SIDNEY — A local band’s music has reached listeners across the globe, all thanks to an independent Australian radio station.
“It was probably Facebook; somebody must have shared one of our videos. I thought it was cool — it’s neat that somebody took the time to reach out to me and say, ‘Hey, we really like your music, and we’d like to do something with it,’” Aaron Frohna said.
Frohna, who leads the band Frohna & Friends, had his interest in music piqued at a young age. His grandfather was a violinist for the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and had a strong focus in classical music and classical violin. Frohna started out playing piano and down the road picked up pedal steel guitar, guitar and, as he said, “pretty much anything with strings.”
Frohna & Friends initially started out when Frohna formed the band Frohna & Warner with his friend and fellow musician David Warner, in Greenville. The duo played many events, festivals and Memorial Hall before Frohna moved to Sidney and the band parted ways.
During this time, Frohna dabbled with other musicians and played in other bands, until Warner contacted him about getting the band back together. Frohna accepted, and due to the volume of musicians he has since collaborated with, they decided to call their band Frohna & Friends.
Today, Frohna & Friends ranges from a solo act, to duo performances, to a full band, depending on the venue or event that is booked. Frohna & Friends also plays a wide variety of genres, from jazz to blues to flamenco to rock, and many things in-between.
“It’s kind of an on-call basis,” Frohna said. “I take a look at what the venue is, and then I decipher who the best lineup is for a particular venue. Not to toot my own horn, but I’ve been in so many different bands over the years, and you really limit yourself playing with a certain group of people all the time, when you could really blossom and learn from other people.”
In August 2020, Frohna & Friends recorded a single “Bullet with a Name,” which has a distinct rock sound that is reminiscent of classic rock hits such as Bon Jovi’s “Wanted Dead or Alive.”
Sweet Sunday Sounds, a radio show part of Banks Radio Australia, contacted Frohna asking if it could play the song on its station. In November, “Bullet with a Name” was No. 1 on the show for a week.
While this isn’t the first time Frohna’s music has reached listeners in other countries, he said, it was cool to have his music played in Australia.
The initial response was positive, and Frohna said the increase in engagement from people following his Facebook page, viewing the video for the song and engaging with it was noticeable.
“It seems like the listening audience for my kind of music, rock ‘n’ roll type music, seems to be more overseas than in America. The listening audience in Europe and Australia is really in-tune with American music,” Frohna said.
Lately, Frohna has been back to playing regular in-person gigs since the state health orders were lifted at the beginning of June. He’s also been writing again and hopes to release more music soon.
“I’ll probably release a single or two in hopes that someone in the right listening audience gets ahold of it. Maybe something could come of it; if nothing else, I enjoy recording it,” Frohna said.
Frohna & Friends will perform at Murphy’s Craft Bar + Kitchen beginning at 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 21. Frohna also is scheduled to perform at The Bridge on Saturday, Sept. 18, at 5 p.m.
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