Reverend Freakchild
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Reverend Freakchild

Boulder, CO | Established. Jan 01, 2001 | INDIE

Boulder, CO | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2001
Solo Americana Acoustic




"Reverend Freakchild"

"His attitude is irreverent, but his enthusiasm for the blues is clear" - Living Blues Magazine

"Freaky Blues Child"

It is hard to put a name to what's going on here, and you gotta give the Rev props for putting some zing into the labeling. It may not save your soul or lead you to the path of righteousness, but you sure will have some fun on the journey to wherever the hell it is Rev Freakchild is headed. - NO DEPRESSION

"Rev.’s infectious personality"

Chaos And Country Blues
Following a CD of originals,
God Shaped Hole, New York-
based singer/reso-guitarist
Rev. Freakchild’s fourth solo
album is a collection of gospel
and country blues from the
likes of Son House, Lightnin’
Hopkins, and Rev. Gary Davis
– with Vaughan-Bramhall’s
“Tightrope” fitting nicely in
Freakchild’s hands. A bonus
radio interview features the
Rev.’s infectious personal-
ity and four songs on Fender
Shenandoah acoustic.
– DF JazzBlues - Vintage Guitar Magazine

"A musician who plays guitar and harmonica and can write a song stronger than King freakin’ Kong!"

From America’s Back Roads, Via New York City

There are times when you have to reach out and take a chance. When you take the name Reverend Freakchild someone is taking his chance, so I gave him a chance and listened to his sermon. He wanted to be in the line of the great reverends: Robert Wilkins, Horton Heat, and Billy C. Wirtz. Not a small feat by any means, but I have to admit this reverend might not be pure blues, but has a great album of American roots music. Turn down that dusty dirt road and leave the cell phone behind, the Reverend Freakchild is at the wheel.

When I first opened the disc I expected to hear something aggressive along the Horton Heat psychobilly lines, but instead I found a musician who plays guitar and harmonica who can write a song stronger than King freakin’ Kong! The songs aren’t even statement songs or political songs at all, they are just written with an older quill. This album reminds me of what was being released in the 1990s as the blues was booming and G. Love and Beck were leading the charge in the indie scene of preaching the blues to the middle-class white folks in high school. There were many other groups I liked a lot better than those two, and the Rev would have fit into that fold.

The album has him mainly using his Cosmic All-Stars as the band behind him. There are also tracks with Rev solo that sound just as full. The Cosmic All-Stars have some serious musical pedigree and some weird off-off-off the beaten path Broadway shows. To compare in sounds I have to use some obscure references of Preacher Boy, PW Long’s Reelfoot, and Woodbrain.

This album is a great album to get you started on a road trip. “Strange Magic” has a trippy groove to get you movin’. But most albums aren’t about the first song. It’s about the second and “Sweet, Sweet You” should get some serious radio play. You’re on the road now, on the highway headed clearly away from home and this mellow tune will set your mind at ease and get it flowin’. A dream of death leads to nods of Sister Rosetta, Son House, Jimi, Janis, John Lennon, and more that opens up channels in your mind that the road truly gives access to. There are some other tracks that hit on a similar vibe and the Rev sounds good in this setting, especially with some lap steel and fiddle behind him. Those instruments take the recording from being plain to lost in the plains.

To stretch things out the Rev takes his “Worried Mind” on a six-and-a-half-minute jam exploring depths that the rest of the album hint at, but come out on this song. His slashing slide work on “Don’t Miss a Thing” is a blues lover’s delight – modern day Son House. Another straight on blues riff is “A Day Late and A $ Short.” The writing has a Willie Dixon-type of lyric. “My Good Friend Legba” has some deep resonator guitar on it that takes him down in the bayou swamps. This guy is chameleon-like in his playing.

The Reverend Freakchild can play so many styles with precision and passion. He has no need to be labeled a blues musician though. Some songs are more honky-tonk. He comes from New York City and might even fit in at the Rodeo Bar on Third. I’ve seen Popa Chubby there. Imagine that as a double bill, Popa Chubby and Reverend Freakchild! That’s a night of hell.

- Kyle M. Palarino is a contributing editor at BluesWax. - Blues Revue Magazine - Blueswax Reviews

"Interview with Reverend Freakchild"

An Interview with Bluesman/poet Reverend Freakchild: Soul-Manifesting from the man who feels the Blues.

