KENNEWICK -- At 23, Kennewick singer-songwriter and piano player Frazer Wambeke has already seen life from both sides.
He grew up on a homestead surrounded by the massive poplar tree farm near Boardman -- no TV or a phone in the house for a lot of it. He has toured the Northwest and Canada with his father and two siblings playing bluegrass as the Homestead Quartet.
"My brother used to stand on a milk crate to play the upright bass," Wambeke said sitting in a coffee shop alternating between telling stories and checking his laptop and smart phone.
Things are clearly different for him now. He's gone from shy and socially awkward -- a product, he says, of being home-schooled -- to routinely playing in front of crowds young and old at venues across the Tri-Cities and beyond.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Tri-City Herald
But music has remained the constant -- something he'll share July 9 with a show as The Frazer Wambeke Trio at The Red Room in Kennewick at 8 p.m.
Drummer Derek Munson and bassist Juan Hernandez round out the group. They will be selling EPs by donation to help them finish a full-lenth CD, titled Seasons due out this fall.
Wambeke says he wrote his first song at 9 years old and grew his talent on the keys through six years of lessons from local piano great Steve Haberman.
His bandmate Derek Munson dubs Wam-beke's sound as if "James Taylor, Jack Johnson and John Mayer had a collective love child."
But there's a greater influence to much of what Wambeke writes than those artists.
"I'm not sticking to Christian, but I do have strong convictions in what I write about," he explained. "Sometimes it's about a girl. Sometimes it's about Him. Sometimes it's about somebody who's excited they bought a boat instead of a bike."
One of his pet peeves, how carelessly words are used, describes his love of music.
"Take awesome. We use it to say awesome God the same way as to say a slice of pizza is awesome," he said. "We've polluted all of these epochal words. You can't pollute a note. We have songs we go back and listen to at any point and they affect us the same way.
For more information, go to http://redrm.net.
* On the net: www.thefw3.com
* Jeremy Dutton: 509-582-1525; email@example.com