John Fries
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John Fries


Band Americana Blues


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"Blues Bytes Reviews "U.S.50""

Inspired by the likes of Albert King, Eric Clapton, the Allman Brothers, Stevie Ray Vaughan, the Black Crowes, and Martin Sexton, singer/songwriter/guitarist John Fries has been heavily involved in the Northeastern U.S. since the mid ?90s, playing in various blues, R&B, funk, and rock bands over that span, and releasing three critically acclaimed albums of his own over the past five years. With his latest release, U.S. 50, Fries has unleashed a sterling set of rocking blues that transcends genres and will appeal to a large base of listeners.

The seven-track EP consists of tracks written by Fries and performed by Fries and his band (Pat Perry ? bass, Ron Lewis ? drums and percussion), plus support on assorted tracks from Nancy Parent (pedal steel guitar and backing vocals), Kerry Pulaski (keyboards), Curt Ramm (trumpet), and Bill Holloman (tenor and baritone sax).

The opening cut, ?Another Love,? starts innocently enough with a gentle and hypnotic country guitar riff, but soon transforms to a roaring electric slide track. ?Defeat? reminds me of an Allman Brothers track, with the harmony guitar work and ?Revival?-like peppy rhythms which belies its somber theme. ?My Dearest? is a story of betrayal that moves back and forth between gentle to crunching guitar riffs.

?We Can Lie? is a strong R&B tune that adds horns to Fries? expressive and soulful vocals. ?Technicolor You? features a unique lyric about how the vision of his former lover remains frozen as it was during the good times while his world remains entrenched in reality. It?s one of the highlights of an album loaded with them. ?Soaring? is appropriately titled, with Fries? guitar work fitting the title extremely well, along with the backing vocals. The title track closes the disc. It?s a country-flavored melancholy ballad about the longtime cross-country route, called ?The Loneliest Road in America.?

Though only seven songs long, U.S. 50 offers up a strong set of blues and roots music covering affairs of the heart. Fries is a talented wordsmith and guitarist and his weather-worn vocals are excellent. This highly recommended set will not only please blues fans, but will touch fans of other genres as well.
- Blues Bytes

"CT.Com Album of the Day "U.S. 50""

One thing I loved about this year's Grand Band Slam and subsequent CT Music Awards was that it forced me to become even more familiar with certain artists that I only knew peripherally. One such artist that I've thoroughly enjoyed getting to know better is John Fries.
John Fries (pronounced 'freeze') has been a staple of the New London music scene for some time now. He's also run in various circles of the rich CT Blues scene for awhile as well. But it wasn't until his most recent release, U.S. 50, back in May of this year that I was able to sit down with some sort of recorded material and really bask in his talent and songwriting prowess.
O.k., follow me on this one. I feel that there are two types of people in this world - Rooters and Ramblers. Rooters live in one place for a long time, maybe all their lives and are perfectly content to do so. Ramblers are people who could pack up and go tomorrow. They love the open road and the feeling of newness and freedom that a long stretch of highway can bring. I'm a Rambler and I love music that touches something in a rambling heart; something that says 'It's o.k. to be on the move, we'll be your soundtrack for you.' John Fries writes 'rambling music' of the highest order.
What makes me feel so at home listening to this record? Maybe it's because his album is named after one of the longest stretches of road in the country, maybe it's the album cover showcasing some random part of the Southwest (one of my favorite parts of the country), but most likely it's the splendid combination of blues, alt-country, roots rock, and Americana that Fries is able to so succinctly weave together.
Fries has the voice of an old soul. It's full of experience and stories to tell. His guitar work is exceptional, and his backing rhythm section (formerly The Heat) hit all the right notes while Fries leads them through varying degrees of soulful rock n' roll. Although Fries was nominated in the Best Blues category at the CT Music Awards and he certainly, at times, worships at the altar of such legends as Elmore James, Buddy Guy and Bobby Bland, Fries is not just a "bluesman". Combining the blues with influences as far ranging as the Black Crowes, the Allman Brothers, John Mayall, and Ben Harper, Fries has created a unique take on roots rock that will appeal to a wide range of music fans. U.S. 50 is another exceptional musical accomplishment to come from the New London scene and one of the better albums from a CT artist this year.
Copyright © 2012, WTXX-TV
- CT.Com

"Deep Roots Reviews "U.S. 50""

