Welcome

Thank you kindly for taking a look at my website! I work hard to deliver genuine music about genuine people, and I'd love to hear what you think. You can listen to several tracks on this website, or, better yet, flag me down at a show and experience the real thing. Thanks again!

KICKING THE FOOTLIGHTS OUT AGAIN -- I'M BACK 

“After 20 years of pickin’ we’re still alive and kickin’ down the wall…” 

“Footlights,” one of my favorite Merle Haggard songs, showcases an older and wiser Merle lamenting that his career as a traveling musician has left him with no true sense of home. The decades of hard living have taken their toll, and he’s tired.  “I’m forty-one years old, and I ain’t got no place to go when it’s over,” he sings. 

Yet his commitment to the music remains. Maybe that’s due to his unshakable passion for the art form, or maybe it’s just because he doesn’t know what else he’d do with his life. In either case, he’s bound to keep going. “Tonight we’ll kick the footlights out and walk away without a curtain call,” he sings defiantly. 

I’m nearly a decade younger than the narrator in Merle’s song, but I can relate to that same feeling of weariness. Two kids, a full-time job and a mortgage to pay every month will do that to you. But, like Merle, I keep playing music because I can’t imagine myself stopping. The music’s power over me is too strong. 

This is all just a long way of saying that, after taking a few months off from gigging, I’m returning to the stage this spring and summer for a full slate of shows, beginning with Saturday, March 24 at Fat Hill Brewing in Mason City. Part of me wonders if maybe I’m a touch loony to keep gigging with everything else going on in my life. But, as another great country singer once said, I’ve always been crazy but it’s kept me from going insane. 

Even though I haven’t played a show since October, I’ve been following a fairly rigorous routine of playing guitar and learning new songs to add to my solo sets. I hope my shows in 2018 will give a more complete sense of the scope of country music, from the direct and wondrous folk songs of the Carter Family to Hank Williams honky tonk to the outlaw spirit of Waylon and Willie. Plus healthy servings of rock and blues to go along with it. 

Check out my schedule, and please make plans to join me for a show or two in 2018. And if the spirit moves you, you can help me kick a few footlights out.

WHAT A YEAR! 

2017 has been a hell of a year for me, gang. 

To name just a few highlights:  I released an album, joined forces with my musical soulmates for a rowdy street dance to celebrate my hometown’s 175th anniversary and played at the governor’s mansion in Des Moines. And my stunningly beautiful wife gave birth to my equally beautiful baby daughter, which is far and away the most momentous development of 2017 for me and mine. 

All this rocking, running and diaper changing has left me pretty tired, so I’m dialing back the gigging for a few months through the end of winter.  But don’t worry. I’ll be back at you soon. In fact, I’ve already begun booking for spring 2018, and I’m thrilled to announce I’ll be at Fat Hill Brewing Co. on March 24, which will be my first-ever gig in beautiful Mason City. I’m also making an effort to learn some old folk tunes that I’ve long admired, and I’ll try to post some videos as time permits. ‘Railroad Bill’ tops the list. 

And if you start missing me too much, you can always listen to “Lily of the Valley,” and it’ll be almost like I’m right there with you. 

As always, thanks to everyone who came to shows, listened to my tunes or bought some merch in 2017. There are few feelings as rewarding for me as when someone connects with my music. Keep it punk rock, gang, and I’ll see you soon. 

PS. Here’s a picture of my spawn, the main reason I’m taking some time away from the stage and staying close to home. Can you really blame me?

 

'LILY OF THE VALLEY' NOW AVAILABLE! 

The new album is ready for your ear holes! 

As you can see from the photo of my devilishly handsome son, I’ve got physical CDs that I’ll be selling at all my shows for the rest of the summer. The album features some killer cover art and design by Melissa Lanphier, and the best way to admire it is to track down a copy and hold it in your hands. If you can't make it to a gig to buy a CD, you can order one through Nova Labs, one of the scrappiest and most eclectic DIY record labels in existence.

But, if streaming or downloading is your preferred method of musical consumption, I’ve got you covered there too. You can hear the album on Spotify, iTunes and virtually every other online music platform you can think of. Click here to check it out on Spotify. Honestly, I don’t really care which method you pursue. If you take the time and give my album a chance, that’s all the reward I could ask for.