Interview by Michael Limnios

What do you learn about yourself from the blues, what does the Psychedelic Country Blues mean to you?

Lots of people ask me, "How'd ya get that name, Reverend Freakchild?" And usually my first honest answer is, "Well it was a hell of a trip on Magic Mushrooms!" And the other answer is a bit like the story Mississippi Fred McDowell tells about how everyone calls him 'Mississippi' Fred McDowell but he's really from Tennessee. I'm not really a Reverend, although I did get a Rev. license from the back of the National Inquirer years ago. I'm not a freak, although some ex-girlfriends might have something different to say about that and I'm no longer a child. But when I was much younger and playing in bars before I was legally allowed to drink I'd play these old spirituals and blues tunes and people would say, "You're like some kind of Reverend Freakchild." Hey maybe I'm just a reincarnation of an old soul that use to like to play the Blues.

What first attracted you to the Blues & how has the blues and jazz music changed your life?

Well my mom was a concert classical pianist so that's where I got my music from - And my grandmother use to play piano accompaniment for silent movies. But when I was growing up my Dad played me all kinds of blues music he loved. I remember those classical stations that my mom uses to listen to never really came in too good driving around Hawaii where I grew up. But when it was just my Dad and I out cruising around I didn't have to wear my seat belt and he would pop in the 8 tracks and blast Howling Wolf, Jimmy Reed and maybe a little Neil Diamond - hey it was the 70's after all. So blues and rock music just made sense to me at a very young developmental age.
The Blues for me now really just captures a mood, a feeling and a life that I live, it just sounds right. I've been listening to a lot of Hound Dog Taylor, Elmore James or RL Burnside recently and it just makes sense for some reason to my ear and mood - like a puzzle piece that fits into my mind and captures what I can't quite articulate. And if I got a feeling and I can't find a tune that describes it I'll write a tune to capture what's going on with me but they always seem to come out bluesy with a little chaos on the side - maybe that's the influence of all that classical music my Mom still plays and made me try to play when I was a kid.
Weird story: I went to a concert a few years back with a girlfriend and there was a piano and orchestra piece that I knew note for note but looking at the program I could not recall ever listening to or buying the recording. I asked my mom about the piece and she said that it was one that she was working on when she was pregnant with me. So I must have heard it for at least 3 or 4 hours a day for 9 months. And I thought that was strange until my sister told me that Elvis's Mom went to Pentacostal Church all day long singing songs when she was pregnant with Elvis and his twin brother, who incidentally was born dead.

How do you describe Reverend Freakchild sound and progress, what characterize your music philosophy?

Other than Buddhism, Music is my religion. I seek transcendence through song.

Which is the most interesting period in your life and why?

Now is always the most interesting - as an Artist I am always becoming something and that's exciting. With this latest CD I had a bunch of old raw blues covers I wanted to put out. So it actually became an exercise in contemplating death. At first I thought I might actually die before these recording could be released. The process brought up a lot of fear and some realizations that I was reminded of by Robert Thurman at a Menla retreat this past summer, are echoed in the Tibetan book of the dead. First that everybody's gonna die, second no one knows the day or hour of their death, and 3rd you can't take anything with you. So I decided to leave this CD behind as a memento to my life. As we did the artwork for the CD I got a great writer Jon Sobel to actually write an obituary for Reverend Freakchild, like the ones you see on all those reissue blues albums. We included an edited version as the liner notes in this latest CD Chaos and Country Blues and I think it came out great. The look is fabulous and the stripped down blues sounds of love and death songs are beautiful and haunting. So even now as we share this project with the world my mind wanders on the next project... Maybe it'll be titled, "I ain't dead yet!"

Blues poetry (lyrics) and music, can these two arts confront the “prison” of the spirit and mind?

