For those music fans in the know, Dori Freeman has been a quietly shining star on the scene for some time now. Her previous two albums were gorgeous Americana and folk music inspired by her Appalachian roots, produced by Teddy Thompson. On her third album Every Single Star she continues the run of excellent form, writing every song solo and working again with producer Thompson.
Domestic bliss inspired many of these songs, and the beautiful illustration on the cover suggests an artist who understands the meaning of home. That’s How I Feel begins the album, a love song about missing someone when you’re apart, admitting your loneliness and asking for strength.
The reality of searching for happiness is also central to All I’ve Ever Wanted, where she sings of the basic wish for her relationship: all I’ve ever wanted was a decent man to give a damn and try. It seems so simple wish but we all know the reality. She goes out drinking with her friends, spinning around drunk at the roller rink, trying to escape her troubles for a second or two. By the end of the song you feel like you’re a friend, hearing her woes. Vocally the album is a step up from her previous work, so it didn’t surprise me to hear she’d been listening to Linda Ronstadt. Learning from the master has reaped rich rewards.
The tempo increases on Like I Do and this sweetly upbeat mood is also reflected in the lyrics where she sings about the love for her child. It’s poignant but catchy too. The final song, I’ll Be Coming Home, is a lullaby that directly addresses the complexity of being a working musician and a mother. Her ability to convey the joy and the pain of real women’s lives makes these songs really special.
Freeman’s musical style is categorised as ‘country’ by Apple Music and the like, although her style equally embraces folk music like on You Lie There. The good thing about an artist like this is that she takes people like Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris as inspirations but she skilfully avoids obvious genre cliches and traps. Another Time has country elements but it’s subtle and stylishly done. Darlin’ Boy is another beautiful Americana waltz, about the intoxicating power of another. The most traditional song on here is the duet with producer Teddy Thompson. He invites her onto the open dance floor for a duet on 2 Step, which nicely showcases their sparkling chemistry (duet albums really need to come back into style because I would love to hear more songs like this one).
The title of the record comes from the song Walls of Me and You, which tells of leaving behind a relationship, and the night being so vividly etched in her memory that she even remembers ‘every single star’ in the sky. She burns the memories down, freeing herself from them in one of the album’s most powerful moments.
Dori Freeman has recorded another perfectly understated record whose songs linger long in your mind. Take a seat by her window and let this album be the soundtrack to your stargazing.
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