The Rippingtons featuring Russ Freeman -][- Cote D’Azur – [Peak Records, 2011]
Fans that have followed Russ Freeman and The Rippingtons for any stretch of time over the past quarter century know the versatile award winning and Grammy® nominated guitarist/composer and producer has long had a penchant for naming songs and albums after exotic places (“Aruba,” “Kenya,” “Morocco,” Weekend in Monaco, Sahara, et al). But The Ripps’ latest Peak Records recording Cote D’Azur–inspired by Freeman’s passion for the French people and the storied region of the French Riviera—is more than simply the latest stamp on Freeman’s well traveled passport. Beyond simple wanderlust or a gathering of “musical postcards” from the Southern region of France, it taps into a spirit that’s deeper and more transcendent than any other group project to date.
All of the songs on Cote D’Azur tell stories of Freeman’s extensive travels in France with his wife Yaredt Leon, a hit songwriter in her own right who contributed tracks to the Ripps Latin-themed Wild Card (2005) and Modern Art (2009). Cote D’Azur is bookended with songs they wrote together, the high energy title track and the beautiful “Mesmerized.” Yaredt has been Freeman’s consummate travel partner these past years. For a time, he couldn’t get enough of Italy, but the minute Leon (whose mixed heritage is Colombian-French) introduced him to her father’s homeland of France, Freeman was hooked. Continue reading