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Heart on the Line

"The creative side is slowly pouring out of me," Freebo says by phone from Pensacola, Fla. "It's easy to get up and play bass and be cool behind Bonnie Raitt. It's not my ass on the line. There's a whole side of me that people don't know."

This new search for a more direct connection as a singer presenting his own songs comes after years as a high-profile but creatively frustrated sideman. Freebo — a friendly sort who flat won't tell you the given name he dropped years ago — finally admitted to himself that he had another agenda. Armed with songs he had written during the past several years, an acoustic guitar, his tuba and a ukulele, he began performing solo around L.A. In 1999, he released, "The End of the Beginning," a humorous and graceful 13-cut look at life's complexities. His new second CD, "Dog People," was inspired by his canine pal Garbo. Now touring to promote the new recording, Freebo is on the road playing gigs across the country.

"To me, I was blessed with really good ears," he explains of his decision to go solo. "There were things happening in other people's music they didn't hear. You have suggestions for harmonies, parts, and other people don't want to hear them. One day the mirror looked back and said, `If you can do it (solo), why the hell aren't you doing it?'"

Freebo still plays sessions and says he was glad to play tuba on Bonnie's new record. But he believes this is his time to put his heart on the line, his time to bring his soul to the fore.

"It's basically like a new career. My focus is singer-songwriter. It's still about me, guitar and voice." — Ames Arnold

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