I sing a lot of songs about death. So when I do something like Blind Lemon Jefferson's 'See that my Grave is kept Clean' it gets me in touch with some deep truth - on a musical, intellectual, and spiritual level. I'm comforted by the fact that others have come before and are hip t - Blues GR

"Herausragend Gesungenen"

Ob der Name Reverend Freakchild von Reverend Peyton inspiriert wurde, ist schwer zu klaren. Musikalische Parallelen lassen sich jedoch kaum leugen - wilde, schnarrende Slidegitarre und mitunter eigenwillige Songstrukturen eingeschlossen. Dem Titel "Chaos and Country Blues" wird Reverend Freakchild durchaus gerecht und wecht mit dem herausragend gesungenen "Preachin' Blues" (Son House) Erwartungen, die er im vollen Umfang auch noch einige Male, aber leider nicht immer vollends erfullen kann. Insbesondere die zu frohlich klingende Harp will sich meist nur schwer in den rauen, mitunter auch schon mal krachenden Delta-Blues einpassen und so uberzeugt Reverend Freakchild zumeist allein mit seiner Gitarre oder der sparlichen Begleitung von Bass und Drums - dann aber richtig! Neben den dreizehn blueslastigen Songs finden sich auf der CD noch sechs Bonus-Tracks mit zwei Interviews und vier recht unspektakularen Songs aus dem Bereich des Folk und Country. Ein Album, das den Horer auf voller Lange nicht umhaut, aber mit den Highlights dann doch vom Hocker reiBt. (fu) - Bluesnews

"Nu is er dus ook Reverend Freakchild!"

Ze zijn een begrip in de lange bluesgeschiedenis, de blues reverends: artiesten als Gary Davis, Robert Milkins, en ..meer recent.. Billy C.Wirtz. Nu is er dus ook Reverend Freakchild. Hij begon zijn carrière in een vroege bezetting van Soul Coughin, vormde daarna zijn eerste eigen band, de roots- rockformatie Bananafish; later volgden nog meerde bands zoals Neptune Ensemble,The Soul Miners, Lucky Devils en The Cosmic All- Stars. Later volgden een drietal jaren optreden op Broadway, hoofdzakelijk in een oude hippie keet, gevuld met drugsverslaafden, hoertjes en wat bluesfans.

Ook als lid van de "Metro Mass Gospel Choir", een formatie die regelmatig terug te vinden was op podia van onder meer Carnegie Hall. Zijn muziek is ook terug te vinden als soundtrack van verschillend films, tv uitzendingen en in meerdere reclamespots. Hij woonde in Greenwich village, maar studeerde Filosofie en godsdienst in Hawai, maar muziek was toch zijn echte roeping, naar eigen zeggen.

De laatste jaren van zijn korte leven tradt hij dus meestal solo op, als zanger/gitarit en mondharmonicaspeler. Korte leven? zie ik U denken.... jawel, want hij werd slechts 33 jaar oud, en overleed in 2008 in Bombay, Inda, waarschijnlijk na een auto ongeval. Slechts één dag later zou hij, volgens de gebruiken daar langs de Ganges rivier gecremeerd zijn, en zijn as verstrooid in diezelfde rivier. Een aantal wilde verhalen rondom zijn persoon maken de legende van Reverend Freakchild nog wat mysterieuzer, zoals het feit dat hij studeerde om een traditionele Indiaanse Shaman te worden. Het gerucht dat hij de vader zou zijn van een kind samen met een rechtstreekse afstammelinge van de voodoo priesteres Marie Laveau nemen we er dan maar bij. In ieder geval, wat hiervan echt is en wat fictief, we zullen het nooit weten.

Waar we wel over kunnen oordelen, zijn de 13 songs op deze cd, aangevuld met een radio interview en optreden van de Reverend Freachild en zijn resonator gitaar zorgen voor een dik uurtje akoestische blues en gospel in de puurste "straatzanger" traditie. Zo zijn er nummers terug te vinden van zijn grote voorbeelden en stijlgenoten Son House (Preaechin Blues) de gebruikelijke traditionals als "Rollin' and Tublin" en "If I had posssession over Judgment Day". Ook Willie Dixon's "You Can't Judge A Book By The Cover" en Muddy Waters' "I Can't Be Satisfied". Naast nog enkele andere bluestraditionals, vinden we ook een stripped down versie van Stevie Ray Vaughan's "Tightrope" op deze afscheidscd van de Reverend terug. Een cd vol met eerder voorspelbare, maar eerlijke en pure blues dus van deze te vroeg gestorven "original".

(RON) - Rootstime

"Il Reverendo ha un grande senso dell’ironia!"

