Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Indie Music: Freddie Nelson "Shake The Cage"

by Germar Derron

Freddie Nelson's Shake the Cage sounds overqualified. For me, that sound recalls those rare touring bands that passed through my small Denver club. It was basically a dive bar. But once a month we'd host an act that was more confident, casual, talented, and down to earth than any signed artist. They had been there, done that, and loved every second of it. That's the sound of Shake the Cage.

As a performer and songwriter, Freddie Nelson is the quintessential experienced professional. It's demonstrated through numerous YouTube videos, where tens of thousands have already witnessed his effortless live covers of rock legends. His vocals are powerful without pretention. He has a silky smooth vibrato and broad range. The tracks on here could have been hits in any decade, from the '60s to the '00s. And if he ever added a digital touch or D.J., these same songs could play on today's Top 40 radio. It's a well-crafted timeless sound.

The album serves as a course in versatility and consistency. His voice calls back to all of my favorite rock vocalists--Freddie Mercury, Brandon Flowers, and Robert Schwartzman (I couldn't squeeze Julian in here). Most genres of rock are equally represented here--indie, acoustic, classic, and even a little power ballad and California. This is rock. And even with all of that aural diversity, it gels well. That tightness and uniformity, that allows for flexibility, is not a fluke. And I don't believe it's a post-production/mastering trick or technique. This was planning--theme, composition, arrangement.

Obviously, I love this album. It's replaced The Slang as my favorite indie rock project review. I'd give him 4.5 out of 5 stars if I did that sort of thing.


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