Local Music

Published on April 28th, 2021 | by TLV News


Anne Freeman Releases a Music Video featuring Oxford Locals, Upcoming Album on Muscle Beach

Anne Freeman began writing her upcoming album after a lifelong study of dive bar crowds.

Although her brand of southern-laced indie rock earned her a following in her home state of Mississippi, Freeman knew from an adolescence of sneaking into venues during her older brother’s set breaks that a great setlist requires variation. A constant rush of upbeat songs bleed together, but an entirely mellow set runs the risk of losing people around the bar, merch table, and smoker’s alley. 

Keep It Close is far from just an exercise in crowd engagement, instead introducing a songwriter that captures millennial anxieties as deftly as she moves between power pop, heartland rock, and jangle pop.

Born in a small town in the Mississippi Delta to a large musical family, Freeman viewed playing guitar and working on songs as a sort of eventual destiny. With the guidance of her brother and ‘60s rock n’ roller of a father, Freeman eventually started playing out and moved to nearby Oxford, MIssissippi, to embed herself in the college town’s vibrant music scene. She eventually caught the attention of Oxford-based label Muscle Beach (Kate Teague, Bass Drum of Death), who re-released her single “Days Go By” in 2020.

For her full-length debut with Muscle Beach, Freeman knew she wanted to lean more into her knack for writing timeless power pop hooks, but without sacrificing the unpolished, live recording style that defined her earlier recordings. Still, even she couldn’t foresee Keep It Close would yield some of her most spontaneous, honest songs to date. 

“The bowling alley where we shot the ‘City Watched Me Burn’ video is located in my hometown of Greenwood, Mississippi.  It was built in 1961 and hasn’t seen many renovations since.  I grew up bowling there and knew it was the perfect location.  It’s been closed for several years now, but I was obsessed with making it happen, and convinced the owner to open it up to us for one night only.  I got four of my best friends together and told them to just have fun and forget about the cameras.”

Close’s in-your-face opener “City Watched Me Burn” spilled out one hungover morning after a night out in Nashville worrying her peers had their lives more figured out than hers. The hook on “I’ve Got A Knife” was pulled from a calming mantra Freeman sang to herself one night on a walk home alone. By the time she got home, she had one of the most euphoric songs about self-defense tactics fully written, later recorded in a single take out of fear that the studio’s frozen pipes and gas heater would combust mid-session.

Even with a slightly frenzied behind-the-scenes process, Keep It Close acts as an assured survival guide to stumbling towards (and eventually finding) some stability as a twenty-something. Nowhere is this more felt than on “When I’m A Wreck,” Keep It Close’s centerpiece that tackles insecurities Freeman struggled with after getting married.

“I feel very vulnerable sharing what goes on in my mind sometimes,” Freeman adds. “Being lucky enough to have a person in my life that fully understands and loves me despite those inward struggles [is something] that I take for granted sometimes. I had to get over my fear of oversharing and write this one for my husband.”

Keep It Close is out on June 25 on Muscle Beach Records.

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About the Author

The Local Voice is a bimonthly entertainment guide and newspaper based in Oxford, Mississippi, covering and distributed in North Central Mississippi, including Oxford, Ole Miss, Taylor, Abbeville, Water Valley, Lafayette County, Yalobusha County, and parts of Panola County, Marshall County, and Tupelo . The Local Voice is distributed free to over 255 locations in North Mississippi and also available as a full color PDF download worldwide on the internet.

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