When I first saw this CD, I was not quite sure of what to expect. The album cover — a picture of bare trees on a hillside — gives no clue as to what lies ahead. A photo of the artist holding his accordion was the only indication of its contents.
But Freetown by Jeremiah McLane is far from what might be expected on an album of accordion music. The 14 tracks of mostly original tunes are works of inspiration and musical mastery and not the polkas and oompah-styled pieces usually associated with the instrument.
McLane was born in New Hampshire, traveled and lived all over the world, and now makes his home in Vermont. This album — his third solo work — is named for one of the places he lived as a child. Freetown is also the capitol of Sierra Leone.
Along the way Jeremiah earned a master’s degree in contemporary improvisation. Now this award-winning teacher, performer and composer puts his talents to work on this collection of tunes that vary in tempo and styles from slow, thought-provoking works of art to lively dance tunes and jazz pieces. McLane also demonstrates his talents as a pianist.
Accordion enthusiasts will find that Freetown is a must-have for their collection. But anyone who enjoys good music or music with influences from other cultures will also want to own it as well. The album was a pleasant surprise and one that I am glad I chose to hear.
by Sherrill Fulghum Rambles.NET 2 June 2007