Freddy & Francine
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Freddy & Francine

Nashville, TN | Established. Jan 01, 2008 | SELF

Nashville, TN | SELF
Established on Jan, 2008
Duo Americana Folk

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"EXCLUSIVE: Hear Freddy & Francine’s Romantic Duet “Tryin’ Hard To Love You”"

You probably haven’t seen this much chemistry since your required high school courses. LA-based “soul Americana” duo Freddy & Francine have the type of pull towards each other that transforms individual talent into a collaborative fire, offering lush harmonies and an unspoken romance beyond the lyrics but in the melodies as well. On their upcoming album, Gung Ho, releasing in early June, the couple do what they do best with their track “Tryin’ Hard To Love You”.

Written based on their personal experience together about falling back in love after a professional and personal break-up, the track dances in its honesty. It starts out with a moaning instrumental followed by the first hint of harmony, making way for Francine’s (real name Bianca Caruso) solo soulful vocals asking “Where were you when I needed you to be the only book I’d read?” With wailing, slinky beats and indie rhythms in the background, suddenly Francine’s vocals explode in unison with Freddy’s (AKA Lee Ferris) for a harmonious, vibrant chorus. The whole track is made up of sweeping, anthemic singing and full rhythms that start and end abruptly, alternating an expert type of expectation and anticipation.

Though the track highlights Francine’s versatile, capable voice, “Tryin’ Hard To Love You” teases us with buttery harmonies, expressive beats, and raw emotion. - Elmore Magazine


"ALBUM REVIEW: FREDDY & FRANCINE, "Gung Ho""

Sometimes a romantic relationship can lead to great art… and sometimes the end of that relationship can lead to even greater art. But when a fractured professional couple get back together, at least to make music, it can be amazing. And that’s the case with Gung Ho, the newest release from Freddy & Francine (who are really Lee Ferris and Bianca Caruso). Having parted and spending considerable time apart, this new offering is quite a staggering collection of songs.

Acoustic guitars abound; stellar production – warmth and depth is the first thing you pick up on at first listen. The opening track, “If You Want Me” is a seamless blending of the voices of Ferris and Caruso, with clean guitar figures and a deep, resonant rhythm section – a masterful building of tension and melody combined; “Tryin’ Hard To Love You” has delicious guitar slides in the intro while Caruso’s vocal is both cool and impassioned in this country-fied track and “Father’s Daughter” will send shivers down your spine as you listen to the harmonies, perfectly intertwined and the rich acoustic guitars with the taut, simple drum pattern guides the song. The mournful and soulful “Ray’s Song”, with its gorgeous Hammond track, is a standout; “Sideman” is buoyant, upbeat and not too distant from “Not Fade Away” and “South Of My Love” is neat with its picked-then-chunky acoustic guitar and the two voices – stripped down and on-the-one.

Good to know that some relationships can be repaired. If not, we wouldn’t have an album as pleasurable as Gung Ho is to listen to.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Gung Ho is available now

http://www.freddyandfrancine.com/ - http://popdose.com/


"Song Premier: "Something's Gotta Give""

We’re always delighted when we discover fresh songwriting and great vocal harmony talent, so when we heard Freddy & Francine’s upcoming album, Gung-Ho, we were tickled pink.

The rising Americana duo created a lush collection of harmony songs that explores the gain and loss of romantic love. You’ll likely find traces of your own experiences all over this album.

However, what really makes this record shine is how beautifully their voices meld together. The songs have the kind of harmonies that musicians can only create by being kindred spirits, not just by hitting the right notes together. Known to friends and family as Lee Ferris (Freddy) and Bianca Caruso (Francine), the pair has been performing together on and off for the better part of a decade.

Today, we’re debuting “Something’s Gotta Give.” The poignant song spotlights Freddy’s warm voice and explores an experience anyone who’s ever loved and lost will recognize.

“We wrote this tune on my couch, which is where a good number of the songs on this record were written,” said Caruso, (Francine). “Lee (Freddy) was starting to date after his engagement was broken off. It’s about the pressure he felt knowing that his heart was in the past while his mind was telling him to move on, rarely allowing him to be present.”

