Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 26

DANY FRANCHI
Bitten by the Blues in Italy

B

lues was not a dominant form of music
when Dany Franchi was growing up
in Genoa, but it "found" the young Italian
through a series of small moments.
Franchi's first guitar epiphany happened in
church; he became enamored of the sounds
coming from a guitar in the church choir.
When he was eight, his father gave him a
junior-sized classical, then, when the boy was
10, bought him a beginner Cort electric. Two
years later, they stepped up their game with a
new Squier Strat. Soon after, Dany started his
first band, playing drums on covers of Nirvana
songs and other popular bands of the time. He
and the guitarist soon switched instruments.
The Franchi family record collection, compiled mostly by his father, included albums

by John Lee Hooker and B.B. King. But when
Dany got hold of Eric Clapton's live Just One
Night, he was hooked on the blues.
"It was the first album that really blew me
away," he said. "The first blues song I learned
was 'Further On Up the Road,' from that
album."
As he learned more about the blues, he
noticed that all his heroes - Clapton, Stevie
Ray Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix - all played Strats.
For his 15th birthday, his parents gave him a
new Clapton signature Strat, but young Dany
was disappointed because the V neck was
uncomfortable.
Early on, Franchi took lessons from Paolo
Bonfanti, who from 1985 to '90 was the frontman of Big Fat Mama, one of the most popular

VINTAGE GUITAR

26

September 2018

Italian rock/blues bands of the era. "He was
the first guy I saw playing the blues live, and
he always inspired me to have my own career
and do my own thing."
Franchi's first professional appearances
came in 2010, when he was 19. He shot a video
and toured with popular Italian rock singer
Zibba. Soon after, he stepped up as front
man/guitarist and started singing for the first
time in his own group, Just One Night, which
performed a tribute to the Clapton CD. In
2011, Franchi opened for Sean Carney, a blues
guitarist from Ohio who played in Genoa as
part of a European tour. Carney was impressed
with Franchi's playing and asked if he could
help record Franchi's first album. Dany didn't
want the album dedicated to blues covers, so
he began writing songs for the first time.
While competing in the 2016 International
Blues Challenge, in Memphis, Franchi went to
a jam at the Hard Rock Café. There, Don Ritter,
founder of Category 5 Amps, noticed his tone,
style, and presence. Ritter was so impressed
with Franchi's style and presence that he
invited the young Italian to the Dallas Guitar
Festival. Franchi jumped at the opportunity.
"Don completely changed my life," he said.
In Dallas, Ritter asked Dany to his home for
dinner, where he met legendary blues guitarist
Anson Funderburgh. The two Texans then
decided to produce Dany's next album.
In February of 2017, Franchi flew to Dallas
then drove to Austin, where he spent two
weeks at Wire Recording Studio, the same
one in which Jimmie Vaughan creates his
albums. Funderburgh oversaw production
of the album with Stuart Sullivan, owner of
Wire, as the engineer. Ritter and Funderburgh
put together a stellar backup band that
included Jimmy Pugh from the Robert Cray
Band, Funderburgh drummer Wes Starr, and
Nate Rowe, bassist for Redd Volkaert. It was
a band even seasoned professionals would
have a hard time putting together.
The new album, Problem Child, is comprised
of 13 songs - 10 originals and three covers
including Freddie King's "Sensation," Eddie
Taylor's "Big Town Playboy," and Magic Sam's
"Everything Gonna Be Alright."
These days, Franchi plugs a Jimmie Vaughan
Strat or '91 reissue Strat directly into a Deluxe
Reverb reissue, and uses no pedals. In Austin,
he spent a day with Vaughan. "He's definitely
one of my heroes," he said.
Ritter helped Franchi get a work visa, so in
April, he moved to the U.S. He plans to tour
extensively and has since played the Doheny
Blues Festival in California, the Greeley Blues
Jam in Colorado, and the Tall City Blues Fest
in Texas. - Bob Dragich


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