Dori Freeman only released her self-titled debut album in 2016 but she’s already gone and followed it up with Letters Never Read, an album that takes the template of her first release and adds greater warmth, soul and depth of writing.
Freeman has again employed the services of Teddy Thompson as producer, and he in turn brought in his father Richard as a guest musician. Freeman remains the understated star of the show, weaving gently undulating and wholly infectious vocal melodies across acoustic and electric guitars, piano, laidback drums, fiddle and banjo. The latter is a a feature of the traditional ‘Over There’, a return to her Appalachian roots. ‘Ern and Zorry’s Sneakin’ Bitin’ Dog’ recalls the a cappella of Suzanne Vega’s ‘Luka’ while at other times the increased exploration of soul music bears similarities to Frazey Ford’s recent cross pollination of that genre and country/folk music. Freeman also covers Richard and Linda Thompson’s classic ‘I Want To See The Bright Lights’, adding a sweetness and intimacy to the song.
There’s a stronger sense of optimism in the songwriting on this confident and balanced album, less of the melancholic introspection of her debut but still imbued with moments of heartache and doubt.