Freeman Dre plays many roles. Fedora shading his eyes, the baritone lead singer is a Troubadour, Bandleader, neighborhood punk, gentleman caller, bar-stool prophet, and unrepentant observer… but principally he is a Storyteller.
An extraordinary lyricist, voted best songwriter in NOW magazine’s 2010 reader’s poll and nominated again in 2012, his musical narratives are full of vivid wordplay that immediately command attention.
Armed with an expert band, the Kitchen Party, an array of guests, core members Lonny Knapp, and Marlon Chaplin can play anything from sentimental balladry to foot stomping folk punk that’ll leave you reminiscing for the old country.
The band’s 2011 debut ‘Red Door Second Floor’ won accolades from the likes of BBC, CBC, No Depression, and fans in their home Toronto, as well as Montreal, New York, and as far afield as Eastern Europe, and the UK.
2012’s follow up, 'Old Town' - a more refined and self-produced 10-song concept album, recorded at Dale Morningstar’s Gas Station studio on Toronto Island - is a fresh on the folk album, following a loose conceptual arc; the autobiography of a multi-cultural, multi-generational family history through song and lyric, the classic immigration story.
Whether appearing stripped down on the lucrative house gig circuit, or ripping up stages in New York, Montreal, and Toronto, or throwing down for growing crowds as part of the Fedora Upside Down collective, these Parkdale boys deliver a heartfelt good time, and set the perfect harmonic backdrop for Freeman Dre’s charming vocal adventures.
Terry Wilkins - Bass
Mookie Komatsu - Drums
Lon Tron Silver - Guitar, Harmonica, mandolin
James McKie - Guitar, Violin
Freeman Dre - vocals & guitar
Marlon Chaplin - Guitar, Piano, Percussion, Bass & Backing Vocals
Old Town - 2012
Red Door, Second Floor - 2011
#1 on CIUT
Red Door 2nd Floor
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"This debut album was written and recorded in the gritty, if gentrifying, Toronto, ON hood of Parkda..."This debut album was written and recorded in the gritty, if gentrifying, Toronto, ON hood of Parkdale, and many of the songs reference life on the margins there. Much loved local watering hole the Cadillac Lounge is name-checked in the rousing "Saturday Night in Parkdale." The band have earned a rep as a highly entertaining outfit live, and this energy is well captured by co-producer/mixer John Critchley (Dan Mangan, the Warped 45s). The six-piece Party are augmented by such guests as Derek Downham (the Beauties) and Michael Louis Johnson. They describe themselves as "street folk punks" and some songs have a Pogues-like feel, while such touchstones as Dylan and Waits are also audible. Female backing vocals spice up a couple of tracks, including closing cut "Do Widzenia," which has an Eastern European, gypsy vibe and is the highlight of a disc with few lowlights. Dre also deserves credit for coming up with possibly the first song to reference the G20 summit fiasco, "Funny Situation." Cool stuff."
Red Door 2nd Floor
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“The band got its start in Dre’s Parkdale kitchen, a fact that finds its way into a debut album full...“The band got its start in Dre’s Parkdale kitchen, a fact that finds its way into a debut album full of dark yet affectionate references to the place and its characters.
Dre’s gritty punk-inspired vocal approach is nothing new, but he has an inviting tone that makes it more compelling. The Kitchen Party play loose, sensitive folk rock with a European flair, adding touches of accordion, mandolin and dobro to standard guitar, bass, drums and piano. From country punk opener Oak Tree to end-of-the-world singalong Six Hundred Feet to Polish closer Do Widzenia, there’s variety here, suggesting that the neighbourhood boys are ready to take the show on the road.”
~ Sarah Greene, NOW magazine
"I LOVED Freeman Dre's songs"
"So loose and cool and in the pocket."
Great New music
"Some great new music. Bob Harris Top Twenty tracks this year!"
Kitchen Party are superb
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"Kitchen Party are superb. The restraint you all shoed in your playing was very accomplished and mad..."Kitchen Party are superb. The restraint you all shoed in your playing was very accomplished and made for superb accompaniment. Great singing too."
Profound take on Canadiana
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I saw Freeman Dre and the Kitchen Party for the first time at Toronto’s Bread and Circus not long ag...I saw Freeman Dre and the Kitchen Party for the first time at Toronto’s Bread and Circus not long ago. While the band was illuminated by stage lights, amplified by a sound system, and perched up on the stage, and the spectators seated around tables in the near darkness below, the groups sponatnaoeous approach and genuinely gracious manner seemed to remove that invisible wall between audience and performer.
Since then, I’ve caught the show many times, and each time Dre and his band seem intent to make each audience member feel like the guest of honour at an intimate kitchen party.
I’ve also been privy to a few of the band’s yet-to-be-released demo recordings. Closer inspection reveals that Dre is not only an engaging performer but an excellent yricist and songwriter. On record, the band's sound and is the perfect accomanamient for Dre’s honest, memorable, and profound take on Canadiana.
I believe that Freeman Dre and the Kitchen Party produce music that is both artistically rewarding and commercially viable. With the right development, the groups folk music with an urban flow is sure to make a an impact in the Canadian industry and markets beyond.
Assistant Manager – Wonderboy Entertainment
Managegement for Lights
There are no upcoming dates at this time.