You can have Freakwater news & tour dates sent to your Inbox by joining the Freakwater Yahoogroup or subscribing to the mailing list. And now, Freakwater is on FACEBOOK!

PLAY "Hi Ho Silver" and "Cathy Ann" as well as selected tracks from the rest of Freakwater's catalog

2013 News

In April, Janet Bean will play five consecutive Tuesdays at the Hideout, focusing on a different facet of her musical journey each week. Freakwater's music will be last, on the 30th. Click here for all the details. Also, read an interview she gave!

Freakwater will play the Forecastle Music Festival In Louisville, Kentucky, which begins on July 12th, as well as the Sugar Maple Traditional Music Festival in Madison, Wisconsin which begins on August 2nd.

Follow Freakwater, now on Twitter! For example:


Freakwater embarked on their first tour in many moons in January, 2013!

Sketch of Freakwater's performance at the Hideout courtesy of Dmitry Samarov.

Thursday, January 10, The Ark, Ann Arbor, MI.
Friday, January 11, The Ninth Ward, Buffalo, NY.
Saturday, January 12, with Chicken Tractor Deluxe, at The Haunt, Ithaca, NY.
Sunday, January 13, Johnny D's, Somerville, MA.
Monday, January 14, with Bob Kendall, at Narrows Center for the Arts, Fall River, MA.
Tuesday, January 15, The Bell House, Brooklyn, NY.
Wednesday, January 16, DC9, Washington, DC.
Thursday, January 17, Club Cafe, Pittsburgh, PA.
Friday, January 18, Beachland Tavern, Cleveland, OH.
Saturday, January 19, Stuart's Opera House, Nelsonville, OH.
Monday, January 21, The Hideout, Chicago, IL.
Wednesday, January 23, Wood House, St. Louis, MO. (Private facility - email them for an invitation).
Thursday, January 24, Headliners, Louisville, KY.
LATE ADDITION: FRIDAY, JAN 25,BARKING LEGS THEATER, CHATTANOOGA, TN! opening for Freakwater at the Legs will be Drunken Prayer. Rock on!

2012 News

Catherine Irwin's second solo record, "Little Heater", is available here! Also, she has a new Tumblr blog:

2011 News

Freakwater will play the 16th annual Bloodshot Records Party at Yard Dog as part of the SXSW Festival in South Austin on Friday, March 18th.

Freakwater thrice opens for Neko Case in early 2011!  Friday, January 28th, at the Catamount Arts in St. Johnsbury, Vermont; Sunday, January 30th at in Burlington, VT; Monday, January 31st, at Port City Music Hall in Portland, Maine.

2010 News

Eleventh Dream Day's next record, Riot Now!, is complete and due to be released in an LP/digital download combo (no CD!) next March.

Freakwater fans have the opportunity to see Catherine Irwin play live in November. She'll play at the Beachland Ballroom in Cleveland, Ohio, on Friday, November 12th. Hey Mavis will open.

Catherine will also participate in the third annual Harry Smith Festival, held at the Elk Creek Cafe in Millheim, Pennsylvania, splitting a bill with Peter Stampfel, formerly of the Fugs, in a pre-festival show on Saturday, November 13th. Purchase tickets online here. The main event the following day includes Peter and Catherine as well as seven other acts: Moore & Sons with Curtis Eller , The Wringers, Little Silver, KC Rounders, Hannah Bingman and Doug McMinn, The Butcher Boy and Steve, and host band The Chicken Tractor Deluxe. The event proceeds go to benefit the Penns Valley Hope Fund, a local homegrown organization that was created to assist families facing medical crises and/or personal disasters, and the East Penns Valley Public Library.

Catherine will also play The Wildfire Lounge in Ithaca, New York, on Monday, November 15th..

The Horse's Ha, featuring Janet Bean, will play as part of the World Music Festival in Chicago on Friday, September 24th at the Hideout.

Freakwater played the Wavelength Music Festival on Saturday, July 31st. Here's a photo, courtesy of Dave Davis:

For the 4th of July holiday, Janet and Catherine guest-hosted a two-hour broadcast on WBEZ's "Radio M" program; they played some of their favorite country songs and generally cut up. Listen here.

