Get Free

Review by Vanessa Adel

June 2024

Feeling down in a world turned upside-down? Need some inspiration? Look no further. The new track, Get Free, by the formidable band, TapRoots, is your medicine, your ticket, your ride to a better future. 

Listen to it HERE.

Get Free takes the urgency of our need for liberation and gives us the sound we need to get there. It refreshes the stance, “If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution.” Wondering how to get free? This song puts the feeling in your body so you know you can get there. The lyrics, true to Taproots two previous albums, are intentional and inspiring in the face of a world gone mad. It speaks directly to power and the transformations that are at hand: “They want you to conform/To their corrupt reality/The future’s ours/A new day calls/Let’s make it how it’s supposed to be.” The words inspire you to take action and be part of the radical change that is at hand.

Matthew King, the band’s leader and composer says, “I was inspired by my students while I was a teacher at the Pioneer Valley performing Arts School, and the ways that they were embracing new ways of being and relating to each other, the planet, and the politics of self that were refreshingly forward-thinking. The song is very much dedicated to them and the new world that they will undoubtedly build as they grow to adulthood.” 

Get Free opens with an emphatic cymbal crash followed by a one-two classic drum beat that is joined by the tantalizing sound of a cabasa, shaking us to attention. But do not be fooled by this simple opener. There is a joyful mischief at hand, which is confirmed when the incredible TapRoots horn section – the “Horns of Plenty” – joins in, the cabasa slyly communicating: “you’re hearing this right?” An electric guitar slips in another layer to the groove, signaling “y’all ready? we’re gonna get funky.” Then the song settles into the lyrics, sung with righteous power and exquisite harmonies by Matthew and the TapRoots singers: Jessica Torres, Choc’late Allen and Kaihla Laurent.  “You say you want to rule the world/but this is our world too . . . You tell us if we play the game/We’ll have a good life/But I say your ruling days are through.” At this point, the invitation to Get Free turns into full-fledged community jamboree; meaning, if you are not busting some moves at this point in the track, you might want to check your pulse. This song is bursting with dancing energy. 

Listening to Get Free is itself an experience of embodied change, the kind we need to survive. The song liberates through exuberant invocation as well as through an engagement of local and global community. After the initial verses and chorus, the song explodes into a funk symphony that takes the listener on a journey through a variety of motifs, each one giving the TapRoots band members space to stretch out and add to the ecstatic power of the track. It effortlessly weaves in and out of Funk, Jazz, Latin Montuno, New Orleans Gospel Soul, and vocal breakdown interludes, including an exhilarating drum solo, celebrating vibrant global communities – as TapRoots so often does – and the many ways that percussion, melody, and harmony invite us to let go and live our best lives. Each section is an ode to living vibration as expressed and as manifested by each genre in distinct yet connected ways: the ecstatic intensity of funk, the centered playfulness of Jazz, the transcendant community upliftment of Soul, and the rich interactiveness of Montuno. Get Free conveys being at a joyous party – one that we are ALL invited to -, and as we hear the sounds of people communing with each other, the beat rises higher and higher, urging us to let go of any internal collapse, rigidity, or capitulation to the powers that be: “Come on let’s get free and make a new world/The old one just don’t work like it used to/A new world calls on the wings of the wind/Creating anew what might never have been/So join the band, and take a new stand/Come on y’all, it’s time to get FREE” 

This song debuts in its single form as well as a 10+ minute “extended ecstatic dance remix.” It is available on all streaming platforms including Spotify, Apple Music/iTunes, Pandora, and Youtube.

Catch TapRoots LIVE:

Wormtown Music Festival at Camp Keewanee in Greenfield MA on September 15

The Garlic and Arts Festival in Orange, MA on September 29

Hawks and Reed in Greenfield on October 26.

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