Versatile guitarist plays blues to Hawaiian lap steel

  • Seth Freeman is touring Hawaii Island this January. (Courtesy photo)

KAILUA-KONA — When you hear Seth Freeman play guitar, you quickly realize these are not the same old licks, and he is one of those rare, soulful talents who has not only mastered his instrument, he has mastered the craft of making music.

As a third generation guitarist, Freeman was taught to play music firsthand, playing guitar at the age 4, in large circles at family reunions, first stepping on stage at the tender age of 5.

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This natural talent not only grew up surrounded by live, mostly acoustic music, he grew up in a rich musical crossroads between the major American musical centers of Nashville, New Orleans, Memphis, Austin, Oklahoma, Dallas, Tulsa, St. Louis and Kansas City. The first leg of his journey has already taken him around the world including Europe, Canada, Alaska and most of the United States.

Now, he’ll be performing with his trio across Hawaii Jan. 16-19.

Freeman plays all kind of styles specializing in driving blues and sweet tender ballads, but also including jazz fusion, haunting dobro, singer/songwriter, old gospel hymns, stone-cold country, roots rock, Ozark Mountain bluegrass, from nasty slide guitar to Hawaiian lap steel.

He landed solidly in the singer-songwriter alt-country roots-rock arena with his debut solo record, “One And Only Maybe.” He followed up with a solo acoustic record, “Heart Back,” and has most recently released an epic compilation of his three EP trilogy “Took To The Air.”

At 23, finally opening for names like Jonny Lang, Wes Jeans, The Blind Boys of Alabama, Damon Fowler and Devon Allman, he was on track to make his mark on the larger music world, when his life took a turn.

He was in a serious auto accident in 2008 that left him with a broken back and doctors saying he wasn’t ever going to walk or play again.

But after a miraculous surgery and full year of recovery in Alaska, he now has a 6-foot titanium rod holding his spine together and he walks, talks, writes, lives, breathes and plays music on a daily basis again, with a passion unlike any other. He loves to be challenged musically and he has risen to meet this physical challenge as well, with full force.

Hawaii tour dates:

7 p.m. Jan. 16 – Kawaihae, Blue Dragon Tavern &Cosmic Musiquarium, $15.

7 p.m. Jan. 17 – Kailua-Kona, Gertrude’s Jazz Bar, $15.

7 p.m. Jan. 18 – Hilo Town Tavern, $15.

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7:30 p.m. Jan. 19 – KMC Theater – Volcanoes National Park, $15.

Online info, tickets and gold circle: http/www.bluesbearhawaii.com or call 896-4845.

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