Fremont John | Contrarian

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Rock: Americana Folk: Folk-Rock Moods: Type: Acoustic
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Contrarian

by Fremont John

A balanced mix of solid up-tempo and fun acoustic rock woven with some deeply insightful, and emotional ballads. “Contrarian” contains 4 popular covers and 8 crowd-pleasing originals. Special guest artist, Fernando Saunders (Jeff Beck/Jan Hammer Group)
Genre: Rock: Americana
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
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1. Back in the Game
4:13 $0.99
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2. Major Minor
4:05 $0.99
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3. City of New Orleans
5:13 $0.99
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4. Summer Breeze
6:23 $0.99
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5. The Eagle
2:51 $0.99
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6. Dolphins & Roses & Key Lime Pie (feat. Fernando Saunders)
4:15 $0.99
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7. My Momma, She Really Loved to Dance (feat. Fernando Saunders)
3:11 $0.99
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8. Horse With No Name
5:05 $0.99
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9. Melissa
6:03 $0.99
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10. The Message (feat. Fernando Saunders)
3:58 $0.99
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11. Angel in Black / Into the Light (feat. Fernando Saunders)
6:22 $0.99
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12. Contrarian
4:42 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Listener Review: "I must tell you on the first listen I thought "Nice CD, nice that you mixed up some originals with some of my favorites.". Next listen, I started to appreciate the guitar work, third listen I started singing, now I am probably on 10 (2 days) and really like it. Song 1 and 12 are great and is the true Fremont we all love. Allman Brothers, Melissa, good stuff!!" "I love it and find myself singing the tunes in my head......" - Your loyal fan, Frank

Artist's Song by Song Description:

1. Back In The Game - This tune is for those who've been living life without living the dream. It speaks particularly to those who've put their dreams on hold and think now, it's too late. The message is that "There still is time to get Back In The Game". This tune began as an instrumental with the opening bass line and then, the guitar break as counter-point. On a whim, I decided to try to add a vocal part and I began to write lyrics. It soon became obvious that it was going to be a vocal tune. This recording features Ivan Bodley of NYC, on bass. The drummer is Richard Crooks also of NYC but now living in Key West. Both Ivan and Richard have truly stellar resumes. All hand percussion is played by my longtime brother in music, Michael Carden. The rest of it, guitars, vocals, keys are Yours Truly.

2. Major Minor - Oxymorons and conflicting phrases; Here's a tune that first, I wrote and then, decided what it was about. That happens sometimes, a sort of backwards approach. First the song then, the muse. But sometimes, it works. I think that maybe the muse was obscured from me perhaps to the benefit of my being more objective. And then, the song reveals the muse. Nonetheless, it reminds me very much of another musician I've known for many years who has the most out-of-whack love life I've known. It's a love-life that is best described in oxymorons and conflicting phrases. This recording features Ivan Bodley of NYC, on bass. The drummer is Richard Crooks also of NYC but now living in Key West. Both Ivan and Richard have truly stellar resumes. All hand percussion is played by my longtime brother in music, Michael Carden. The rest of it, guitars, vocals, keys are Yours Truly.

3. City of New Orleans - When I moved to Key West in 1999, I would walk around downtown to various venues and this song was a staple. I'd never given much thought to the tune before that. But, I decided to learn it. It grew on me over time and is now, one of my favorites. I've been playing it ever since. My stage intro to this goes a bit like this: "This next tune might come under the heading of "Great American Folk Classics". Written many years ago by Steve Goodman, it's a song about a train, a train whose path cut through the heartland of America from Kankakee, IL all the way down to New Orleans." This recording features Ivan Bodley of NYC, on bass. The drummer is Richard Crooks also of NYC but now living in Key West. Both Ivan and Richard have truly stellar resumes. Piano is played by former Yooper and, "Keyboardist At Large", Mike Luusua. All hand percussion is played by my longtime brother in music, Michael Carden. The rest of it, guitars, lead and backing vocals, are done by me.

4. Summer Breeze - I've always been a huge Seals & Crofts fan and have played this tune for many years. This arrangement developed over the years of playing it with the Acoustic Thunder trio at The Bull in Key West. It really took shape with Rob Leon on bass and Randy Morrow on drums. Lick by lick, my guitar parts were cemented into place and it became what it is. This has been a long time favorite of mine and of many, many fans and I am very pleased to present this recorded version for the listening pleasure of those willing to stop, turn it up and pay attention. I love it! This recording features Bubba Lownotes, on bass. The drummer is Richard Crooks of NYC but now living in Key West. Bubba has been playing this arrangement with me since Rob Leon's passing in 2004. All hand percussion is played by my longtime brother in music, Michael Carden. The rest of it, guitars, vocals, backing vocals, keyboards are Yours Truly.

