FREEBO - IF NOT NOW WHEN
Release date - September 4, 2015
Kari Estrin Mgt/Consulting
PO Box 60232, Nashville, TN 37206
IF NOT NOW WHEN is the culmination of Freebo’s successful transition from world-renown bass player to world-class songwriter, artist, and producer. The CD is a combination of newly written and recorded songs, interspersed with previously recorded songs, all re-sung, re-mixed, and sometimes re-orchestrated. Freebo’s revealing and poetic lyrics are beautifully supported and emotionally enhanced by the varied styles of music he has played with so many of the legends of Rock ‘N’ Roll, artfully producing his songs by focusing on his acoustic guitar and voice with tastefully augmented instrumentation, including his iconic fretless bass. A rare combination of musical sophistication and lyrical wisdom, IF NOT NOW WHEN is an inspiring, motivational, deeply revealing, and often humorous look into a kind, thoughtful, and artistic soul whose musical imprint has been memorably embedded in the last six decades of American music.
IF NOT NOW WHEN begins with the self-reflective and powerful mid-tempo song, I Ain’t Runnin’ No More, a sign of the CD’s revealing look into the very personal side of Freebo’s story. Showing Freebo’s love of orchestration, the second song’s first note is that of a French horn, and it signals the beautiful repetitive three-note-motive of Standing Ovation, already a Freebo classic, rerecorded especially for this release. Funk Up The Folk, co-written and co-sung with Eric Schwartz, showcases Freebo’s humorous side, beginning with a tongue-in-cheek lament alluding to the often strict interpretation of Folk Music, then with no warning launching into a full blown funk song, complete with Tower Of Power Horns, yet with clever and historical lyrical references to folk music’s evolution and possibilities. Freebo’s humor is also found in She Loves My Dog More Than Me.
To The Light, co-written with Severin Browne (Jackson’s brother), David Roth, and James Lee Stanley, was recorded over 10 years ago, but Freebo breathes new life into this tasteful arrangement. That’s What Love Is, a sweet ballad about the deeper side of love, has won The Posi Award for Best Song. Newly sung and re-mixed, the production is delicate and sparse, with acoustic guitar, fretless bass, cellos, and Jude Johnstone on piano. The rockin’ title track If Not Now When chronicles Freebo’s journey from “sideman to frontman” and explores the fear, doubt, blame, and regret that so many of us struggle with so often during our lifetimes. Previously unrecorded tracks include A God Of My Own Choosing and Call Me Freedom, the former a brave and personal look at our religious and Spiritual choices, the latter a fun autobiographical song about finding our way out of the box into which we were born and stepping into a new-found freedom. Lastly, never afraid to venture into the political realm, Freebo reprises When There’s No Place Like Home, a gracefully understated folk ballad written from the point of view of a homeless person.
IF NOT NOW WHEN is produced by Freebo, co-produced and engineered by Robert Tepper, Mastered by Joe Gastwirt, recorded mostly in LA, and is graced many of the outstanding musicians with whom Freebo has played, including guitarists Mark Goldenberg (Jackson Browne), Shane Fontayne (CSN, Sting, Bruce Springsteen), Albert Lee (Eric Clapton, Everly Bros., Emmy Lou Harris), Jeff Pevar (CPR, Bette Midler, CSN), & Fuzzbee Morse (Lou Reed, Freebo). Outstanding drummers include Jerry Marotta (Peter Gabriel, Orleans), John Molo (Bruce Hornsby), Kenny Malone (everybody in Nashville!), & Tony Braunagle (Rickie Lee Jones, Taj Mahal).
Freebo, a Folk-Rock-Blues Icon who first came to national prominence as Bonnie Raitt’s bass player for 10 years beginning in 1971, has for over 30 years played bass on classic recordings and toured with some of the great artists of our time including John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers, CSN, Maria Muldaur, Ringo Starr, Michelle Shocked, Neil Young, Loudon Wainwright III, Dr. John, and many others. He has also appeared on Saturday Night Live, Midnight Special, Muppets Tonight, and in concert with the legendary Spinal Tap. It was his yearning for more creative expression, however, that drove Freebo to begin a process of deep inner discovery, and this has led to his successful transition as a singer/songwriter. Freebo’s music and message touches your heart with songs of life, love, the human condition, and even dogs!
Review Paul Zollo
Freebo is more than a beloved musician, he’s an institution. Most famous for the funkified precision and fluid soul of his bass playing for Bonnie Raitt, he’s also a longtime beloved studio cat, a musician’s musician, sought out for his greatness in the studio by everyone from Ringo and Dr. John to CSN, Aaron Neville, Marie Muldaur and the late great Willie DeVille.
But Freebo is more than one of this town’s best players, as those in the know have known for a long time: he’s also a richly gifted and distinctive songwriter. Like other famous musicians most often linked in the public’s mind with artists they’ve supported onstage and on recordsers, his own voice as a singer-songwriter hasn’t received the attention it’s been due. But the guy is a seriously good writer, as expressive in his writing as on a bass.
If anyone has written a more poignant song about homelessness than “Where There’s No Place Like Home,” I haven’t heard it yet, but I hope someone tries. Because it’s aiming high, to write a song about a subject so hopeless without being hopelessly maudlin or cliché, so most songwriters don’t even try. Freebo does it with easy grace, as simple and right as the beautifully understated arrangement..