Wed, 25 May 2016
Our guest this week on the Art of the Song Mid-Week Coffee Break is Tom Freund.
“If you want to hear what California feels like, Tom Freund’s new album is a good place to start...” – Acoustic Guitar
It’s the ease with which he delivers conversational lyrics and honeyed melodies, a natural magic that is the soul of Tom Freund’s music. Though he’s widely-traveled in a variety of genres-- from hearftelt folk to buoyant pop to boho jazz to straightforward rock ’n’ roll, and beyond --Freund is, simply put, a singer-songwriter with a defined and captivating presence.
Freund's latest disc "Two Moons" on Surf Road Records draws roots sources for an urbane Americana sound, melding nostalgia with a raw and sharp-eyed views of life today. “If Two Moons, with its underlying message of hope in this messy world of ours, serves as an inspiring, encouraging soundtrack for listeners, then I can say to myself, ‘ok, you’re doing something right for the people out there”, Freund says. He delivers this CD’s main message in the standout track “Lemme Be Who I Wanna Be,” in which he declares: “I’m basically hooked on this life/it’s got a lot of problems/but it treats me real right/and you don’t have to agree with me/but let me fly my freak flag.” This oddly upbeat anthem of personal empowerment so impressed Canadian rock star Serena Ryder that she asked to sing on it. The opening track “Angel Eyes,” featuring vocals by Ben Harper, serves as Freund’s take on Randy Newman’s “I Love L.A.” motif, expresses his appreciation to his Southern California friends for always having his back. Notes of nostalgia play into Tom’s self-declared favorite track “Mind of Your Own” which delves into a deeply personal memory of the New York native’s childhood home.
Freund spent the mid-’90s touring with the indie rock cult faves THE SILOS and has been releasing solo albums since 1998. Tom has alternated between recording and touring behind his own discs, playing upright bass, electric bass guitar, and mandolin with the likes of British pub-rock great Graham Parker (who hailed Freund as one of the best singer-songwriters operating today), pop star Mandy Moore, groove-soul sensation Brett Dennen, Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Famer Jackson Browne, and three-time Grammy winner Ben Harper. “What really brought me to wanting to work with Tom in the studio is his songs,” Harper concludes. “It doesn’t have to even go any further than that. As far as I’m concerned, who wouldn’t wanna work with him in the studio? Because the songs are there.”
More recently, you can spot Freund playing with Parker in the Judd Apatow film, "This Is 40" and featured on the hit TV show “Parenthood” and the upcoming Pamela Adlon show “Better Things”. He continues to tour North America, Europe and Japan playing with his band or doing solo shows.
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