Reviewed by Harry Kaplan
Good things come to those who wait says the English proverb. It must be true because it has been 11 years between albums for Freakwater. That is a long time by any standard, but even longer today in a world of instant gratification. Freakwater is comprised of Catherine Irwin, Janet Beveridge Bean, and Dave Gay. The music is country leaning chock full of pedal steel, banjo, mandolin, and fiddle. It is not your parent’s country. I would call it “quirky” and a little weird and incredibly beautiful. I tend to lean toward the weird in case you didn’t notice. This is the band’s 10th full length album and it very well may be their best.
Velveteen Matador (Track 7) caught my ear right away. It starts off with a nice twangy guitar groove that quickly develops into a beautiful vocal arrangement between Irwin and Bean. I was going to try to interpret the lyrics but I can’t even harbor a guess as to what this song is about. Then I realized that it doesn’t matter. The song is so good that everyone should interpret it for what it means to them. For me, it represents billowy clouds and puppies. It makes me feel that good. The Asp And The Albatross (Track 2) is another absolutely gorgeous number highlighted by world class vocals and harmonies. Again, I have no idea what his song is about. I am sure the words are profound as Freakwater are pretty smart folks. Don’t get too caught up on the words since the music and vocals are good enough that a lot of word concentration is not necessary. Ghost Song (Track 12) is a perfect ending to this 45 minute masterpiece. I predict I will be quite addicted to Scheherazade and listen to it incessantly for the next few months. Maybe by then I will have a better understanding of the song meanings. Stay tuned….
You can listen to Scheherazade here in the Wall Street Journal (yes, The Wall Street Journal!)