Champagne Sunday

There isn't a better band to kick off a night of music

By Nikki McCoy on November 29, 2012

Champagne Sunday is an interesting breed. Performing a little bit Broadway, a little bit contemporary, a little bit punk and a little bit blues, this indie duo has a lot of energy and talent that makes for an engaging, powerful listen.

Jessi and Jared Fredeen, (yes, they're married) make up the California transplant band that uses instrumentation ranging from acoustic guitar to piano, with trombone, ukulele, harmonica and squeezebox.

Vocalist Jessi has a sound similar to Chrissie Hynde or Ani DiFranco - a huge, feminine voice with power and punch, but with a range so as to reach into a lullaby if necessary. This is not to say that Jared isn't without poise when he flies solo or chimes in on harmony. Champagne Sunday's song "In Your Pocket" reaches into that lullaby territory. I tested it on my kids. They snapped and bobbed their little heads along. I could just as easily introduce my mom to Champagne Sunday's music. My hard rocker husband stopped halfway through the living room and asked "hey, who you listening to?" Apparently, I should have Champagne Sunday over for Sunday dinner.

Audience variety is not new to Champagne Sunday. The band recognizes its diversity as a "blessing and a curse."

"We've played festivals that had 4 to 70 year olds in the audience," says Jessi. "It's less about a genre and more about an experience," adds Jared.

But not having a genre makes it difficult to market, so the duo have focused on putting themselves out there as an opening band.

"At this point - we just want to get out there," says Jessi. "We're a great opening band. We get the crowd focused on the stage."

The duo's chemistry is as palpable over the phone as is it is in its music. The Freedeens finish each other's sentences, songs and riffs. The band explores love in some facet in each and every song it creates - perhaps one of the most compelling is "Little Lie (Inner Thoughts Remix)" where it provides dialogue the listener assumes are the little lies ("I've only had one beer," or "Your hair looks really really great"). These continue throughout the musically complex and layered song, hashing out details through lyrics and licks, while playfully tapping into the dynamics of relationships.

While I could continue to give you my impression of the honesty and energy of the band's music, I don't think I could get through this article without mentioning the fact that LeAnn Rimes said Champagne Sunday is "The best band I've seen that's not yet famous."

Perhaps this is the sentiment Maurice the Fish Records had in mind when they recently invited the Fredeens to join its musical family. 

"We didn't actually sign anything," laughs Jessi. "It was more of an agreement. We do everything ourselves and they (Maurice the Fish) help those who help themselves. It's great having someone fight for you." 

Jared brings in an analogy.

"The Indian tribe Chumash has a story about braving the Pacific Ocean in canoes," he says. "Use one canoe and there are too many waves. Latch together three or four canoes and you can weather the waves - same as the music community. You're going to feel stronger."

So keep your ear to the ground for Champagne Sunday. It is riding those waves right into the scene. Catch the band Dec. 6 at Forza Coffee Company in Lakewood, Dec. 8 at Rock the Dock Pub and Grill in Tacoma and Dec. 15 at the Weekly Volcano's Electric Salchow Stage at the Franciscan Polar Plaza outdoor ice skating rink.