By Henrik Freischlader
Henrik Freischlader's sleek, stylish and powerfully blues-soaked sound bowls you over when you first let this amazing live album, House In The Woods, make contact with your sound system.
Whether you choose to listen to this through your laptop, your headphones or a hi-fi system, the amazing precision with which Henrik and his band perform their songs comes through every time. There is truly no way to disguise this level of musicianship, and while this may not be the most original of albums, with the sound of Bonamassa being a prevalent influence, but the craftsmanship of the album speaks for itself. The subtle eddying current that runs through the album lilts with songs like Breaking My Heart Again, and bursts with power and swagger in 1999, and it becomes clearer with every passing song that this album is a work of art.
Germany is perhaps not most noted for its blues exports, but it is certain that in years to come the collections of bluesologists worldwide will include the work of this man and his band, such are the level of the songs presented in this offering. Freischlader's home town of Wuppertal will hopefully be inundated with blues artists from around the area looking to Henrik for inspiration and hands on advice, should they be lucky enough to catch him on time off from his frequent touring schedule. Regardless of how his music is received in his home country, the ignorably impressive array of songs penned by Herr Freischenlader are making blues players and fans alike from all around the world sit up and take notice of the magic that he is bringing into the scene to slot in alongside the blues greats.
Freischlader's guitar skills bring a collection of sizzling solos with great tone to his songs, but keep them firmly rooted in the precise and sophisticated blues which makes up the verses and choruses, and his smooth and unmistakeable voice croons and belts whenever appropriate, in an accent that strays too far over into American territory for my liking, but works well with the music. Having never heard this man or his music before, this album struck me even more after listening to it upon discovering that it is a live album; the note for note delivery of the songs is unbelievably tight, and there is always so much going on musically that you'll never be bored when listening.
Freischlader has been spoken of in the same ways as the legends whom he has supported and loved throughout his life, such as B.B. King and Gary Moore, and with efforts like this, whilst not breaking much new ground in terms of blues music, certainly justify his inclusion amongst this lofty list of legendary figures of the genre.