Nothing prepares you for Michael Fracasso’s voice. A gray-haired folkie-next-door, Fracasso looks like someone who’d have a wheezy, nicotine-toughened timbre. But his voice is a freakish, androgynous gift, a high, soaring expression of vulnerability that carries even his most pedestrian efforts to unpredictable places. It vaguely suggests a young Arlo Guthrie, but is too idiosyncratic for easy comparisons. And when Fracasso weds it with the ironic lilt of something like “Red Dog Blues,” he can make a believer of even the most folk-resistant listener.
A child of Italian immigrants and the product of a blue-collar Ohio steel town, Fracasso honed his performance skills in New York’s Greenwich Village and settled in Austin in 1990. Touring incessantly, releasing seven albums, working in the studio with the likes of Charlie Sexton, and drawing a fair share of critical praise for his heartland poetry, Fracasso is a cult artist who deserves the loyal appreciation of his followers. 8:30pm Thursday, Dec 4, Casbeers at the Church, 1150 S. Alamo, (210) 271-7791.