In the studio with ‘UConn Idol’ winners FreeMansFortune

July 7, 2009


The “UConn Idol” contest held each spring brings a lot of talented students to the stage in the hopes that they will walk away with the very valuable grand prize – a recording session at Onyx SoundLab in Manchester.

FreeMansFortune band members take a break during their recording session at Onyx SoundLab in Manchester last month. The recording session was the grand prize in the “UConn Idol” contest. Photo by Susan Dziedzic.

For many musicians, the opportunity to professionally record their music and produce a full-length CD is a dream and a goal that, because of lack of time or funds, is just beyond their reach. But for the band, FreeMansFortune, winners of the 2009 “UConn Idol,” their golden opportunity has arrived.
Singer, songwriter, guitarist and UConn student Chris Freeman was encouraged by a friend to enter the contest . “I really didn’t think about entering the contest at all,” said Freeman . “But a friend kept pushing me to do it, and when I found out the winner would receive a recording session with Onyx, that was the incentive I needed, so I decided to give it a shot. Winning a recording session is great.”

Fellow band members – drummer Mike Zigmont, bassist Dan Sorenson, guitarist Kevin Liner, and vocalist Maggie Fortune – couldn’t agree more. This was the first time the band has had the opportunity to record, and they were a little surprised at how challenging the recording process was. During the first day at Onyx SoundLab in mid-June , the musicians performed individually to record the background music. Under the direction of music producers and Onyx SoundLab owners , Adam Gootkin and Pete Kowalczyk , they played and replayed through multiple takes, sometimes playing several bars in the middle of a song over and over until it was just right.

“It’s hard to take a song that you’ve performed live at a gig and start picking it apart systematically,” said Fortune . “When we’re on stage, we’re used to relying on each other’s cues; in the studio, you don’t have those body-language cues. The trick is to be able to maintain the emotion of the music even when you’re doing it for the 10th time.”

The new CD from FreeMansFortune will be entitled, “The Growing Season,” and its collection of original music is unusual for such a young band.
“When I heard this band perform at the ‘UConn Idol’ contest, they made a real impression on me,” said Adam Gootkin. Gootkin hears hundreds of new musicians with countless crosssections of styles who pass through his studios. “FreeMansFortune has a fresh sound. The individual songs really stand on their own. Their melodies are the kind that you can’t get out of your head, and they have an amazing grasp of the harmonies. All I can say is the final sound is just beautiful.”

After two days of intense recording sessions, FreeMansFortune band members are looking forward to their new CD’s release, which is scheduled for sometime in July.

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