The concept of Free To Grow was started in 2013, and the band came together in the summer of 2014 when they went into the studio to record their self-titled debut album. Calling themselves “a mix of Folk, Rock, Progressive and East Coast in a Classic Rock blender,” they released the album and started live performances in the fall of 2014.
Witnesses to live performances have complimented the band on their “big sound,” vocal harmonies, and for contagiously having a good time on stage. Their music has had airplay locally, regionally and nationally, as well as internationally on internet radio. Positive reviews have come from CBC Fredericton, Saint John and Halifax. Polaris Music Prize juror Adam Bowie ranked their album as one of the top ten New Brunswick releases in 2014.
In 2015 Free To Grow took home top honours as the Stingray Rising Star at the 25th Fredericton Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival.
Jeff Patch – Vocals, guitars, bamboo flute, keyboards
Born in Montreal, Jeff moved to Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada to pursue studies in forestry and wildlife. After growing up through the era of geezer rock, and following a career in natural resource management, Jeff is grateful for this opportunity to perform and record original music. Musical interests and influences span a wide variety of classic rock and folk artists, such as The Beatles, Jethro Tull, Led Zeppelin, Neil Young, Gordon Lightfoot, and Stan Rogers. Favourite guitarists include David Gilmour (Pink Floyd) and Martin Barre (Jethro Tull).
Amanda L. Moss – vocals
Currently residing in Fredericton New Brunswick, Amanda has always been a singer. She sings for herself, and she loves to sing for others. Through music people can connect more intimately and emotionally, and Amanda loves to share that emotional space with people. She desires every song, whether recorded or live, to be an experience. She honed her craft of evoking and portraying emotion through musical theatre and acting.
Amanda has been heavily influenced vocally by Tori Amos, Thom Yorke (Radiohead), Janis Joplin, and Maynard James Keenan (Tool & A Perfect Circle).
Joseph Bonnell – electric and acoustic guitars, vocals
Hailing from the Bubblegum Crater on Mars, Joe landed on planet Earth and has become a guitar virtuoso. All joking aside, Joe grew up in Burnt Church, NB and has been living in Fredericton, NB for the past five years. At the age of 15, while listening to a cassette of Neil Young’s album “Harvest”, he was inspired to pick up the guitar… the rest is history.
Joe performs with Free to Grow and enjoys jamming & performing with a variety of musicians/bands – you never know what instrument he’ll pick up next at a jam! Joe can also be booked as a session musician or solo performer (don’t miss one of his shows).
From classical, to pop, folk and classic rock, Joe can expertly play a broad range of styles. His musical influences include Eric Clapton, America, Crosby Stills Nash & Young, The Eagles, The Beatles, Gordon Lightfoot and Jim Croce to name a few.
Susan Thompson – vocals, keyboards
Susan is a scientist by day, artist by night. Born and raised in Fredericton, Susan is a classically trained pianist and has a passion for singing. She did classical voice training for three years and has performed with choirs locally and internationally. She has also sung and danced her way through seven musicals. Susan has had a secret life-long dream of being a back-up singer in a band (honest!). Free to Grow is a dream come true and she is grateful to be working with such a warm, talented and fun group of people.
Catherine Leblanc – vocals
Catherine works in nursing care, loves to perform for her community and is a grandmother of 3 boys. She has been a participant in Christmas at the Fredericton Playhouse (three times) and has committed herself to raising charity funds through musical theatre in Fredericton. She is a proud member of Madrigal Music theatre group, and has enjoyed creating her own music of Irish background. She is happy to have joined a wonderful group of musicians to collaborate on such an amazing project as Free To Grow and is thankful to all involved!
Mathieu Wong – drums
Born and raised in Toronto, Mathieu is actually a pretty nice guy! He now resides in Fredericton while attending the University of New Brunswick. When he’s not studying or watching hockey, he enjoys jamming to his favourite progressive rock songs. Mathieu took formal lessons for his first few years of playing and continues to develop his well-rounded style via engagement with varied musical environments. Entering his tenth year playing and performing, Mathieu has been able to gain experience playing with different rock bands, jazz bands, and accompanying choirs and symphonic groups in Canada and abroad.
He has found a good musical and personal fit with Free to Grow and relishes any opportunity to jam with fellow musicians. His main influences, among the extensive mile-long list, include Rush, Yes, Dream Theater, Marillion, and Spock’s Beard.
Vaughan Evans – Guitars and vocals
Vaughan is best known in the Fredericton area as an amazing guitar player, having played in the past with national touring acts such as Luba and Fear Of Flying. Since he began playing with us it has become apparent that, if Joe Bonnell originated from the Bubblegum Crater on planet Mars, then Vaughan Evans must also be of some extra-terrestrial origin. While he might claim to be from Nashwaaksis, his ability to immediately take on the tunes and flawlessly apply tasty licks has been other worldly.
A long list of influences include AL Di Meola, Richie Blackmore, David Gilmour, Adrian Belew, Hendrix, Robin Trower, Steve Hackett, Joe Bonamassa, and Jeff Beck.
Larry LeBlanc – Bass
A native of Fredericton, New Brunswick, Larry is an IT Guru, die-hard Sens fan, and musician extraordinaire. Larry started out playing drums when he was 11, but switched to the bass when friends needed a replacement for their band. Fast forward 20 years and he is now rocking out with Free to Grow. His musical inspirations include Marcus Miller, Victor Wooten, Jaco Pastorius, John Myung (Dream Theater), Rush, Van Halen, Joe Satriani, and Steve Vai.
Cat LeBlanc – vocals
Growing up in Miramichi, Cat LeBlanc began her musical career at the age of six, performing in musicals, shows and choirs. While in an Irish band in her twenties, she had the opportunity to perform some of her own original work.
Cat has formed her own band (Cat LeBlanc and the Samsonites) and has a body of original songs to her credit. She has also done music for film and commercials and recently received an artsnb scholarship to expand and develop her songwriting and vocal style.
Cat’s musical influences include Jewel, Kate Bush, Nat King Cole, Joni Mitchell, Billie Holiday, Enya, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Peter Gabriel, Jann Arden, Linda Ronstadt, Kate and Anna McGarrigle, Dolly Parton, Frank Sinatra, John Prine, Jane Siberry, Julee Cruise and Barbra Streisand
Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCazIETCf8z_mlGwleMOqPRg
Katherine Moller – www.katherinemoller.ca – violin, fiddle, cello
Being one of New Brunswick’s most vibrant, versatile and energetic fiddlers, Katherine brings together the highlands of Scotland, the lush greens of Ireland and the majesty of the St. John River Valley. An ECMA Awards nominee and winner of a Music NB Award, she has four CDs to her credit: Take The Happy Road (2007), By Request (2010), Bright-Eyed and Bushy-Haired (2011), and Greensleeves & Puddin’ Pies (2013). With ever-rising popularity, Katherine shows without a doubt, she truly is the master of four strings and a bow.