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Singer/songwriter Tom Freund, whose sound has garnered comparisons to Tom Waits and Rickie Lee Jones, released his debut album, North American Long Weekend, in 1998. The effort featured such accomplished guests as pedal steel player Greg Leisz and jazz organist Jimmy Smith. Freund, originally from New York, attended Claremont College in California in the early '90s and performed as a duo with future star Ben Harper. The two recorded a hard-to-find vinyl-only album in 1992 called Pleasure and Pain. Shortly thereafter, Freund became the bass player for roots rock mainstays the Silos. After leaving that group, he settled in Austin, TX, for a time and composed a good portion of the songs for his debut album. Upon the release of North American Long Weekend, he participated in a songwriters-in-the-round tour that included Graham Parker and Radney Foster. Freund released his sophomore effort, Sympatico, on his own Surf Road label in 2001.