Pittsburgh Tribune Review
To hear Freddye Stover sing the blues is to be transported to another place and time.
It could be a smoky Chicago nightclub in the 1950s, or a campus in the '60s when blues found favor with college students, or a Southern juke joint in the 1970s, such is her feel for the music.
But to hear Freddye Stover sing is to know only part of her story — a very small part.
Miss Freddye, as she is known professionally, has survived domestic abuse and a bout with cancer. A single mother, she takes her son, James, who is autistic, to most of her shows. And she never turns down a chance to play charity gigs, says John Vento, a musician and founder of Band Together Pittsburgh, a nonprofit organization that raises funds for autism.
“She's a giver, there's no other way to put it,” Vento says. “She loves people and people love her because she's honest and authentic.”
Miss Freddye, 60, a former nurse who works in administration at the VA hospital in Oakland, may be on the verge of a major breakthrough. The Ross resident is nominated for the Koko Taylor Award for best female singer and the best emerging artist album for her release “Lady of the Blues,” at the 39th Blues Music Awards scheduled for May 10 in Memphis.
“Now I'm being recognized as a blues singer, thank God,” Stover says, “because people would always call me a jazz artist. I sang a little jazz, but my main style of music is blues.”
EMBRACING THE BLUES
It took her years to embrace the music that would come to bring her recognition.
Stover grew surrounded by music. Her mother, Rose, listened to the blues, and her father, Thomas, loved country.
“I was trapped between the two and I really didn't like it,” she says, laughing. “I was into the Temptations and the O'Jays. But as years went on, I started listening to blues music and jazz and a little bit of country. I have no idea why.”
About 22 years ago, Stover decided she wanted to sing at clubs. Her mentor, the late “Big Al” Levitt from Tarentum — “a little 4-foot-11 gentleman, a boogie-woogie left-handed man on the keyboards” — told her that she no longer had any choice: She was, and would always be, a blues singer, an idea that Stover embraced.
But Stover's road to success was not always easy. First, she had to learn how to sing.
“She's the perfect example of if you stick to it and work hard enough, you can make it,” says Ron “Moondog” Esser, owner of Moondog's in Blawnox. “When I first met her she was good, but she wasn't great. She's great now.”
And part of what makes Miss Freddye great transcends music.
MORE THAN JUST A SINGER
A few years ago, Stover was playing the Wicked Witches Bar & Grille in Cheswick when she noticed a woman, dressed in white, in the crowd. The woman sipped a single drink then approached Miss Freddye during a break, thanking her for the music.
Then she told Stover why she was really there: She'd caught her husband cheating on her and was intent on killing him that night.
“I said to myself, here we go,” Stover says. “Lord, I am not a counselor, but I have to do something with this. I told her she really needed to think about what she was doing.”
Stover talked to the woman in white a bit longer before she left the bar, hoping she'd come to her senses.
“I watched the news for weeks,” Stover says. “I was on pins and needles.”
A few months later, back at the Wicked Witch, Stover saw the woman again.
Her first reaction: Thank God.
Her second reaction: What if the woman killed her husband and buried him the backyard?
Fortunately, there was no murder. Instead the woman, after talking to Miss Freddye, went home and told her husband she was leaving with their infant child. A few years later, Stover saw the woman again, happily remarried, and safe.
“This is why I sing the blues,” Stover says. “This music that I do, it touched somebody. It's why I do it, and why I'll keep doing it.”
READY FOR THE BIG TIME
The musicians and club owners who have met or performed with Miss Freddye are impressed by her vocal chops. Esser insists she's ready to become a national act.
“She's just as good as anyone else out there singing today,” Esser says. “I want to be her personal valet and roadie so I can follow her around the world.”
Bill Toms, who leads the band Hard Rain, met Stover six years ago. He immediately noticed her passion for the music.
“The best way to describe it is that when you hear somebody sing like that, it comes across as very believable,” Toms says. “What I know from talking to her and hanging out with her a little bit is she's very sweet and very genuine, and that comes through in the music.”
Vento compares Stover to Ella Fitzgerald and Koko Taylor, the famed “Queen of the Blues” who ruled stages until her death in 2009.
But no matter what happens in Memphis in May, Stover will continue to serve others. She plays free shows for veterans groups when asked. At the VA hospital, she participates in the Blessing of the Hands and Butterfly ceremonies that honor nurses and vets who pass away each year.
The blues, Stover insists, draws her closer to these men and women who have served the country so well for so long.
“The correlation is the stories that are being told and the compassion behind it, and the power of the emotion behind it,” Stover says. “I'm telling you, when I sing certain songs, I cry. … If I know I'm going to do a show and I know I'm going to be crying, I don't wear makeup. A lot of people don't know that. But that's OK, you can print that.”
Rege Behe is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.
Cover Story - Pittsburgh’s Lady of the Blues, and Her Sacramento Area Connection
By Freddye Stover and Brandon Bentz, MD (Dr. “B”)
In honor of Women’s History Month, we thought we’d feature a
new female artist who, while not from our local area, does have a connection to us here in Sacramento. Miss Freddye hails from Pittsburgh, PA, and is a relatively new talent on the Blues scene. But she has ties to the Sacramento area, with the Blue’s Society’s own new Vice President, Dr. "B" (Brandon Bentz) who plays music with her.
