Americana singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Tom Freund debuts his new album, East of Lincoln, exclusively with C&I.
Fans of Tom Petty will find musical comfort in singer-songwriter Tom Freund’s new album, East of Lincoln, available September 7. It’s a mix of genres with punctuations of gospel, folk, and country, but at its heart and soul, it is pure classic rock that delivers relatable, engaging tunes that sometimes conjure the late, great musician.
The album comes as a follow-up to Freund’s highly acclaimed 2014 album, Two Moons. Over the span of his long career, Freund has released over a dozen records, collaborated with high-profile artists like Elvis Costello and Jackson Browne, and played bass for alt-country group the Silos. In 1992 he released a collaborative record, Pleasure and Pain, with friend Ben Harper, which launched both of their careers. In 1998, he made his solo debut with North American Long Weekend to critical acclaim.
Twenty years later comes the 11-track East of Lincoln, whose highlights include the positive-energy-and-organ-fueled opener, “Angelus”; the ’90s-style dreamy rock tune “Runaround”; the “gentle, rootsy” (Billboard) title track; the bluesy “Poached Eggs”; the gritty, outlaw-friendly “Hair of the Dog”; and the beautiful, slow piano tune “Brokedown Jubilee.”
Freund, who says he writes music out of necessity, told Billboard he did the songs on this album as a “personal healing process.”
C&I talked with Freund about the new record and how Tom Petty got in the mix.
Cowboys & Indians: Tell us about the new record.
Tom Freund: This record speaks to me as a performer /artist/producer and as my own life coach (haha, but it’s true). I got a lot of “notes to self” here on these songs. Although it may appear melancholy there’s always a light at the end of my tunnel. Records are rites of passage and markers in time, a place in life, and I am truly into this portrayal of myself here on East of Lincoln. I think sonically it aroused me in new ways and got new things out of me that I hadn’t tried before, and I like the “East meets West” of acoustic instruments like mandolins and upright basses, ukuleles and 12-strings sharing the soundscape with Moog synthesizers and electric guitars with weird pedals. I also have already heard from many people that they are feeling the same thing I do from some words or a message in a song: “That song really hits me” etc. As an artist, that just feels like you are doing your job then — happy to be of service, plug me in, put me in coach, etc. You get the drift. At peace.
C&I: Who or what were some influences when it came to writing the record?
Freund: I’m not really sure of the influences on the record — you’d have to ask my psyche about that. I think there’s a little Joni Mitchell, Led Zeppelin, Taj Mahal, Squeeze, Dylan, Mississippi John Hurt, Tom Petty, Vampire Weekend, and even a little Steely Dan in there somewhere. The songs really came out of my personal connection to things and trying to make sense of my landscape, relationships, fatherhood, romance, fear, and the overcoming of fear. Those kind of themes. As is heard in the title of the album and title track, there is an obvious sense of where I live or memories of days of yore that span from Fire Island, New York, to Venice, California. Again, East meets West, even coastally. And the changing ways of the groovy towns we love when big corporations move in and rents go up and art goes down. Another theme that seems to permeate is the allowance of love into my life and getting burned, but getting back up again on your horse, in relationships and career. Carry on.
C&I: Any cool, funny, or interesting stories about the album you want to share?
Freund: I started a lot of the songs at my home/apartment studio, then brought it in to 4th Street Studio in Santa Monica, where Sejo Navajos and I produced the record. This added an intimacy to the songs I feel that can be gotten in your personal space, where I actually composed most of the songs as well. Two of the songs — “Poached Eggs” and “London Bound Lady” — are actually from 20 years ago but felt right in time with this collection of material, like chapters in a book. It was a real treat for several of the songs to go to Jim Scott’s studio and have him do some mixing wonders. We were really feeling the connection and especially in the climate of losing everyone’s bestie singer-songwriter, approachable rock god, Tom Petty. He was mysteriously in our ears and in the air, terribly missed. That’s how I met Jim actually — performing at a tribute to Tom at the Hotel Cafe in Hollywood. All the musicians were so special to me on this record. … Each one got deep in the vibe and found their voice on the record. I’m one lucky guy.
Get an exclusive first listen to East of Lincoln, below.
For more information on Tom Freund, upcoming tour dates, and to preorder the new record, visit his website. Photography by Tomas Muscionico.