Free Dominguez… Down to the Bone

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, Free Dominguez and Jimmy Gnecco are stripping down for the week… although not in a manner quite as “festive” as it sounds.  The...

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, Free Dominguez and Jimmy Gnecco are stripping down for the week… although not in a manner quite as “festive” as it sounds.  The Kidneythieves’ vocalist (Dominguez) and Ours’ frontman (Gnecco) have hit the road for a brief string of intimate, solo shows, which concludes this Friday, February 17th, at the North Star Bar, where each regularly-rocking singer will perform a stripped-down set.  I recently chatted with Dominguez, when she took a brief break from signing CDs and vocal exercises.

Although best known as an Industrial femme fatale, Free Dominguez’s latest release, (Unearth), is something quite different… and apparently has encouraged childhood reminiscing.  “I grew up in Texas.  I mean people don’t think of me as being Texas, but I grew up with Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, and Emmylou Harris in the background,” she says, remembering the music her mom regularly played throughout her youth.  However, of the sound found on the album, she says “It wasn’t really conscious.  I wanted to get out of the big studio and the big production and see if I could write a song… I recorded some acoustic material, in contrast to this big rock band that I do.”  Although the songs on (Unearth) certainly have a singer/songwriter feel, including obvious country and folk influences, Dominguez does maintain the relatively dark aesthetic she has come to be known for and, despite the minimalism, the album often finds itself in the realm of the morbid and eerie.

This little mini-tour isn’t Free Dominguez’s and Jimmy Gnecco’s first encounter.  The two have been friends for a while now and Free has been quite the fan of Jimmy’s: “I have a playlist of 20 songs that I practice to when I need to get my vocals going and his is always on there.”  The two’s first night of this jaunt was this past Friday at Culturefix in NYC.  Dominguez described the night as “So incredible,” going on to say that she’s “Always blown away at the emotional connection” that she’s able to make with these intimate audiences who “Care enough that this is how they spend their $15 and Friday night, to hang out and watch a minimal show.”  Of the double bill, she says “It won’t be a big production. It will be stripped down… Jimmy’s show in this format is about raw soul and incredible voice… If you haven’t seen Jimmy, you should see him at least once in your life.”

Dominguez tells me that there are potentially three albums that will come out this year that she appears on.  She’s also currently working out some relatively big deal stuff that she’ll be able to talk about this summer.  However, as far as looking forward to anything in particular in 2012, she tells me “I don’t look forward to anything.”  However, she goes on to explain that she actually means that to be far more positive than it sounds: “I don’t know how anything’s going to pan out…  It’s almost like a reverse scavenger hunt.  Planning is a joke.”


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During the day Izzy Cihak teaches transgression, subversion, and revolution at Temple University. At night he haunts Philthy's best venues to cover worthwhile acts for Philthy Mag. Morrissey is everything to him and, in their own heads, all of his friends see themselves as Zooey Deschanel.