BM- How old were you when you started playing the electric guitar?

CF- I didn’t start playing until I was 17. For a long time I had been playing other instruments, mainly piano but also flute and saxophone but I wanted to learn to improvise and all my tutors were classically trained and didn’t teach improvisation. My little brother had a guitar and was getting pretty good on it when I decided that I’d like to try it too. I have to be honest, my Mum wasn’t too impressed and she told me that I could only learn if I bought everything and paid for my own lessons.

That’s exactly what I did. I got myself a weekend job sticking those free things on the front of magazines, it was a hot, horrible job that left me with painful fingers and I got paid such a tiny amount to do it but, I worked there to buy my first decent guitar and to pay for some lessons. I suppose that made me more determined to stick with it, I kind of felt that I owed it to myself to learn properly.

BM- Did you always want to be a musician?
CF- Yes and no. I always wrote songs and music and loved doing so. At school instead of going to hang out with the ‘cool’ girls I would go and write songs on the piano. I never even hoped to do it for a job- it was never suggested as an option at all. I planned to be a lawyer and even did three years studying law at university. I was going to be a music industry lawyer specialising in copyright law but when it came to the crunch I decided to be a musician after all!

BM- What do like best, and worst, about being a musician?
CF- I love songwriting, it’s a real passion for me. I’d love to write songs for other people as well as myself too. I haven’t done it yet but one day I am sure a chance will come up. I also love meeting all the interesting people who come to gigs- the blues crowd is very friendly.

The worst bit? Well I have two children and after a concert the night before when I get back at maybe 3 AM getting up at 6.30 to get them to school can be might hard. That said, I am someone who tends to burn the candle at both ends anyway!

BM- Your second album “Dust and Bones” came out in March this year, what’s the response been?
CF- Its been amazing! Dust and Bones is a very personal album, all my music is about my real life, so I wasn’t sure how people would react to it but they seem to love it. I get lots of people telling me that they feel the songs could be about them, and one song in particular, which is about my friend’s struggle to have a baby, gets a very emotional response sometimes. Its nice to know that people are relating to what I have to say about the world.

BM- Any plans for a new album or is it too soon?
CF- Dust and Bones has done so well that there are plans to release another album in 2013. All but one of the tracks are now written and rehearsals start later this year. I’m going deeper into the blues on the next one, using some more traditional feels but still keeping it different and new. It’s a more gritty album which will compliment Dust and Bones very well. Its all lining up to be a cracking new album. I don’t know the exact release date yet.
BM- Do you still get nervous before a big gig?
CF- Sometimes but it tends to be the day before rather than just as I go on stage. I used to get really nervous and actually tremble in my early days, thankfully it passed years ago when I realised the audience is totally on your side. Now I really enjoy strutting around, its my dream and the audience are part of that.

BM- When you are not busy writing and playing, what do you do to relax?
CF- I love music so much that when I am not playing a concert, touring or talking to agent’s etc, I actually want to write songs. I set time aside to relax and do this. I also adore spending time with my two beautiful children and (ever patient!) husband. We do all the usual family stuff like bike riding, country walks and slobbing watching DVDs. I love to travel and like to visit as many places as possible too.

BM- If you could play with anyone, who would it be?
CF- Now, that’s a difficult question to answer- I’d love to jam with Buddy Guy or BB King. To just sit and chill out and write songs I think it would be someone like Bonnie Raitt, who I think has a very interesting take on the blues. Of course, if I’d had the chance to tear it up with Stevie Ray Vaughan or Albert Collins I would have loved to have done that too!


BM-Tell us something people don’t know about you

CF- My guitar strap was custom made for me and I love it. I saw a belt with the flower shapes cut into it and went to Sarah Rand who makes both the straps and the belts and asked her to make it for me. I wouldn’t be without it now!

http://www.clarefree.co.uk/

https://bluesmagazine.nl/recensie-clare-free-dust-bones

(c) photos: Marie-Dominique Fache

 


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