For those of us who loved Ween’s miracle of genre worship known as 12 Golden Country Greats, there’s no surprise that Aaron Freeman (a.k.a. Gene Ween) is teaming back up with producer Ben Vaughn for his first solo album, Marvelous Clouds, due out April 10th on Partisan Records. The interesting twist: you’ll hear Freeman like you’ve never heard him before, featuring 13 interpretations of songs written by Rod McKuen, beat poet and songwriter who has lived privately and never really received the reappraisal his body of work deserves. Freeman, who has with Ween managed to build a career based on range, reinvention and constant innovation, has chosen to use McKuen’s work to “articulate one of his most personal efforts to date,” which makes the album a must-hear from the start. But adding McKuen’s reputation as one of the most prolific poets and songwriters of the 20th century puts this over the top. His songs have been covered by everyone from Frank Sinatra and Johnny Cash to Madonna, and now they’ll be filtered through one of the most innovative voices in alternative music. What more can you ask for?
I don’t have a full sample song from the album yet, so “Japanese Cowboy” will have to suffice. Enjoy!