Il reverendo (di cui non conosco il vero nome) ha un grande senso dell’ironia. Nelle liner notes fa finta di essere un bluesman scomparso nel 2005 e per rincarare la dose ha creato una copertina che ricorda in tutto e per tutto quelle della Shout (con i disegni crumbiani di Bill Stout) dedicate ai giganti del blues. Originario di Boston ma residente a New York il giovane bluesman (e fa sempre piacere ascoltare un giovane suonare il blues) ha un passato rock, gospel e molto altro.

Freakchild suona e canta piuttosto bene (qualcuno lo ha addirittura paragonato a Leon Russell e Tim Buckley) e se la cava all’armonica. Quasi tutti i brani sono classici del blues prebellico e il cd contiene anche un’ intervista con l’artista e quattro bonus tracks. Dategli fiducia. - Folk Bulletin

"God Shaped Hole"

Trying to come up with a good stage name must involve some serious
considerations - like maybe how to pay homage to your favorite
musical icons, or what name would best encapsulate your own musical
persona. And I'm sure that's the sort of stuff New York based
Sal Paradise was thinking about when he was trying to decide whether
to be known as Floyd Graves, Cleophus James - or the name he finally
settled on - Reverend Freakchild. The name Reverend Freakchild sort
of sums up his credo which is "Music is my religion. Through song I
seek transcendence." And I might add, when he sings he gives
listeners a transcendent experience too.

Reverend Freakchild's music is a soulful mix of blues, gospel, rock
and country, and besides his solo career, he's been a member of many
bands, including the roots rock jam band Bananafish, The Neptune
Ensemble, and The Cosmic All-Stars, a group that appears on some of
the tracks from his new album.

The new album is called God Shaped Hole. And if you happen upon this
CD, the first thing you might notice is the mesmerizing cover art - an
intricate circle of interlocked guitars and arms possibly inspired
those M. C. Escher drawings you may have seen - you know, the ones
with staircases that seem to be going up and down at the same time.

Cover drawings aside though, God Shape Hole is also musically
mesmerizing, with Reverend Freakchild on guitar and harmonica, joined
by the late Drew Glackin on lap steel, bass player Jon "Bones Richie"
Robinson, Patrick Carmichael on drums, Crazy Joe Kaplowitz on organ,
and Sara Alden on fiddle.

We're going to hear three tracks from God Shaped Hole, beginning one
of my own favorites -
it's called Sweet Sweet You. Here's Reverend Freakchild...

+++ Sweet Sweet You; Supersubconscious; Don't Miss Nothing

Reverend Freakchild with Don't Miss Nothing, and before that
Supersubconscious and Sweet Sweet You from his latest album God Shaped
Hole. And by the way, the CD also comes with four embedded music
video bonus tracks that include an instrumental version of Don't Miss
Nothing and a wonderfully soulful version of the traditional This
Train. You can find out more about this album and sample all the
tracks by going online - the link is treatedandreleasedmusic dot com.

- God Shaped Hole is a featured album on this
week's Kaleidoscope, heard on KZGM Cabool MO and WAZU Peoria IL.
Broadcast time is Wed 5/25 at 10am CT and repeats Sun 5/29 at noon CT.
Live streaming is available at
Love your stuff!
Best wishes,
Butch Kara
Cabool MO
- Butch Kara

"Dit album moet u hebben."

Reverend Freakchild
God Shaped Hole
Cosmic Grace Music T&R-004
It doesn’t happen a lot, not only because of physical aspects, but I recently fell in love with an album. God Shaped Hole by Reverend Freakchild offers eleven tracks and four bonus songs including music videos. These videos are one by one true pieces of art. They are made up out of snapshots and homemade movies. One of these bonus tracks is ‘This Train’, this traditional has been played by all the great musicians and, believe it or not, the Rev’ manages to top all of them. I used to be among those who had never heard of Reverend Freakchild. Besides a list of pseudonyms, Sal Paradise for example, the narrator in the beat classic ‘On The Road’, we don’t know a whole lot about him. A degree in philosophy and theology tell us this man has other qualities besides his exquisite slide guitar playing. And you can add creativity to that list too. Some of his songs remind me of The Black Keys and even Captain Beefheart but on the same album he manages to offer the listeners the mellow ‘Sweet Sweet You’, my favorite track. There are not enough words to describe the genius that Reverend Freakchild is and ‘God Shaped Hole’ is an album everyone should own. I don’t care how you get the money, this you have to buy!
- Jago Kosolosky

