This Saturday, June 5, the duo known as “Freddy and Francine’’ will be performing in person at the magical Poulos Park in Paonia as part of the “Live Music Still Soothes the Soul’’ concert series.
Lee Ferris and Bianca Caruso a.k.a “Freddy and Francine,” formerly from Nashville, are fresh out of the pandemic and ready to bring healing to a mask weary world. The prophets of love, joy and hope completed their latest soulful album “I am Afraid to Die” just months before the pandemic shutdowns.
Speaking of the pandemic, Ferris and Caruso’s world was turned upside down, shaken to the core and re-ordered in a way they couldn’t have imagined. Full time touring stopped cold leaving them with no income and relying on unemployment to survive.
“It really highlighted the reality of the business in a lot of ways. A lot of people assume because you are a full time musician that you could take a year’s worth of work off and have enough money to just survive and go on tour when all the gigs come back,” said Ferris.
The singer/songwriting couple loaded it all up and moved across the country from the heartland of music to the high and dry desert of Flagstaff, Arizona.
“It was like dark times for so many folks and we decided to move to Flagstaff because we had a job opportunity during Coronavirus that we just couldn’t pass up,” Caruso said.
Managing a family-owned mini-storage business just doesn’t seem all that glamorous for two seasoned road musicians, but neither is the day to day, week to week, month to month ... touring for over the past 10 years.
“It’s really chill work and the people we meet are fascinating. For us as much as we were touring before it’s not sustainable. It’s been really a blessing over the last year in just calming down,” said Caruso.
Time in the desert hasn’t been wasted. Like many, many artists Ferris and Caruso took advantage of the internet to entertain themselves ... and others via Facebook and Zoom.
Ferris and Caruso hosted the “Sunday Slow Down” on Facebook as a way to connect with fans, entertain and share the profits with non-profit organizations.
Now that the pandemic has subsided a bit, Ferris and Caruso are back on the road with local performances on Friday, June 4, in Telluride at the “Music on the Green” and Saturday, June 5, at Paonia’s Poulos Park for the “Live Music Still Soothes the Soul” series.
Saturday is a return trip for the couple to Paonia and yet another chance to work with event organizer Rob Miller of Pickin’ Productions. This will be one of the band’s first shows after the pandemic. It’s also one of their first shows since releasing their new record “I am Afraid to Die!”
“Rob’s the best. We played this really weird gig, it was a fun show and we really connected with the town. We love small towns like Paonia,” Caruso said.
“It feels safe and it feels good and we know people will be there to listen,” said Ferris.
Caruso added that they’ve got a song for folks who’d really like to tell that one noisy chatty cat to “zip it” entitled “I just want to listen to the band play.”
The fun and pointed chorus: “Shut your mouth, close your eyes, I just want to listen to the band play” is sure to become an ear worm for days after you hear it, but that’s the fun and annoyance of catchy hooks in pop-style music.
So, if you like music that’s down to earth with a bit of “snark” then get your tickets now for Freddy and Francine brought to you by The Paradise Theatre and Pickin’ Productions on Sat., June 5, 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. Tickets: $25 in advance and $30 day of. Buy online.
Also, check out the Freddy and Francine Facebook page for a taste of what’s to come this weekend. And get your tickets in advance.