Brandon travels to his home town of Pittsburgh at least twice a year. and plays with both Miss Freddye's Blues Band, and her acoustic band, Miss Freddye's Homecookin’ Trio. Dr. "B" also appears on her new CD entitled "Lady of the Blues" as a harmonica backup and song writer of two of the CD's songs.
This new CD showcases Miss Freddye's broad array of talent, and has been nominated for two Blue Music Awards this year, the Best Emerging Artist Album and the Koko Taylor Traditional Female Blues artist award. Also appearing on the CD are local great, Andy Santana, and bay area Blues stars, Kid Andersen, John Blues Boyd, Aki Kumar, and June Core.
As Pittsburgh's Lady of The Blues, Miss Freddye keeps the blues alive in her native hometown. She started singing at a young age, in the church. The influence of church and her mother's love of the Blues, gave Miss Freddye the beginnings to venture into the world of Blues Music in 1996. She joined BMW (Blues Music Works) under the direction of Big AL Leavitt. In 2002 Miss Freddye formed het own band, "Blue Faze". Several years later, came Miss Freddye's Blues Band and Miss Freddye's Homecookin’ Band. Her major influences include Koko Taylor, Etta James, Sarah Vaughn, Billie Holiday, Big Mama Thorton, Big AL Leavitt, and Bessie Smith.
She has two CDs out which are both available on Spotify, Amazon, and CD baby. In addition to her BMAs nominations, Miss Freddye is also a nominee for the 2017 Pittsburgh Music Awards for best blues band and best album. Past awards include the 2016 Pittsburgh Music Awards best blues band; 2015 Freedom From Silence, Center for Victims, the 2014 Star Award for VA of Pittsburgh, the 2008 West Virginia Blues Society winner for best blues band and the 2012 Blues Society of Western PA best duo/solo. Miss Freddye also does musical charity work for nonprofits such as the American Cancer Society and Veterans’ groups.
Posted on March 5, 2018
Miss Freddye is best-known around Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio, but that is about to change with Miss Freddye: Lady of the Blues. The album is co-produced by Kid Andersen and Andy Santana, who are all over it, providing guitar and harmonica respectively, and Santana also wrote many of the songs. Miss Freddye’s band really cooks, and there is an amazing horn section, too.
From the first sassy notes of “Miss Freddye’s Gonna Fix Ya,” you know you’re in good hands. “Luv Ya Baby” is the first of two duets with John”Blues” Boyd with an irresistible 70’s s sound.
The next three are rocking blues and paint a picture of a woman who might have taken some stuff in the past but isn’t going to anymore. “Lady of the Blues,” “Use the Back Door,” and ‘Home Improvement,’ all follow this theme.
“Doorway to the Blues” proves that she can swing with the best of them, with a jazzy trumpet and Andersen providing a Willie Nelson-like piano solo. while “These Are My Blues” is a more contemplative but still upbeat song with great harmonica. “Freight Train” is another a jazzy, swinging number with a vintage sound.
The album ends with a slow blues, “A Losing Battle,” which is more upbeat about infidelity than you might expect.
Miss Freddye is not breaking any barriers here. She is, as she says, a “lady of the blues.” As such, and with great support from her producers and the band, she provides a very satisfying experience with this album.
Miss Freddye - Lady of the Blues
The album opens with "Miss Freddye's Gonna Fix Ya" where blues shouter Miss Freddye sings about getting her man off booze and dope by replacing them with sensual delights, but the thought could just as easily be applied to getting out of a funk by listening to Miss Freddye's music. No matter what the song lyrics are about, the music is uplifting; a perfect example is "Chain Breaker" where Miss Freddye portrays a woman who desperately needs a change but she does so with a wink and to a melody that is 100% fun. Miss Freddye does get deep into the blues here too, like on "A Losing Battle," but still there's a sparkle in her voice, and it is that quality that makes this record such a fine listen.
Miss Freddye is from Pittsburgh (PA) and in her over 20 years of musical career she has built up a solid reputation as a Chicago style blues singer. She started at BMW (Blues Music Works) and since 2002 she has her own band, Blue Faze, which was renamed a few years later to Miss Freddye's Blues Band, a swinging 5-person group. In addition, from 2010 she has her Miss Freddye's Homecookin' Band, with which she performs acoustic blues.
Now finally her debut CD "Lady Of The Blues" has been released with eleven songs, ten of which are originals. The only cover is Dr. John’s "A Losing Battle". The majority of the compositions is by Andy Santana, who produced the CD together with guitarist Kid Andersen. Miss Freddye has co-written three of them. The eleven songs are clearly in the area between Chicago blues and Memphis soul. Miss Freddye has a great voice with which she can both whisper and roar. The songs are all gems, that sound well and swing like crazy. Anyone who still sits still has a real problem. My favorite songs here are "Luv Ya Baby", a duet with John Blues Boyd, "Doorway To The Blues" and the swinging "Freight Train Blues".
