What do Indian raga, bluegrass, klezmer and Mongolian throat singing have in common? Nothing. And maybe that’s exactly what Canadian fiddle virtuoso Jaron Freeman-Fox had in mind when naming his band, The Opposite of Everything. Or maybe his tongue was firmly planted in cheek when recording his second release that vehemently refuses to allow itself to be defined or pigeonholed. There’s a smattering of all the above and more, all filtered through a punk attitude and a deliciously dark sensibility. With roots in jazz and Western classical music, JFF adds in his bluegrass and indian classical music training to offer up something that is strangely both all and none of these at the same time. …
-4 stars – Songlines Magazine (UK)
“Willfully eclectic and archly eccentric virtuoso Canadian fiddler, band and host of musos deliver clattering great world-jazz victory parade of a record with celtic and bluegrass roots. Guaranteed to enrapture…” –fRoots (January 2014 issue #367)
“Freeman-Fox is an iconoclast. The style of the band almost defies description, incorporating Celtic/bluegrass/East Indian/classical/jazz/klezmer. …they can really get out there and party down, like a fiddling Frank Zappa or Sun Ra and his Arkestra, changing pace and styles on a dime but always with consummate musicality… musically satisfying, have great chops, while running a gamut of musical moods. Some of it is quite beautiful and much of it is danceable. As a live band, they seem like they’d be well-nigh unstoppable.” – Penguin Eggs (summer 2013 issue 58)
“The inspirations come from all over the map—jazz, pop, rock, classical and myriad forms of folk and world music. In lesser hands, mixing all these colours would result in a suspicious shade of brown but Freeman-Fox uses them deftly, never allowing any to dominate for long. Playful and inventive, he’s constantly on the move, creating kaleidoscopic music with bold, bright tones.” – Penguin Eggs (autumn 2013 issue 59)
“Extraordinary album….veers happily from traditional Indian raga riffs to Celticreels to suave Latin jazz before arriving at — wait for it — “People Are Strange,” where the Doors’ vintage hit is reconfigured into a free-flowing New Orleans jazz jam.” “3.5 out of 4 Stars” – Toronto Star
“This is a suite of tunes where great technique, virtuosic playing, and a sense of excitement and unexpectedness abound. There’s the idea that you don’t know where the tune will go next, and I love that feeling of surprise in music.” – 9 out of 10 – Donna Lowe – Shapenote Music
“The hyper-kinetic Jaron Freeman-Fox is the Jimi Hendrix of the violin. With the chops of a classical virtuoso and the soul of a wild-eyed punk, he plays world music in the truest sense of the word, leaping from Gypsy to Klezmer to Celtic to Country without skipping a beat.”
“Hard to describe, impossible to categorise, but essential for anyone with a taste for the weird or fanciful in fiddle music.”
Alex Monaghan – FolkWorld.eu
“The late, great boundary-pushing violinist Oliver Schroer is no longer with us. Ashley MacIsaac went right off his rocker long ago. And so here comes s–t-hot fiddle fiend Freeman-Fox (who indeed was mentored by Schroer) to extract smoke from his bow while tearing through genres from Yiddish, Irish, Acadian, Roma and ragtime to anything else he finds in his travels, including various shades of jazz and prog rock — and even some Mongolian throat singing for good measure.
Freeman-Fox might well be just another astonishingly gifted madman were it not for the sympathetic players he surrounds himself with… Without them, Freeman-Fox might come across as a brilliant dilettante; together, they can slay any band, anywhere, anytime.” – The Record, Waterloo
“Jaron Freeman-Fox calls his band the Opposite of Everything. With a name like that, you might expect his music to be pretty adventurous — which it most certainly is. His new album begins with a remixed sample from a horse auction that melds into Indian vocal percussion. Before the album is finished, you’ll hear growling that would make Tom Waits proud, a version of the Doors’ “People Are Strange” that makes Jim Morrison sound boring and even some throat singing. Freeman-Fox’s musical exploration has literally taken him all over the world and he finds inspiration everywhere he goes.”- Reuben Maan – CBC Music
“There’s no denying violinist and multi-instrumentalist Jaron Freeman-Fox’s talent, nor his spirit of musical adventure. While some musicians pigeonhole themselves into tiny sub-genres, Freeman-Fox blows away all walls.