5. The Eagle - Primal and percussive, The Eagle reminds one of a Native American Indian pow-wow piece. I wrote this song very soon after the recording of my TIMELINE CD. First, came the guitar part. The lyrics came after I had moved to Sarasota. It is purely dream-like, just allowing myself some loose imagining. But once the lyric story started taking some shape, I began doing a little research into the folk-lore and symbolism of the eagle. Ted Andrews book, "Animal Speaks" and "The Dream Book - Symbols of Understanding" by Betty Bethards were 2 of the books I took information from as I strove to give credibility to the song's lyrical story. This recording features Ivan Bodley of NYC, on bass. The drummer is Richard Crooks also of NYC but now living in Key West. Both Ivan and Richard have truly stellar resumes. All hand percussion is played by my longtime brother in music, Michael Carden. The rest of it, guitars, vocals, are Yours Truly.

6. Dolphins and Roses and Key Lime Pie - This is a sunny day song. This song was custom built for a beautiful sunny day, very much like what we have here today. This song was especially designed with the idea in mind of being on a boat somewhere out in the bay and lying on the bow just catching rays. Picture yourself in that very scenario, out on the water surrounded by the color blue, blue above and blue below and off in the distance, a soft yellow glow. On the bow of that boat you lie, hands behind your head, you're looking up at the sky. Pretty soon, you see these big, white, puffy clouds go floating by. Your imagination kicks in and you begin to see shapes in those clouds in the sky. Who knows what you might see up there? You might see dolphins, you might see roses. Heck, you might even see key lime pie. This recording features Fernando Saunders of Detroit (now in Ostrava, Czech) on bass and backing vocals. Fernando also appears on TIMELINE and on the tune "Europa" on my GUITAR SONGS CD. Visit YouTube and do a search for Fernando Saunders, he is amazing. All hand percussion is played by my longtime brother in music, Michael Carden. The rest of it, guitars, keyboards, and vocals, are Yours Truly.

7. My Momma, She Really Loved To Dance - This tune is for my mother, Laura (Foster) Ashton who would dance anytime, anywhere and didn't care who saw her. Like her, this tune is upbeat and flat-out fun! It is written in a style common in the 20's and 30's because I wanted it to sound like something she might've heard back in her day. The song tells the story so, I'll just leave it there. This tune is a duet of Fernando Saunders on bass and backing vocals and me on guitars and lead vocal. We thought about more instrumentation, drums, keys, etc. but we really liked the simplicity and the vibe of what we had so, we left it.

8. Horse With No Name - Almost everyone loves the La, la, la chorus on this tune. It's just built for people to sing along to. I liked the song right from the start. I think the haunting one-note melody always intrigued me. First time I heard this tune, I would've bet you it was Neil Young but, it was this new band, America. I soon became a huge fan of America and nearly all their hit songs....not so much for "Muskrat Love" but, the rest of them. I sometimes will do an entire 6-tune America segment in my solo show. Anyway, I like to think we improved it a little with this arrangement. I know I'm biased but, I prefer my guitar solo to the original. This recording features Ivan Bodley of NYC, on bass. We originally had a drum track from Richard but, decided to stick with hand drums only. The congas and bongos are played by my longtime brother in music, Michael Carden. Mikey also contributes to the backing vocals. The rest of it, guitars and, vocals, are Yours Truly.

9. Melissa - During my years at The Bull in Key West, playing with several different trio personnel line-ups, this song remained a staple. And I developed this guitar solo that people love. I know they love it because they almost always respond. It's just cool! Beautiful, melodic solos with only a touch of flash, seem to be my signature and the solo in this song is a classic example. I knew I would have to eventually record Melissa. Vocally, this song is best when I've over-used my voice and it gets that raspy, whiskey-voice timbre. I would've liked a little more of that sound in this recording but, it still works very well. This recording features Bubba Lownotes, on bass. The drummer is Richard Crooks of NYC but now living in Key West. Bubba has been playing this arrangement with me for many years. All hand percussion is played by my longtime brother in music, Michael Carden. The rest of it, guitars, vocals, backing vocals, keyboards are Yours Truly.

