Tonight’s exclusive is from a duo who’ve traversed the impact love has on songwriting and come out the other side
Music has been littered with duos whose creativity has been intertwined with their romantic feelings towards each other: Buckingham and Nicks, Sonny and Cher and Bonnie and Delaney. Tonight’s folk-esque duo Lee Ferris and Bianca Caruso (Freddy & Francine) are no exception, and they’ve been able to take their creativity beyond where their relationship lasted.
They met in 2007 when Ferris was cast in the lead role of the 40th anniversary revival of the iconic counterculture musical HAiR, in which Caruso was also featuring. Following the conclusion of HAiR a year later, Ferris released a solo album. However it wasn’t long before he and Caruso began writing together, and after Caruso joined Ferris on stage to perform on one of their compositions Freddy & Francine was born.
Their self-titled EP was released in 2008, with their debut LP The Briar Patch following in 2009. It was their second album, 2010’s The Forest And The Sea, though, which marked a turning point in their partnership. Prior to the record the duo had been strictly friends, however their songwriting partnership developed into a romantic relationship and the writing on the record reflected it.
It seemed that this would be the start of a new beginning for Freddy & Francine, as they played a sold-out album release party. However after the release party the duo split up, personally and professionally.
Three and a half years later Caruso recorded a solo album and chose a composition made by her and Ferris as one of the songs to feature on the record. This saw her reach out to Ferris and ask him to join her in the studio and when he did Freddy & Francine was reborn.
If You Want Me is taken from the duos brand new album Gung Ho, which was released 10 June. Speaking about the video for the song, Freddy & Francine explain: “We collaborated on this video with multi-talented artist/ filmmaker Danielle Mulcahy. We flew Danielle to New Orleans during our tour and she stayed with us for 3 weeks collecting footage from all over the south. We asked complete strangers if they’d lip sync to our song If You Want Me and left the interpretation of the lyrics completely up to them. We wanted to show the magic of touring and the juxtaposition of beauty and destruction all over this country while also conveying the idea that everyone everywhere is deserving of love.”
While the duo have christened their sound “50s prom rock” and seen their music likened to Tim Buckley, She & Him and Damien Rice among others, we feel that their sound sits somewhere in between Fleet Foxes and Bon Iver. As always, though, we’ll leave the final assessment up to you…