Fran McKendree began his professional career playing at coffee houses around Auburn, NY, and Syracuse University. Moving to the Glens Falls, NY he formed "McKendree Spring," a rock ensemble that the legendary manager Bill Graham dubbed "one of the best unknown bands in the world.” McKendree Spring developed a loyal following, spending the next six years touring the US, the UK and Canada, doing concerts with Billy Joel, James Taylor, Elton John, and Tina Turner. The band played many memorable venues, including Carnegie Hall, the Fillmore East, and with the late Billy Preston, the ?rst ever rock concert at Radio City Music Hall. With their [tiny, but nice to be included!] exhibit in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Museum is an attribution that says: “Experimental and innovative, McKendree Spring mixed blues, folk and country with a progressive musical vision.” Following McKendree Spring, Fran recorded for Arista Records. He wasn't touring much during this time but did play a few memorable events, foremost among them a gig in NYC's Central Park with Jimmy Cliff headlining. Fran was, however, ?nding this an increasingly challenging time in his life.
Looking for inspiration while exploring his New York City neighborhood one day, Fran discovered a small Episcopal church. The next Sunday he and his wife, Diana, went to see what it was all about....?nding an engaging, faithful, mission-focused and artistic gathering of seekers. It was a breakthrough for Fran, opening a new spiritual path which led him to heed the call to take some time for re?ection. He and Diana moved to Cape Cod, where, setting aside his music, he began to work with youth, build houses, and make furniture, eventually feeling a deep longing to make music again. Emerging from this soul searching period he began to work under the aegis of the Episcopal church. He has continued to explore and broaden his calling; with concerts, as music and worship leader, designer and coordinator of conferences, keynote presenter, mentor, and workshop leader. He has released six CD's of his own work, as well as producing recordings for other artists at his studio in Hendersonville, NC, where he and Diana now live.
In 2012 he formed AwakeningSoul, a partnership hosting an annual conference embodying ‘Sustenance, Sanctuary and Inspiration.’ Fran says AwakeningSoul is a coming together of all the things I care most about - relationships, trust, soul-searching, inspiring conversation, beautiful music and art, laughter, and a palpable awareness of the presence and nearness of God. Awed by the journey that has unfolded he writes; “I hope to remain thankful for and receptive to the movement of God in my life, to do this in a humble, energetic manner, celebrating our differences and oneness as creatures of God, remembering always that we are called to actualize our faith in the world around us.” Much to Fran's surprise he was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from the Virginia Theological Seminary in 2016, for which he is most grateful! Visit him at www.franmckendree.com or www.awakeningsoulpresents.org