Thanks to everyone who has helped and supported me over the last year as this album went from vision to reality, especially my wife Liz. I couldn’t have done this without you. 

'Lily of the Valley' is available now, and I hope you enjoy it! 

-Fred

IT'S DONE!!! 

The album is finished and ready for your ear holes!

I just received the final mastered tracks from Sage Audio in Nashville this week, and it sounds pretty darn good if I may say so. I can't wait to get this album, which I've titled "Lily of the Valley," out into the world. The 11 tracks feature some of the best musicians I know, and I can't thank them enough for agreeing to work with me on this project. I'll be giving them individual shoutouts on social media in the days ahead, but if you know who Matt Woods, Jen McClung, Matt Jesson, Nathan Emerson, Curt Snook, Greg Bruna or Dave Atchison are, then you know the caliber of musicianship on this album is pretty high.

The album art is finished as well, so the last step is to produce the physical CDs and jackets, which I'll be doing by hand with Bryon Dudley at Nova Labs any day now. I'll have a limited supply of physical copies at my first gig in July.

I can't thank you guys enough for all the love and support as I've worked on this thing. In the meantime, feast your eyes on the album cover, designed by Melissa Lanphere.

The Album is Recorded! 

Hey, gang! I just wanted to give everyone a quick update on the record and my life in general.  First off, the album is 100 percent recorded. Yes, you read that right, buddy. All the tracks on all 11 songs are in the can.  Bryon Dudley and I managed to cobble together enough time on Saturday mornings and the odd weeknight to get this sucker all recorded. And I’m so chuffed about how it turned out. 

I’m not exaggerating when I say that I managed to wrangle some of my musical heroes to contribute to the project. Matt Woods, whom I firmly believe to be the best guitar player I’ve ever met, added some moody slide work to a song. Jen McClung, whom I firmly believe to be the best singer I’ve ever met, sweetened a track with some gorgeous harmonies and counter-melodies. Curt Snook, one of the finest fiddle players in the state and an all-around brilliant musical mind, sawed away on two songs. Nathan Emerson, a truly dedicated and eclectic musician, recorded a pedal steel part that will tug your heartstrings clear out of your chest. And most recently, Matt Jesson, a virtuosic keyboardist who plays in Brother Trucker (maybe you’ve heard of them), added his magic touch to two songs. 

And, of course, Greg Bruna and Dave Atchison, my musical soul mates, added their rocking throb and thwack to four songs.  I can’t thank all of those folks enough for making the time to contribute. I can’t believe how lucky I am to know so many talented and good people. 

But enough gushing. 

Now we’ve got to focus on mixing and mastering to make sure these songs sound as good as we can get them. I’ve got a title in mind for the album, and I’ll be announcing that at a later date, hopefully with a fully mixed-and-mastered song to boot. Stay tuned!

I’ve also booked several new shows for the spring and summer. The inaugural Uncertainty Fest, organized by local record label Nova Labs for late April, is gonna be a scream. The Fred Love Explosion will be there, along with plenty of other #TeamAmes favorites and some nationally touring acts as well.  Keep checking my show dates page for the latest on when and where you can see me. 

Finally, as I write this, my wife and I are preparing for the imminent arrival of our baby daughter. My 5-year-old son has remarked more than once how my family has influenced the songs on this new album, and I’m sure our new addition will inspire even more music and love. Liz and I can’t wait to meet our little girl. It’s gonna be any day now. 

Keep it punk rock, gang! 

-Fred
 

New album in 2017! 

Hey, gang! 

As I write this, I’m preparing for the fourth recording session for a brand-new solo album to be released next year. I’m so excited to bring this new music to you, I can’t harldy wait. But, as Shotgun Willie once said, you can’t make a record if you ain’t got nothin’ to say.  Accordingly, I’m working hard to make sure what I’ve got to say is going to be worth your time. That means slowing down to get all the details right and inviting some of the best musicians in central Iowa to contribute to the project. Bryon Dudley, a DIY hero and an Ames music luminary, is engineering all the recording sessions. 

This is going to take some time, but I’m determined to get it done to the best of my ability. Keep in touch either on my website or on Facebook or Twitter to get the behind-the-scenes details as the album takes shape. 

The last few months were some of the busiest I’ve ever had from a musical perspective. I played about 20 gigs in the span of just a few short months, with shows as far away as Orange City and Grinnell and Quasky. Add in a job and family obligations, and I got stretched pretty thin. 

