Having a batch songs that “were definitely burning a hole in my pocket” caused singer-songwriter Tom Freund to step on the pedal and make the new East Of Lincoln, whose title track premieres exclusively below. And the album, which comes out Sept. 7, means more to Freund than just clearing out the musical cupboard.
“I write out necessity pretty much,” Freund tells Billboard. “I think I did these songs as a personal healing process.” Healing from what? “Oh God — that's a long list,” he says with a laugh. “It's everything. There's relationships. There's people who have passed on around me. There's a very frantic, insane world right now; It seems like everyone is in the most frantic state I've ever seen, and I try to wade in and make sense it through songs.”
Freund chronicles one those issues in the gentle, rootsy “East Of Lincoln.” Coming out a piece commissioned but not used for Netflix's Flaked, it features Freund singing about the changes to Venice, Calif., where he resided. “It's a theme to, like, my California experience, a Venice lost,” says Freund, a New York native whose resume also includes playing bass for the Silos as well as working with Jackson Browne, Elvis Costello and others. “Venice was such a cool place, and it became something really different. It got overrun and SnapChat and Google moved in and it got very corporate. It's very cheesy and people were getting booted out along with the kind real-deal Venice. So it's me waving goodbye, rearview mirror style.” Freund has also filmed a video for the song.
Freund co-produced the 11-song East Of Lincoln with Sejo Navajas (Vintage Trouble, Gabrielle Wortman). Longtime buddy Ben Harper contributing to a pair tracks and Freund is joined by Foo Fighters' Rami Jaffe and a batch session luminaries. He has a few shows on the books now and is hoping to add more around the album's release.
Meanwhile, he's also ensconced in writing songs for Amazon's Pete The Cat, an animated show set to debut this fall that features Costello singing the opening theme song while others — including Dave Matthews, Diana Krall, Jason Mraz and K.T. Tunstall — have recorded some Freund's songs for the series. “It's a kid's show and it's animated, but it's very cool,” Freund says. “The writing is a lot different for TV, but it's been a lot fun. It's not the brooding thing I do on my own; It's got to be bang-bang-bang and not a lot time to fuss over things. But to have Dave Matthews come in and do a song I wrote and say, 'You have a nice voice,' I was tripping out. The Elvis thing meant a lot, too, and Diana Krall. Then KT Tunstall and I got to do some jamming in the studio. It's been great. I can't wait for people to hear this stuff.”