Dori Freeman – Do You Recall
It gets a little dicey when I see a word like electrified folk in a description of basically a wonderful roots-country-folk artist such as Dori Freeman. But Ms. Freeman uses her more mainstream pop approach with an eclectic & electric propensity with care. Her voice still paints with broad strokes in an unforced vibrato to maintain her classical folk entity. The songs do chime more than usual with guitars & other instruments that are not traditional in nature. However, having grown up in rural Virginia, Dori has that lively rhythm naturally in her distinguished voice.
Her new collection is moody & delivered with honesty through subjects such as motherhood, marriage & modern-day Appalachia. The 11 Do You Recall tunes do on occasion dip a big toe into traditional waters with songs like “Movie Screen,” “River Runs” & “Gonna Be a Good Time” (Drops Nov 17–Blue Hens Music/34:00). Tunes with a generous amount of spirit lifted with banjo & vocal in a down-home voice. The likes of Iris DeMent, Emmylou Harris & Dar Williams would like these.
It’s a healthy dose of what you’d expect from Dori Freeman. Good songs, a regimen of interesting lyrics & achingly beautiful melodies. “Good Enough” features harmony vocals of Teddy Thompson (son of English duo Richard & Linda Thompson). Teddy has worked with Dori on 3 previous albums.
Though Dori still sheds light on traditionalism this set is a little more commercial-oriented, aimed at the mainstream ear without getting too sugar-coated like a pop singer. “Why Do I Do This To Myself,” is a generous country rocker with mature 90s pop sensibilities. Her voice is decorated in the same time-honored vocalizing styles of Mary Chapin Carpenter, Beth Neilsen Chapman & early Sheryl Crow. It works tastefully.
With the tune “Rid My Mind,” there’s a little middle-of-the-road indulgence, an easy-listening lounge singer torrent that showcases Dori’s voice quite well. Her clarity & control is strikingly pure. She would indeed be a good contemporary vocalist. The material is bright with many accessible tunes & Dori’s well-nurtured vocalizing is appealing on many levels without being a voice that requires any showboating. She sounds pastoral without being too customarily “Hee Haw.” This is the thinking woman’s country music.
Highlights – “Soup Beans Milk & Bread,” “Movie Screen” “Good Enough” “Why Do I Do This To Myself,” “Rid My Mind,” the exceptional “River Runs,” “They Do It’s True,” “Laundromat” & “Gonna Be a Good Time.”
Musicians – Dori (vocals/acoustic guitar), Teddy Thompson (harmony vocals on “Good Enough”), Nicholas Falk (producer/vocals/drums/percussion/banjo/baritone guitar), Adam Agati (electric guitar), Dashawn Hickman (steel guitar), Jeff Hill (electric bass) & Alex Bingham (electric bass/sampling/synth/mellotron).
CD cover courtesy of Kristina Lynn. CD & Song Samples @ Bandcamp + https://www.dorifreeman.com/