Free To Grow: Fredericton’s Rompin’, Stompin’ Folk Rock Band

Carla’s Country Mile (CCM) first was introduced to the Free To Grow band before Carla’s Country Mile even was a thought. Carla, the entertainer, discovered the music of Free To Grow during the CBC Searchlight Contest and fell in love with their unique and honest style of celtic, rock and folk all blended together. Jeff Patch, founder of Free To Grow, gave us a few minutes of his time to answer somewhat important questions. 

(CCM) Let’s start by where were you born and raised?

(Jeff) I was born in Montréal and grew up in Beaconsfield Quebec on the West Island on Montreal. I moved to Fredericton, New Brunswick to go to school in 1976 and stuck around when I got a job after graduation.

(CCM)  Tell us about a time that was really embarrassing on stage if you have any. If you did, also tell us how you overcame it.

(Jeff) I am a shameless attention whore and rarely get embarrassed.

(CCM)   What instruments do you play? Which ones do you wish you could play?

(Jeff) I mostly play guitar, and sometimes play wooden flutes, bouzouki and mandolin on stage. I wish I could play violin / fiddle and cello.

(CCM)  What concert did you see that was the most memorable and why?

(Jeff) Hard to pick just one, but top performance was Tina Turner here in little old Fredericton.

(CCM)  Do you have a day job? If so what is it that you do?

(Jeff) I used to work in forestry and wildlife management. Now I work on music.

(CCM)  What do you do first thing when you get up in the morning?

(Jeff) Check on social media for band related notifications.

(CCM)  Where is the most interesting place you have ever traveled to and where would you like to visit someday that you have not been to yet?

(Jeff) Spending a few weeks in England, Ireland and Scotland a few years ago was epic. I want to visit continental Europe next.

(CCM)  How did you get into music?

(Jeff) I always enjoyed listening to music, including my older siblings rock and folk records from the early 60’s and my mothers classical albums. I picked up a guitar as a teenager and started to play.

(CCM)  Who are your major influences?

(Jeff) Major influences include 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).

(CCM) Tell us why you chose to move into the area of music professionally

(Jeff) I have been writing music for over 40 years and had only been performing on and off for decades. I retired and finally had the time to properly work at music. Producing higher quality music costs a lot money, so you have to find ways to generate music related income to make working at music sustainable.

(CCM)   Do you have any tours coming up?

(Jeff) Right now we are busy working on recording our second full length album. When that is done in the fall we will have a CD release show and then line up gigs. Nothing is scheduled at this point.

(CCM)  How do people discover your music?

(Jeff) We are on Bandcamp and our music can be found on iTunes and the other usual suspects. People can look for us on Facebook and Twitter.


(CCM) Do you write your own music? If so what is your writing style? Do you co-write?

(Jeff) I write songs that can be categorized like the motto for the band: “A mix of folk, rock, progressive and East Coast in a classic rock blender.” My wife writes poetry and I have incorporated that into song lyrics. I enjoy collaborating with other artists. The band started with just me as the primary songwriter and now Joe Bonnell is also a songwriting force.

(CCM)  What would your fans be surprised to know about you?

(Jeff) I don’t really want to wear rompers.

(CCM)  What is the biggest life lesson that you have learned in music, and in life, that you believe would be valuable wisdom to share with other artists? 

(Jeff) Unless you are very very lucky, no one is going to do it for you.

(CCM)  When did you form the band? How that come about? 

(Jeff) The concept of Free To Grow was started in 2013, and by the summer of 2014 I had recruited the band members to go into the studio to record our self-titled debut album. My intent was to create a vehicle for recording and performing songs I had written over the years. We released the album and started live performances in the fall of 2014.

(CCM)  What is the long-term goal of the band?

(Jeff) To sustainably produce quality music. By sustainable I mean to generate enough revenue to offset recording and other expenses.

(CCM)  What are some of the challenges for a band in the industry today, locally and in the wider market? 

(Jeff) To sustainably produce quality music. By sustainable I mean to generate enough revenue to offset recording and other expenses.

It’s hard to make more than gas money performing. It’s a challenge to generate revenue from music sales. Via internet radio and social media, I talk to fellow bands and musicians worldwide and most of us face the same challenges. The market is swamped with good quality indie music that most people acquire for free. Unless you’re one of a very lucky few, it’s a tough gig.

(CCM)  Can you tell us a little about each band member? Their names and their “ vibe”.

Amanda L. Moss – Rainbow 🌈 kitty with wings

Cat LeBlanc – Miramichi kitten

Catherine LeBlanc – I am one hot grandma!

Joe Bonnell – I am from the Bubblegum Crater on Mars

Mathieu Wong – Can we go get wings and beer later?

Larry LeBlanc – I’ll have an order of 50 wings

Katherine Moller – I’m all smiles


Free To Grow


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