Artist: The Freddie Long Band
Title: Strangers and Friends
Label: Self Issued
By Robin Ward
They say never talk to strangers but they didn't say not to listen to them. Strangers and Friends, the debut release from The Freddie Long Band (FLB) - pick it up and make this stranger your new friend. I sure did.
From the moment the music started, I was hooked and my feet were tapping nonstop. It's a feel-good, be happy, love-life vibe. It's pop at its best with catchy tunes and great lyrics. I sampled the CD out for some friends and one's response was, "I wish I knew all the lyrics ... I want to sing along!" That's the instant feeling you get. “The Punch Line” provides the listener a good perspective on life. Though we face challenges, there's still so much to be thankful for and as the song says, "sometimes life is just a joke and we're all the punch line." The heartfelt ballads are simple and soulful. The genuine feelings that went into the writing make you wonder to whom they were written. Songwriting credits for all 13 tracks go to Freddie Long and as I listen to them, I've got to think he's in a good place in life as that's how the songs come across.
The production is beautiful. Clean, crisp and clear. Loose and open, not overpowering. Natalie makes me regret not listening to my mother and continuing with my piano studies. Playing air piano just isn't the same. The song possesses a quality of a cross between Hootie and the Blowfish and Bruce Hornsby. Great acoustics and keyboards throughout and the strings on Stay the Night are wonderful with lyrics to make you melt.
The Freddie Long Band, for being together a mere two years, has stumbled upon something really good. It's obvious the four mesh well and thus have produced a tight and smooth-sounding album. There's a wonderful flow to the music that you can't help being swept into. You'll listen to the songs and, if like me, you'll find yourself smiling and hanging on every word as they trigger a past, or even present memory. I could break down each track individually and tell you why I like it, but it's not all about me, is it? Music is unique to the one who is listening to it, and we all hear and feel different things. My best recommendation is that you pick up Strangers and Friends and immerse yourself in it. You'll be happy you did. I sure am.
Chesapeake Music Guide Review
Chesapeake Music Guide, Aug. 3 - Sept. 3 2007 edition