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Interview: Gil Karson of The Karson City Rebels

Gil Karson & The Karson City Rebels “Freedom Guaranteed” (rock)

Press release:

California native and lifelong singer-songwriter Gil Karson fronts the roots/blues/country rock group Gil Karson & The Karson City Rebels. As a musician, Gil has opened shows for music icons like The Byrds, Jefferson Airplane, Steppenwolf, and The Rascals. Fusing genres and creating relatable earworm hits, Karson keeps a revolving door open to new Rebels that challenge him and push his musical skills to new levels. Over the years, Gil has landed songs in movies and as a writer, he’s had many hits on the R&B and Dance charts. In this next chapter, he and his team are working on their first album, due out later this year. This will not happen to Gil Karson!

The debut single from Gil Karson & The Karson City Rebels, “Freedom Guaranteed,” is also the first song you’re likely to hear at one of their live shows. This patriotic Americana song pays tribute to American service people from the Revolutionaries to modern-day soldiers, making it a national anthem of sorts for each of their live performances. Kicking off with soaring organ and bold kick drums, Karson’s earnest, storytelling voice offers gratitude to those who sacrificed their lives to keep our freedom guaranteed. Open up a spot on your Fourth of July playlist for this instant classic.

To soak up some more patriotic sunlight, cue up the music video for “Freedom Guaranteed.” Directed by Gil Karson himself, the video features the man and his six-piece band of Rebels rocking out, spliced with footage of soldiers and veterans. Making no commentary on war itself, the video is a pure tribute to the generosity of our men and women in uniform. Put on some red, white, and blue, grab your solo cup, and make a stern salute as you sing along to Gil Karson & The Karson City Rebels’ debut single.

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What has been the biggest challenge you all have faced as a band so far?

Gil Karson: The biggest challenge for the band so far has been making the transition from playing all cover songs, with only a few originals in the mix, to playing all original songs, with only a cover or two included.

What do you want fans to take away from “Freedom Guaranteed?” 

GK: I want fans to know that I am deeply grateful for our American freedom and that I am profoundly aware of the lives lost to secure that freedom.  

How has the sound of Gil Karson & The Karson City Rebels evolved over the years? 

GK: The sound of the band has evolved vocally and instrumentally. In the original version of the live band there was little vocal harmony and one guitar. The sound of today’s band features three- and four-part vocal harmony. We also have three guitar players, which allows us to play live more closely to what’s on the recordings.   

What inspired the music video for “Freedom Guaranteed?” 

GK: The inspiration for the song and video was and is very personal. It came from an emotional revelation thinking about my father’s service in WWII. That led to wanting to write an anthem honoring all the men and women, throughout our history, who have died fighting for our freedom.

What does freedom mean to Gil Karson & The Karson City Rebels?

GK: For me, and I am pretty sure I speak for the whole band, freedom is being able to get up everyday and chase this “music dream” journey.

What advice would you give to your past selves?

GK: I would advise myself to be more disciplined, learn more, practice harder and find ways to do it smarter.

What’s next for Gil Karson & The Karson City Rebels?

GK: The band is on track to release one single a month, leading up to a late fall album release, and get our music in front of as many people as possible in live situations.

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