Assured, melodic vocals from Carolina.
What is striking about Freeman’s latest release is the quality of her vocals; their clarity and versatility give this album a truly distinctive feel. Reference points to her mellifluous tones might include the likes of Emmylou Harris, Loretta Lynn, or Patsy Cline, though her singing retains a distinct character of its own. Freeman comes from a community in North Carolina that holds an old-time fiddlers’ convention but although there are traditional influences in her work, (banjo & mandolin on some tracks), a more sophisticated sound is at play here, sometimes feeling contemporary, sometimes sounding that it has come out of Sun Studios and is being played on the old jukebox in your favourite diner. Full credit must also be given to Freman’s husband for his work on the production of the album which seeks to challenge the expected parameters of the Americana genre, (witness the reverse guitar intro to the opening track, ‘Get You off my Mind’) whilst not straying overly far.
‘The Storm’ tells the old tale of a cheating partner, using as imagery the powerful natural forces of the weather to describe a less than smooth relationship whilst, ‘Almost Home’ features banjo backing goodness and a smooth feeling production. ‘I am’ is irresistibly spirited, admitting unashamedly, “What a drama queen I am”. Sun Studios would have been proud of, ‘Nobody Nothing’ which amply demonstrates, Freeman’s vocal versatility and her ability to guide her voice into the higher registers. ‘Appalachian’ and ‘Walk Away’ have classic sixties sound to them with some tasty harmonies on the latter. Driven guitar helps, ‘I Wanted to’ skip along with a spirit of defiance, the album concluding with the sweet and soulful, ‘Only you Know’.
With skillful, melodic songwriting, characterful vocals and sympathetic production, Freeman has hit the jackpot with this song collection. This is an assured performance from an artist from whom we can expect further forays into her individualistic soundscape.