Sunday, 10 January 2016

Dori Freeman - First Album [Kickstarter crowdfunded], album review

Photo by Scott Simontacchi
Simply Perfection

Some time ago I contributed to a Kickstarter appeal to raise enough money to help in the release of work from new artist Dori Freeman, ably assisted by producer Teddy Thompson. I have enjoyed my eventual copy very much since its release though never reviewed. With the imminent February launch of Freeman’s free dirt record-label debut, I will make a few observations on her original offering [assuming some if not all of this will be appearing: You Say, which is the Untitled of this release, can be listened to here].

The opening solo-vocal work song Ain’t Nobody is unadorned and simply effective; the second song has the clear influence of Teddy Thompson on the Everlys’ sounding Fine Fine Fine, Thompson’s vocal in the background too, and then third is the honeyed country of Go On Lovin’, pedal steel and a waltz rhythm.

With fourth Is It Any Wonder I think we hear Freeman at her honest best, the singing effortlessly clear and warming, and fifth Lullaby has a country inflection in tune and singing that is again natural with an inherent range to rise in that C&W lilt without artifice [like some add-on fake twang and drawl], the instrumentation on this, mainly piano, equally unaffected by the need for demonstrable genre-placing: a cowboy guitar-riff placed like a soft pillow on the basic bed of the song.

Photo by Scott Simontacchi

Where there are production values in evidence, it is no more than the beautiful harmonies on the sweet Song for Paul, these over simply strummed acoustic guitar and clearly from Teddy. There are similar, with violin addition, on Still a Child, the clarity of Freeman’s voice yet again such an effortless effect, and here having an inevitable [in terms of instinctive comparison] echo of Emmylou Harris.

Tell Me has Thompson’s production stamp on the guitar chords, him playing, though the string additions seem rather twee: intentionally so? It is the momentary plucked riff that has a 50s rock 'n' roll orchestrated sound. The penultimate track Untitled [as mentioned, You Say] is simply Dori and acoustic guitar [with background bass] and is perfect. Closer Where I Stood is equally pared back to those rudiments, but with Teddy providing the most precise accompanying vocal duet, and it is even more perfect. 

February free dirt release

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