Over the course of his career, singer/songwriter and Americana artist Tom Freund has released more than a dozen records, collaborated with legends such as Elvis Costello and Jackson Browne, pulled a half-decade stint on bass for alt-country pioneers The Silos, and has shared bills with everyone from Matthew Sweet to Guided by Voices. Freund’s intimate, heartfelt new solo album, East of Lincoln (out 9/7), chronicles a personal journey along the path from self doubt to enlightenment. “Time to take the wheel and turn this thing around / Time to make a deal and see what’s going down,” he affirms on “Runaround.” Freund takes his time and lets these new songs simmer, and that—along with memorable guest spots from longtime friend and collaborator Ben Harper and an all-star cast of session players—is a big part of the record’s charm.
Quietly reveling in its unhurried pace, East of Lincoln sticks in the mind long after listening. Within the record’s framework, Freund tackles progress, hope, and the corporatization of his beloved Venice Beach, which he captures as a bittersweet vortex of vanishing beauty and possibility. “I know I’m no saint, but I know when something is good and when it ain’t,” he sings on the title track, mourning Venice’s fading allure while basking in its once-electric atmosphere. The album dances on the edge of a stark duality: the sun-drenched SoCal beach town’s demise and Freund’s own eventual growth arc. “Better start swimming toward the shore,” he urges on “Abandoning the Ship.”
Much of the record—co-produced by Freund and Sejo Navajas (Smoke Season’s Gabrielle Wortman, Vintage Trouble)—is devastatingly raw. The primarily acoustic arrangements are livened up with some spectacular drumming from Matt Johnson (St. Vincent, Jeff Buckley) and Michael Jerome (Toadies, John Cale, Blind Boys of Alabama), pedal and lap steel from Ben Peeler (Dawes, Shelby Lynne, Father John Misty), keys from Rami Jaffe (Foo Fighters, Ryan Adams) and Chris Joyner (Sara Bareilles, Rickie Lee Jones) and violin from Jessy Greene (Wilco, The Jayhawks). But even with all these studio heavyweights on call, Freund is front and center on the record, singing and playing an eclectic mix of instruments including guitar, mandolin, ukulele, synth and his signature upright bass.
Glide is now thrilled to premiere “Brokedown Jubilee” from Freund’s East of Lincoln, a rolling composition of grandeur that showcases melodic precision and cinematic lustre. Freund has worked with a who’s who of musicians, but is now about to set his composition and musical wings to critical acclaim as a must hear troubadour.