That’s why I’m cutting down on gigs for a few months while I finish the album and prepare for the birth of my daughter in February. But, come springtime, I’m sure I’ll be suffering from rock & roll fever, so expect a full slate of shows, both solo and with the Explosion, throughout spring and summer of 2017. 

In the meantime, thanks to everyone who came to my shows, tossed change in my tip jar, threw back shots of 10 High with me or listened to my late-night rants about the essential ingredients of this wondrous thing we call rock & roll.  Most of all, I want to thank my bandmates Greg Bruna and Dave Atchison, who slaved away during swelteringly hot band practices, loaded up gear in Subarus and drove hours and hours to play my songs with me. You guys are my brothers and my musical soul mates, and I can’t wait to play more shows with you next year. 

Keep on kickin’ ass, everybody!  I’ll see you soon.

Halloween Honky Tonk II and other announcements 

Hey, gang! 

I’ve only got one more gig on my schedule for 2016, and it’s a doozy. I desperately hope you’ll join me on Friday, Oct. 21, for Halloween Honky Tonk II at DG’s Tap House in Ames. For the second year in a row, I’ve asked a few friends to join me on the bill for what I personally guaran-damn-tee to be a full night of righteous music.   

The Halloween Honky Tonk also doubles as a costume party, and anyone who shows up in a particularly ghoulish outfit will get a chance at some prizes and free merch. 

As if all of that weren’t enough, there’s no cover. Like, at all. You can get your fill of 100-percent locally produced rock n’ roll, take in a bunch of costumes and weird Halloween hijinks, enjoy DG’s extensive beer menu and not pay a single dime to get in the door. I’ve got a costume in mind that’ll make it worth your while to turn out. But you might want to refresh your memory on Nirvana’s concert history first… 

Ladies and gentlemen, I wouldn’t dare steer you wrong on this:  Halloween Honky Tonk II is going to be a blast. 

Jess DeWitt & Co. and Great Caesar’s Goat, two bands I admire greatly, are rounding out the bill for the evening. Joining me on stage will be Dave Atchison on drums and Greg Bruna on bass. I’ve been making rock music with both those guys for the better part of five years now, and I consider them my musical soul mates. This time out, we’re calling ourselves the Fred Love Explosion. It’s a new name, but don’t let it fool you. If you saw us play this summer as Atchison, Bruna & Love, you know we mix a bunch of classic tunes with our own originals and give the whole package the garage treatment. Nuts-and-bolts rock n’ roll with a healthy dose of twang. 

Finally, as I mentioned earlier, this is the last show I intend to play for a while. That’s not because I’m quitting or anything. It’s because I’m going to spend the remainder of 2016 focusing on recording my very first solo album, and then my wife and I are eagerly awaiting the birth of our baby girl in February. I’ll be announcing more about the album and baby in due time. 

Until then, please join me for Halloween Honky Tonk II on Oct. 21. Bring a costume and a friend – if you’re brave enough… 

Stay punk, 

Fred    

Taking a chance 

I've decided to take a chance on myself.

After four years of pouring my creative energy into an Americana band, it looks like circumstances have shifted. But that itch -- that compulsion -- to play guitar and sing and connect with folks remains. In fact, after a slow start to 2016, that drive to make music has only sharpened.

So, for the first time in my 30 years on planet Earth, I'm going to make a serious go as a solo artist. I've written some new songs, booked some new shows and rearranged all my musical goals. Everything from scratch. Everything by hand.

Honestly, that scares the hell out of me.

Somehow, the idea of putting a song out into the world under my own name intimidates me much more than putting out a song under a band name.

But the idea of packing it in and calling it quits, letting my guitar and amp and voice go quiet, scares me even more. 

So I've decided to put it all on the line. With my name on it.  I could easily go down in flames, but at least I'll know. At least I'll have taken a chance on myself.

Thanks for visiting my new website. I hope you find something here to enjoy, and I hope you'll join me for this little experiment. 

All the best,
Fred

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Mar5

Opening for Emily Scott Robinson

The Maintenance Shop, 2229 Lincoln Way, Ames, IA

Fred opens for Emily Scott Robinson, whose 2019 album 'Traveling Mercies' was among the very best Americana albums of the year. Don't miss this special evening at the world-famous M-Shop!