Review: Freedom of My Mind
Written by Jamie Griffiths on September 1, 2023
Review: Freedom of My Mind(Live at Power Station NYC)
01-09-23 by Jamie Griffiths
Today is a big day for Mary Bridget Davies – she releases a special live album Freedom of My Mind which fuses music from a variety of musical productions that are synonymous with her career. To release a live version of these numbers is testament to her phenomenal talent, capturing her at her very best, and celebrating (literally) centuries of empowered and important female artists.
Almost exactly a year ago, we had Mary Bridget Davies as a guest on Matinee, discussing her Broadway performances of A Room of Ones Own, a musical adaption (and celebration) of Virginia Woolf’s seminal work. The first half of this album contains music from the production, created by Matinee favourite TJ Armand and a live recording really does it justice.
Opener Own is a bluesy, soulful burst that sets the tone for the rest of the album, the relationship with her musicians is clear to see with Alex Prezzano on guitar, Mark Berman on piano, Dave Richards on bass and Clint DeGanon on drums. In less than three and a half minutes they’ve all had a moment to shine and it’s incredibly uplifting.
We hear some “delicious bliss” in Before the Afterglow which is a fabulous story song, tinged with some nice nuance in Mary’s delivery, and this leads nicely into the chilled, jazz tinged Oh, Mother that shows how versatile Davies is.
Why is another Matinee favourite and it’s nice to hear a new live version of this, it’s loud and ballsy with some real attitude, after which the title track Freedom Of My Mind is a welcome gearchange. I imagine this will fast become a Matinee favourite.
In the second half of the album, Stay With Me/Cry Baby is a true highlight, recalling Davies’ Tony nominated role in A Night With Janis Joplin. The studio recording of this track is regularly played on Matinee but this live performance adds a whole extra dimension to the song, injecting raw emotion. It’s a powerful moment and is rewarding repeat listens.
The uplifting Piece of My Heart is a natural closer on the album – a total crowd pleaser and I will never tire of Mary Bridget Davies delivering this powerful anthem. The crowd who were lucky enough to see this live at the Power Station NYC can’t hide their joy and delight either.
What’s most refreshing is how this album fuses together the work of Virginia Woolf and Janis Joplin in such a seamless and consistent way. That’s thanks to some incredible musical direction, and Mary Bridget Davies’ consistent and soulful delivery. Mary Bridget herself said of this album “Women are the heartbeat of the world. What we achieve regularly, without support and cloaked in shame is miraculous. With this album, I want to celebrate us and tell it like it is. Honor who we have lost and empower the rest.” and I firmly believe she’s achieved this heartfelt goal.