Reverend Freakchild
God Shaped Hole
Cosmic Grace Music T&R-004
Verliefd word ik niet gauw op een plaat en dat niet alleen omwille van fysieke redenen. Maar het is niet teveel gezegd dat dit album me kan krijgen. Naast de elf nummers, vindt u ook ook vier extra tracks met videoclip op de cd terug. De videoclips zijn één voor één zelfgemaakte pareltjes. Vaak een combinatie van snapshots en homemade filmpjes. Een van de vier extra nummers is de traditional ‘This Train’ en is meteen ook de beste versie die ik ooit van het nummer hoorde. Maar wie is in godsnaam Reverend Freakchild? Dat vroeg ik me ook af toen ik ‘God Shaped Hole’ in handen kreeg. Buiten een rits andere pseudoniemen, waaronder Sal Paradise naar de verteller in de bekende beatnovelle ‘On The Road’, is er niet veel over de man terug te vinden. Goed, een diploma in de filosofie en godsdienstwetenschappen maken duidelijk dat deze man buiten een uitstekend slidegitaarspel ook nog andere kwaliteiten heeft. Creativiteit mag ook aan dat lijstje worden toegevoegd. Er zijn nummers die doen denken aan The Black Keys en zelfs Captain Beefheart maar tezelfdertijd kan je van het zachte ‘Sweet Sweet You’ genieten. Er bestaan geen woorden om de genialiteit van ‘God Shaped Hole’ te omschrijven. Het kan me niet schelen hoe u aan het geld raakt, sluit desnoods een lening af, dit album moet u hebben.
- Jago Kosolosky
- Back to the Roots

"‘Freakchild’ is right….."

‘Freakchild’ is right…..
April 20, 2012

This album is insane.. I love it!

Actually, I want to meet this guy.

The name, Reverend Freakchild. The album, God Shaped Hole.
I’m almost beginning to wonder if this is his real, legal name.

Again I say, it takes a special kind of record to take me out of my ‘reviewing-an-album-comfort-zone’. This is a special record.

Ya know, if you’re a hippie, or love late nights at rowdy bars or outdoor festivals, this album is for you. But, this album swept me all up as well.. someone with absolutely no interest in blues or roots music. I’m a fan, and this is one of my favorite albums of 2012 so far.

Reverend Freakchild ‘God Shaped Hole’

LoveSound Rating – 7/10

Favorite Tracks – ‘Strange Music’ & ‘Supersubconscious’

Reverend Freakchild –

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment » - Love Sound Magazine

"Reverend Freakchild"

‘God Shaped Hole’ van Reverend Freakchild gaat misschien niet met de titel ‘album van het jaar’ lopen, maar met ‘Sweet Sweet You’ heeft de man wel ontegensprekelijk één van de beste songs die ik in lange tijd heb gehoord geschreven. Nu is de plaat oorspronkelijk van 2010, dus ‘God Shaped Hole’ doet sowieso niet mee als het op meest nieuwe releases aankomt. Dit neemt echter niet weg dat je van een heuse ontdekking mag spreken.

Reverend Freakchild (oftewel Fordham, Cleophus James, Fleetwood, Sal Paradise en nog tal van andere namen) beschrijven is heus niet evident. De man groeide op in Hawaii, studeerde in Boston en haalde daar zijn diploma’s filosofie en godsdienstwetenschappen en woont tegenwoordig in Manhattan, New York. Hij speelde in het verleden in tal van bands. Zo kan je onder andere namen als Bananafish, The Neptune Ensemble, The Soul Miners en The Lucky Devils in zijn biografie tegenkomen. Reverend Freakchild speelde zelfs in zalen als Carnegie Hall en Avery Fischer Hall. Hij deed dat weliswaar als lid van het Metro Mass Gospel Choir, maar hij stond er toch maar. En om het lijstje nog bizarder te maken, vermelden we met alle plezier zijn vaste stek op zondag in Tobacco Road, een plaats in de buurt van Broadway waar menig hippie zijn of haar broek versleet en dat nu vooral drugverslaafden, prostituees en muziekfreaks over de vloer krijgt.

