Pittsburgh’s Miss Freddye brings her own brand of spiritualism to the modern gospel and blues genres in her rendition of “Wade In The Water”. A stirring electronic piano bed and the rhythm collide in way to give the tempo a deeper impact. Miss Freddye, a commanding voice, assures the listener of her faith and delivers a stunning version of this historically significant song. Her pace brings more attention to the words, more focus on its meaning. It’s a refreshing take on a song that has meant so much to so many different people for over a hundred years.
“Wade in the Water” is a spiritual whose lyrics were first published in the 1901 edition of New Jubilee Songs as Sung by the Fisk Jubilee Singers. The lyrics were supposedly used by Harriet Tubman to instruct fugitive slave to trudge through the water so that the dogs chasing them will lose their scent and is often associated with folk songs from the Underground Railroad. To hear Miss Freddye sing these words, with spellbinding organ (or electronic piano) keys in the undercurrent is to feel the essence of history and the weight of the yearning for freedom between the measures. Miss Freddye is a beacon of hope and of light in the murky music bed. The percussion is ever so slight and as a listener, I was mostly drawn to her voice. I was transfixed with the way she held each word, as if she were holding them in her own hands.
Miss Freddye sings see that band all dressed in red, God is gonna trouble these waters, look like a band that Moses led, God is gonna trouble these waters. This song is an assurance that God is on your side, and to let God take the worry and the struggle. Miss Freddye calms the listener with her emotional journey. Woven within the thread of her vocal prowess are genuine feelings. She communicates a strong love to her listener. But this is a serious, almost stoic sound. “Wade In The Water” is not a song to be taken lightly, and even the twinkling (at times) music bed ads hopeful hints, the song is still a solemn tale. In many ways, it brings back so much pain, but if you listen to the words, it’s a gentle and yet fierce reminder that the Lord is on your side.
Fans of blues, soul, Gospel and folk music will be mesmerized by Miss Freddye’s gentle touch. But don’t let her lofty voice and angelic tones fool you – she has this unstoppable empowered spirit within her that no one can match. There is no mimicking what Miss Freddye has and the way that she makes this song her own. “Wade In The Water” never loses its appeal and Miss Freddye never stops compelling the listener to really listen to the lyrics and close your eyes to imagine God’s glory and the struggles we face. She’s a messenger of hope and a guiding force in the indie music scene.