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Orion Freeman is a singing, songwriting, guitar-playing seeker from the woods just beyond the mortar and bricks of Philadelphia. His souled-out, reggae-infused, flamenco-tinged, bluesy folk-rock aspires to move: your shoes; your heart; the cobwebs, so as to allow your soul to shine. Hovering somewhere within the chasm between the worldly and the divine, his music is an intimate glimpse into the spiraling states of freedom and folly, playfulness and prayer. This glimpse has brought forth The Divine Game, Orion’s first album, recorded in Brooklyn with some of the finest players from Philly, New York City and beyond. The record— made over the better part of the past year— is filled with melody and texture and is painted with the many soundscapes of both city and country. These songs are brought to life with Orion’s commitment to grace and love, to letting old baggage go, to the journey towards freedom— with instrumentation ranging from a sousaphone to a melodica, fully orchestrated string quartets to a kazoo.
“I knew I wanted this record to be grand— in the sense of the orchestration and overall presentation. With that said, we barely made it past the second day. Having never done anything on this scale before, my skills were clearly and obviously lacking. At times— knowing that what was being played wasn’t what I wanted; yet not knowing how to ask for what I did. Until then, most of these sounds existed solely on the level of the unmanifest, somewhere in the recesses of my imagination— so I found the translation to be incredibly hard. Four-letter words were exchanged— unfortunately none resembling L-O-V-E— brows were furrowed, resolutions to never do this again were surely made. But by the end, each and every song on this record had taken on such a distinctly unique and beautiful shape. So many layers working as one. The percussion interlocking with the drums, grooving with the bass— the strings and horns pushing and pulling, conversing together or else trading lines— the textures and vibe of the organs and keys— I wanted to make the kind of record you could come back to time after time and always uncover something new. I wanted there to be a ton of sonic leaps— sounds you may not be used to hearing together on the same tune. That type of juxtaposition in music— and in life— is what inspires and excites me the most.
The process of this record has truly been one of the most intense and rewarding experiences of my life. Now that they’ve finally been born, I’m absolutely thrilled by the proposition and opportunity to recreate these pieces live, out on the road. Although the 12-piece necessary to play the album verbatim may have to wait, I’m hoping to hit the north and southeast with a trio or a quartet later this fall, with a couple full-band shows scheduled for the release parties in Philly and New York. Throughout the course of the summer I’ll be playing a string of shows as a duo in the Pacific Northwest, and later in Colorado, spreading the gospel of The Divine Game from the Redwoods to the Rockies and beyond...”