“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.”
“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
.. 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….
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
“Jaron Freeman-Fox, violin in hand, is regularly spotted around town backing up musicians who occupy every imaginable niche of folk, fusion and experimental music. On his instrumental debut full-length, many of his collaborators – David Woodhead, Christine Bougie, Ben Whiteley – return the favour.
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.”
Top track: Waterfall
“With a lot of help from his friends, 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. Among the notable influences on this music are Toronto’s late great Oliver Schroer, exerting a powerful force from beyond the grave, and the spirit of India which Forster long ago cast as a chaotic force, blurring our occidental perceptions. JFF spent time in what he calls “the madness of India”, immersing himself in ragas and moras[...] …Asian flavours are balanced by bagpipes on Hunter S Thompson’s Polka, and by some simply beautiful fiddling on Prayer and The Birds Will Sing Again. That man Filippo Gambetta crops up on button box, and there’s a full complement of fretted strings and drums, as well as a roving brass section. Easy listening it ain’t, Manic Almanac: Slow Mobius is full of surprises and too provocative to ignore. As you might expect, www.jaronfreemanfox.com is a little out of the ordinary too. Check Jaron’s band The Opposite Of Everything – one step beyond, indeed.”
© Alex Monaghan – FolkWorld.de
“Electrifying the Stage and Dancing.
Wearing the funky shoes that once belonged to his fiddling/composing mentor (Oliver Schroer), Jaron Freeman-Fox playfully bounces, dances, wrestles and kicks behind stage with his band, right before they’re due on stage – even the words spilling from his mouth seem to bounce. “The idea of the band has been percolating for years,” explains manic violin virtuoso Freeman-Fox backstage. “I wanted to bring together a bunch of great musicians from different backgrounds and create a band where everyone likes to have a good time –a party band.”
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 Freeman 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.”
“…while the many instrumental folk genres—fiddle tunes, reels, rags, breakdowns, jigs, etc.—serve as the jumping-off point for a set of strong and focused compositions, a deeper listen shows this record to be so much more… There are influences of ambient music (“Hunter S. Thompson’s Polka, Part 1”), Indian raga (“Tribe of the Coda” and “Prayer”), improvisation (“Solkattu Cowboy”), and of the aesthetics of Freeman-Fox’s mentor, the recently-deceased Canadian fiddle pioneer Oliver Schroer (“The Off Set” and “The Birds Will Sing Again”). Most exciting of all, 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, especially for a first full-length release; but it only proves that Jaron Freeman-Fox is willing to take risks in order to move forward. When a relatively young artist makes a record that can have deftly negotiate musical styles while also maintaining inner-cohesion, it can only mean greater things to come—and that notion, like Manic Almanac itself, is truly exciting.”
“Prayer”, “Solkattu Cowboy”, “Hunter S. Thompson’s Polka, Parts 1 & 2”, “Waterfall”