Gung-Ho is available on June 10. Freddy & Francine are currently on tour. You can find a full list of their dates here. - Wide Open Country


"Freddy & Francine Go Gung Ho on Their Latest Release"

While romantic entanglement hasn’t been exactly uncommon when it comes to making music -- Buckingham and Nicks, Sonny and Cher, Bonnie and Delaney, and Goffin and King all come to mind -- Freddy and Francine, or, as they’re known by their given names, Lee Ferris and Bianca Caruso, have built a career that’s found their music and their emotions consistently intertwined.

Naturally, that romantic roller coaster offers plenty of potential as far as inspiration is concerned, even though real life doesn’t always go according to plan. Nevertheless, the duo’s new album, aptly entitled Gung Ho, offers a celebration of sorts, one that now only finds the couple reunited after going their separate ways, but also staking their claim to well deserved recognition. Recorded at Gung Ho Studios in Eugene Oregon with an all star cast of players -- renown producer and multi-instrumentalist Todd Sickafoose, drummer Ted Poor (Andrew Bird, Bill Frisell), guitarist Kyle Sauna (Chris Thile, Yo Yo Ma) and keyboardist Rob Burger (Lucinda Williams, Ryan Adams, Rufus Wainwright) -- it purveys a harmony-drenched sound that rises and falls in sync with the sentiment. The Lone Bellow, the Civil Wars and the Swell Season are obvious comparisons, but it would be doing them an injustice to simply leave it there. There’s no end to the number of highlights -- the gorgeous “Ray’s Song,” the bouncy Bo Diddley beat of “Sideman,” easy and enticing “South of My Love” -- all indications that the pair have not only found their groove but corralled it serendipitously. Melody, merriment and desire are successfully intertwined, proof positive that Gung Ho offers all the energy and enthusiasm necessary to maintain their forward momentum. - No Depression


"INTERVIEW: FREDDY & FRANCINE"

It’s a familiar story—musical boy meets musical girl, they join musical forces, and fall in love along the way. Lee Ferris and Bianca Caruso, otherwise known as soul-icana duo Freddy & Francine, have put twists, turns, and an alternate ending on this age-old tale.

The pair met on the set of a musical, formed a band, released a couple of albums, and then went their separate ways. Several years later, Caruso decided to record a solo album which included a song that she had co-written with Ferris; she worked up the courage to ask Ferris to join her in the studio, and their musical flame was rekindled. Now, Ferris and Caruso are releasing a brand new album as Freddy & Farancine, Gung Ho, on June 10th. “We hadn’t seen each other or spoken for three years; it was quite intimidating to reach out to him,” Caruso admits. “I’ve been hesitant to discuss this in the past, but I got sober a few years ago, and that really changed my overall outlook on my existence,” adds Ferris. “A lot of things were clarified, I could see our situation more clearly. I’d thought about making music with her every day we were apart, about how I missed our musical connection. When she reached out to me, I felt like it was time to revisit that.”

This time around, the duo acknowledges that the passage of time has brought new perspective to their situation. “We both grew up, went through some self-discovery, traveled all over the world. We had so many new and different things to write about,” says Caruso. “You gain experience as a human, and when you’re an honest and sincere writer and performer, you put that into your music,” adds Ferris. “When you spend a lot of time apart, following other dreams, you bring that to the music. In reuniting, there’s an element of reflection about the time we spent separately, and what it’s like to come back.”

The soulful singers were raised on everything from Dylan’s folk storytelling to En Vogue’s 90s R&B, and have combined their individual styles and sizable voices into a substantial and soulful blend. “A lot of the songs on the record are about our experiences. ‘Tryin’ Hard To Love You’ is particularly sentimental for me,” explains Caruso. “That song is about my relationship with Lee, about trying hard and giving it your all, and realizing it may not be the right time for that relationship.