This CD is a pleasant surprise for me and a nice introduction to the music and voice of Miss Freddye. The next time maybe 'Homecooking', the acoustic side of this great singer? An absolute must.
Anthonie Muysstraat 75
3117 LC Schiedam
It's awards season, and there's been much ado this week as we have a locally shot film up for an Oscar.
Also announced this week on the national awards show scene is some cool news from down river, along that Mississippi, over west Memphis way, that Pittsburgh blues belter Miss Freddye Stover has been nominated by the Blues Music Association for two awards: Best Emerging Artist Album and the Koko Taylor Award (Traditional Blues Female).
While that may not mean much to you, there's a certain Milton songwriter who feels like his train has pulled into the station with this good news, because it has.
Back in 2009, Mike Lyzenga - of Blues Crossing, BRATCAMB and one of the leaders that helps the Huntington Blues Society keep rocking and rolling - met Miss Freddye at a WV Blues Society meeting, fast became friends and kept in touch.
Lyzenga, who has cut a record with a blues band in Italy, the Blues Byrds, emailed her a couple songs. Although they kept in touch over the years, he never heard back from her about the songs for eight years.
Then last summer, Miss Freddye dialed up Lyzenga and said she was going to cut two of those songs, "Doorway to the Blues" and "Freight Train Blues," on her CD, "Lady of the Blues," which was being tracked in San Jose, California, at Greaseland Studio by Kid Andersen.
Interestingly, the two performed together in South Charleston back in October at a Breast Cancer awareness fundraiser. They didn't do one of his songs, but chose "Old Love," written by Eric Clapton and Robert Cray.
Lyzenga said he was over the moon to find out Miss Freddye was getting such recognition and will be rooting for his Lady of the Blues come May 10 during the BMA's in Memphis.
"I am so happy she remembered the songs I sent her back in '09, and I am thrilled beyond words for her success and good fortune to be nominated for such prestigious awards," Lyzenga said. "She is truly a wonderful, caring, hard-working Lady. To quote Miss Freddye 'What I do is not mine to keep.' "
Go online at blues.org/2018-blues-music-award-nominees-announced/ to find out more.
Traditional Blues are a special kind of awesome, especially when the vocals are throaty, sexy and female. Miss Freddye is the perfect kind of blues singer, and she brings it all to the table when she sings, kind of like a combination of Aretha Franklin and Bonnie Raitt. She has an amazing band that provides the perfect accompaniment to her down home sound, complete with an amazing horn section and a dynamic keyboardist. The harmonies are also perfect, especially on “Luv ya Baby.” The title track is a perfect representation of the quality of this whole album, and should hook you on Miss Freddye. Other tracks we love include the amazing duet “Don’t Apologize, Recognize,” the jiving “Home Improvement” with its screaming sax and piano, “Chain Breaker,” and the more traditional “These are my Blues” and “Freight Train Blues.”
JAN 13, 2018 11:31 AM
Miss Freddye, aka “Pittsburgh’s Lady of the Blues,” is nominated for two awards at the prestigious Blues Music Awards in Memphis.
Miss Freddye, whose real name is Fredericka Stover, is nominated for best emerging artist album and for the Koko Taylor Award (traditional blues female) for her second album “Lady of the Blues.”
The Ross-based singer, who began singing in church, launched her career in 1996, inspired by Delta and Chicago blues, and such artist as Koko Taylor, Etta James, Big Mama Thornton and Bessie Smith. In 2002, she formed the band Blue Faze, which became Miss Freddye's Blues Band. She also fronts the acoustic blues group Miss Freddye's Homecookin Trio.
Miss Freddye won the West Virginia Blues Competition in 2008, and in 2013 she won the Blues Society of Western PA competition and represented our region at the International Blue Competition in Memphis.
Living Blues Magazine wrote of the album, which was recorded at Kid Andersen’s Greaseland studios in San Jose, California, “Her voice is an expressive instrument, alternately sassy, sexy, introspective and riotously good-humored.”
“Deep down inside, I had no idea this would happen and it would get all the great responses,” she said Saturday, “from reviews all over the world, to continuous airplay in the world.”
The Blues Foundation is an American nonprofit corporation, headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee, that is affiliated with more than 175 blues organizations from various parts of the world.
Pittsburgh legend Billy Price won a Blues Music Award in 2016 for “This Time for Real,” his collaboration with the late Otis Clay. This year’s awards ceremony will be held in Memphis on May 10.
Miss Freddye’s Blues Band is scheduled to perform at Moondog’s in Blawnox at 9 p.m. Saturday, although that could change due to the weather. More details at www.missfreddye.com and her Facebook page.
Miss Freddye - Lady Of The Blues Self-Release - 2017
Miss Freddye comes from the Pittsburgh area but for this debut release she headed West to Kid Andersen’s Greaseland studios where Kid and Andy Santana co-produced the album; indeed Andy had a hand in nine of the eleven songs. Kid plays all guitars with June Core on drums, Endre Tarczy on bass and Jim Pugh on keys; horns are added to most tracks by Eric Spaulding (sax) and John Halbleib (trumpet).
