With a mountain drawl etched in pure heartache and light, brilliant touches of vintage jazz and Sixties girl-group pop, Dori Freeman is one of the most authentic vocalists to emerge from the hills of southwestern Virginia in recent years. Her piercing, dreamy melodies and often bracingly honest lyrics inform her self-titled debut, out February 5th.
Produced by Teddy Thompson (son of English folk-rock icons Richard and Linda) and penned entirely by Freeman, the LP is populated with heartbreaking tales of complicated, unrequited love, none more so than the gorgeous “Any Wonder.” “Is it any wonder that we’re miles away,” she sings in the chorus, adding a note of defiance with the next line, “I’d leave you a beggar if I had my say.”
“I wrote ‘Any Wonder’ about what it’s like to pine for someone you can’t have for whatever circumstance,” Freeman tells Rolling Stone Country. “It’s a sort of letter to a clandestine and unfulfilled love.”
The album was recorded in New York — far from Freeman’s home in Galax, Virginia —over just three days. “I just wanted to make an honest record of songs written from a real and relatable place,” she says. “I like to write from experience and build on that with things I’ve read or seen or heard secondhand.”