10 New Country Artists You Need to Know: February 2016

From a singer-songwriter with a panoramic approach to country, to a Loretta Lynn for the Instagram generation

Dori Freeman
Kristin Horton1/10

Dori Freeman

Sounds Like: An Appalachian Kacey Musgraves, crafting dreamily melodic tunes and pairing them with sharp, gutsy lyrics

For Fans of: Iris DeMent, Brandy Clark, Alison Krauss

Why You Should Pay Attention: Hailing from Galax, Virginia, where old-time music remains one of that tiny town's most plentiful resources, Freeman's sound is fully rooted in the mountains, but her leisurely expressive vocals, and some of her more poppy material, also suggests an affinity for Peggy Lee, Patsy Cline and Sixties girl groups. Produced by Englishman Teddy Thompson, the son of folk-rock royalty (Richard and Linda Thompson) and a purveyor of crispy delivered country-folk music himself, Freeman's debut is refreshingly sincere and entirely captivating.

She Says: "I just wanted to make an honest record of songs written from a real and relatable place," Freeman notes of the LP, which was recorded in New York City in what she says was an "exhausting but thrilling" three-day period. "I like to write from experience and build on that with things I've read or seen or heard secondhand. The songs that have had the greatest effect on me have been the most human and personal ones and I hope I've been able to convey that same thing in some little way with this record."

Hear for Yourself: Part lilting romantic ballad and part painful contemplation of a troubling love, the hauntingly beautiful "Any Wonder" mesmerizes. S.B.

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