Having been a parent for sixteen years, I have read many a bedtime story. In fact, it’s one of my favorite times of the day; me, my kids, and a good book.
My kids have all been big fans of fairy tales, and our night time reading adventures have been flush with stories of heroes and dragons, charming princes and beautiful princesses, witches, monsters, and all sorts of fantastical folk.
So, this reading of fairy and folk tales with my kids has provided me with an interesting backdrop from which to examine Jill Freeman’s latest record, A Handmade Life.
On this new record, Freeman, through a combination of passionate interest in folklore and strong background in psychology, reexamines many of the fairy tales that we all hold near and dear. Freeman enters the worlds and characters of these tales and tells stories and sings songs via the voices of the characters we know so well.
Cinderella. The Brothers Grimm. The Wizard of Oz. These tales and more are visited by Freeman, with her work providing unusual, and often challenging, interpretations of these stories we know.
I was lucky enough to chat with Jill Freeman about the new record, the characters she channeled when writing these songs, and a go to story for bedtime with my daughter.
BRO – Did the recording of these songs change your perception of these fables?
JF – I’m not sure recording them changed my perspective as much as studying them and reading Jungian-based interpretations of them did. My passionate interest in all of that sparked the idea for the project. During recording, I would say the songs came alive. The sonic world of the songs became more and more vivid, more three dimensional. It was very exciting!
BRO – As you wrote these songs, was there a character whose story/perspective you particularly enjoyed?
JF – Each character was precious to me. Each one worked its way deep into my heart as I worked with it. You might say that each story represents the emotional aspects of being human, and since I can’t honestly speak about anyone else, they are all, bottom line, about my own emotional landscape.
BRO – Along the same lines, was there any particular character you couldn’t wait to get away from?
JF – This is such a great question. No. I was definitely immersed in the process! I loved each story and each character. There were some songs that didn’t make it to the disc, but that was mostly because they just weren’t working.
BRO – We are featuring “Sweetheart, My Dream Is Not Over” on this month’s Trail Mix. What advice might you have for the young lady in the song?
JF – Ha! “Listen to your dream, not your boyfriend!” The dream is her deep intuition telling her there is something very wrong with the relationship.
BRO – I have to read my daughter a bedtime story tonight. Your pick!
JF – Well, maybe not these? Or at leat not my grown up take on them! Traditional fairy tales are actually folk tales, in my opinion, that come out of the collective unconscious. But that a whole other discussion. So I vote for Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss.
Jill Freeman’s tour calendar is pretty quiet right now. For more information on her live dates, or how you can grab a copy of A Handmade Life, be sure to check out her website.
Also, be sure to take a listen to “Sweetheart, My Dream Is Not Over” on this month’s Trail Mix.