Something to Believe
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. [Read More]
Something to Believe
Freebo is best recognized for the decade or more that he recorded and toured with Bonnie Raitt. In fact, Freebo is a genuine folk, rock and blues icon. For more than 30 years, Freebo has played bass and tuba on recordings and toured with some of the great artists of our time: Bonnie Raitt, John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers, Crosby Stills & Nash, 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.
When I first met Freebo back in 1997, he had just released his debut solo album, The End Of The Beginning, and was just learning to step into the spotlight as a headliner after decades as a consummate side- man. That CD featured appearances by many of his talented friends including Bonnie Raitt, Paul Barrere, Catfish Hodge, Albert Lee, Sam Clayton and others. That CD has a variety of styles and showed great promise for Freebo’s future solo career including some clever song writing, good rock and pop sensibilities developed over decades of working with some of the best artists around, and fine production by Freebo and Michael Jochum. [Read More]
Freebo’s intimate and go-down-easy personable vocals are at times reminiscent of vintage Cat Stevens. It’s a voice that can tie in light-hearted fare, social commentary and spiritual quest with love-sweet-love, and make it sound seamless. —Janet Goodman, Music News Nashville
Freebo has more than proven his songwriting chops, but outdoes himself here with the potent “When There’s No Place Like Home,” a tale of a veteran who returns stateside, “had my job and I had my pride/but they shipped them both to China,” leaving him homeless, a plaintive Chris Gage accordion subtly bringing home the point. It is the title track, though, co-written with Eric Lowen (of Lowen and Navarro), who suffers from the debilitating disease ALS, that is the emotional center of the album, a vow “And when it’s finally time for me/To leave this life behind/Sooner than I might wish it would be/Will I hear the angels sing/Will it stop my wondering/Will I finally feel like I am free?” It is what everyone hopes for, sweet release. Freebo’s music provides it in timeless fashion, proving those ideals of peace and love still have currency some 50 years later. —Roy Trakin, Hits Magazine