Americana rising artist Dori Freeman will then return to Australia in March 2017 for a string of festival and headline concerts.
Dori Freeman has a perfect country voice: languid and pure-toned but with a little Appalachian dust on it. Freeman’s storytelling soaks up the wisdom of more decades than the 25-year-old has been around. Her songs hit you like a train. They are stunningly gorgeous, lyrically rich and so thoughtfully executed. Her lilting vocals shine – at times reminiscent of Emmylou Harris – and are delivered with such an aching, melancholic sincerity that her reflections on love, loss and heartbreak wind up buried deep under your skin.
Dori Freeman has its own unique sound while also drawing from many different genres. Freeman says the distinct sound of the record, produced by acclaimed singer/musician Teddy Thompson, came about organically. “We just wanted it to sound genuine,” she says. “To be current and sincere.”
That sincerity is palpable on the album, made up of songs full of longing, wit, and haunting vocals from Freeman, who sings in a seemingly-effortless but layered, sensual way, causing each word—and note—to take flight.
The album dances between country and western, old-time and folk, some instrumentations swelling with pedal steel and country fiddle, others reducing to simply Freeman’s voice and sparse percussion.
Raised in the Appalachian mountains of Southwest Virginia among a family of musicians, Freeman grew up performing in her grandfather’s shop on the historic Crooked Road – a hugely important place in American musical history that remains a bastion of roots traditions today. Freeman says she is forever marked by her rural upbringing but also wants to bring a contemporary stamp to her music. “There’s something about seeing two completely contrary things together that I’ve always been really attracted to,” Freeman says. “The sound definitely centres around juxtaposition for me.”
Pure, striking and at times utterly heartbreaking, Dori Freeman is a record of profound catharsis from an artist with a deep sense of purpose, and a visceral approach that cuts to the bone.
All of that complexity and emotion drew Thompson to the project in a decidedly modern way: Freeman, a long-time fan, contacted him on Facebook on a whim, sending along a video of her singing one of her songs. “I figured I wouldn’t get a response, but when he replied I was over the moon excited,” she says. “I was drawn to this project initially by Dori’s voice, which is purity itself,” Thompson says. “She sings from the heart with no affectation.”
The music on this stunning debut is the kind a listener can luxuriate in with Thompson showing up a couple times with dreamy harmony vocals and expert guitar licks and a top-knotch group of players offering lovely support without ever overpowering the profound emotive quality of Freeman’s vocals. Jon Graboff (The Cardinals) provides tight structure on guitar and steel guitar, Jeff Hill supplies a thumping bass, the much sought-after Erik Deutsch does excellent stylings on piano and keyboards, Rob Walbourne offers expert drumming that steers many of the best songs, and violin phenom Alex Hargreaves brings haunting fiddle work.
Included in the 2016 Top 25 Rolling Stone Americana albums, this is one full of yearning, gorgeous arrangements, a distinctive new sound, and a singer/songwriter that Americana has been awaiting. Dori Freeman has arrived.
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