Reverend Freakchild

Songs Of Beauty For Ashes Of Realization
Reverend Freakchild

Though its nine tracks revisit and rearrange originals from his 16 albums, the Reverend’s latest project is as ambitious as it is eclectic. While he typically performs solo (as he does on two cuts here), stars such as drummer Chris Parker (Aretha Franklin, Miles Davis, Bob Dylan) and Garrett “G. Love” Dutton on harmonica were called on for ensemble tracks.

Featuring his National Resolectric, the Rev interweaves meaty lines with Hugh Pool’s guitar, lap-steel, bass, and harmonica, blending and pushing the boundaries of blues, folk, and rock. Freakchild blows harp as Drew Glackin’s lap-steel sails through the outro of “All Across America.” The cynical “Hippy Bluesman Blues” features Andrea Whitt’s pedal-steel and Mark Karan’s “woman tone” lead.

“Tears Of Fire” is the most-rocking selection, with Freakchild and guitarist Chris Bergson achieving wonderfully distorted tones, while “Skyflower (Watermoon)” offers a beautiful pastoral respite.

The shining spot of the program is “Amsterdam Blues,” with Rev backing his vocal on bottleneck – both double-tracked – sounding a bit like John Fahey. If you arrived late to the Freakchild party, worry not. Exploring his catalog offers surprises at every turn.

This article originally appeared in VG’s October 2023 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.

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