There are no fewer than four harmonica players involved with John Nemeth, Aki Kumar and Brandon G Bentz joining Andy across the album; John Blues Boyd sings two duets with Miss Freddye and Lisa Andersen, Robby Yamilov and Andy provide backing vocals. Miss Freddye emerges as a fine singer in the Etta James tradition, equally at home on uptempo belters as sensitive ballads and this is a fine debut.
Opener “Miss Freddye’s Gonna Fix Ya” is a naggingly catchy tune with John Nemeth’s harp and a strong horn arrangement as Freddye offers comfort both physical and spiritual to those in need. The songwriting credit here is Mike Sweeney who also co-wrote two other songs with Andy: “Home Improvement” is a standout with great sax and piano behind the double entendre lyrics which Freddye sings with ribald enthusiasm; “Chain Breaker” has latin rhythms as Freddye describes her life as like being in prison.
Steve Nestor is the co-writer with Andy of the title track which races along over a guitar riff that recalls Otis Rush’s “Homework” as the horns punctuate Freddye’s impassioned vocals, clearly a song written with her stage persona in mind. Steve and Andy also contribute “Use The Back Door”, a really strong shuffle with more excellent horn work as Freddye gets rid of a lover who is encouraged to leave via the back door so that her friends do not see him. John Blues Boyd joins Freddye on vocals on “Don’t Apologize, Recognize”, a slow late-night blues with breathy sax, jazzy guitar chords and lovely piano and “Luv Ya Baby”, a more uptempo stomper with Kid’s guitar featured, Andy taking harp solos on both tracks.
Freddye is credited as co-writer on three tracks which appear later on the album, each containing ‘blues’ in the title. “Doorway To The Blues” has Freddye in relaxed vocal mood and John’s muted trumpet adding to the jazzy feel with Kid’s fine acoustic plucking; “These Are My Blues” is clearly an autobiographical song with Andy the featured soloist on harp; mind you “Freight Train Blues” goes one better with both Aki and Brandon featured, even though the song is only 2.24, including some brief studio chatter at the end! The album closes with Dr John’s “A Losing Battle”, a slow blues once recorded by Johnny Adams and here brilliantly interpreted by Freddye.
This reviewer has not heard from Andy Santana since his 2015 album Watch Your Step and it is great to see his key involvement in this project. As always with material recorded with Kid Andersen at Greaseland the sound is authentic Rn’B and the musicians right on the money throughout.
But the star of the show is definitely Miss Freddye who has a great voice for the material on this album. A new name on the scene and one to look out for but meanwhile this album can be highly recommended to Blues Blast readers.
Lady of the Blues
Miss Freddye’s Blues – MFB 1001
Pittsburgh-based vocalist Miss Freddye has been fronting her own band since the early 2000s; this is apparently her debut recording. Although her website characterizes her sound as “Chicago style blues,” in fact, Miss Freddye’s stylistic range is considerably wider than that, and it’s enhanced by the eclecticism of her arrangements and her band’s flexible chops. Her voice is an expressive instrument, alternately sassy, sexy, introspective and riotously good-humored.
Although she isn’t the primary composer here, she inhabits the songs’ storylines as if she’s lived them, and—despite an occasional tendency to overdo the guttural “red-hot mama” rasps—she mostly avoids emoting in favor of emotional honesty. Although Miss Freddye usually eschews pyrotechnics, when she does decide to strut her stuff—as on her thrilling ascent at the culmination of the double-entendre Use the Back Door—she makes it clear that she’s in command of formidable technique. Chain Breaker, ostensibly a tale of woe, becomes a jubilant celebration of desire (and its satisfaction) in her hands; similarly, she elevates Doorway to the Blues from moody melancholy to liberatory power over the course of the first few verses, and once in flight she remains joyfully there until the song’s conclusion.
The musicians, meanwhile, are uniformly first-rate. Saxophonist Eric Spaulding deserves special mention—to cite only two examples, his tenor solo on Don’t Apologize, Recognize eloquently recalls Ben Webster; he then shifts focus and spews out some jubilant yakety-sax ribaldry on the Crescent City–styled Home Improvement. And through it all, Miss Freddye remains forceful yet nuanced, capable of expressing torrid emotion while fully in control. This is an impressive debut from a vocalist
who sounds primed to deliver more good things in the future.
