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Singer doesn't let the music do the talking.

The words come first. That's been J. Scott Franklin's policy for writing songs ever since he read Texas poet Ai's "Conversation," in which one character sums up his life as a "chain of words that will one day snap." "That has stayed with me as truth," says Franklin. "A person's existence isn't signified by their creations, but by the act of creating."

At his free Street Beats show today, Franklin performs smooth-jazz tracks from his CD, Chain of Words. "I begin by writing about myself," he says. "But at some point, I try to feel someone else's view. Hopefully, I'm not giving you my experiences. I'm giving you a place to put yours."
Thu., June 22, 5:30-7:30 p.m.

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