JPR Live Session: Freddy & Francine

May 27, 2016

While romantic entanglement hasn’t been exactly uncommon when it comes to successful musical duos -- Buckingham and Nicks, Sonny and Cher, Bonnie and Delaney, and Goffin and King simply for starters -- Freddy & Francine, or, as they’re known to family and friends, Lee Ferris and Bianca Caruso, have built a career that’s been intertwined with their feelings for both their music and each other.

Naturally, that romantic roller coaster offers the potential for plenty of inspiration as far as their songs are concerned, but real life doesn’t always play according to the rules. 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 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. “We had each gathered so many new experiences and influences in the time we were apart,” Bianca, AKA Francine, explains. “I had been listening to a lot of Todd Sickafoose’s work with Anais Mitchell. So when it came time to record, I couldn’t wait to share these sounds with Lee. We interviewed a lot of potential candidates, but we both decided that Todd would be the dream producer for this project."