Originally from Boston, Nat Freedberg started his career with the art-punk outfit the Flies. Since 1981, he has honed his craft as a guitarist, singer, and songwriter with bands like the Satanics and the Upper Crust. It took Nat Freedberg over 25 years to create his first album and now 12 months later, he graces us with his third album Record Number Three.
He may have created music for every genre from country ballads to psychedelic rock, but two things have tied his music together; humanity and humor. He is a natural lyricist and uses humor and his understanding of humanity. And with that in mind, let’s start with the humorously titled “Ode to A Ham Sandwich.” It begins with a bass and guitar intro that sends tingles up your spine, a little like an artesian ham sandwich. It is punctured with guitar riffs and light and airy keyboards to create a track that is a musical tribute to the humble lunchtime dish. All joking aside, this alt-rock/jazz concoction repetitive but slightly hallucinogenic and placed into the middle the album, acting as the perfect palate cleanser.
A distorted guitar strums “Born with Broken Hearts” into existence. Freedberg’s voice is accompanied by a deeper version to create a mind-bending auditory allusion. It is slightly distracting, but I guess that’s what a love song reflects; the confusion and welcome change in pace that love brings with it. Freedberg’s lyrics have always been centered around the human condition, and this track is no different. His lyrics may sound simple, but mixed with his music, it has an optimism that can only be found when trying to get over a broken heart.
From alt-rock to Memphis-style soul, Freedberg moves us through the genres to the deep South. On this track, he highlights the hypocrisy of religion and the questionable inability of those who revere God to help those who are truly in need. It’s a pretty matter of fact and straight to the point. With no extra frills, “If You’re Going To Heaven” is a country song that does what country music does best, holding a mirror to human behavior, making it question itself. A special mention must also be made for “Lonely Mile,” a country-rock tune that drags itself weirdly through its 4:49 mins run time to create a well-rounded rock track that would make the Allman Brothers jealous.
Albums are made so fast these days. For some musicians, sitting down and taking time with an album is a luxury. A time to prune away and mold the perfect record. Many artists are expected to produce albums every year or so, which doesn’t afford them much time to really immerse themselves in the artistic process. Releasing three albums in the space of a year is impressive, but what is even more impressive is his ability to create incredible music time after time. His musical mastery has allowed him to create an album that is not only indicative of his talents but also timeless.