“‘Ray’s Song’ is different though, in that it’s not a story about us. I met this guy who was the ‘Ray’ in Joni Mitchell’s song ‘Ray’s Dad’s Cadillac’. Ray was Joni’s high school boyfriend; he had just lost his wife, and Joni had flown him to Los Angeles from his home in Canada for her birthday party,” Caruso recalls. “I asked him, ‘Ray, when are you going back to Canada?’ and he said, ‘When I’m done crying.’” That phrase hit Caruso in the gut, and compelled them to write Ray’s story in song.

Choosing to leave the stress and bustle of Los Angeles for a retreat in Eugene, Oregon to record Gung Ho, combined with a stellar roster of musicians and famed producer Todd Sickafoose made for a magical experience that comes through loud and clear in the music.

“We’ve been touring these songs for a while. We were such fans of our producer, Todd Sickafoose. We just trusted his instinct. We surrendered to what was happening in the midst of these live takes,” recalls Ferris, as Caruso adds, “We’re bringing something modern to the Americana world.”

Purchase Gung Ho: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/gung-ho/id1098516117 - Mother Church Pew


"LISTEN: FREDDY & FRANCINE, 'IF YOU WANT ME'"

"Bianca wrote the beginning melody of the tune on piano and then brought it me to convert to guitar. This song deals with the process of learning to see the forest through the trees in a relationship, regardless of the present circumstances. It reminds us to simplify love and ask for the things we need." -- Lee Ferris (Freddy) - The Bluegrass Situation


"Interview with Americana Soul Duo Freddy & Francine"

"It's always a pleasure discovering great new artists, and Freddy & Francine currently top my list. There is a palpable chemistry between these musicians -- their vocals blend like milk and honey, forming a sound they coin as "Americana soul." It is no wonder these two hit it off both on- and off-stage." - No Depression


"Live Review - Freddy & Francine"

"The duo captivated the room with a simplistic setup of two microphones, a guitar and four stomping feet. " - Music Connection Magazine


"Folk Alliance 2015 Conference Celebrates Music From Around The World"

"Another “I wonder what is going on in this room …” discovery, this duo from Los Angeles (real names Lee Ferris and Bianca Caruso) served up an impactful set of smartly written acoustic pop songs. The real draw here is the sensational natural blend of their vocals. Some voices just seem made for each other with the ability to weave into a singular force of vocal performance. Ferris and Caruso have found their respective vocal soulmates, the kind of perfect harmonies that send a gripping shiver down the backbone of the listener." - The Deli


"SPOTLIGHT: Freddy & Francine"

SPOTLIGHT
Freddy and Francine (www.myspace.com/freddyandfrancine): This mellifluous duo, gaining major steam on the L.A. club circuit, is the result of a multitude of late-night writing sessions between Bianca Caruso and Lee Ferris. They co-wrote more than 30 songs in a just a few short months while you and I were sleeping. Their tireless approach, along with the addition of drummer Christopher Allis and bassist John Classick, leads to their first full-length album, The Briar Patch, which gained early fans and some major love at Morning Becomes Eclectic on KCRW. She’s got the kind of voice that could turn any song into a lullaby, and together, Freddy and Francine are building their story behind beautiful vocal harmonies, a solid writing style and a captivating live set. Following a string of upcoming shows at Hotel Café and The Vermont, they return to the studio to record their highly anticipated follow up to Briar, drawing from influences like Ray LaMontagne, The Swell Season and The Rolling Stones. If you haven’t gotten hip to them yet, mark your calendars and load your iPods with the perfect accent to your summer soundtrack. - www.hitsdailydouble.com


"Freddy & Francine's "Brownstone Alley" TOP TUNE on KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic"

Freddy & Francine are the alter-egos of local musicians Lee Ferris and Bianca Caruso. They are prolific and talented songwriters. Today’s Top Tune is from their debut full length release, the track is “Brownstone Alley.”- Ariana Morgenstern, Producer of KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic. - 89.9 KCRW


"Freddy & Francine, the King & Queen of LA's folksy alternative hard to describe scene"