A new Freakwater song is out! Catherine and Janet recorded in December the song "Mockingbird" for the podcast Radio Free Song Club. Their segment begins at about 46:00.

2009 News

The Horse's Ha, pairing Freakwater's Janet Bean and Jim Elkington of The Zincs, have released their debut, Of the Cathmawr Yards, on the Hidden Agenda label. Read more here. Buy it here. The Horse's Ha will play at Cowboy Monkey in Champaign, IL, on June 27th, Schuba's in Chicago on July 3rd, Thunderbird Cafe in Pittsburg on July 27th, the Iota in Arlington, Virginia on July 28th, Johnny Brenda's in Philadelphia on July 29th, Bruar Falls in Williamsburg on July 30th, Bell House in Brooklyn on July 31st, the Mercury Lounge in NYC on August 1st, and Beachland Tavern in Cleveland on August 2nd.

Reigning Sound, featuring Freakwater's Dave Gay, has a new record coming out this summer. They will be touring Europe extensively this summer, and also play shows in Memphis and Detroit.

Freakwater and Eleventh Dream Day played as part of The Big Shoulders Ball at the Black Cat in Washington, DC on January 19th in celebration of the inauguration of Barack Obama, benefitting the Chicago Public Schools marching bands program and the Future of Music Coalition. Read a blogger's review here.

2008 News

Catherine Irwin contributed this piece of art to the Exquisite City exhibit on display at the Chicago Tourism Center though March 15th, 2009. Here's a cool YouTube vid about it.

Janet Bean hosted at the Hideout in Chicago on October 19th an event called "'Breaking the Silence: Exposing the Conflict in the Congo' to coincide with an international initiative to raise awareness on the conflict within the Democratic Republic of Congo. For more info visit

Go to Catherine Irwin's myspace page to hear her cover of the Stones' "Mother's Little Helper"!

Freakwater completed their week-long opening slot for She & Him, M Ward and Zooey Deschanel’s pop project, at the Variety Playhouse in Atlanta on Tuesday, July 29th. Of course a few people in the crowd behaved like middle schoolers, but, for the most part, the crowd of about 500 gave polite attention and showed genuine enthusiasm between songs. Freakwater’s performance was flat-out fantastic – they took their work very seriously and delivered a strong ten song set: Buckets of Oil, Binding Twine, Heaven, Cheap Watch, Cloak of Frogs, Sap, Cathy Ann. For the last three - Washed in the Blood, Louisville Lip, and Crazy Man - Freakwater were joined by M Ward as well as his tour drummer and mandolin player. Ward played some lead parts on his black Gretch and provided some vocals for Crazy Man, but held the position of a supporting player. These three musicians really enhanced Freakwater’s sound, making it dynamic enough to grab the entire hall of people, and it was electrifying to watch. After She & Him performed their set, Freakwater joined them onstage for the country standard “Hello Stranger”, the show’s closer. Zooey smiled to Janet and Catherine, gave them her place at center stage, and stepped back to share the microphone of her backup singer. M Ward began with the familiar opening line “Hello strangerrrrr. . .” and Janet and Catherine together wailed “Put your loving hand in miiiine. . .” in reply. It was beautiful. Props and kudos to Mr. Ward and Ms. Deschanel for supporting Freakwater.

Freakwater played Barking Legs Theater on Friday, March 21st, in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and also at a private party the following evening. Go here to see an image series from Friday's show. Below is a video from Barking Legs. Here and here are some more. Also, some choice mp3's from that night: Cloak of Frogs, "potholder grids", and Gone to Stay.


Saturday's show was underwritten by a small group of fans who wanted to to bring their favorite band out of hibernation. It was a Freak fest to be sure - both nights were intense, fun, and convivial events!