De opmerkelijke levensloop van Reverend Freakchild heeft, in tegenstelling tot wat je zou verwachten, niet gezorgd voor een geflipte en schizofrene plaat. Toegegeven, de songs klinken heel verscheiden, maar zijn ontegensprekelijk van de hand van de Rev himself. We horen heel wat verschillende stijlen, al is de term ‘roots’ sowieso de grote gemene deler. Echte, doorleefde blues horen we in ‘A Day Late And A $ Short’, ‘All Across America’ en ‘Crazy Life (It’s Alright)’ zijn dan weer heuse Americana-rockers. Country is zwaar vertegenwoordigd in songs als ‘My Good Friend Legba’, ‘Causing Crying’ of het eerder al genoemde ‘Sweet Sweet You’. ‘Stupid Motherf#%!er’ is dan weer een heerlijk relaxed, laidback nummer waar je onmogelijk een label op kan plakken.

Freakchild speelt zelf gitaar en mondharmonica en hij neemt ook de vocalen voor zijn rekening op ‘God Shaped Hole’. Live speelt hij vooral solo. Af en toe wordt hij bijgestaan door (een deel van) de band die ook present was voor de opnames van deze plaat. Neem het maar van ons aan dat het stuk voor stuk prima muzikanten zijn, net als Freakchild zelf trouwens. Drew Glackin, die de lapsteelpartijen op ‘God Shaped Hole’ zo heerlijk doet klinken, verdient wel een aparte vermelding, al is de reden dan weer minder fijn. De man overleed onverwacht en heeft het niet mogen meemaken dat deze cd uitkwam. ‘God Shaped Hole’ is de derde cd van Reverend Freakchild. Voor mij persoonlijk was het een meer dan aangename kennismaking en ik ben er zeker van dat de doorsnee liefhebber van muziek in het algemeen en roots in het bijzonder mij hierin zal bijtreden. Met andere woorden: doe uzelf een plezier en surf even naar ’s mans site. U zal het zich niet berouwen.

(Preach) - Rootstime

"5 Stars"

This review is from: God Shaped Hole (Audio CD)

This CD is a redemptive ride. From the first track we're off on a journey with the Rev of always becoming. Seeking a 'Strange Magic' that always seems to elude us. Next we travel down to the delta. The Reverend makes the pilgrimage to the crossroads and asks Robert Johnson for direction at his grave while paying homage to some classic rock icons on this sweet sweet track. We then travel 'All Across America' with lyric lifts from Woody Guthrie 'from California to the New York Isle' to Jimi Hendrix's Spanish Castle Magic reference of 'traveling by dragonfly'. Deeper still we traverse the winged 'Supersubconscious' drug-a-log of the Freakchild. Emerging resonator steel guitar'd acoustic we trudge the path of excess with Legba and the Rev to seek the palace of wisdom only to find we've arrived 'A day Late and a Dollar short' in an ode to the blues. But it's Alright because this CD is pure roots rock, and rolls on into shades of the Rev's 'Worried Mind' and 'Crazy life'. The Rev is an excellent harmonica player and plays some great solos on quite a few tracks on the disc. He also proves he can artfully bend some strings on 'Worried Mind' - probably the best track on the CD but a little long for a radio ready single. He leaves most of the colors and textures to the great lap steel, fiddle and Hammond B3 organ sidemen. All the songs on the disc are Rev originals, and a great piece of self deprecating songwriting is the tune 'Stupid Motherf#%!er'. It's destined to be an underground sing along cult classic. Redemption finally follows with the realization that all the Rev's hard living has been 'Causing Crying'. And then a final acoustic slide guitar tune with lyric beauty of biblical revelation overtones reminds us to 'Don't Miss Nothing' and sends us back into the world hopefully wiser for the ware.

The CD also includes 4 movies. 'Amsterdam Blues' - a great acoustic blues Polaroid diary of younger days gone past. 'God Shaped Hole' - the title track instrumental that finds the Freakchild's feet wandering through some amazing scenes. 'Don't Miss Nothing' - gets an instrumental Buddhist treatment and some pastoral passages that allude to the spirituality of the great video artist Bill Viola. 'This Train' with simple inspired vocal, resonator slide guitar, upright bass and hand claps finally transports the listener to transcendence. - Review on Amazon

"4 stars"

Artist: Reverend Freakchild
Album: God Shaped Hole
Review by Vinny “Bond” Marini

His name is Reverend Freakchild and his musical career has spanned the gorge from rock to blues to country to spirituals. On his new album God Shaped Hole, Freakchild brings us a taste of all of that and more.