If Freddy & Francine are "...the new king and queen of an emerging new folksy funky countrified alternative hard-to-define music scene in LA...." as Grammy Award Winning Engineer & Producer CEO, Robert Margouleff suggests, then Freddy & Francine once again commanded the full attention of their followers with their passion and energy at a recent full band show at the Hotel Cafe. The two lead singers (Lee Ferris & Bianca Caruso) channeled this passion and energy surrendering themselves to their music like Gospel singers at a revival. Thus the two alone generated sufficient sound as a two piece to capture everyone's attention. The rest of the band built upon, supported and embellished the sound and chemistry of these two lead performers..

During the course of this recent set, which included many new songs off of their forthcoming new LP "The Forest and The Sea" (to be released this coming October), these strong voices of the two lead singers changed order, tempo, and support but always came back together for harmonies with ease and well timed precision. So the band once again enchanted a full house of their faithful fan base, as well as won new converts, with the band's folksy melodies, playful lyrics, and inspired honest delivery.

Recently The Examiner got a chance to pose the band a few questions. Below are Freddy & Francine's [F&F] responses.

See URL to continue reading. - www.examiner.com


"FREDDY & FRANCINE at Hotel Cafe"

It always amazes me how much chemistry affects quality; case in point - Freddy and Francine. This collaboration features LA-based singer-songwriters Bianca Caruso and Lee Ferris, together with drummer Christopher Allis,
bassist/vocalist John Classick and pianist/keyboardist Mike Feldman. What started as two writers who wanted to expand their craft by working together has developed into one of the most promising new bands in Los Angeles. Freddy and Francine have been featured on local indie radio giant KCRW, where their single, Brownstone Alley, was recently selected as the "Top Tune for Today."

I have known Alis for many years, and followed him through many of his projects, including Cindy Alexander and Circe Link. He has been trying to get me to a Freddy and Francine show for months, but I always had conflicts. However, on this night, the stars finally aligned and I was able to catch their performance. Boy, am I glad I did!

In a nutshell, Freddy and Francine have everything they need to make an impact on the national music scene. Their brand of rootsy rock and country is unique, a marriage of Sugarland and Gloriana, with a touch of Honeyhoney. Both Caruso and Ferris are masters of their craft, with voices of gold. This is a band that truly understands the use of dynamics in their music, and has a chemistry that permeates the entire room.

From the first song, Baby, You're Not Well, which featured a tremendous Nord solo by Feldman, Freddy and Francine proved that not only are they incredible songwriters, but true showmen as well. Both Caruso and Ferris are very active on stage, giving the audience a true show, and the crowd responded enthusiastically. Their second song, The Telegram, has the makings of a true country radio hit, and features just enough guitar solo to set the mood, as well as crystal clear lyrics and vocals. In addition, proving that they are a band with a social conscience, Caruso announced that all proceeds from the show were being donated to Haiti relief. - www.associatedcontent.com


"Music Judge Ludek Drizhal reviews F & F's tune"

SAFE & SOUND from Freddy & Francine's EP

"I feel that of all the contenders(entered in the 2009 Feel Good Film Festival) this is the best song through out. I was impressed by the uniquely creative long phrasing of the opening melody as it sustains its energy for nine bars without ever losing focus (not an easy thing to do). The more I listen to this song the more I appreciate its fine nuances. The melody is supported by an inventive arrangement as well as colorful orchestrations. The vocal harmony is clean and well-balanced, the playful lyrical content is simple and evocative. This is a bright jewel of a song."

