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Ear to the Ground: Freeman's "(For a While) I Couldn't Play My Guitar Like a Man"

Aaron Freeman (aka Gene Ween from Ween) has an eponymous new band whose first track—which was "leaked" by Jack Black—is chock-full of vibey guitar.

If you’re reading about this post-Ween project for a second time, chances are good you first leaned about it when comedy rocker Jack Black “leaked” the song on his Facebook page. “(For a While) I Couldn’t Play My Guitar Like a Man,” is the title of the very first original recording by Gene Ween following the break-up of experimental cult-band Ween.

Rather than take the route of a solo troubadour, the singer of the 1992 underground hit "Push th' Little Daisies" has assembled a five-piece group.

Decidedly calling this band Freeman (his real name is Aaron Freeman) hints at a stylistic departure from all things Ween. More Neil Young than Frank Zappa, the song slowly bounces on a familiar “Down by the River” rhythm. Acoustic guitars strum as warm Wurlitzer notes hum underneath a slightly raspy and weathered voice.

And as the song’s title suggests, the guitar playing here is quite manly—not a Gibson SG plugged into a wall of Marshalls kind of manly. But a more matured and tone-honed testosterone that brings to mind salt-and-pepper haired gentlemen discussing boutique tube amps, vintage Telecasters, and a friend of a friend who builds pedals on the weekends. Not since Blue Ash’s 1973 recording “Smash My Guitar” has a song about guitar playing delivered so well on its title.