The album is a collection of solo, and music played with the Cosmic All-stars: the late Drew Glackin on lap-steel, Jon “Bones Ritchie” Robinson on upright bass and Patrick Carmichael on drums. Freakchild is responsible for the vocals, guitars and harp playing. Also on the album are “Crazy” Joe Kaplowitz on B-3 organ (he adds some spectacular ambiance to the music), Sara Alden on fiddle and backing vocals by Sean Condron, Mamie, CC and Sal Paradise.

“Strange Magic” opens the album and comes across like something from the 70’s. Opening with what sounds like music being played backward, the song erupts into a solid slow bluesy beat as Freakchild talk-sings the lyrics. You get introduced to the solid core of the Cosmic All-Stars as they enhance the music of the Reverend.

“Sweet Sweet You” follows with a pure roots/country sound. Freakchild’s finger picking laid on top of the lap-steel and the solid rhythm, put down by Robinson and Carmichael, lead into a harmony line of woos and the Reverend begins to tell the story of a man heading to heaven and meeting his heroes, named in the chorus; “There were Jimi and Janis and John Lennon too, yeah, there was Sonhouse and Robert Johnson wailing like they do…” It is one of the top picks on the album. Freakchild’s moaning wail fits perfectly into this mode.

“All Across America” follows and Freakchild shows us his rocking side. A two-four beat pounded out by Carmichael and Freakchild’s wailing harmonica mixed in the back, but still sweet to hear.

On “My Good Friend Legba” we get the Reverend with a resonator guitar, nothing more. The song is mixed with the guitar on the right channel and the vocals coming from the left channel. It gives the song a true delta quality to it. This is the type of song you will get if you see Freakchild as a solo artist and he can certainly make the resonator sing.

“A Day Late And A $ Short” is another blues jam from the band. The B-3 is a large part of this song, some tasty runs being played on it throughout. This is a party kind of song with background noise added, voices talking, other sounds…making you experience the song as if you were in a bar watching the band play live. The song fades out and there is some harmonica, voices, one note on the B-3 which grows into a full chord as the harmonica keeps wailing, and then it all fades out. Freakchild seems to like adding ambiance to his music and for this song it works.

“Worried Mind” is another blues joint, with a wailing lap-steel adding to Freakchild’s vocal prowess. Carmichael is showcased in this song, his drum beat exploding over the excellent harp lines being played, at times sounding as if there are two of him playing.

On the song “Supersubconcious,” Freakchild wrote in a fiddle that brings a soft, yearning sound to the song, and in parts acts like a harmonic voice along with the lap-steel. The country flavored song lets Freakchild tell the tale as the band gives him a platform to allow his voice to take center stage.

As all bluesmen seem to do, Freakchild has a song that lays it on the line. It is not a radio friendly song at all as the title states. “Stupid Motherf#%!er,” talks about those instances where the wrong decisions were made, as in cheating on a girlfriend, but sleeping with her girlfriends, well, he F’ed it up! Though the title is censored, the lyrics are not. The music for the song is probably the most basic of all the songs on the album and that did not surprise.

“Causing Crying” brings back the country twinge that Freakchild seems to hold near to his heart. It is a ‘get-along-little-doggie’ song, with heavy lap-steel presence.

The album closes with Freakchild and his resonator once again for a song titled “Don’t Miss Nothing.” When the Reverend is playing in this style it harkens to the great sounds of Jorma Kaukonen, though Freakchild needs to go a bit further to touch that master.

Reverend Freakchild grew up in Hawaii and has lived in Boston and now Manhattan. He has played hippie hangouts, clubs and even Avery Fischer Hall and the great Carnegie Hall (with the Metro Mass Gospel Choir). All of those experiences can be heard on God Shaped Hole as the Reverend takes you on his musical journey. If you are a fan of Leon Russell, John Hammond Jr. and Doctor John you will become a fan of Reverend Freakchild and God Shaped Hole will be in your collection.