Ludek Drizhal, Composer/Producer Drizhal Music Productions/ASCAP. Currently completing the score for the film Alabama Moon (directed by Tim McCanlies). He has worked on a number of Starz Productions as well as independent films, such as Badland (directed by Francesco Lucente) and Simon Says (directed by Bill Dear). He recently finished work on the Euopean production U Pana Boga Za Miedza (God's Little Village)with acclaimed Polish director Jacek Bromski. Ludek graduated with a masters of Music from USC Thornton School of Music, where he also taught for six years.
- reviews


"Stacey Earle & Mark Stuart review "The Briar Patch""

"Your album is incredible! We get bombarded with CDs every night and rarely get to (or want to) listen to them. In your case, we were anxious to hear it and popped it in today during our drive. We listened to it straight through. We are both in agreement: it is one of the best albums we have ever heard. Your musicality is off the charts. All the dynamics, the harmonies, the writing. Everything is there-as good as it gets. This record is, especially, to our tastes. It drips with lots of my favorite stuff (tremelo guitar, great songs, vocals that are soulful, "Pet Sounds"-like arrangements)"
Singer/Songwriters Mark Stuart and Stacey Earle - review


"Freddy & Francine EP- Review"

Freddy & Francine is a refreshingly uplifting mix of folk and pop that instantly has your foot tapping. The original music by these newcomers draws from a wide variety of influences with complex and rich harmonies woven together by songwriters and lead vocalists Lee Ferris and Bianca Ferrari Caruso. Music hasn’t been this much fun since Katrina and the Waves walked on sunshine.”
Vicki Greenleaf
Greenleaf & Associates, Inc. Public Relations + Marketing As a journalist and author, 1981-88, Vicki Greenleaf – primarily covering music, entertainment – has written for more than 30 national and international publications and has penned one book. She has written for Playboy (contributing editor), Interview, US Weekly, Rolling Stone's Record, USA Today, Philadelphia Inquirer, Chicago Sun-Times, Dallas Morning News, Detroit Free Press, Detroit News, Houston Post, and Rocky Mountain News, to name a few.
- myspace.com


"Lincoln Myerson Reviews F &F!"

“I love this EP! Ferris and Caruso have created a sound totally unique, exciting, and nostalgic without seeming dated. Blending retro-pop flavor (reminiscent of Duffy, Amy Winehouse and Lily Allen) and folky melodies(think Fleet Foxes meets Wilco)this band caught my ear from first listen. I have seen tons of acts perform in the shop throughout my tenure as concert manager and I would put these kids up against anyone in respect to their songwriting, vocal harmonizing and fantastic stage performance. I see nothing but a bright future for these two rising stars.”
-Lincoln Meyerson
Concert Manager of McCabe’s Guitar Shop in Santa Monica, CA McCabe’s roster reads like a “who’s who” of music in the last half century, from Bill Monroe and Sun Ra to Jeff Buckley and Cat Power. Nancy Covey and Lincoln Meyerson—McCabe’s concert directors past and present— recently curated an extraordinary concert at UCLA’s Royce Hall celebrating 50 years of musical history in the making, featuring many of the artists who have contributed to the continuing saga of this unique cultural institution. - myspace.com


"Grammy Award Winning Producer loves F & F!"

Freddy and Francine could be the new king and queen of an emerging new folksy funky countrified alternative hard-to-define music scene in LA. They harmonize their powerful, young voices to hypnotic effect. Their songs are compelling, harmonically sophisticated, humorous, catchy and fun. This is their very first effort (amazing). I can't wait to see where these guys go - they're clearly moving in the right direction.”
Robert Margouleff
Grammy Award Winning Engineer & Producer CEO, Mi Casa Multimedia Most noted for his work as associate producer, engineer and synthesizer programmer for Stevie Wonder (beginning in the 1970s) on award-winning albums including Music of My Mind, Talking Book, Innervisions, Fulfillingness’ First Finale and Jungle Fever.
- myspace.com


"EXCLUSIVE! ‘If You Want Me’ by Freddy & Francine"

Music has been littered with duos whose creativity has been intertwined with their romantic feelings towards each other: Buckingham and Nicks, Sonny and Cher and Bonnie and Delaney. Tonight’s folk-esque duo Lee Ferris and Bianca Caruso (Freddy & Francine) are no exception, and they’ve been able to take their creativity beyond where their relationship lasted.

