Written by William Elgin, posted by blog admin
Shadow isn’t Grace Freeman’s first taste of the experience had writing, recording, and releasing an album. Her emergence into the recording world came with the 2015 release of The Moon Police’s The Lost Go Sailing By and it is only in the last two years that Freeman has started to open shows as a solo artist for figures like Suzanna Vega and Macy Gray, among others. It’s impressive for any young performer, but when you take into account that Freeman hasn’t had her twentieth birthday yet and wrote all eleven songs for this release, it’s nothing less than a marvel. She shows off some various influences during the album’s duration, but they are filtered through her consciousness and particular skill set in such a way that they emerge as something much different and highly individual. Shadow marks Grace Freeman’s emergence in full and, based on its strengths, she’ll be around for some time to come.
“Oliver” begins things on a very pensive note. It’s obvious, even from a cursory listen, that Freeman is an unusually considered writer, no matter her age. There’s a discipline she applies to both her musical arrangement and lyrical content ensuring there not a single extraneous word or note to be found in either. “Shadow”, the album’s title song, takes a different musical direction from the opener thanks to its elegant piano lines and the introduction of a rhythm section that adds much more audible weight to the performance. Freeman works just as well with an expanded musical lineup as she does weaving magic essentially solo and the poetic touches distinguishing this song help it stand out as one of the album’s peak moments. Listeners are brought back to much more fragile, sensitive music surroundings with her performance of the track “Blue Eyed Boy” and the crystalline beauty of the arrangement and Freeman’s voice will hang in your memory for a while.
Another high point of the album comes with “Autumn” and, even though it embraces a rather spartan sound, still manages to incorporate elements like bass to give the arrangement extra heft. Her ethereal vocal musings are ideal for the poetic nature of her lyrics, but she never strains for effect as a writer. The clipped melodicism of “Dreams” will brighten the mood of listeners after two relatively exhausting tunes emotionally and Freeman’s beguiling vocal magic is just as capable of embracing upbeat material as it is the album’s more introspective fare. “Muddy Puddles” is an artful piece of writing, especially lyrically, and Freeman performs the song with unfaltering and graceful confidence. The literary qualities in Freeman’s writing are impossible to ignore. “God Forbid” is another highlight on the album – there’s a stunning mixture of sorrow and ruefulness filling the lyric and Freeman embodies both qualities extraordinarily well in her singing. The musical accompaniment is ideally suited and presents itself in such a way that it only helps highlight the masterful writing job that she turns in with this number. Shadow is an impressive album under any context, but as a solo debut, this release will have lasting impact on Grace Freeman’s life from this point forward. It sets the bar high.