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Adrianna Freeman - Either You Do or You Don't

  by Malcolm Carter

published: 2 / 9 / 2013



Adrianna Freeman - Either You Do or You Don't
Label: Musik and Film
Format: CD

intro

Flawed but classy and ultimately captivating debut album from Florida-based country artist, Adrianna Freeman


It’s a shame that Tallahassee-born Adrianna Freeman chose to open her debut album with ‘I Will Not Be Your Tennessee’. While the actual song and particularly Freeman’s fault-free vocal performance will find a place on a Friday evening in barns around the world wherever there’s a party going on, the song has done the cause of country music no favours at all. It is everything that country-music doubters will cite as being all that makes them turn the other way just at the mention of country music. It’s like turning the clock back forty years or so. That said the song made the Australian top twenty so there are obviously those who still enjoy country music that moves the feet and definitely not the heart. But get over that hurdle and remember that Freeman’s vocals on the song show that here is a vocalist of not little talent and the rest of ‘Either You Do or You Don’t’ gets under your skin in no time at all, and ultimately reveals itself as the best straightforward country album you’ve heard in a long, long time. How much input Freeman had in writing or arranging the ten songs that make up ‘Either You Do or You Don’t’ is unclear. The CD we received has no writer’s or production credits and Freeman’s web site offers little help on those subjects. So, I’m taking a guess here, but as none of the songs sound familiar and because Freeman pours her heart and soul into each and every line of every song it’s a safe bet that Freeman has had a hand in writing at least some of these lyrics. As for the melodies that frame the lyrics, if Freeman had any input in those, then this isn’t just a debut from a new country singer-songwriter but the first fruits of a major talent. After that safe (and irritating to some) opening shot, things take a decidedly different turn. ‘Old Wounds’, while never really betraying Freeman’s love of country music, proves that she can add something new to this decades old form of music to draw younger ears in while satisfying those who don’t welcome change. It’s a stunning, captivating piece of music, ghostly harmonies floating over the loveliest of melodies with Freeman taking a lead vocal that is refreshing in its honesty. It’s all the more breathtaking after the lightweight opener. Here is a song that shows substance, one that makes the listener want to hear more, not walk away. That Freeman and her accomplished band (again details are not easy to come by) follow that song with ‘Leavin’, this time a more up-tempo track, which, while cut from the very same cloth as ‘I Will Not Be Your Tennessee’, fits the band and more importantly Freeman’s vocals so much better than that song shows that Freeman really is an exceptional talent who just needs steering in the right direction to avoid being lost in the crowd. In fact so good are the songs on this album that I’ve returned to that opening cut a number of times now thinking that I’ve been too harsh in my opinion of it that maybe I’m missing something. But no, it’s country by numbers. It sounds forced like it’s trying too hard to be a country song so it’s pulling out all the country clichés, and it’s a song we have all heard so many times before. albeit not under this title and maybe not by such a talented vocalist. So, it’s a mystery why our Australian cousins took such a shine to the song, but maybe our surroundings play a part in it. All I know is that every time the song ends and ‘Old Wounds’ starts my heart melts as soon as Freeman’s vocals come in and I feel like I’m listening to a different album. When the production and backing are stripped away on songs like ‘Back to You’, and Freeman is allowed the space to let her vocals really take centre-stage the effect is stunning. It seems that there’s always going to be a country element to Freeman’s work, but when it takes a back seat as on tracks such as this a gospel influence creeps in and takes Freeman’s work into an entirely different place. Again, it is the honesty in Freeman’s vocals that demands your attention and for confirmation that here is a singer who lives and breathes every word on at least nine of the songs on ‘Either You Do or You Don’t’ lend an ear to ‘It Ain’t Me’, a piano -led ballad that deserves more than to be tucked away halfway through this album. ‘Either You Do or You Don’t’ is an album that oozes class. The misstep of an opener will, unfortunately, turn away many with a short attention span before Adrianna Freeman really gets to show just what an exceptional singer she is. So, stick with it! By the end of the album you’ll have found your favourite country album of the year.



Track Listing:-
1 I Will Not Be Your Tennessee
2 Old Wounds
3 Leavin
4 Back to You
5 It Ain't Me
6 The Price (Remix)
7 Think of You
8 What It Was
9 Either You Do or You Don't
10 There's Gonna Be a Rainbow


Band Links:-
https://www.facebook.com/adrianna.freeman.13/
https://twitter.com/adriannafreeman



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