"Huzzah! Huzzah! Huzzah!" go the men, "Jake Speed & the Freddies have done it again!"
Hot on the trail of Speed's 2003 solo release, The Cincinnati Legends of Jeremiah Schmidt, the Freddies have leapt back to the future with Huzzah!. This album, complete with 15 original Cincinnati songs (and 1 Mississippi version of "Sittin' on Top of the World") slides into stores this November. The Freddies cover all the folk music bases with this album, sounding Ragtimey on "Tear It Down Rag," Jug Bandy on "Volvo Girl," Bluegrassy on "Hard Times at My Door," and Woody Guthrie on "Talkin' F-Word Blues." Speed rounded up a whole team of Freddies for Huzzah!, including local Bluegrass all stars, Katie Laur and Ed Cunningham. This field full of musicians gives Huzzah! a chance to cheer in so many different voices. One minute, you'll round third and head for home with "Old Man Joe," while the next minute you'll serenely sail along the banks with "Ohio River Waltz." You'll poke fun at politics with Speed on "First Street Fell," and then pray peacefully with him on "Fare Thee Well." Typewriters, Watering Cans, and Washboards strike up with the rest of the band's fiddles, guitars, banjos, basses, and harmonicas, making Huzzah! the most tossed around sound Jake Speed & the Freddies have struck so far.
While Huzzah! begins to slide into stores, Jake Speed and the Freddies begin to slip into various venues around Cincinnati. Sailing on the wings of their enormously short-lived hit cicada song, "Queen City Cicada" (released on a compilation entitled "17-Year Itch"), the band is busy buzzing around the city performing their new tunes with the same quick-witted charisma that still ropes in loyal fans of new and old generations alike. The Freddies' traditionalist approach has won them the respect of fellow musicians, music lovers, and even critics. The readers of CityBeat Magazine voted them Best Local Musicians in 2004. The listeners of WNKU FM 89.7 voted The Freddies' second album, Cincinnati Legends of Jeremiah. Schmidt, #29 of their Top 89 Albums of 2003. The band is a four-time winner of the Cincinnati Entertainment Award (2001, 2002, 2003, & 2004) for Best Folk Musician. They also won the 2002 CEA for Artist of the Year and Best Singer/Songwriter. Their winning of Best Folk Vocalist and Best Folk Band at the 2003 CAMMYs (Cincinnati Area Music Awards) put them on the definitive road of folk music in Cincinnati.
The Freddies' travels aboard the Cincinnati music scene have landed them many high profile shows, including opening sets for national acts such as Ralph Stanley, Yonder Mountain String Band, the Waybacks, and Jay Bennett (from the band, Wilco). Their monthly gigs at Arnold's, Northside Tavern, Jack Quinn's and Kaldi's have laid the tracks for a solid following of fans.
The musical conductors aboard the Freddies include Jake Speed, Kentucky Graham, Justin Todhunter, and Chris Werner. Jake sings, picks guitar, blows harmonica, buzzes kazoo, and kicks the beat on the washboard. Kentucky Graham plinkety plunks on the old five-string banjo. Justin Todhunter strums and picks on the tiniest of little old mandolins. Chris Werner pounds and thumps on the upright bass. Jake Speed & the Freddies make up boxcars full of original Cincinnati songs while reviving the music of legends like Woody Guthrie, Jimmie Rodgers, Elizabeth Cotten, and Jesse Fuller. The Freddies were born on the streets of Cincinnati where they performed their songs for tips and continue to believe "If you ain't good enough for the street corner, what are you good for?"