—David Whiteis, Living Blues Magazine
LADY OF THE BLUES
MISS FREDDYE’S GONNA FIX YA
LUV YA BABY
LADY OF THE BLUES
DON’T APOLOGIZE, RECOGNIZE
USE THE BACK DOOR
DOORWAY TO THE BLUES
THESE ARE MY BLUES
FREIGHT TRAIN BLUES
A LOSING BATTLE
Miss Freddye is a fixture on the contemporary blues scene in and around Western and Central Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Eastern Ohio. She’s so popular up in Steel City that she’s known as Pittsburgh’s “Lady Of The Blues.” She and her stellar backing band have just released her latest album under that same name, recorded at Kid Andersen’s Greaseland Studios up in San Jose, CA.Miss Freddye, like many of the greats before her, started out as a teenager singing in church. As you listen to her, you’ll hear all her influences, from Koko to Etta to Sarah Vaughn to Denise LaSalle and many more. Her big voice is the star of this set, and she has several special guests backing her. Kid Andersen is on guitars, and she employs four killer harpmen–Aki Kumar, John Nemeth, Andy Santana, and Brandon G. “Dr. B” Bentz. Most all the cuts were penned by the band members, too.Check out the jazzy duets between Freddye and John Blues Boyd. First up is “Luv Ya Baby,” and, a bit later, they return with the torchy tale of two lovers on the skids with “Don’t Apologize, Recognize.” A cool, Fifties-inspired rocker with honkin’ sax finds Freddye lookin’ for her lover to “make things right tonight” with a little bit of “Home Improvement!” Everybody gets in a rhumba-riffic groove on “Chain Breaker,” while our heroine “wonders what I’ve done right” on the harp-driven, Delta-styled “These Are My Blues”We had two favorites, too. Freddye tells a no-good lover who’s on the way out to “Use The Back Door–I don’t want my friends to see you leave!” This one has that good Denise LaSalle vibe running thru it, too. And, John Nemeth is on the harp as “Miss Freddye’s Gonna Fix Ya Up fine,” after a long, hard day at work! You can’t deny the danceable, Excello-fied groove pumping over this one!Miss Freddye shows off her incredible vocal talents on what might well serve as her autobiography. “Lady Of The Blues” is sho’ nuff a powerful bowl of musical soup for your soul! Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.
Lady of the Blues: New Album by Miss Freddye Joseph Timmons months ago
Introducing the Fabulous Miss Freddye “Lady of the Blues”
Singing the Chicago style blues since 1996, Miss Freddye has become known as “Pittsburgh’s Lady of the Blues!” her influences are Delta and Chicago style blues, from artists of yester-year like Koko Taylor, Etta James, Big Mama Thornton, Bessie Smith, Sarah Vaughn, Denise Lasalle, and Memphis Minnie.
With her new album , we at IndiePulse music have been given the exclusive “First Listen”, and it is sublime, it is no exaggeration that the soulful tones in the voice of Miss Freddye has strong roots in both Gospel inspiration and the dark smokey nights in the clubs of the French Quarter all the way to the Neon Lights of The Apollo. Her voice pierces through you and it is truly a call to attention, cause “Mamma’s got somethin’ to say and you better heed”
All of the tracks presented have a classic “lady sings the blues” sound, but the emphasis and originality in presentation while keeping true to the nature of the music is wonderful. In addition, Miss Freddye gives it just a little bit of spice, some of that “Special Sauce” for a true down home from the neighborhood feeling. Some of my favorite tracks from the upcoming album are titled “Doorway to the Blues”, “Lady of the Blues”, “A Losing Battle” and my favorite “Miss Freddye Gonna Fix Ya” and she’ll Fix Ya Up Fine!
Miss Freddye started singing with BMW (Blues music works) headed by Al “Big Al” Leavitt. In 2002, she formed her own band, “Blue Faze.” Within the next several years the group evolved into “Miss Freddye’s Blues Band”, culminating their talents into a musical form that was truly the vision they desired. In addition to this 5-piece electric band, she created Miss Freddye’s Homecookin Trio in 2010. An acoustic side of blues! Miss Freddye performs with both bands around western and central PA, West Virginia and Eastern Ohio.
In 2008, Miss Freddye and her band competed in the West Virginia blues competition, won for the state, and went to the 2009 International blues competition representing the WVBS. In 2012, she competed in the Blues society of western PA as a duo act with my band mate and guitarist Greg “G-man” Casile, and won.
On this new album, Miss Freddye adds some spice by mixing it up good, with world class musicians.
On Guitar and backup vocals-Kid Andersen, Bass- Endre Taczy, Drums-June Core, Keyboards-Jim Pugh, Harmonicas -Aki Kumar, Andy Santana, John Nemeth and Brandon Bentz. On Tenor and baritone sax- Eric Spaulding, Trumpet- John Halbleib, Backup vocals- Lisa Andersen, Kid Andersen, Robby Yamilov, and Andy Santana.
The Producers are Kid Andersen (Greaseland Studios), Andy Santana, Co-producer-Lisa Andersen , Lead Vocals, of course, Miss Freddye.
Miss Freddye has performed in many major blues festivals, along with many smaller ones. Some of the most renowned performances are:
Pittsburgh Blues Festival
Heritage Blues Festival
Riverside Blues Festival
Charlie west Blues Festival
Heston Arts and Music Festival
Carnegie Blues Festival
Spot Bar Blues Festival
Blues, Brew, & BBQ Festival – University of Charleston
Simply Jazz & Blues Festival – Beckley, WV
Old Home Days Celebration & Car Cruise – Fertigs, PA
Scottdale Music Festival
In Miss Freddye’s own words:
“When people ask me about Miss Freddye’s Blues Band, I tell them we’re known for our mix of high energy Chicago blues along with that sweet southern soulful blues sound! My vocals tell you that “Blues is more than just a Faze!” I am sultry & rough rising when belting out a story thru the music I sing! Greg “G-man” Casile plays blues guitar like he’s talking in a smoked filled room full of players and gamblers. His playing commands attention holding the unsuspecting audience spellbound by the blues in the making coming from his heart and through his amplifier!
