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'Piecing it Together' with Free Throw: An Interview and Review

(Photo Credit: Imani Givertz)

Humanity’s collective existence over the last fifteen months has been flush with simultaneous feelings of unassuredness and familiar discomfort. This emotional climate is effortlessly showcased in the impassioned fourth album from Nashville’s favorite hometown emo-punks, Free Throw. The five-piece group pulls talent from Cory Castro on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Cory’s brother Justin on bass, Jake Hughes on rhythm guitar and backing vocals, Lawrence Warner on lead guitar, and Kevin Garcia on drums and backing vocals. Piecing It Together is an ode to forward movement and draws inspiration from the band’s experience navigating the early days of Quarantine and learning to take life as it comes. I had the opportunity to chat with Cory about the record, favorite venues, and life advice. As far as Piecing It Together is concerned, “it’s a record about finding solace in the fact that life’s full of ups and downs. There is no automatic cure to everything that you have to go through and sometimes you just have to roll with the punches.” This album was always intended to be written after the gang finished their last tour, but COVID-19 cut that venture short and afforded them the opportunity to take their time and focus on cultivating the album carefully. The songwriting process included days spent “yelling at each other from across the fucking room” in order to maintain social distancing but the final product did not suffer from these new parameters on in-person communication. Track after track off of this twelve-title banger delivers a new exemplar of human emotion and connection. We were introduced to the album with the first single, “Cloud Sick”, which is also the song that kicks off the record. The punchy beat and dancing melodies of the guitar mixed with the ever-relatable lyrics evoke feelings of stumbling through life as fast as you can and hoping you land somewhere soon. The kick-ass music video reflects these vibes with a whirlwind romp around to some of the coolest little spots in Nashville. Fans can see the band clamoring to get to Wendell’s Liquor Store, The Parthenon, and The End, a local punk venue where the owner (and Cory’s favorite local legend) Bruce Fitzpatrick is known to hold a grudge against anyone so bold as to open a tab rather than to pay him in cash. Castro tells me “the album became our escape from everything going on in the world...we were having fun and I think it really shows in the album.” Listen to “Trust Fall” or “Ocular Pat Down”, or really any other song on the album (I cannot stress this enough—EVERY song is a bop) and you’ll hear that sentiment ringing true. The uplifting spin that Free Throw applies to the themes of drastic growth forced by the passage of time and dubious circumstances provides a vision of the future that makes one not so worried about how things might end up. As far as life Post-Quarantine, the band is excited to get out and play around Nashville and showcase their esteem for their home. Cory also let me know that he’s stoked to get back to Mahall’s in Lakewood, Ohio (all at once a music venue, bar, and bowling alley) as bowling has been one of the things he’s yearned for most in the secluded days passed. I’ll leave you with some advice from the man himself. When asked what he would say to his younger self when he was just starting out he hit me with these essential nuggets of wisdom for any young artist and music fan alike: “Take care of your liver. Don’t overdo it. Make sure to hydrate—that’s important. And be careful where you park your van!” Rating - 4.5/5

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