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Actress Cassidy Freeman plays a villain on the TV series “Smallville,” but her guest DJ set is dedicated to songs about family and friendship, from a body rockin’ electro track to a gentle acoustic lullaby about love and desire. Cassidy’s character Tess Mercer is the manipulative ruler of the LuthorCorp, in the CW hit drama and will be featured in a special, 2-hour extended episode written by DC Comics favorite Geoff Johns later this month. She is also a former KCRW volunteer!
Eric: I'm Eric J. Lawrence and joining me today is actress Cassidy Freeman, who plays Tess Mercer on the hit TV series SMALLVILLE. What makes this particular Guest DJ session such a special treat is that Cassidy is a former Volunteer here at KCRW. So Welcome Back Cassidy!
Cassidy: Thank you for having me.
Eric: Today we're here to talk about some of your favorite tunes. So what is the first song that you've selected?Cassidy:
The first song that I've selected is by Peter Gabriel. It’s called "Don't Give Up." Peter Gabriel was one of the influences of the younger years of my life. My brothers were very influential to me about music and Peter Gabriel is one of those artists that, no matter when or where I hear it, I have a visceral reaction to him and the music takes me immediately back to when I was a kid and listening underneath my bathroom door to my brother's music because he would play it very loudly. (laughs)
Song: Peter Gabriel’s “Don’t Give Up”
It's a little odd in that it goes back and forth between this woman singing and Peter Gabriel singing…
Eric: Kate Bush, it’s actually a rare duet.
Cassidy: It inspired me when I was younger not to give up, to be inspired by things around me, especially music.
Eric: That was Kate Bush singing on Peter Gabriel's song "Don't Give Up". As selected by our guest, actress Cassidy Freeman. So what do you have next for us?
Cassidy: The next song that I have is by Bob Dylan -- another one of those artists that I can listen to endlessly. This particular song is an old folk song that he just does a version of. It's a specific time in my life -- right when I graduated high school to when I went to college. I used to listen to this in Montana, where my parents now live. It really embodies that country for me, that countryside, that landscape and it’s just so sad. And the way that he says 'Women' in the song, is like…if I was really into older men, I would totally date Bob Dylan!
Song: Bob Dylan’s “Moonshiner”
Eric: That was Bob Dylan with "Moonshiner" from the Bootleg Sessions as selected by Cassidy Freeman. Cassidy, what's the next track you've got for us?
Cassidy: The next track I have is called "Lion's Mane" by Iron and Wine. Iron and Wine is a band that, as soon as I first heard them play music, I was totally enthralled with Sam's voice, with the way that the band works, with the fact that he sings with his sister and what he sings about. He sings about family and he sings about love and this particular song is the embodiment of young love for me. Or just that feeling of love, that new feeling, and what love can do to you and how it manifests itself in all other parts of your life. I think it’s just so romantic and so beautiful.
Song: Iron and Wine’s “Lion’s Mane”
Cassidy: I got into this band while I was in college, actually while I worked at my College Radio Station called WRMC. It's in Middlebury, Vermont. I actually drove all the way down to Boston to see him play. It was in a tiny little bar and there was a baseball game going on. People were screaming through the set and I was so appalled at how rude people were. I was like, ‘This is beautiful music people, what are you thinking?’ I actually went up to him before the show and told him that I drove all the way down from Middlebury, Vermont to see him and his response was, ‘wow, I hope that I'm worth it.’ And I was like, ‘Are you kidding?’
Eric: That was "Lion's Mane" from Iron and Wine as selected by actress Cassidy Freeman. What's the next track you have for us?
Cassidy: The next track is a really fun, kind of bluesy chick track called "The Littlest Birds" by the Be Good Tanyas. This band I got into in college as well. I never really had a lot of girlfriends growing up. I had a lot of guy friends because I had two older brothers and I just got along better with guys. I preferred dirty knees to pink dresses. In college, I actually met other girls like that and I lived with them. We all lived in a house in East Middlebury and the four of us were pretty much a force to be reckoned with. One of my roommates, Eliza, gave me this CD and the Be Good Tanyas kind of symbolized befriending women, which was something new for me and now means a lot.
Song: Be Good Tanyas’ ‘The Littlest Birds’
And then when I was in Vancouver, where we shoot Smallville, I was at a friend's house on Bowen Island which is an island off the coast and I was playing the Be Good Tanyas in the living room and she was like, ‘Oh yeah, those girls are from here,’ and I was like ‘What?’ They were actually from Bowen Island and she had seen them play at some like bluesgrassy-hippy festival. It made so much sense all of the sudden. I went back and I listened to all their albums and they make all these references to Vancouver and Canada and to living up there and it kind of solidified everything for me.
Eric: That was the Be Good Tanyas with "The Littlest Birds" as selected by Cassidy Freeman. What's your selection here?
Cassidy: By the way, this is the most difficult thing anyone's ever asked me to do is pick five of my favorite songs. But this last one is a song that takes over the body, it’s like one of those songs that you can't help but move your body to and just rock out to. It’s by Ratatat and its called "Seventeen Years."
Song: Ratatat’s “Seventeen”
Again, a band that I heard when I was working at the radio station in college. At the end of my time there I was co-concert managing. We would convince really great bands to come up to the middle of nowhere and we'd promise them great ginger ale and crackers and pizza and stuff, because we couldn't give them alcohol. This band came out and I actually convinced them to play at Middlebury. They did, and they're like these two wacky dudes with long beards and hair and they had the computers and had a whole light show. They played in a classroom where we used to have classes. It was so weird. They just started asking for requests. People would request songs they'd already played and they were like, "Whatever dude" and they just started playing them.
Eric: Music from Ratatat, "Seventeen Years." So Cassidy, thank you for coming down. I want to thank you for all of your assistance as a KCRW volunteer in the past and especially want to thank you for coming down and chatting with us today.
Cassidy: No problem, it was my honor.