Nashville, Tennessee has introduced me to some of the world’s greatest music and musicians. One of the most inspirational musicians I have ever known is Donna Frost. Her love of the guitar is evident as she plays and her musical talent is exceptional. Donna offers us the true spirit of Americana music. Today, we’re going to take it home for the holidays with the beautiful and gifted performer Donna Frost.
Donna, what can you share with us about yourself?
I’m a native Nashvillian. I’ve spent enough time in Chicago and Austin that I claim those as second homes. My parents were traveling musicians, singing gospel music when I was born, so I went on the road with them at age two weeks. When I got old enough, I’d get up and sing a song. My family is very musical, going back to my great-grandparents on both sides. My first instrument was piano at age 9. I sold Christmas cards and bought my piano with my own money. But like all other kids I was so into the Beatles and all the other rock and roll going on then, that I HAD to play guitar. So I took guitar lessons at age 11 and made my first real pro appearance at age 13. I’ve known what I wanted to do and pursued my music from that time forward.
Donna Frost is a true traveling troubadour – one voice, one guitar, and many stories to share in song, based on true-life experiences. She logs thousands of miles each year performing shows all across the US, the UK and the Caribbean. She is promoting her latest CD Girls Like Us which was released on SPAT! Records. Two songs from the album have been hits on the UK indie charts, Jacksonville and Runaway Train.
Donna will begin recording her next CD, Keep on Keeping On for CAU Dog Records, Chicago in January 2013. Donna has received recognition for her work as a performing songwriter including seven consecutive ASCAPlus awards. She was a Kerrville New Folk finalist in 2004, and in November 2012 received an award from Gevania Global Network in Australia for her works.
Donna is also lead singer and rhythm guitarist for the BUNNIEs, who were an integral part of the Nashville New Wave scene in the 1980s. The BUNNIEs reunited in 2007 and continue to perform together. She worked with the late Skeeter Davis as her background singer from 1996-2002.
Donna is an actress as well including starring as Janis Joplin in the musical Kozmic Blue and has a co-starring role in a new musical called Captain Tom. She has contributed to Marley Brant’s book, Tales from the Rock and Roll Highway and a new book just published by Rev. Keith A. Gordon called The Other Side of Nashville.
She actively performs in shows paying homage to country legends Gram Parsons and Skeeter Davis each year.
Donna, can you share more information about your Gram Parsons tributes?
There are many Gram Parsons tributes. I have played the Gram Parsons Guitar Pull in Waycross and will be back there again next year. Also I work with Will James who heads up Gram InterNational, which is raising awareness and in the process of gathering 10,000 signatures on a petition to have Gram inducted in the Country Music Hall of Fame. We’re at 8,000 + right now. We just had our 5th annual Gram InterNational at Douglas Corner in Nashville, it was packed! We will be having our 6th here next year. We also just had our first Gram InterNationals in Chicago and St. Louis in recent weeks too.
What about Janis Joplin? Hasn’t Joplin greatly influenced your music?
I was acting in another production in Nashville a few years back and told the director if he ever came across a Joplin piece, I wanted to do it. We wrote it and ran performances for three consecutive summers at local small theaters in Nashville and Goodlettsville. It was called Kozmic Blue. It was a fictional last interview with Janis with an eight song “concert” performance at the end. It was really something. We had Janis fans from back in the day, Janis fans who were too young to see her then, and the young kids who just discovered her. I was a HUGE Joplin fan from the word go as a little girl, had all her records (still do) and a number of books about her, so no research was needed. I knew her life already.
Do you have any Christmas songs or anything you can share with us today?
The only Christmas song is called All Through the Year. I dreamed it, music video and all. Woke up the next day and couldn’t get it out of my head. I wrote it not long after Thanksgiving this year. I wouldn’t sell the file of this, it’s not professionally done. I recorded it with my guitar on my laptop, and I was still recovering from my recent bout with bronchitis. So it’s not for sale. It’s just to share. I hesitated about posting it because it’s NOT a full blown production. But the message is more important – especially after the tragedy in Connecticut.
Donna works numerous sessions as a demo singer and background vocalist and has some side projects in the works including an album with rockabilly legend Billy Hancock that has been recorded at Sun Studios in Memphis.
Don’t take my word for it, look at what others are saying about Donna.
“Even when Donna Frost picks up her acoustic guitar, the point of view is that of a brass-in-pocket rock chick. Even when her country influences show, there’s a rocker’s grit and guts in her words and attitude. As the singer of the Bunnies, one of Nashville’s first punk-rock bands, she burned a path for others to follow. Girls Like Us, her new CD, proves she’s still blazing a trail all her own”
Michael McCall, Nashville Scene
“Sometimes songwriters are so busy writing a lyric that they forget to wrap it in a good tune. Not so with Donna Frost. Each lyrically sound cut is enveloped in a well-acted scene of musical imagery. A folky edge with a bluesy overtone and a country passion…”
“Donna is the real deal.”
Rick Grant, “Rick at Night”
“Frost’s music hits you like a wry smile from a waitress that serves truckers food by day & rocks out on her Stratocaster at night”
Chicago Acoustic Underground
“Donna’s essential self & artistic essence has compelled her to follow her heart path & to listen to the music inside her because she can’t conceive living her life in any other way.”
Sandy McCrory, I Love Austin
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