Greg “Bootleg” Sejko lays down a smooth, solid no nonsense bass when he’s keeping the rhythm section on the line. Setting up blues bass is what he does that’s gives you more than just a Faze! Tim “Mick” McDermott is the other half of the rhythm section. Going back to roots blues basics is what he’s all about! Staying in the pocket, giving all that he has and then some! Bob “Bobby Deal” Powers commands the lap steel guitar! He slides up and down making your love for blues tenfold. He gets right, nice and tight, and ain’t no fuss or fight!
Loving those blues is what this band will have you do! I’m the front woman for this Pittsburgh based blues band! We have performed in festivals, community fairs, local and regional venues, and local charities.”
Nicknamed “Pittsburgh’s Lady of the Blues,” Miss Freddye has been singing a combination of Delta and Chicago blues in town for over two decades. Although at the start, she didn’t consider herself a very good vocalist. “I joined the choir when I was 15 and couldn’t carry a tune. I had to sing a solo! It was embarrassing! I was scared to death. I finally got into music about 21 years ago. I joined my first band. Actually, it was a fluke, the guy I was dating was a bass player in the band and he heard me sing “Silent Night” to my youngest. He’s like “Oh we’re looking for a singer” and I was like “Eeeeehhhhhh” ya know? I auditioned and then band was in one room and I took a 100 foot mic chord, went into the bathroom and turned on the water. That’s how I got the audition!”Miss Freddye’s latest and second album “Lady of The Blues” was recorded in San Jose, CA.
As someone who devotes time to many charities and causes, she hopes this music acts as a healing agent for those who are suffering.“I’m an advocate against domestic violence. I am a victim of domestic violence. I tell people I am not ashamed to talk about it because I have met a lot of men, women and children who could not talk about it. I wanna use music, especially this CD, for something I call “The Healing Groove.” If you can’t find yourself healing or you can’t get away from your situation, you can use music. A lot of people I have met they’ve said they can related to the songs and say they remember the time they went through, you know, whatever they went through.”
*** MISS FREDDYE "Lady Of The Blues"
* Label: Self Release.
* Ms. Freddye: Lead Vocals.
* Kid Anderson: Guitar, Background Vocals. Track 5.
* Endre Tarczy: Bass.
* June Core: Drums.
* Eric Spaulding: Tenor & Baritone Sax.
* John Halbleib: Trumpet.
* Brandon G. Bentz "Dr. B": Harmonica. Track 10.
* Aki Kumar: Harmonica. Track 10.
* John Nemeth: Harmonica. Track 1.
* Andy Santana: Harmonica track 2 & Backgound Vocals. Track 5.
* John Blues Boyd: Vocals. Track 2.
* Lisa Anderson: Backup Vocals. Track 1, 5.
* Robby Yamilov: Backup Vocals. Track 5.
*** Track 1. - "Miss Freddye's Gonna Fix Ya" Written by Mike Sweeney.
Certainly a sassy intro for this much anticipated album from Pittsburgh firebrand performer Miss. Freddye Stover. Joined by a veritable who's who including John Nemeth on harp this one certainly percolates along with Miss Freddye leaving you in no uncertain terms as to just what she has in mind for you. The backing vocals from Anderson add a wonderful dynamic to the vocals and all in all this is one helluva way to kick off an album so bring it on as l am on the line for sure. Great Blues for what ails you.
*** Track 2. - "Luv Ya Baby" Written by Andy Santana, Big Al Leavitt & Brandon G. Bentz.
Wonderful duo pairs Miss Freddye and John Blues Boyd with a match that feels so very right over the band that absolutely is cooking. Big swinging sound resplendent in swirling Hammond and scorching guitar from Kid Anderson. Add to this the stunning rhythm section of June Core and Endre Tarczy and this outfit powers along with the brass section of Spaulding and Halbleib laying down the perfect groove. Miss Freddye's vocals are to die for as she certainly is the high priestess of the Blues and certainly processes the chops that one could easily have assumed had been lost to a bygone era where it was a given. No indeed it is easy to see why this powerhouse is in so much demand. Sing the Blues Miss Freddye!
*** Track 3. - "Lady Of The Blues" Written by Andy Santana & Steve Nestor.
Uptown blues from Miss Freddye has her upfront singing autobiographical. When you are a lady of the Blues you are always having to prove yourself but why is this so when you can deliver it every time you step on stage. Stunning potent Hammond attacks punctuate throughout as does the potent bass from Tarczy. This certainly is the line in the sand and the hands on the hips or the defiant arms crossed moment as Miss Freddye tells it like it is and man doesn't she lay down her demands with a defiant howl. Hey l'm not gonna deny this lady of the Blues anything she wants. Pure heartfelt defiance with pathos Blues from a true Blues lady.
