If you like sincere songs delivered sincerely, Wilson has a dozen worthy of your time.
Minneapolis Star-Tribune - Chris RiemenschneiderAll at once, the album manages to sound raw but pristine, low-key but hi-fi, lonesome but warm.... An utterly tender collection that's perfectly complemented by Wilson's gentle voice, it's more like something from Patty Griffin or Shawn Colvin than any male tunesmith.
- Release Date:
Performance CreditsDan Wilson Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Bass,Percussion,Piano,Drums,Electric Guitar,Vocals,Slide Guitar,Wurlitzer,Guitar (12 String Acoustic)
Benmont Tench Piano
Gary Louris Guitar,Electric Guitar,Soloist
Craig Wright String Machine
Jonny Polonsky Melodica
Tracy Bonham Harmony
John Munson Double Bass,Upright Bass
Jacob Slichter Drums,Keyboards
Ken Chastain Bass,Percussion,Bells
Bryan Hanna Percussion
Eric Fawcett Piano,Drums,Vocal Harmony
Joe Savage Pedal Steel Guitar
John Hermanson Acoustic Guitar
Sara Watkins Violin,Harmony
Sean Watkins Acoustic Guitar,Finger Picking
Mason Jennings Electric Guitar
Ruby Amanfu Vocal Harmony
Jason Lader Bass
Steve Roehm Vibes
JoAnna James Vocal Harmony
Brad Bivens Organ
Technical CreditsRick Rubin Executive Producer
Dan Wilson Composer,Producer,Engineer,String Arrangements
Jacob Slichter String Arrangements
David Bett Art Direction
Andy Thompson Engineer
Bryan Hanna Engineer
Marc Mann String Arrangements,String Conductor
Natalie Maines Composer
Sheila Metzner Cover Photo
Emily Robison Composer
Brad Kern Engineer
Martie Maguire Composer
Chris Homes Engineer
Brad Bivens Engineer
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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Free Life based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
This is the third copy of this album for me--even when I lose it or scratch it or whatever, I know I have to have a copy of it around. Love his voice, plaintive as it is.
There's no "Closing Time" on this album "although the simple right hand piano ostinato in "Against History" is very reminiscent of that song", but anyone who enjoys the wistful, expressive, introspective side of Dan Wilson's band Semisonic will absolutely love "Free Life." -----Rick Rubin, the executive producer, introduces the album in the liner notes and one of the things he says is spot on: you should listen to this album when you have a spare moment and total silence. "Free Life" merits more than a noisy subway ride with your iPod's tinny earbuds.-----Dan's voice is achingly fragile and transparent (which makes it unsuitable for some of the odd leaps and twists & turns to which his unusual melodic lines subject it) but that adds to the integrity and sincerity of his songwriting, IMHO. No mass vocal harmonizing and triple-tracking here the production is sparse and delicate throughout.-----Also, I applaud Dan Wilson because his songs (both solo and Semisonic) ACTUALLY HAVE ENDINGS. Wow. Think about it.....most pop & rock songs fade out at the end, which is, frankly, a big cop-out. Dan's songs tell their stories and then reach a definite conclusion. This is so pervasive with his recordings (the Semisonic song "Bed" is the only one I can think of that fades out) that it must be deliberate. Good decision, Dan.-----As far as influences go, I hear James Blunt and Dar Williams in here, as well as folks like Paul Simon and Cat Stevens, plus any number of introspective singer/songwriters as well as The Beatles (of course). If you enjoy any of the above you'll find a lot to enjoy on "Free Life."-----My only serious criticism about the album is the peculiar track ordering. The album opens, strangely, with a very moody, down tempo song ("All Kinds"). I actually thought my CD player was accidentally set to random when I first listened to this disc. IMHO a much better choice for the album opener would have been "Against History," a dramatic toe-tapper featuring the catchy piano riff I mentioned earlier. I would have chosen this as the single, too, instead of "Cry." Set your device to play this album with "Against History" first, then "Cry", then the album as it's laid out on the disc, and see if you don't agree. To my ears, "All Kinds" is much more appealing as a slow palate-cleanser to follow AH & Cry. Just the aural opinion of one musician and his ears.-----Finally, if you were directed to this album because you're a Semisonic fanatic, you'll be very pleased that both John Munson and Jacob Slichter appear - Slichter in a triple role as drummer, keyboardist, and string arranger, as he did with Semisonic. A nice understated reunion of sorts, and very reminiscent of some of my favorite Semisonic songs such as "In Another Life," "DND," "Gone To The Movies," and "Follow." If you like those tracks you'll find a lot for your ears to latch onto inside of "Free Life." And if you don't know anything at all about Semisonic but already enjoy "Free Life," you have a lot of exploring to do. Enjoy.
I found this CD rooting around in the "If you like this, then try this..." section of a webpage. Let me tell you, I'm certainly glad I took that advice. This CD is great, mellow while remaining interesting. Honestly, I'm not that familiar with Semisonic's work aside from "Closing Time," but I'll tell you that you don't have to be familiar with Dan Wilson's previous band to appreciate this music. The heartfelt lyrics and smooth melodies are awesome.
Free Life is a great song. This Album is full of good music. More please....