The Day After the Night Before
Roots-music purism can sometimes engender the dreariest kind of snobbery, but there’s still something wonderful about the right combination of a passionate voice and simple acoustic guitar. Exhibit A: The Day After the Night Before, the first album in nearly 15 years from Orlando, Fla.-based Terri Binion. Don’t be fooled by her gentle delivery. This deceptively devastating work hums with raw emotion, recounting Binion’s “long way back to feeling good” following the death of her wife and subsequent legal travails in a state that refuses to recognize same-sex marriage. Tasteful dashes of fiddle, steel guitar and the like add subtle color, but her eloquent simplicity is richly rewarding, with or without embellishment.
Hailing from rural Galax, Va., Dori Freeman spins forlorn tales of love never won and love lost on her graceful self-titled debut. With a big assist from singer-songwriter Teddy Thompson (Richard’s son), who produces and contributes mournful harmonies, she could pass for an old-school folkie (“You Say”), a honky-tonk country queen (“Go on Lovin'”) or even an aspiring pop princess (“Tell Me”), so supple and engaging is her easy, confident voice. Keep an eye on Freeman, and you can claim you were an early adapter when she makes it big.