The subtleties of Dori Freeman’s sophomore album ‘Letters Never Read’

Letters Never Read sees Freeman “distilling Appalachian melancholy into delicate pop ruminations.”

Dori Freeman’s sophomore album, featuring the production of Teddy Thompson and guitar of his father Richard Thompson, has the same tragic beauty Freeman showcased on her first album but with a renewed spirit, an optimistic bent that belies the times it was written in. Combining traditional Appalachian folk songs with her own, timeless, songwriting Dori Freeman’s sophomore album, Letters Never Read, is a reverent breath of fresh air.

NPR’s Jewly Hight sums up her review of Letters Never Read with this: “the ease with which Freeman knits together sturdiness and sophistication is a revelation, and one that’s arrived right on time.”

While Rolling Stone‘s Jon Freeman says “Letters Never Read showcases Freeman’s stylistic range with nods to her Appalachian roots in old-time music as well as sophisticated singer-songwriter pop in the vein of Rufus Wainwright, without ever conforming strictly to any one convention.”

Jon Pareles at the New York Times also got behind the first single “an old-fashioned waltz with a countrypolitan string section and Celtic-tinged electric-guitar countermelodies that have the unmistakable touch of the English trad-rock master Richard Thompson.”

Spin‘s Andy Cush featured it as well saying “”If I Could Make You My Own”is a simple, winsome ballad in which a narrator fantasizes about devoting herself to the object of her affection in increasingly outsized terms. Thompson’s playing will be recognizable to fans from the very first notes, and remains as thoughtful and subtly inventive as ever.”

No Depression calls Letters Never Read “one of our most anticipated new roots releases”

Letters Never Read has been lauded by Folk Alley, Wide Open Country, Saving Country Music, PopDose, FRUK, The Bluegrass Situation, Americana UK and a whole lot more.

Freeman’s debut record came out in early 2016 and was met with rave reviews, garnering acclaim from NPR and their year-end listsNew York Times and their year-end list, American Songwriter’s year end list, and on The Fader and Uproxx, as well as Spotify’s Best of 2016 Americana.

Fall Tour Dates (More TBA)

10/12 – Charlotte, NC – Neighborhood Theater*
10/13 – Athens, GA – 40 Watt*
10/14 – Asheville, NC – Orange Peel*
10/19 – New York, NY – Rockwood Music Hall (Album Release)
10/20 – Boston, MA – City Winery (Album Release)

*with Mandolin Orange

More info on Dori Freeman:

Dori Freeman grew up in a family of bluegrass musicians, raised on a diet of Doc Watson and the Louvin Brothers. But by driving age, she’d cruise around her hometown of Galax, Virginia, windows down, breeze riffling her cropped strawberry-blonde hair, and harmonize with the pop melodies of singer-songwriter Teddy Thompson playing on her CD player. “I always thought that our voices sounded nice together,” Freeman says in a rough-edged, Appalachian twang. The feeling stuck with her, and at one point, Freeman did something odd for a 22-year-old single mom working at the family’s frame shop: she reached out to him via Facebook, with a note saying how much she would like to sing with him. Three days later, he wrote back. Two years after that, The New York Times named Freeman’s self-titled debut—an honest and achingly beautiful collection of folk and country songs produced by Thompson and recorded in three days—one of the best albums of 2016. They weren’t alone, rave reviews poured in for Dori’s debut, hailing her as the new voice of Appalachia.

While Freeman’s debut hewed to love-gone-wrong songs, her new album, the more measured and maturely crafted Letters Never Read—again produced by Teddy Thompson and featuring guest appearances by his dad Richard Thompson, as well as Aiofe O’Donovan and Canadian psych-folk duo Kacy & Clayton —has a distinctly rosier outlook. “I always want to put out something that’s a genuine representation of what I was going through at that point in my life,” says Freeman, noting that getting married last year to fellow musician Nick Falk (who plays drums and banjo on the album) made writing love songs much easier. She laughs. “I’m happier now in general.”

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