Review by Vinny “Bond” Marini
Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)

- Vinny “Bond” Marini

"New Rev Freak CD God Shaped Hole"

CD REVIEW: Reverend Freakchild - God Shaped Hole By Ivan Nossa
Artist: Reverend Freakchild Album: God Shaped Hole
Label: Treated & Released Records Website: Genre: Blues/CountrySounds Like: Lean Russell, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson Technical Grade: 8/10 Production/Musicianship Grade: 9/10 Commercial Value: 8/10 Overall Talent Level: 8/10 Songwriting Skills: 8/10 Performance Skill: 8/10

Best Songs: Sweet sweet you, Don’t miss nothing

CD Review: Reverend Freakchild comes from Hawaii, Boston, New York and God only knows how many other places have touched his life and enriched his background. At the same time he has played in various bands (like Bananafish, The Neptune Ensemble, The Soul Miners, The Lucky Devils and The Cosmic All Stars), shows, international tours and also venues like Carnagie Hall (with the metro Mass Gospel Choir). After all these experiences it comes natural for his new cd to be so rich and diverse. It is like a garden with many flowers and every flower has its own beautiful color. These flowers are his songs that come from different music American roots but sound always appropriate. We can find true blues in “A day late and a $ short” and “Worried life”. Rock, especially American rock, with songs like “Crazy life”. And even country with “Sweet sweet you” and “My good friend Legba” or “Causing crying”. The icing on the cake of all the above is his soulful voice that adds a special deepness to all the tracks. His voice can change from country to blues in seconds and fit perfectly. Most of the songs takes us back to the times of American real bluesmen and countrymen. I suggest that he continues in the search for his personal style to add to these music genres that he interpret so well. He plays guitar and harmonica and his harmonica bits are really emotional. The end of “A day late and a $ short” is a gem. In some tracks he is accompanied by the Cosmic All-Stars, and they play beautifully. The lap-steel is vibrating making some songs sound like classics. The arrangements are first class, they allow the entire album to switch from one genre to the other and sound always very good and perfect for all the kinds of music. The violin in supersubconscious is really a nice touch, a kind of a melancholic second voice. The bluesful banjo in “My good friend Legba” and the dramatic drum solo of "Worried mind" send shivers. A very good album, played with the heart and sung with the soul.

- The Muse's Muse


Reverend Freakchild is a multiple throwback. He evokes the great "blue-eyed soul" vocalists of past decades, like Leon Russell or a laid-back Tim Buckley. But he's also, like John Hammond Jr., a student of traditional acoustic blues guitar. He also brings jazzy, but not flashy, touches to his playing, like a humbler version of Jorma Kaukkonen or Leo Kottke...He's also got a broad playful side. The traditional artist this "Reverend" most often brings to mind, however - not so much for his technique but for overall musical sensibility - is another Reverend, namely Gary Davis. Freakchild's soulful vocals and sensitive guitar work lock these elements together, resulting in a musical mosaic that pays reverent tribute to the spiritual and soulful traditions of American music...Excellent!! - The Global Muse - Jon Sobel


Blues & Spirituals CD (2001)
Hymn Hustler CD (2003)
Cosmic All-stars EP (2006)
God Shaped Hole CD (2010)
Country Blues & Chaos CD (2013)
Hillbilly Zen-Punk Blues CD (2015)
Illogical Optimism (2016)
Peaches' Blues (2017)
Dial It In! (2018)



In the tradition of such Blues Reverends as Rev. Gary Davis, Rev. Robert Wilkins or Rev. Billy C. Wirtz - such is the irreverent Reverend Freakchild. Like John Hammond Jr. he is a student of the Blues. He has played in many bands including an early incarnation of Soul Coughing with M. Doughty leaving to form the roots rock jam band Bananafish in Boston and then on to some work with The Neptune Ensemble, The Soul Miners (w/ guitar virtuoso Matt Rae), The Lucky Devils and The Cosmic All-Stars touring internationally. The Rev. spent 3 years off-off-off Broadway singing blues and sprituals on Sundays at Tobacco Road, the now defunct NYC hippie hangout replete with drug addicts, hookers and music freaks. The Rev. has also served as a member and featured soloist of the Metro Mass Gospel Choir performing at such venues as Carnegie Hall, Avery Fischer Hall and the Town Hall Theater. The Rev's music has been featured in many TV programs and commercials, and also national radio advertising campaigns. He grew up in Hawaii, holds a degree in philosophy and religion from Northeastern University and is now pursuing a Master of Divinity Degree at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado.  He continues to perform and preach saying, "Music is my religion. Through song I seek transcendence!"

Band Members