She might be best known as a no-nonsense blues rocker, but Clare Free has gone all acoustic for her latest album, Butterflies, the follow-up to 2012’s Dust And Bones. Despite being one of the hardest-working women on the scene, she has found time to launch a new body to raise the profile of independent acts in the media.
Payin' Dues: Clare Free
Hard-rocking superwoman goes nitty gritty and unplugged for new album.
Will people see a different side to you with this new album?
Yes and no. My songs have always been about real life, but the songs on my previous album were much more rock orientated and covered the more ‘ballsy’ end of life. The songs on this new album are more about the nitty gritty and closer to home. I’ve had people say to me that these songs make them really emotional. In a way, I’ve recorded this as a gift to my family. There are things I can’t say verbally, but I can turn into a song. I think it’s a beautiful album and I wouldn’t change a thing about it.
Does this mean you have turned your back on rocking out?
No I haven’t! People will still find me rocking out in my corset and electric guitar. I just wanted to explore another area of my musicality. I’m not just a hard rock guitarist.
Who has inspired you?
For electric guitar playing, my strongest influence is Albert Collins. I spent a long time studying him.
What do you think of the blues scene these days?
I think it’s a thriving scene, although it’s still very much underground. There are lots of bands who are not ‘blues’ playing under this huge, all encompassing heading. It gives young bands a solid platform to make their name and get experience. The bad thing is if they are not actually a blues act, that’s not always a positive label.
You recently launched the Union Of Independent Music Artists. What does that aim to do?
It’s about supporting independent artists in the business field. Independent artists often lack the power the big record labels have. There’s not a great deal of independent music on the mainstream airwaves in the daytime. We are not seeing enough of independent artists in the main media and that is having a knock-on effect on the live scene, because people are not going to gigs. What we are doing is raising the profile of independent artists and helping to bring them to the front.
Butterflies is available via www.clarefree.co.uk.