On Thursday, January 10th, an ensemble of musicians, including Janet Bean as well as Jon Langford and Sally Timms from the Mekons, performed at the House of Blues Parish Room in New Orleans. This performance was for the benefit of Sweet Home New Orleans, an umbrella organization for 14 non-profit agencies serving New Orleans' music community. SHNO provides relocation, housing, and social services to musicians in need. Here's a photo from the event, see others here.

Photo by Keith I. Marszalek

Janet Bean is collaborating with Jim Elkington and Nick Macri (of The Zincs), Fred Lonberg-Holm, and Charles Rumback as The Horse's Ha. The group recorded at the end of January for a future CD release.. Stream six Horse's Ha songs at their myspace page. Here's a sketch of the band by Dimitry:

Catherine Irwin, meanwhile, is part of an ensemble called Brett Eugene Ralph's Kentucky Chrome Revue, who played most recently at Air Devil's Inn in Louisville, Kentucky, on Saturday, January 5th. Read an interview with Brett, who says some nice things about Catherine, here.

Photo by Liz Bustamante. See more photos from this series.

2007 News

Thrill Jockey released Plum on December 4th, a 7" vinyl box set of Thrill Jockey artists covering the songs of other Thrill Jockey artists.  The cool thing is that Freakwater is covered more than any other Thrill Jockey artist - 3 times: Califone covers "Jewel", Bobby Conn "Washed in the Blood", and Thalia Zedek "Flat Hand".   Freakwater perform a Zincs song in that collection.  Eleventh Dream Day is on it, too. Buy the box set here.

Freakwater headlined an all-day event at the Hideout in Chicago called A Day in the Country on June 24th:

See more photos from the event here. T'was a dream set list: Waitress Song, Hero/Heroine, Binding Twine, My Old Drunk Friend, Washed in the Blood, Gone to Stay, Forgettable Song, Dog Gone Wrong, Cloak of Frogs, Heaven, Raised Skin, Louisville Lip, and Crazy Man. Supporting Catherine and Janet were Ryan Hembrey on bass and Brian Wilkie on pedal steel. Several people reported that it was the best Freakwater show they'd seen. Reportedly, after they played "Louisville Lip", Catherine said, "Thanks a lot," and made to leave, but Janet said, "We've got one more song." "'Oh yeah," Catherine replied, "That was so good I thought we were finished."

Janet Bean assisted in selecting songs for the Folksongs of Illinois CD series, released by the Illinois Humanities Council, and contributed a track for Volume 1.  She performed along with Bucky Halker, John Rice, and others at the CD release party at Martyrs' in Chicago on June 1st. Here's a blog entry about the show, along with some photos. Read an article about the series' creation here.

Noise Pollution Records has released Bold Beginnings: An Incomplete Collection of Louisville Punk 1978-1983. Catherine and Janet's punk past (The Dickbrains and Skull of Glee, respectively) is captured here, along with pioneers No Fun, The Endtables, Babylon Dance Band, Blinders, Malignant Growth, Monsters, Strict-9, and Your Food. Read a Freakwater-centric essay about Louisville punk rock at this site's reading room. View an archive of pertinent Louisville artifacts here. Buy the CD here. WFPK's Marion Dries produced an excellent 3-part series in connection with the record which includes interviews with many of the scene's key figures.

Older Freakwater News

Buy the Thinking of You LP from Thrill Jockey or Amazon now. There's lots of good reading surrounding the album and tour: Go to this site's forum to read album reviews, interviews, and concert previews cut-and-pasted from around the Internet.

Download Jolie Holland's cover of Catherine Irwin's "My Old Unlucky Home Far Away" by right-clicking here.  This mp3 was ripped off from

Bloodshot Records and Chicago's Old Town School of Folk Music have teamed up to release the CD Old Town School of Folk Music Songbook: Volume One, an "overview of songs that have thrived in the centuries-old oral traditions of American folk cultures." Bloodshot has made Janet Bean's contribution, "Deep River Blues", one of two free downloads from it. Read more about the record and get the download here.

Janet Bean created these web pages to teach children about the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals, a broad set of initiatives seeking to relieve extreme poverty worldwide by 2015.

