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Gil Karson and The Karson City Rebels Release “Freedom Guaranteed”

The last seven months of 2023 have been unpredictable on all fronts, particularly in the music world. Despite all of the drama we continue to see when clicking on the nightly news, an emerging generation of players is coming to the surface with sounds that challenge the negative climate of any article on the Bing page – case in point, Gil Karson and The Karson City Rebels’ “Freedom Guaranteed.” “Freedom Guaranteed” is dedicated to the veterans and everyone who believes in America, and it has the kind of vibe that should more than appeal to this era of listeners amidst the difficulties of everyday life.   Let’s start by breaking down the instrumental elements in the track.

There isn’t a lot of space here between the vocal and the strings within the mix, but their tandem attack is essentially what highlights the lean and mean nature of the percussion – an important feature, in my estimation, given how popular incorporating the opposite has been recently. There isn’t any need to get excessive with the drumbeat in this song, and by sticking with something a little more conservative in the backdrop, Karson and his band get the most out of the oomph he’s affording to every verse in this single.   Aside from the master mix being as tight as possible, the collective rhythm itself is surprisingly potent and would have been quite firm were it not accompanied by as melodic a front as it was. Gil Karson’s voice is the gentle warmth serving as superglue for all of the jagged ends in the arrangement of the instrumentation, and because of his disciplined approach to the words, he’s able to impart so much more emotionality into the narrative than a less than erudite artist would have been in virtually the same circumstances.  

The Karson City Rebels are putting in just as much effort here as Gil Karson is, and I hope this isn’t the last occasion on which they can generate something as warm and patriotic as this piece. It can be difficult finding the kind of chemistry that they’ve got between them, especially in an organic setting, but for what they’re trying to tackle in “Freedom Guaranteed,” I think they’re doing a great job of playing off of each other’s cues and developing a sound they both can be proud of. I’m curious to hear the differences if Gil Karson performs on his own as opposed to in this joint operation, but my gut tells me it’s going to be just as sensational.  

Rock and country fans have a lot of choices when looking for new and exciting music these days, but I think all would be wise to give Gil Karson and The Karson City Rebels’ “Freedom Guaranteed” a spin before the summer is over. There are many ways in which this act can continue to grow into their sound, and even though there are a couple of stylistic hiccups in the hybridity, there’s far more evidence to support the notion that he’s destined for good things here than there isn’t. I’ll be listening out for more of their music, and I can see a lot of other people following my lead.  

Mindy McCall      



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