U.S. Route 50 lives in the shadow of Route 66 in the lore of legendary American highways, but it’s no less awesome as either myth or fact. Built in 1926 as part of the original U.S. Highway system, Route 50 runs east and west across the nation, some 3,000 miles, from Ocean City, Maryland, to West Sacramento, California. Of course, just as the rise of the Interstate system doomed Route 66 to near-oblivion, so has U.S. 50 met a similar fate, though more of it is intact than exists of Route 66 these days. More important to the discussion here, Nevada is home to a section of U.S. 50 so bereft of services or civilization—a 287-mile “stretch of next to nothing,” as Suzy Guese describes it at–that Life magazine dubbed it “The Loneliest Road in America.”
Titling his fourth EP after U.S. 50, New York-born, Connecticut-based blues singer-songwriter-guitarist John Fries (backed by his band The Heat—Pat Perry on bass, Ron Lewis on drums and percussion) makes it pretty clear which section of the road he’s on—he’s out there on desolate turf, “a million miles from home,” as he sings in the opening track, “Another Love,” trying to make sense of himself in the throes of heartbreak. In his husky, Bob Seger-like rasp and bluesy moan, Fries first admits as to how a certain significant other has really got a hold on him (again, “Another Love,” spiked with a furious blast of Fries’s own electric guitar howls), before turning on a dime in the funky, Allmans-like “Defeat” and announcing, “Say goodbye to you and me/seems clear we won’t make it to the end.” Nothing good really happens in “Defeat,” but the sparkling twin-guitar leads, the soaring, fat-toned solos, the jittery rhythmic pulse and Fries’s equanimity in facing reality suggest resilience on his part—a premature judgment, perhaps, because in the next song, the amusingly titled “My Dearest,” he’s stalking his woman, and suggesting in ominous terms, “If I can’t have you, no one will,” as his dark, ruminative guitar soloing gradually intensifies until it returns to a full, searing cry, his terse, searing lines rising and soaring overhead. The affecting “We Can Lie,” a sister song to “Another Love,” finds Fries again rapturously recalling the good times, and the grip a particular woman has on his heart; it’s the EP’s most arresting moment, a pure, unbridled (and unambiguous) pledge of love on Fries’s part, expressed in a tender, blue-eyed soul vocal of wondrous feeling, cushioned by the warm, surging horns of Curt Ramm (trumpet) and Bill Holloman (tenor and baritone sax) and sensual, understated keyboard work of Kerry Pulaski. Funky and slow boiling, “Technicolor You,” with its scalding, trebly guitar solo and percolating keyboards (Kerry Pulaski again), recounts Fries’s ill-advised effort to revisit an old flame, only to find some memories are better left alone; the simmering soul ballad “Tomorrow,” however, finds him remorseful over his impetuousness in chasing his gal away—typical of the schizoid nature of the internal battles he fights in these songs.
Nearly six minutes long, the title track closes the EP on a reflective note. Singing over his delicately fingerpicked guitar and Nancy Parent’s softly moaning pedal steel, Fries is at large on the land, kissing off the love he’s leaving behind (“I miss you more than ever, but your dreams were never mine…”) for “some peace of mind/learn to love again someday.” With this the resilient character we met in “Another Love” returns, but with more resolve to open his heart anew. Pulaski’s keyboards evoke a mood of spiritual solemnity, Fries injects a bright gleam into the melody he’s picking out on his guitar, and as his spirit elevates he announces: “somehow the open road doesn’t feel so all alone this time/there’s a lonely stretch of U.S. 50 starts to feel like home, yeah…” When he exits with a whispered, “you know I miss you, baby, more than you ever know/you know I miss you, darlin’/you know I had to go-oh…” the strength in his voice is that of a man made whole again. However it may look to the naked eye, seems there’s a whole lotta life yet to be found on the Loneliest Road in America. On U.S. 50, John Fries charts the journey of a wounded wanderer who struck a motherlode of healing out there.
Order U.S. 50 at the John Fries website.

- Deep Roots Mag

"John Fries EP Review"

If you know John Fries "the Lo-Fi Radio Star" you know that he can wail on a cranked up electric guitar. If you know John Fries "the Original Sinner" then you know that he is also familiar with an acoustic guitar. Well the latter John Fries is releasing a self titled CD.... it's seven tracks of live solo performances... just a man and his guitar.

There are guys who've become famous doing the sensitive man with an acoustic guitar shtick and there are a great many bluesmen that most people have never heard of that are incredibly soulful and out of this world guitar players. John walks this huge difference in styles like a tightrope made of dental floss. He sings like a sensitive guy; he's always on key and does have a tendency to show off a little with his vocal runs. He plays guitar like a bluesman; finger picked, slapped and plucked until most people would cry out for mercy. It is this dichotomy that allows John Fries to tell a story two ways in the course of one song.

Songs like "Out of Place" and "Another Love" were originally played under the Lo-Fi Radio Stars moniker. This may seem like an old MTV Unplugged trick to get you to buy a song again in a different format but I promise you that these songs aren't just stripped down... they're transformed. You can really hear the craft in the song writing when they're played and recorded like this.

While the songs all sound similar because it's just John and his guitar... they were all live recordings from different places and times so they all have their own personality. I don't think a format like this would work for most bands but for this recording it's exactly what John needed to do.


"The New London Day Song Spinner John Fries"

"A fluid and dexterous self-taught guitarist who has dabbled in all sorts of sonic experiences, Fries started in rock and eventually discovered the simplistic and cathartic discipline of the blues and R&B. At the same time, he's explored country stylings and even experimented with hip-hop. As a result, his tunes can echo the sophistication of Steely Dan or Mark Knopfler, reflect elements of funk or C&W, and reflect the sparse singer-songwriter confessionals of Steve Earle or John Hiatt - or all of these splendored things at once."

Rick Koster, The New London Day - The New London Day


I have released 2 ep's and a number of singles as well having done many sessions on other albums as a guitarist (usually playing slide)

My newest EP "U.S. 50" was released in May of 2012. Please visit the "reviews" section to hear what people are saying about it.
Please stop by my website for more info:



Hello, I am a New London CT based artist with 20 years of experience working throughout the East Coast.
My influences are broad but, roots music is what moves me. Some examples would be: Derek & the Dominos, Martin Sexton, Kelly Joe Phelps, The Black Crowes & Allman Brothers.

My band and I have shared the stage with a number of National Acts over the past few years: Robert Cray, Roomful of Blues, Michael Landau & Greg Piccolo.

Please take a minute to visit my website in the link below. There's quite a bit of media to check out: bios, reviews, live video etc.
Thank you.