It's been a week since Freddy D'Angelo headlined THE FREEDOM PROJECT concert at the Old Rock House. For those of you who were not in attendance, you missed out. I know that those of us who were lucky enough to be there will not forget that evening.
It's very easy to tell when an artist is putting their entire heart and soul into their work and the case of Freddy D'Angelo is no exception. His is the story of a St. Louis native who has worked his way to his dreams, and June 29th was just the beginning of his vision being realized. The Old Rock House served as the perfect setting for this concert. With over 200 people in attendance, it managed to feel intimate and yet, the adrenaline in the building was tangible. The historical significance of that venue was especially appropriate for this show considering The Freedom Project was D'Angelo's tribute to his late father, Fred Dickerson Sr., with whom he co-wrote the album that was performed live that night.
Freddy had the support of other outstanding artists that night as well. Opening for him were Echo Morse of Creature Illicit, Pure October, Fly Method and Inner Outlines. I had the opportunity to shoot some footage of the concert, and I was blown away by all of these amazing artist's stage presence and ability to engage the crowd. Not to mention their stellar music! All of these artists are friends of D'Angelo; Pure October and Inner Outlines are on the roster of bands that he manages. It's safe to say Freddy is multi-talented as he not only performs, but manages talent, does photography and videography and runs his own studio. All of that "cross training" paid off, as the concert on the 29th was extremely streamlined and had a great flow from one performer to the next.
When D'Angelo took the stage, he was not alone, but accompanied by The Freedom Project band, which consisted of Mike Wilson (bass/vocals), Jay Vernor (drums), Georgia Smooth (Saxophone), Lorna Rae (Vocals) and Carmen Buchanan (vocals). In addition to rapping and singing, Freddy himself added to the instrumental lineup by playing guitar.
Freddy D'Angelo brought people together that night in a more heartfelt way than I have personally seen any other performer do. Many of those who knew Fred Dickerson Sr. were in attendance and were able to remember their friend, their husband, their father... More than just saying "I'm doing this to honor my dad," Freddy put in hours upon hours into this project to make sure that the songs his father helped him write would be heard by those 200+ people, and by thousands more when the album is released.
Personally, I did not know Fred Dickerson Sr. but from the stories Freddy has told me, the lengths this man went to in order to honor his father, the immense love that was so evident at the show that night... He has impacted me and countless others with his legacy, and I know he was looking down on the Old Rock House, beaming with pride.