*** Track 4. - "Don't Apologize, Recognize" Written by Andy Santana & Brandon G Bentz.
Wow what a steamy return to the forties this is. Slow, smooth and sassy with John Blue Boyd handling the opening vocals leading into the reply from a very sexy demure chanteuse style Miss Freddye. There is just so much to love about this late night supper club style that just suits Miss Freddye's voice so much as she has the ability and talent to adapt her voice perfectly to another time and place. The orchestration is absolutely stunning what with the perfect piano and sax from Eric Spaulding. Certainly slow and sexy. All that is missing is the chatter and the clinking of glasses as this is a song one could expect to hear at a supper club any night of the week in any major city in the US during the forties. It has a stunning majesty about it as does the vocal offering.
*** Track 5. - "Home Improvement" Written by Andy Santana & Mike Sweeney.
Rockin, rollickin' good time for what ails you has Miss Freddye steppin out and having a good old time. A nice slab of good time R&B for good measure with honking sax from Eric Spaulding and wonderful piano to round out the sound over the ever present wonderful rhythm section of Endre Tarczy and June Core. Kid Anderson again delivers the great guitar that just rocks. To add an even bigger fun sound to the vocals Lisa Anderson. There is such a joyful abandonment to this one that Miss Freddye makes so infectious that you just want to join in so slap my thigh and man l'm in for a good ole time.
*** Track 6. - "Use The Back Door" Written by Andy Santana.
Wonderful straight ahead Chicago Blues with Kid Anderson laying down the breathtaking guitar that just tears at the heart. Miss Freddye then takes you to Blues church with her unmistakable powerhouse vocals that just take the paint from the door frames but at the same time are honey and caress your heart. Spaulding lays down the memorable sax as the rhythm section of Tarczy and Core certainly percolate throughout this one. Sophisticated but at the same time there is an intensity that has a roughness brought on by the power within the performance. When you want to demonstrate just what Blues is then this is the example you use as it has everything Blues should have.
*** Track 7. "Chain Breaker" Written by Andy Santana & Mike Sweeney.
Swinging Latin rhythm section overlay ed with some great guitar from Kid Anderson kicks this one off as Miss Freddye lays down the vocals with a somewhat more subdued style reminiscent of Ruth Brown. Throughout there is that omni-present Miss Freddye power that one expects and loves as it is that very intensity that draws you to her voice. Love the fifties style swinging R&B feel about this one as it really moves and grooves with the band certainly hitting it hard. Great guitar, brass and rhythm section so what more can you ask for. Add to that Miss Freddye singing up a storm then with that put into a big pot on the stove and mixed together you have this brilliant track that tastes oh so good. I'm going back for seconds, what about you?
*** Track 8. - "Doorway To The Blues" Written by Andy Santana, Miss Freddye & Michael Lyzenga.
Another sophisticated song that oozes sex appeal as Miss Freddye caresses the microphone resplendent in a long evening gown again in a mythical supper club in the forties. The band have morphed into a band in dinner suits delivering a sound that is also so very sophisticated. Kid Anderson's acoustic solo is sublime and very subtle and perfectly placed. The muted brass sound is also a genius addition to the mix as it also adds to the authenticity to the effect. Such a wonderful production that showcases the sheer beauty and control Miss Freddye has with her voice and the majesty and talent showcased in the band that has really enabled her to shine once again. This is absolutely stunning.
*** Track 9. - "These Are My Blues" Written by Andy Santana & Miss Freddye.
Miss Freddye lays down her vocals with her powerful growl that has her in complete control as the band follow her throughout. Great harp over the solid rhythm section and keys. Rolling guitar from Anderson follows Miss Freddye's lead as she states her case about what her life has been like and what she is going to do with her Blues. Solid as granite Blues from a consummate Blues singer in Miss Freddye who certainly embodies everything one would/could want in a Blues singer. Just listen and she will tell you all about her Blues .
*** Track 10. - "Freight Train Blues" Written by Andy Santana, Miss Freddye & Michael Lyzenga.
Swingin' with a Western Swing feel that is extremely infectious with two harps playing off each other. Aki Kumar and Brandon G. Bentz ""Dr. B". certainly swing it out and sound perfect together. Kid Anderson's guitar is absolutely swinging as is the rhythm section with Endre Tarczy's bass laying down a bouncing groove along with June Core's drums. Miss Freddye's vocals are suitably jumping in a somewhat frantic style that keeps the goove movin' and groovin' just as you want it to. So much fun that you just want to get up and dance. Again Miss Freddye proves that she can sing whatever she chooses to and when she does she nails it.
*** Track 11. - "A Losing Battle"Written by Rabernnack & Dauenhauer.
Very stylish stunning Blues ballad that has Miss Freddye in a rather reflective mood that draws out the inner emotions she has. A powerful emotive angst ridden performance that is full of pathos as she draws every ounce of energy possible from the lyrics. A song such as this can be sung and then it can be sung and lived, felt, exposed and owned. Miss Freddye has done just that as she entered into the song and emerged with a masterful offering that was a aural delight that scaled stratospheric heights. Kid Anderson's guitar is sublime as is the keys and the rhythm section that combine to produce this amazing piece of Blues that leaves one breathless and emotional such was the performance. There are so many superlatives one could use to describe a song of this sheer majesty but that would diminished what we have just witnessed. We certainly have been blessed to have this album. Thank-you Miss Freddye and your wonderful band.
