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AND NOW YOU KNOW album review

Charleston, SC-based blues-rocker Mike Freund has released his second full-length record, And Now You Know, and boy is it a scorcher! The experienced guitarist is alive on every track, displaying his catchy guitar licks, fun vibes, and self-reflective lyrics at every turn. Freund, pronounced “Friend”, is no stranger to adversity, having already overcome multiple obstacles in his relentless pursuit of music, including car accidents and thieves. His struggle has been well worth it, as he has given his listeners the gift of a rockin’ batch of new tunes. These are tunes that make one want to keep listening over and over again.

Mike Freund – And Now You Know

The album opens with the title track, a minor blues jam built on a catchy guitar riff. As Freund sings: “Yes I’m better, I’m better and now you know” the listener gets the feeling that he has successfully moved on past hurdles, confidently marching forward in the same fashion as the steady but swaggering beat underneath. The song then gives way to a searing guitar lead from Freund, clearly a sign that he speaks as much on the instrument as through his vocals.  “Wait”, the next song on the record, begins with syncopated drums that are quickly joined by the ensemble. Lyrically, the song is a plea for time and patience from a lover. Freund’s guitar proficiency is on full display, one can almost hear him crying through his pickups for the object of the song to “Wait” for him to get things right.

On the upbeat “I Do This Alone” Freund sings “I cut my teeth on the road chasin’ dream at night/It took someone like me years to know/If you want it so bad you gotta let it go”, an introspective lyrical passage that could just as easily be describing the pursuit of music as it could be describing the pursuit of love. The wisdom of experience is clearly something Mike Freund brings to the table, while still maintaining a youthful essence.  “Wake You Up” finds him exploring his acoustic side, complemented by shining vocal harmonies. Lyrically the song describes a midnight tryst between lovers, with the narrator promising to “Wake you up at midnight [and] love you”.  One never gets the feeling that Freund’s lyrics are distasteful; rather, he approaches love and romance with an earnest virtue. His affections are always in service of the love he sings to.  Freund brings down the house on rocker “Misery”, knocking the listener over right out of the gate with heavy riffs. As he sings: “Misery loves company!” one is reminded of the struggle he has had to contend with to get this far, and one can gain even more appreciation for his perseverance and dedication to his art and craft.  “And Now You Know” has its limitations, tending to stay in familiar territory musically and lyrically. Certainly the genre lends itself to some common elements; lyrics about love won or lost, pentatonic scale riffs, guitar solos, etc.  However, Freund does his best to keep things fresh with each track, and he largely succeeds. In any event, it is clear that this rising star is only just beginning to wow us with his talents.

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AND NOW YOU KNOW song review 

It is always great to hear somebody who has a deep understanding for roots music, because Mike Freund has an excellent grasp on blues and old-school funk. You can hear in the guitar solo that Mike has put in hard time in on the fretboard, and the notes that flow out of those pickups come from a true professional, a gritty veteran of the blues. Hailing from South Carolina, Mike has captured the battered soul of Southern music. "And Now You Know" is a blues stomper and a show stopper with a thick funk guitar riff that is a perfect match for Mike's Les Paul. This blog usually features indie music, but sometimes the heavier, bluesier stuff is what I am yearning for. It does not try to soften itself; it has more of an edge. Sometimes music has to go for the gut, which Mike succeeds in doing for sure.

Author: Jacob Quint  Firesquid

Don't Count Me Out

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 Hair's on Fire

Mike Freund Band: Blues-rock fusion ready to jam on latest album

by Savannah Davanzo | Jul 12, 2017 | 

Album ReviewAudio

It’s no surprise that Buzz Artist loves to support Charleston artists (catch our Q&As with Tyler BooneSondorBlue, and Grace Joyner), so we were happy to receive a submission from Charleston-based blues-rock fusion group, the Mike Freund Band. Frontman Mike Freund provides lead vocals and impressive guitar work, backed by bassist Mark Schleis, groove drummer Mike Brown, keyboardist Noah Jones, and Jeff Leftennant on percussion. On his latest full-length record, Toe The Line, released last year, Mike Freund leads the group to victory with extraordinary instrumentation and creative energy.

Opening Toe The Line is a psychedelic blues track, “25 Roses,” with a high-power vocal performance howling above layers of funky percussion. Two tracks later, “Lonely” maintains the same blues-rock vibe, but with a softer, more melodic tone. Here, Mike’s voice is a smooth croon singing “If you never wanna be lonely, let’s give it a try,” with woozy electric interludes spicing up the instrumental solos. “Hair’s On Fire” is a straight rock song, heavy with dynamic rhythm guitar and consistent percussion giving off hints of alt-country elements. Toe The Line‘s most impressive blues-rock marriage is “Don’t Count Me Out,” fuzzy distortion and complex, impassioned guitar solos breathing life into the outlaw tune as Mike’s voice reaches its highest power, wailing “You can knock me down but don’t count me out.” The record ends ten tracks later with “Medicine Show,” the opening instrumental blending a country bass jig with blues beats before distant vocals come in smooth with quick-witted lyrics over the rolling, layered production.

On Toe The Line, Mike Freund and his band expertly build vibrant, fiery instrumentation that both shines on its own and successfully complements Mike’s lively vocals. With an unrivaled energy, their blues-rock medley is a can’t-miss blend of impressive rock ‘n roll and groovy boogie-woogie sing-alongs.

Summerville's Mike Freund releases new song, plays at the fair

By Kalyn Oyer

Mike Freund premiered his new fiery Southern rock single "Burn it Down" Thursday morning on 105.5 The Bridge, just in time for his performance at the Coastal Carolina Fair on Nov. 2.  The Summerville resident has been in the Lowcountry for 10 years and plays regularly with his band, The Mike Freund Band, at watering holes such as John King and Palmetto Brewery. He also recently performed at Fall for Greenville and has upcoming shows at the Smoke BBQ Brews and BBQ Jam on Nov. 3 and Awendaw Green on Nov. 15. 

"If a new listener comes across my music, I ultimately hope to leave them with a pleasing melody," says Freund. "If they listen deeper, I hope they hear the convictions of a hardworking husband, father, son and musician who has found a way to exploit his passion and expose his bliss to anyone who will witness it."

Freund's new track "Burn it Down" is now available on SoundCloud. It is the first single from his upcoming album, which is slated to premiere in the spring.  

"The lyrics were inspired by an argument I had with a family member," says Freund. "Before the issue was reconciled, I had taken the attitude that whether or not the issue would ever be settled, I was going to let it all go and 'give it up to God' before it ate me alive on the inside. The 'letter' I make reference to during the song was real. After I read it, I burned it."

This single comes as a follow up to Freund's 2015 full-length, "Toe the Line."

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