Review: Clare Free – Where Are You Now

Independent (March 6th 2020)

Reviewer: Grant Foster

Another artist I’d never heard of. Which is kinda cool, as it gets me off of my arse, in order to find out about them.

Clare is a blues artist. Plays guitar and sings. Now, there are some of my pals, who, if you mention blues, roll their eyes and say that it all sounds the same and how boring it is. Not with Clare though. In fact, as she mentions herself in interview, Clare is a rocker at heart. And throughout this album, the rock, at times easily outweighs the straight ahead blues. Which, to me, is a positive.

Sonically, this album is sparse. Plenty of space. I can imagine Clare and her band set up and pretty much laid it down. The production is clear and crisp. The songs that really work for me are ‘Nice Girls’ – Clare’s hard arsed response to Rose Tattoo’s Nice Boys. Think of a souped up Thorogood meets Kids Wanna Rock by Bryan Adams.

Gimme Rock & Roll’ – a laconic drum beat which builds into a cool chorus. ‘Scars’ – a grinding groover with an ethereal lead into a chorus which features this wonderful lyric…..’’She’s the most, beautiful girl in the world, but her face, is covered in scars“.

Let me Down Easy’ – Clare threatens to go all Alanis Morrisette but thankfully is made of sterner stuff. She just wants to be told to her face! The obligatory ballad, ‘Thank You’ shows what Clare can achieve vocally when given the chance to shine. So is it blues? Or is it rock? What about blues rock? That’s up to you to decide. It’s a mighty fine album whichever way you wanna call it.

Outlaw PR has been re-named ‘New Outlaw‘ and is now offering more than just PR services to musicians and bands.

Clare Free says:

Through my work, it has become obvious to me that once they are out of the studio, some musicians would really benefit from having someone to manage the album release for them.  I have found that although artists can get their music up on streaming sites, and hire someone (like me) to do their PR they are not really making enough of their album to get the best out of it especially when it comes to social media management, social media presence, merchandise, image, presentation, press packs, website and so on.  

So, I am now a fully signed up member of the Music Managers Forum and I am offering an ‘album release management’ service at an affordable price to help those artists get the very best out of their music.

I cover over 200 things in the strategy and release process which takes a great deal of pressure off the band, ups their game, and frees them up to focus on their music and bookings, something I don’t cover myself.

I also do graphic design and merchandise development for bands including album covers, posters, fliers, T-shirts/badges/other merchandise and so on you can see some examples of my work on my Instagram page.

Official Website

Sublime blues guitar songstress, CLARE FREE, is back after seven years with a brand new album, ‘Where Are You Now?‘, to be released on Fri 06 March 2020 and available to pre-order now via clarefree.co.uk

Where Are You Now?‘ will be released on CD in gatefold digipak and across all streaming and download platforms.

Having taken a break from recording to raise her youngest child, ‘Where Are You Now?‘ is her first release since her acclaimed ‘Dust And Bones‘ album in 2012.

And the production team behind the new release reads like a who’s who of the modern music industry, including Richard Flack, Bob Kidby & Frank Arkwright.

Clare explains, “I went for lunch at the Old Jet Arts hub which is run by Jesse Quin of Keane.  While I was there, I met the massively acclaimed music producer Richard Flack.  Richard is Robbie Williams’ producer, and he also works with other huge artists including Tina Turner, Olly Murs, Rudamental, the Spice Girls, Pulp, Stereophonics, INXS the list goes on and on.

We got chatting and I mentioned to Richard that I wanted to record a new album.  When I spoke to him a couple of weeks later, he said he would be interested in producing and mixing it as long as we worked well together, and he invited me into the studio to do a trial song to see how we got on.

We went to the most amazing studio called The Barn, which is run by Bob Kidby who co-produced and engineered the album.  The studio is over two floors and is jam packed with an astonishing array of mint condition vintage gear.  Every guitar, amp, effect pedal, and instrument you could dream of is there, and I was allowed to use any of them that I chose.  I used vintage Telecasters, Stratocasters and Les Pauls mostly, and some much more ‘off the wall’ guitars too.  I was in heaven!

The test track went well, and we all enjoyed working together, so Richard said, if I could fit in the recording in the days he had between flying back and forth to LA etc we could do it.  I jumped at the chance and what an opportunity it was!  Working on the album with Richard was fantastic, and Bob’s engineering skills are second to none.  They got the absolute best out of me. 

I was lucky enough to have Jamie Kruppa join me on bass, I’ve worked with Jamie before and he’s a great bass player.  On drums we had Dave Jackson, who is a phenomenal session player.

Once it was all mixed, I asked Cenzo Townshend (Engineer Of The Year – twice) if he would master the album, he told me he doesn’t do mastering, but that I should contact his mate Frank Arkwright at Abbey Road as he would do a good job of it for me.  So, naturally, I contacted Frank, who masters for the likes of Coldplay, U2, Oasis, Snowpatrol, Bryan Ferry, Biffy Clyro and loads more.  He did the mastering for me and wow, the album sounds absolutely amazing. I am so, so proud of it.

I have had the opportunity of a lifetime, and I feel so lucky to have had that chance.”

Where Are You Now?‘ was recorded at The Barn Studios. Suffolk
Produced and mixed by Richard Flack
Engineered and co-produced by Bob Kidby
Mastered by Frank Arkwright at Abbey Road Studios

Line up:
Clare Free – all guitars and lead vocals
Jamie Kruppa – bass
Dave Jackson – drums
Bob Kidby – Backing vocals, harmonica and percussion

Cover art by Clare Free

Tracklisting:

  1. Where Are You Now?
  2. Did The Right Thing
  3. Scars
  4. She Can’t Buy
  5. Thank You
  6. Gimme Rock ‘n’ Roll
  7. Let Me Down Easy
  8. Bitch
  9. Little Miss Jealousy
  10. Nice Girls

Official Website

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Deezer

Greetings everyone, the playlist has been checked & re-checked.

Starting off with a brand new song from Soul Circle off of their brand new Soul Circle II album.

3-Play, JK Northrup, Eternal Of Sweden & Laos. And finishing up with some great guitar music from Joe Satriani, Joe Bonamassa & Clare Free.

Tune in this Sunday on either (or both) Pirate Radio KQLZ@1pm PDT /9pm GMT

& Kansas City Online Radio KCOR @ 8am CDT / 2pm GMT , Wednesday on BeRock Online Radio @22.00 (+2GMT) & KRMW The Razor’s Edge on Sunday at 1 pm ET/6 pm BST

 

I’ve got a great line up on this weekend’s show.

Kicking off with some Domain, then brand new music from Sankara & Head Transfer Process, a great cover from Guy Mann & finishing off with new blues tracks from

Pete Mitchell & Clare Free.

Tune in on either (or both) KQLZ (@11am PST /7pm GMT) & KCOR (@ 8am CST / 2pm GMT)