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Joe Boris Presents New "Set Me Free"

Joe Boris has quietly earned a reputation over the years as one of the

preeminent East Coast musicians thanks to his work alongside such

luminaries as The Band’s Garth Hudson, New Riders of the Purple Sage

player Buddy Cage, and Michael Falzarano of Hot Tuna, among others. He’s

a songwriter of note as well via contributing over fifty tunes for East

Coast jam band One-Eyed Jack. The truth is, however, that Boris’ music

has universal appeal extending far past the confines of the Eastern

Seaboard. It’s no more evident than in his new single “Set Me Free” from

Boris’ Anthology release.

The track opens with a slinky bass line backed by low-key FX sounds akin

to water running. Guitar and drums soon drop in and a loose, relaxed and

confident groove is soon established. The aforementioned guitar

alternates between choppy riffing and melodic phrases. There’s a

definite reggae feel to this track that’s further underlined by the

lyrics. The song’s an unadulterated ode to smoking the finest ganja and

its liberating effects on the human consciousness. No one will confuse

Boris’ lyrical prowess with high, no pun intended, poetry, but the

message is clear.

Boris’ singing has a rough hewn quality, never too rough, but it

resounds with enough soul that it gives the lyrics added weight. He’s

obviously working at an inspired peak throughout the song and the

accompanying female voices hit the right counterpoint. The third vocal

aspect that distinguishes the song is the presence of wah-wah guitar

during the track. The singing value of the long-time staple of rock

guitar and jam music cannot be ignored. It answers Boris’ voice at key

points during the cut and gives it so much more than it would otherwise


The production boasts an earthy touch appropriate for the genre and the

subject. It puts Boris’ voice up front without ever slighting his

accompaniment. Some may pshaw the running time, five minutes plus, but

this is also appropriate for a performer who has built his name as a

longtime stalwart of the East Coast jam band scene. On another note, it

should be pointed out that despite the song’s subject matter, there’s a

feeling in this song that transcends marijuana smoking.


It's about enjoying life. It’s about freeing ourselves from the cares of

a world that all too often cares little or nothing about us. In this

way, even people who don’t smoke can latch onto the song’s emotion

without feeling shut out by the experiences portrayed during the

performance. The music, certainly, conveys the same emotion. It has a

woozy, smiling tilt that invites us to come further into its world. Joe

Boris knows what he’s doing. He’s been doing it a long time now and as

“Set Me Free” so strongly puts forward, he’ll likely be with us for a

long time to come. That’s cool, man.


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