Review by Lois Jackman

Almost Free Music (Volume Three) is almost perfect! A wonderful collection of local talent, this CD highlights the best of a multitude of styles. From the folky sounds of Amelia Jo to the edgy funkadelic of Frokus and everything in between, it’s a fine showcase!

High on the talent scale are Dan Vaillancourt, The Chromatic Effect and Dave Kellan. I was pleasantly surprised by some of the sounds of these three in particular. Vaillancourt is just so talented and creative and I love his voice! Some of the background vocals are a bit off in "Fall Woods," and I think it holds him back from a near perfect sound. Close to tonal perfection is also The Chromatic Effect whose interesting lines and sensitivity keep the listener interested. I was quite impressed with the courageous unison passage in "Half Baked" that was pulled off beautifully. And Dave Kellan’s popsy, catchy sound and solid arrangements remind me a little of early Barenaked Ladies. Clearly talented and musically top-notch, Kellan’s music is very listenable.

There are other artists of note in this collection, like Amelia Jo (or is that Joan, as in Baez?) with her ballad-like, retro, approachable folk sound. I was just a little worried at times, however, that she would lose the pitch, but then pulled it together. And then there’s Frokus with their edgy, tight funk that oozes cool. And finally, a shout out to Jeff Yantz for his outstanding harmonica playing!

Overall, a credit to the Free Music Festival, this CD clearly demonstrates the high level of talent the area has to offer. It’s definitively going in the play list in my car!

To learn more, visit FreeMusic Fest.

© Lois Jackman, 2012