My thesaurus is broken! “Hippie” is the only word I can come up with to describe what The Freeway Revival do (or would that be “does?”). Is this what everyone refers these days to as jam music?
Here's the deal. Whilst taking a drive the other day, I reached over to the stack of CDs I always take with me and grabbed one off the top. Not looking at the cover (I was driving, after all), I removed the CD by touch and popped it into the player. First half minute wasn't all that impressive, I thought, so I reached over to hit the eject button but something prevented me. I kept listening, though I could not say why, when that first track ended and the second began. The funk grabbed my ears. And the instruments. Keyboards (organ, actually), guitar, bass, drums. Straight out of the late sixties and early seventies. A sound I was used to, that I had heard before. Maybe not the slickest sound I'd ever heard, but pleasant enough. Good, I began to think. I like it, I decided. And the more I listened, the more I liked it.
By the end of the album, in fact, I was sold. The Freeway Revival are cut from the molds of so many bands I used to (and still do) love. Country Funk, Cat Mother, Wilderness Road, The Grateful Dead, The Allmans, and so many Southern bands, so many country rock bands--- just so many. Never for long. And that is the magic of this album. You hear a flash of The Dead, a riff of the Allmans, the beat of The South, the sound of psych (but not that slick Los Angeles psych--- more of the San Francisco variety), all mixed together and spewed out in places, woodchipper-style.
Ah, for the days of Wilderness Road playing outdoors in San Francisco, The Mendelbaum Blues Band (later, just Mendelbaum) playing the Matrix and Rockin Foo playing the Eugene Pop Festival in--- was it the summer of '69? Damn good stuff, that. If you were there, you will know what I mean when you hear Peace...
Does "hippie" describe them? Are they as good as I make them out to be? Only one way to find out. Check out the CD or maybe see them live. I have to admit being biased. Any band which respects Steve Young's music gets a free pass. While this is not on the album, it speaks (or sings) for itself.