Strum and Dang

In his new duo Six Strings and Vinyl (6SNV), former folkie Fran Snyder joins forces with a DJ, successfully combining the divergent sounds of acoustic pop and hip-hop.

6SNV's demo disc opens with a gently strummed guitar, a scratching record and Snyder singing sweetly while a beatbox keeps the rhythm. His partner raps gently during the song's bridge, dropping subtle turntable licks into the mix. By adding urban vibes to the blue-eyed soul of Snyder's vocals, 6SNV stayed in constant demand as a live act at college campuses throughout 2003.

Snyder conceived 6SNV after becoming "really tired of the acoustic solo act thing," a format he tried in coffeehouse after coffeehouse for almost a decade. "Now," he says, "I'm resigned to traveling in twos."

The only glitch Snyder has encountered thus far is retaining a full-time partner. His first DJ was lured away by a full scholarship to Clark Atlanta University. Another was recruited for a tour with R&B singer Montell Jordan. Various other replacements were short-lived.

"It's a very challenging gig," Snyder says. "I need a DJ with a variety of skills. Foremost among them is scratching — few do it well — and turntable drumming — few do it at all. But I don't think this act really works unless the DJ brings at least one vocal skill to the mix. That skill can be rapping, beatboxing, singing or even spoken word poetry."

Snyder recently teamed up with local rapper/singer/turntablist Diva Lyri, and he expects to hit the road again with 6SNV shortly.

"All [the] stressful replacements aside," Snyder says, "this is the most fun I've had playing music."