Freakwater played the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in San Francisco on October 9th, 2006. Here is the forum HSB thread, which has a very fine series of sh0w photos courtesy of James L., including these below. Join the mailing list to be informed of future shows.

Here is a Hardly Strictly photo of the excellent multi-instrumentalist Jon Spiegel, who has supported Freakwater off and on for years:

Eleventh Dream Day, the rock band Freakwater's Janet Bean plays drums in, released a new CD, Zeroes and Ones, on April 25th, 2006. Preview a track from the new record at EDD performed live at KEXP on September 9, 2006.

Here is a MySpace Eleventh Dream Day fan page.

Here's a video interview with Freakwater from, recorded December 7, 2005 at Spaceland in Los Angeles.

Thrill Jockey Records has a whole cache of their vids up on YouTube, including "Hero/Heroine", "Lullabye", and, finally! - "My Old Drunk Friend", which had not been available for streaming on the internet for maybe a couple of years.

The Danish band Homesick Hank released on June 6th, 2006 an LP, Leave It Behind, which was recorded at Rove Studio in Louisville, Kentucky by Paul Oldham. Catherine Irwin sings on two tracks, and Will Oldham is on the record as well.

Check out the BoomChix' rockin' cover of Freakwater's "Crazy Man"!

Neko Case covered Catherine Irwin's "Hex" on her live LP The Tigers Have Spoken and made it a set regular on her most recent tour. Well, National Public Radio has an entire Neko show available for free download which includes the song. Also, here's a YouTube vid of Neko performing "Hex". Furthermore, Neko's performance on PBS's Austin City Limits, which includes her version of Catherine Irwin's "Hex", is now available on DVD.

Chris B., multi-media producer for the Chicago Tribune, was kind enough to send this link to video clips of Freakwater and other Chicago notables performing for the benefit of Gary Schepers.

Freakwater is profiled (and interviewed) on this internet stream of an April 30, 2006 broadcast of "To the Best of Our Knowledge" from Wisconsin Public Radio. It's nice! You'll need RealPlayer. Start the stream at 30:45.

Listen to Freakwater's Jan 18, 2006 performance of Ring of Fire at Vera in Groningen (thanks Harold Z.)! NOTE: A nice person wrote to say this mp3 was clipped halfway through. That was not intended. It's fixed now and available if you want to grab it.

Thrill Jockey Records has launched a new site. In their vault, you can stream the videos for "Lullaby" and "Hero/Heroine"!

On October 3rd, 2005, WBEZ in Chicago featured a Freakwater performance/interview on their program 848. You can stream the broadcast here.

Here's a vid of Jolie Holland covering Freakwater's song "Gone to Stay", performed for Minnesota Public Radio, February, 2005:

Freakwater is featured performing their new song "Jewel" in the film Burn to Shine Vol. II. Link: "Burn to Shine is a film series produced by Fugazi's Brendan Canty and directed by film maker Christoph Green. We travel from town to town and film bands performing in houses that are about to be demolished or burned to the ground. They document the doomed house, the bands, and the demolition, put it together in a 45 minute movie, put it out on DVD and move on to the next town. Each DVD/town has a different curator that is entrenched in the respective music scene and who can pick out what he or she considers their favorite bands. This allows us to put the bands in a geocentric context. (The DVD) features Wilco, Shellac, Tortoise, Freakwater, Tight Phantoms, Pit er Pat, The Ponys, The Lonesome Organist, and the Red Eyed Legends." Buy the DVD here.

Click here to see Thrill Jockey's promo poster for Thinking of You.

Here's the Freakwater page.

You can view the news that appeared on this page prior to October, 2003 by downloading this Adobe Acrobat file, and the news from then to July, 2005 on this one.

Keep your eyes peeled for Jack K., a big ol' Freakwater fan in Cleveland! ;)

Here's Farmageddon covering Freakwater's song, "Picture in my Mind"!


Curious about the Second Street Bridge?

Freakwater's "My Old Drunk Friend":

This vid for "Louisville Lip" was assembled by Herb79.

(Disclaimer: is sanctioned, but not maintained, by the band).