They met in 2007 when Ferris was cast in the lead role of the 40th anniversary revival of the iconic counterculture musical HAiR, in which Caruso was also featuring. Following the conclusion of HAiR a year later, Ferris released a solo album. However it wasn’t long before he and Caruso began writing together, and after Caruso joined Ferris on stage to perform on one of their compositions Freddy & Francine was born.

Their self-titled EP was released in 2008, with their debut LP The Briar Patch following in 2009. It was their second album, 2010’s The Forest And The Sea, though, which marked a turning point in their partnership. Prior to the record the duo had been strictly friends, however their songwriting partnership developed into a romantic relationship and the writing on the record reflected it.

It seemed that this would be the start of a new beginning for Freddy & Francine, as they played a sold-out album release party. However after the release party the duo split up, personally and professionally.

Three and a half years later Caruso recorded a solo album and chose a composition made by her and Ferris as one of the songs to feature on the record. This saw her reach out to Ferris and ask him to join her in the studio and when he did Freddy & Francine was reborn.

If You Want Me is taken from the duos brand new album Gung Ho, which was released 10 June. Speaking about the video for the song, Freddy & Francine explain: “We collaborated on this video with multi-talented artist/ filmmaker Danielle Mulcahy. We flew Danielle to New Orleans during our tour and she stayed with us for 3 weeks collecting footage from all over the south. We asked complete strangers if they’d lip sync to our song If You Want Me and left the interpretation of the lyrics completely up to them. We wanted to show the magic of touring and the juxtaposition of beauty and destruction all over this country while also conveying the idea that everyone everywhere is deserving of love.”

While the duo have christened their sound “50s prom rock” and seen their music likened to Tim Buckley, She & Him and Damien Rice among others, we feel that their sound sits somewhere in between Fleet Foxes and Bon Iver. As always, though, we’ll leave the final assessment up to you… - Songwriting Magazine


Discography

Freddy & Francine EP released December 16th, 2008
The Briar Patch- Full Length released April 23, 2009
The Forest and The Sea - Ful Length due out in Fall 2011
NEW ALBUM COMING IN 2016 - Produced by Todd Sickafoose (Ani-DiFranco / Anais Mitchell) 

Photos

Bio

2016 - NEW ALBUM!
2016: Kerrville Fall Festival, TX
2016: Planet Bluegrass Folks Festival, CO
2016: Official Showcase Folk Alliance International, MO
2016: Blue Rock Studio Artist Ranch, TX
2015: Sisters Folk Festival, OR
2015: Madison Square Park, NY
2015: Sisters Folk Festival (Sisters, OR)
2015: Madison Square Park Studio Series (NYC)
2014: Three Week Residency at L.A.'s famed Hotel Café
2014: Winners: L.A.'s Best Singer/Songwriter Competition

Freddy & Francine is an Americana/Soul duo featuring singer songwriters Lee Ferris and Bianca Caruso. Drawing from influences like Ray LaMontagne, Brandi Carlile, The Swell Season, Ryan Adams and The Rolling Stones, No Depression describes Freddy & Francine as “Americana Soul, complete with tight two-part harmonies, engaging songs that will shoot deep into your heart, and a musical chemistry that is second-to-none in the L.A. Americana scene.”

Freddy & Francine's new album, aptly entitled Gung Ho, offers a celebration of sorts, one that not only finds the couple reunited after going their separate ways, but also on the verge of ascending the next plateau. Recorded -- where else -- at Gung-Ho Studio in Eugene Oregon with an all star cast of players that includes renowned producer and multi-instrumentalist Todd Sickafoose (Anais Mitchell, Ani DiFranci), drummer Ted Poor (Andrew Bird, Bill Frisell), guitarist Kyle Sanna (Chris Thile, Yo Yo Ma) and keyboardist Rob Burger (Lucinda Williams, Ryan Adams, Rufus Wainwright), it purveys a joyful, uplifting, harmony-drenched sound that reflects their commitment to Americana, and to each other. Echoes of Lone Bellow, the Civil Wars and the Swell Season are apparent in its grooves, but the inspiration, originality and enthusiasm are obviously their own.

Band Members