The Fremonts “We Don’t Live There” (Independent, 2017)

Boulder, Colorado based The Fremonts, Stephanie Dodd (originally from Fremont, Nebraska) and Justin Badger (originally from Fremont California) utilise alt-country folk, indie pop and a hint of new grass to serve up a series of artistically grounded tunes (all written by them). The duos have tight harmonies and probing arrangements as Badger (guitar), Dodd (piano, accordion, toy Glockenspiel) are joined by guest musicians Maggie Gibson, Matt Kubis (banjo), Zak Kopeikin (bass), Cameron Mannix (drums), Braden Olsen, Alexander (fiddle), Chris Tucker (organ) plus on songs, Tillman’s Wall and Joanne by members of the Ars Nova Singers & Friends.

When it comes to material, among the finest on the record is Tillman’s Wall; on which they make excellent use of piano, and with additional harmonies on occasions the song takes on a great presence through the anthem like feel projected. On following the tender Olivia, Dodds muscles in superbly as she wraps her beautiful tones round Holding Place, more wonderful piano, plus organ, banjo and soul-styled harmony vocals. Classy. More joy is to be found on lickety split-paced Tell My Mother, and on slowing it down, perfectly, Badger performs the orchestrated Joanne (albeit the production is a little overdone, I would have far preferred hearing less support).

To close the eight-track album, Badger is powered by a little of the above noted New Grass as caution is thrown to the wind and both musicians and vocalist have the freedom of the field on Who Fears The Devil? Halfway through a little gospel is spliced as both vocalists get to shine, before reverting to the full-on opening sound.

Author: Maurice Hope

Work for CEF, live in Hexham, Northumberland. Americana, country, folk and bluegrass Journalist since 1988 and currently write for Americana-UK.com, Flyinshoes and live reviews for Northern Echo and Jumpin' Hot Club. Enjoy photography, walking, natural history, travel, reading and writing poetry.

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