The local musician is in full experimentation mode on his mostly instrumental self-titled sophomore disc with his band, mashing up bluegrass, jazz, classical, klezmer and a bit of punk. His debut album was a beautifully executed instrumental travelogue, but this time around he adds edgy, aggressive lead vocals to a handful of covers … It’s a wild, whimsical album..” – Sarah Greene – NOW Magazine
To say that I was completely blown away by the astounding fiddle work of Jaron Freeman-Fox would be quite the understatement. Never in my life have I heard a fiddle played with such an incredible amount of skill and expression. His flawless playing will make you want to dance, it will put you into a deep trance, it might even make you feel like splitting at the seams. The small audience at the bar that night was transported to a whole range of cultures through Jaron’s ability to shift entirely from one style of folk to the next. The band moved from straight fiddle tunes, to klezmer, to the stylings of what seemed to be perfectly authentic Indian music. A true fiddle devotee, Jaron Freeman-Fox actually spent an extended period in India studying their musical tradition and incorporating that into his playing. The end result is a captivating ability to blend opposing styles like no other.
Now that little rambling about fiddles only scratches the surface of the Opposites, since Jaron Freeman-Fox is accompanied by a full band of wonderful musicians. The band plays with real chemistry, and makes sure to feature some serious clarinet, accordion, double bass, and drum work….
“Flat out fun throughout all 13 songs here. They would be an absolute trip live, and this record will have you hoping for that day. Give it a listen, you won’t hear anything quite like it again for a long time if ever. ” – David Hintz, FolkWorld.eu
Jaron Freeman-Fox and the Opposite of Everything are a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma… All of this praise is just barely touching the surface of the pure fascination involved in seeing Jaron Freeman-Fox and the Opposite of Everything perform live. Their virtuosity suggested years of classical training, and yet their sheer enthusiasm and raw energy removed any sort of pretension. It is a rare pleasure to witness something that is genuinely original, fresh and inventive” – The Ontarion
“For the record, Celtic and bluegrass music was instilled in Toronto-based Jaron Freeman-Fox’s DNA from the time that he picked up the violin… Conventional perceptions of the violin be damned however, Freeman-Fox is looking to dispel any and all preconceived notions of what the violin’s role in music can and should be.”– Ken Kelley, Mocton Daily
“Manic Almanac chronicles Freeman-Fox’s adventures across Canada and around the world (a BC native, he studied in India before coming to Toronto a few years ago). Opener Rainwood layers violins, guitar, bass, trumpets and percussion in a stimulating swirl that fans of Owen Pallett might appreciate. Caboose is hectic Gypsy jazz, while Prayer is a delicate, slow balance of East and West. Clarity is a love song to the violin, while Waterfall closes the album with swells of strings, whistling and chanting.
This is an album best enjoyed on rainy mornings as coffee is brewing and you’re missing the coast. Any coast.”
“… JFF has put together an album which has a bit of everything. From the Casey Driessen style southern newgrass of Road to the northern soul of Waterfall, from the Western Swing of Caboose to the eastern mysticism in Tribe of the Coda, fiddler Freeman-Fox leads us on a twisting journey of musical inspirations… Easy listening it ain’t, Manic Almanac: Slow Mobius is full of surprises and too provocative to ignore. …one step beyond, indeed.”
© Alex Monaghan – FolkWorld.de
“As soon as The Opposite of Everything hits the stage, the groove is irresistible and young and old dance in front of the stage – setting the tone with a creative cover of “People are Strange.” Throughout the set, Freeman-Fox bounces and sings while playing his five-string electric violin.
John [Williams] plays wicked clarinet solos, Johnny Spence makes the accordian look sexy and special guest guitarist Kevin Breit makes it look like he’s been playing with the band for years. Controlled frenzy on stage spills into the dance “grass floor” during the set, especially when the band plays “The Rabid Rabbi.” The band leaves the stage and it’s too soon –obvious that the audience wants more. Haven’t heard of the Freeman-Fox & the Opposite of Everything? See them live and they could possibly be your new favourite band.”
” …all of these various (and often disparate) musical styles mix together beautifully; the album plays back exactly as Freeman-Fox intends: “[like] a spiral inwards—a commentary on a series of journeys.”
There is no doubting that this is an ambitious and far-reaching artistic statement”