Below are some kind words from Paul Tranwith (Hamilton County Bluegrass Band) & Pitt Ramsay
“Their music sounds great. Laurence plays good guitar rhythm on a guitar he made himself, with finger-style and flat-picked lead breaks, Sam plays strong rhythm and innovative breaks on mandolin or fiddle (sometimes both in the same tune) and Nate keeps steady time with percussion. Songs from a wide repertoire, including classic bluegrass and contemporary rock songs, with some harmony on the choruses, all underpinned with some solid acoustic bass from Tracy. Now and then Laurence plays banjo too.
A typical acoustic band you might think – but you’re wrong.
Laurence is 14, Sam is 12 and Nate is 9.
The Frangos-Rhodes family has been playing their music at Farmer’s Markets, fair days, folk clubs and Hamilton’s monthly bluegrass club ‘Back Porch Bluegrass’ for a few years now, honing their performance and presentation skills, and delighting all who have been watching them. They have a clear understanding of the music they’re playing, not just reproducing something learned by rote; and like most acoustic bands, watch each other closely for those subtle changes that happen all the time during a performance. Their Father Bruce sometimes gets to play rhythm guitar, but mostly he gets to drive the wagon and be the roadie. Very necessary when you see the arsenal of instruments they carry with them.
Performances by youthful bands usually pre-empt some wonderful musical treats in the future, so now is the time to catch Rhodeworks, so you can say “I saw them when they were just…..”
I met the family in mid 2013 whilst attending a Blues Club night here in Hamilton and agreed to help Laurence (the oldest son, then about 12) with some guitar lessons.
At his first session I got a bit of a shock: Laurence let fly with some pretty mature improvising that made me think “Wow! How do I help this kid?”, but you know the rules: no one knows it all. So over subsequent lessons there’s hopefully been a little something added to his blues palette.
A few months later younger brother Sam, who is more on the country and folk side of the musical ledger, also started tuition. Teaching the two boys separately over an hour gradually developed into one joint session. When they played together, it soon became apparent something serious was going on – that here were two youngsters to be reckoned with.
Having heard them in concert I could get into some detail about their performances. But let me say that when you hear them, expect to hear a range of skills on guitar, banjo, mandolin, and fiddle. Expect them to sing, brilliantly. In terms of material, expect anything from bluegrass to folk, and more besides. What you won’t be expecting perhaps is how at ease on stage they are, how well they handle any technical issue, how well they handle continuity.
Have I left anything out? Did I mention they can make their own instruments? Did I mention you can expect to see and hear youngest brother, nine year-old Nate, on percussion and vocals? And mother Tracy on upright bass? Listen also for the occasional contribution from dad on guitar, and when you do, you’ll have everyone in the highly talented Rhodeworks family at work.
Laurence, building his 1st guitar (age 13)