By Shereen Siewert
RHINELANDER, Wis. — A Rhinelander musician has been nominated for six Native American Music Awards, with winners announced Friday at a ceremony in New York.
Paco Fralick, a 51-year-old northwoods dentist and 1986 Rhinelander High School graduate, is nominated for best Folk, Americana, Male Artist, Song of the Year, Narrative Video of the Year and Record/Album of the Year. Fralick’s music is a unique blend of country, folk, pop, and Native Americana with lyrics that touch on a wide range of subjects including alcoholism, homelessness and the environment. He is among more than 220 artists who submitted work to NAMA for consideration. The album, Letting Go, was recorded in part at Whitehouse Productions in Wausau.
Two of Fralick’s songs are getting the most attention from critics: Women and Water, and Where Were You. Fralick said he is particularly proud of Women and Water, which was co-written with three-time NAMA winner Michael Bucher.
“I always wanted to meet Michael, and had a chance three years ago when we were playing a concert together,” Fralick said. “We became friends right away, but I lost track of him only to find out he had a tragic accident on a table saw and lost three fingers. He wasn’t playing music anymore so I reached out to him and said let’s write a song together.”
About six months went by, Fralick said. Then, Bucher sent him half of the song.
“I worked very hard to finish it, and now our efforts our being recognized,” Fralick said. “It won Folk Song of the Year a few weeks ago in Milwaukee at Indian Summerfest and is now nominated for the NAMAs. It is a powerful well produced song by itself, but the back story and the amount of healing this song has brought for myself and Michael makes it even more special.”
NAMA is a professional membership-based organization dedicated to showcasing and honoring the best new music initiatives and recordings from the Americas. Voting is open until noon on Friday. Only one vote per email address is allowed and voters must choose a winner in each category to be counted in the final tally.
Photos courtesy of Paco Fralick