ralph Stanley, Mac Wiseman, Gary Waldrep, Doug Dillard, Chubby Wise, Raymond Fairchild, David Davis, The Lewis Family, Buddy Spicher, Jerry Douglas, Sand Mountain Boys and Georgia Mafia Bluegrass Band; from folk music – Doodle and the Golden River Grass, Tom Morgan, Tom Adkins, Ramblin’ “Doc” Tommy Scott; from Southern Gospel – Jeff & Sheri Easter, The Marksmen Quartet, The Lewis Family, Steve Easter, Travis Lewis, and Lewis Phillips; and from TV and film stars – Carroll O’Connor, Howard Rollins, Alan Autry, David Hart, Anne-Marie Johnson, Geoffrey Thorne, Crystal Fox, and Wilbur Fitzgerald.
“As I look through the collection it brings back so many wonderful memories: feeling the strong rhythm arm Country Music Hall of Famer Bill Monroe used on his mandolin behind me on “Back Up and Push;” hearing the vocals of Grand Ole Opry stars Jim and Jesse McReynolds cheering me on in “Mean Joe Blake;” bringing a new song “Is There More to Life Than This” to life with Rounder artist David Davis; or producing my own boss as I created the final recording – “Bring a Torch, Jeanette Isabella” by the legendary TV icon Carroll O’Connor,” Franks said. “Join me along the trail of this adventure by listening to and sharing the music that has fueled my creative energies for decades. You can also read about much of these experiences and the people in my ‘Encouragers’ book series including three volumes and hundreds of photos.
“I hope radio from around the world will introduce the tunes to a whole new listening audience,” he said. “I hope they get as much joy out of hearing these as I did creating them.”
Radio may find all the links at his AirPlay Direct Music Page: AirPlayDirect.com/RandallFranks
For more information about Randall Franks, visit http://randallfranks.com/.
Find the Encouragers book series and recent recordings here http://www.randallfranks.com/store/ or on https://www.amazon.com/Randall-Franks/e/B00K9XIDN4
Donations to the Pearl and Floyd Franks Scholarship may be made at www.ShareAmericaFoundation.org.
Fans may download much of his music at www.nimbitmusic.com/randallfranks.
Specific album links:
Including performances with Bill Monroe 1984, Chubby Wise 1989, Raymond Fairchild 2004, and the 1981 recording of “Blue Ridge” and the 2009 recording of “The Old Black Fiddle.”
(2019) Americana Youth of Southern Appalachia
(2016) Keep ‘Em Smilin’
(2013) Mountain Opry Memories
(2013) “Alan Autry & Randall Franks – Mississippi Moon: Country Traditions”
(2000) God’s Children Randall Franks and David Davis
(1999) Comedy Down Home Randall Franks with Ramblin’ “Doc” Tommy Scott
Appalachian scholar Loyal Jones featured Randall in his 2008 definitive work “Country Music Humorists and Comedians” including him as one of the leading voices of country comedy from the 1990s and 2000s,
(1995) Tunes and Tales from Tunnel Hill Randall Franks with the Sand Mountain Boys
1995 Top 25 Bluegrass and Comedy CD
(1990) Handshakes and Smiles
1990 Top-30 Best Southern Gospel Albums of the Year Handshakes and Smiles allowed me to become the first bluegrass solo artist to rise up to the top of the Christian music sales charts. Bonus recordings from (1985) Pick of the Peaches Fiddlin’.
(1992) Sacred Sounds of Appalachia Randall Franks
1992 Top 25 Best Bluegrass Albums
(1991) In the Heat of the Night’s Christmas Time’s A Comin’
Second only to Mannheim Steamroller in 1991 and 1992
(1989) Golden River Fiddlin’
Doodle and the Golden River Grass were feature performers on the 2008 Grammy winning “Art of Field Recording Vol. I.” This release was included among the Top 40 Best Traditional Folk Recordings of the Year and included one original tune – The Pilgrimage which made the Top 150 Instrumental Compositions of the Year.
Bonus recordings from (1985) Pick of the Peaches Fiddlin’:
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