Free to Go

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Hal Horowitz
The debut from Georgia by way of Alabama singer/songwriter/guitarist Donna Hopkins is a long-awaited effort from an artist well-known for her weekly live gigs in and around her Atlanta home base. Blues-rockers who read liner notes closely will recognize her name from two vocal contributions to Tinsley Ellis' Hell or High Water 2002 release. But even Hopkins' fans would probably not expect her first album to be so well-produced and conceived. Shifting away from the barroom blues she plays live, Free to Go is a polished yet gutsy stab at Southern blue-eyed soul of the Bonnie Bramlett variety. Hopkins' tough, burnished voice has a Susan Tedeschi edge to it, but her music is ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Hal Horowitz
The debut from Georgia by way of Alabama singer/songwriter/guitarist Donna Hopkins is a long-awaited effort from an artist well-known for her weekly live gigs in and around her Atlanta home base. Blues-rockers who read liner notes closely will recognize her name from two vocal contributions to Tinsley Ellis' Hell or High Water 2002 release. But even Hopkins' fans would probably not expect her first album to be so well-produced and conceived. Shifting away from the barroom blues she plays live, Free to Go is a polished yet gutsy stab at Southern blue-eyed soul of the Bonnie Bramlett variety. Hopkins' tough, burnished voice has a Susan Tedeschi edge to it, but her music is more swampy, atmospheric, and diverse. The nearly seven-minute title track with its layered guitars, ominous organ, and oozing sensuality, is the album's centerpiece, but all of the tracks are as impressive. These songs aren't just blueprints, but fully formed, melodically mature statements about survival and growing up on the poor side of the tracks. Far from being overly sentimental, they exude a proud, hopeful assurance, helped immensely by Hopkins' natural, hardscrabble voice, and Bryan Cole's sympathetic production. Like The Band, these songs creep up on you, but the strong choruses, and Hopkins' emotionally charged presence, make them instantly likeable. With its bottleneck acoustic guitar and easily surging chorus, the album's first single, "Dirt Alabama Road," received some local airplay, and the Georgia Satellites/ Stonesy rocking of "U-Haul You Back" is a sure dancefloor filler. But it's the slower, less upbeat tunes, like "Everything Money Can't Buy," and the opening "Don't Ask Why," that are more impressive. The beautifully recorded sound is clean but not slick, especially for a low-budget, locally produced and distributed project. Even though the reprise of "Everything Money Can't Buy" -- sung as a duet with Hopkins' young daughter -- is a little cloying, the closing gospel-reggae of "I'll Fly Away" doesn't really mesh with the rest of the album, and the Hank Williams Sr. cover on which Hopkins' sings backup is extraneous, even as a bonus track. Free to Go proves that, even on her first album, Donna Hopkins is already focused and experienced enough to go big time.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 2/24/2004
  • Label: Donna Hopkins
  • UPC: 677516529921
  • Catalog Number: 2992
  • Sales rank: 155,821

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Don't Ask Why (4:57)
  2. 2 Dirty Alabama Road (3:58)
  3. 3 Everything Money Can't Buy (3:27)
  4. 4 Free to Go (6:32)
  5. 5 Thunderin' in the Thickets (6:19)
  6. 6 U Haul You Back (5:04)
  7. 7 Anything (4:01)
  8. 8 Little India (4:35)
  9. 9 I'll Fly Away (4:49)
  10. 10 Lone Gone Lonesome Blues (2:55)
  11. 11 Everything with India - India Hopkins (3:30)
  12. 12 Little India Reprise (9:08)
  13. 13 [Untitled Hidden Track] (0:04)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Donna Hopkins Primary Artist, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Vocals, Background Vocals, Slide Guitar
Vassar Clements Fiddle
Bryan Cole Snare Drums
Steve Cunningham Dobro, Lap Steel Guitar
Nick Longo Saxophone
Yonrico Scott Drums, Tabla, Hand Drums
Joseph Patrick Moore Bass Guitar
John Longo Saxophone
Luis Valle Clay Flute
Barry Thrasher Mandolin
Mark Van Allen Dobro
Doug Smith Background Vocals
Cindy Adler Bass Guitar
Paw Paw "Tip" Barbie Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
Chuck Bithorn Conga, Tambourine, Shaker, cowbell, finger cymbals, Cabasa
Kevin Thomas Hammond Organ, Wurlitzer
Diane Durrett Background Vocals
Joe Burton Trombone
India Hopkins Background Vocals
Invisable Harmonic Angel Choir Harp
Marcus Petruska Drums
Technical Credits
Bryan Cole Sound Effects, Producer
Rodney Mills Mastering
Hank Williams Composer
Albert E. Brumley Composer
Kirk West Cover Photo
Bert Elliot Digital Editing
Robert Hannon Engineer
John Holmes Engineer
Donna Hopkins Composer, Producer
Ron Currens Liner Notes
Diane Durrett Composer
India Hopkins Artwork
Liz Melendez Graphic Design
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