The Freestones are a real find, a sound not often present in the Boston area community that got a good taste of this New Hampshire group’s fun and musicall style For those who have heard the amazing recordings of Alan O’Day’s “Easy Evil,” be it by Genya Ravan, Sarah Vaughan, Sylvia, Lulu – this ensemble present that kind of Rusty Kershaw cajun magic (see Rusty’s Domino album release produced by Rob Fraboni) …and in concert, it’s an electric hootenanny – an electric jugband that keeps its rock sensibilities front and center.
The vocals of Mackenzie Hamilton are as essential as the guitar, bass and drums, and when she wants to wail, as on “Going Down,” she dominates the proceedings in a very good way. Not Janis Joplin taking over the show, but complementing the boys as they churn out this delightful and somewhat aggressive sound…the slide guitar and rhythm section all in unison and brilliantly powerful.
John Webb’s guitar and vocals lead the group in a Jerry Garcia sort of way, not pushy but guiding the elements as they combine to generate a dance groove inside a genre that isn’t recognized as a style that invites dance. That’s because they are as much a rock and roll group as they are stylists. “I Need Never Get Old” changes the form but stays within a framework, Matt Smith’s bass and Sean Knight’s drums at times a single unit, at others dimensional parts of the whole.
Is that “Tumblin’ Dice” by the Rolling Stones? Yes, morphed and melted into the netherworld Jarred Garneau builds. Just lots of fun on a Stones’ classic starting in the Freestone way, a little dash of Linda Ronstadt’s hit version, the Rolling Stones composition coming full circle as the song concludes. The encore was a most respectful, but again transitioned, approach to former Malden, Massachusetts resident Norman Greenbaum’s eternal “Spirit in the Sky.” As with “Tumblin’ Dice” your brain starts in with “is this…could it be?…” and – yes, a reinvention of a perfect song for this creative crew from Rollinsville, New Hampshire.
Opening act Max Clark – son of Jerry’s Kids / Unnatural Axe drummer Jack Clark – was equally a delight with his Dylan-esque angst, using the guitar as a percussive instrument to drive the statement home without a net – or a loud, active band behind him.
Drop the Knife
I Need Never Get Old
That Ain’t You
I Want to Break Free
Spirit in the Sky
Jarred Garneau- Lead/Slide Guitar
John Webb- Lead Guitar/Vocals
Matt Smith- Bass
Sean Knight- Drums
Mackenzie Hamilton- vocals
Joe Viglione is the Chief Film Critic at TMRZoo.com. He has written thousands of reviews and biographies for AllMovie.com, Allmusic.com, Gatehouse Media, Al Aronowitz’s The Blacklisted Journal, and a variety of other media outlets. Joe also produces and hosts Visual Radio, a seventeen year old variety show on cable TV which has interviewed Jodie Foster, director/screenwriter David Koepp, Michael Moore, John Cena, comics/actors Margaret Cho, Gilbert Gottfried, Gallagher, musicians Mark Farner and Don Brewer of Grand Funk Railroad, Ian Hunter of Mott The Hoople, Ray Manzarek, John Densmore, Felix Cavaliere of The Rascals, political commentator Bill Press and hundreds of other personalities.