10. The Message - This is one of those really special tunes of a deeper, more thoughtful quality that I sometimes write and love a lot but am pretty sure that I'm the only one who will like it. To me, this is one of my all-time best-written songs. The story tells of a message delivered by a sprite (a fairy tale creature) in a dream and the message is the same one that mankind has been receiving for millennia. "Love your sister and your brother, too. There is no difference, they're a part of you.." Will we ever get it? I think "The Message" is very well done, I love the guitar part, the lyric, the story, the message and I like that it is another duet with Fernando Saunders. This tune is totally up his alley. We are both singing multiple back-up parts on this so, we, at times, sound like a small church chorus. Again, we decided not to over-produce the song with a lot of other instrumentation.

11. Angel In Black/Into The Light - First, came the title which, I carried around for sometime, months, perhaps. I kept asking people "What does the phrase "Angel In Black" conjure up for you?" Not much, as I learned but, it stuck with me and I couldn't let it go. And there was really only one picture that I kept getting. As pictures do, this picture told a story, a very sad story and one that I didn't really want to write. I tried some other ideas but, this song is what it must be. It tells the story of a young couple wanting to get married but first, he is being deployed to war overseas. The title tells the outcome. Musically, this is a great tune from my personal perspective. I love the finger-style rhythm guitar and the haunting leads. And, the orchestral strings of part 2, "Into The Light" are very moving. It's a moving piece that is truly a story song that tells a great but sad tale. I posted a mix of this song online one day, and the very next day, on FaceBook, a photograph appears that depicts, exactly, a line from the song. "His spirit rose to see is Angel in black, Arlington graveside." It gave me chills! Matt Matthews is the photographer and his photo appears on the back of the "Contrarian" CD.

Contrarian - Well, I couldn't just leave you in a sad state after so much fun and good times. I have to bring you back and leave you up and happy. "Contrarian" is the perfect song for that! This tune is just fun and a little crazy, too. I am no rapper and that fact is very adequately displayed by my rap toward the end of the song. But it lends to the fun and off-beat nature of the song so, for me, it works. What's a contrarian? I get asked that all the time. The singer/guitarist who moves to Key West and makes his living playing the various venues of that town while never learning a single Jimmy Buffet tune would be a prime example of a contrarian. He's a stubborn individualist. The guy who walks into a bar and sees Bud Light cans everywhere and then, orders a Rolling Rock would be a contrarian. A free thinker who doesn't follow the herd or run with the pack, is the contrarian. If that's you, WELCOME TO MY CLUB!

Please enjoy this, my latest CD, "Contrarian"!

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Leicester Bangs "words-R-Us"

Fremont John - Contrarian (Independent)
Fremont John earned his spurs touring the Midwest, singing and playing electric guitar / keyboards with his band InnerVision - supporting major artists like Rush and Styx, before a career in banking and then his own environmental business began to demand more of his time. However, the music bug isn't so easy to kick, and in the early `90s he returned to the stage with InnerVision drummer Michael Carden, and together they formed Alias, a popular classic rock outfit that gigged extensively throughout the decade. Simultaneously, Fremont John began to perform solo, acoustic shows, which he enjoyed as much as his audiences, and in 1999 he sold his business, relocated to Key West, and decided to properly re-launch his music career.

There, he's become something of an institution amongst local fans, with monthly tours and a succession of acclaimed records under his belt. An extremely gifted acoustic guitarist, he's well known for re-inventing well-known and classic songs, and there are four of them on "Contrarian". Indeed, his take on The Allman Brothers' "Melissa" is revelatory, with his comfortable vocal combining with his guitar, and neither dominating the space. Equally, the Isley's "Summer Breeze" is relieved of its languid electric solo and is replaced with something earthier and innate. It's a great version.

Of course, there's no shortage of original material to be found amongst the dozen tracks on "Contrarian", and the fact that they happily co-exist alongside genre-defining songs is worth emphasizing. "Back in the Game" makes an impact straight away. It's urgent and vital with a perfect riff and a chorus that sticks like musical glue. "My Momma, She Really Loved to Dance" is jazzy and lyrically reminds of the sort of thing Ray Davies might have come up with as a sequel to "Come Dancing". The title track brings things to a conclusion with a statement of being, that might have been better placed at the beginning - which means I'd better play the whole thing again.
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