Pittsburgh certainly has one powerhouse queen of the Blues in Miss Freddye! Wow where do you start with this lady and what we have just heard with her aptly titled album "Lady Of The Blues"as it is certainly an album you aren't going to forget about. Each and every track is a revelation as this Blues diva delivers vocals that belong in a bygone era but also sound so very right for today. No matter what she sings and that could be the phone book or a gas bill it would be magnificent. Whether she is a whisky soaked road weary Blues singer or a forties Blues club Chanteuse Miss Freddye delivers it all and man does she deliver it. There are very few singers who can deliver it like this sassy lady can! This certainly is already one of my favourite albums of 2017 and as more people get to hear it and the powerhouse dynamo Miss Freddye it will be on their's as well. This is an extremely well produced album with a crack band assembled who lay down a perfect groove on every track although l would love to know who is on keys. Another standout for me was the songs, wow perfectly written songs that Miss Freddye could stamp her authority over and really produce a perfect recording. For me here is a Blues album as a Blues album should be and not one that is supposed to be one. I think today too many have strayed from just what Blues is but here is a perfect example of what it is and was so thank-you Miss Freddye for re-installing those past memories and creating future memories. Now if l may be so bold can l ask is there another album being considered for the near future by chance? This certainly is an album for what ails you and every Blues hound needs this tonic.
:::: Peter Merrett PBS 106-7 FM Melbourne Australia PBS 106.7FM
Miss Freddye - Lady of the Blues
My heart sinks when I receive a new CD from an artist I have never heard of and I brace myself for a re-tread of the past, as most independent blues CDs being released these days either reminisce too closely to the classics and faithfully churn out audio replicas absent the originals' venom - or "water-down" their musical performances in searching of "perfect" takes in terms of intonation and performance - but not so with Miss Freddye and her spirited studio band (she has two live performing bands; a trio and a 4-piece blues band).
Miss Freddye has put together and sung for us a collection of (all but one) original songs working with producers Andy Santana and Kid Anderson at Greaseland Studio in San Jose, California. Andy Santana co-wrote many of the songs on this album. He sings backup, and plays harmonica & guitar for Miss Freddye on this album and when he's not producing - he plays with the "West Coast Playboys" who often feature Anderson at their live shows.The album opens with an original written by Mike Sweeney called "Miss Freddye's Gonna Fix Ya" with a restrained harmonica supplied by the talented John Nemeth. The band is superb, the groove is locked-in, deep, fun and serious, as are all the songs on this fine album.
The producers have a done a superb job in contrasting the instrumentation and tempos through the entire album so there's no audio-exhaustion as you listen to it in sequence. Brandon G. Benz "Dr. B" plays excellent harmonica where it appears on other songs besides the first song - and is credited for arranging "Luv Ya Baby" - which has a great arrangement! (Including Santana - there are three different harmonica players on this album.) Listening to this album makes you wish you were there in the room with the band as they were playing. The title track "Lady of the Blues" is a solid groove (in the manner of - dare I say it - of "Mustang Sally") - if Ms. Freddye's voice were removed you might think this track was performed by Booker T & the MGs. The horn section is punchy, tuneful, exciting, well-thought out and perform perfectly with occasional solos punching through to the forefront. Kid Anderson (Santana's co-producer) arranged the horns and plays electric guitar perfectly throughout - soloing where needed and punching in ensemble parts that lock in nicely with the rhythm section.Appropriately - for a singer from Pittsburg (and known as Pittsburgh's Lady of the Blues) working with a West Coast Production Team, who all together evidence a love of the music of New Orleans, the album reveals a geographically and historically wide perspective of blues ranging from Delta bar-room brawling to the sometime melancholy singing of Chicago Blues clubs in the late 50s.
Miss Freddye's voice is astonishingly good, she can move effortlessly from a howling prohibition-era juke joint to the misty smoke-filled Hollywood martini-soaked almost spoken and whispered word singing of "Don't Aplogize, Recognize" or the descending minor key melancholia of "Doorway to the Blues" either of which could be seamlessly added to Sarah Vaughn or Billie Holiday's repertoire. If you knew me - you'd know I lean towards the up-tempo - and Miss Freddye commands such songs and the band and with expert phrasing, pitch, energy and joy. This album covers all the tempos and moods that you might hope for in a live blues concert. Miss Freddye's vocal range, phrasing and voice is inspired - as is the song-writing, the production and the musical performances on this great album.— C. Warrefootnote: Miss Freddye's website is www.missfreddye.com The album credits are as follows: Kid Anderson - guitar/backup vocals Endre Tarczy - bass June Core - drums Eric Spaulding - tenor & baritone saxaphone John Halbleib - trumpet Brand G. Bentz "Dr. B" - harmonica Andy Santana - harmonica/backup vocals John Blues Boyd - vocals Lisa Anderson - backup vocals Robby Yamilov - backup vocals Producers: Andy Santana & Kid Anderson Co-producer: Lisa Anderson