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  Ronnie Freeman
Artist: Ronnie Freeman
Label: Rocketown
Length: 11 tracks / 44:33 min

The fledgling Rocketown record label has been responsible for discovering some of the brightest talents currently on the Christian music scene (Chris Rice, Ginny Owens), and has also seen its share of sales disappointments (Wilshire, Wayne Kirkpatrick). The newest offering is piano-pop artist Ronnie Freeman.

The problems with the album are varied. Most of the songs are content to groove along at the same tempo and end up congealing into a faceless mass. Ginny Owensí vocals are barely noticeable on "Donít Give Up On Me," a song which she and Freeman co-wrote. The lyrics, while usually good, fall into tired clichés on "Better Than This." The album bogs down in the middle, which smacks heavily of filler and seem like throwaway tracks from Mark Schultzís latest writing session.

A notable exception is "Satisfied," a stellar ballad that gives Freeman an opportunity to stretch his vocal range. "Not Gonna" boasts a sit-up-and-take-notice string intro and a storming sea of guitars on the chorus, but the bright spots are few and far between on this project.

Freeman does show promise as a lyricist, even if the music doesnít quite hold interest. "The Only Thing" draws engaging word pictures as it explores celebrity as related to human nature. "Come To The River," while musically sparse, is a simple ballad about Godís grace.

Fans of Mark Schultz and Nichole Nordeman might give this one a listen, but in the end, Freeman doesnít distinguish himself from those two in any way. He should take a page from Schultzí book and mix up the musical styles on his next effort. 

John Wilson 4/7/2002

Handpicked by Michael W. Smith, Ronnie Freeman writes (or co-writes) all of the songs on his 11-track debut album, and I must ay he did a good job! 
One of the things I noticed about the album, however, is that you will keep listening until about the 9th track, where you start losing a little interest. But then you really lose interest come the 10th and 11th tracks, where everything slows down to a complete halt. I do enjoy ballads, but for some unknown reason these just didn't catch my attention that much. 

With catchy tunes on songs like 'Faith,' 'Don't Give Up On Me,' and 'Not Gonna,' I did enjoy the first three-quarters of this album though. I hope his next album will have more songs like these. 
So is Ronnie Freeman worth checking out? I would say so, as long as you don't mind Contemporary music. The good aspects definitely outweigh the poor, which makes it a really enjoyable album! While I wouldn't go as far as naming it the best album of the year, I did enjoy my time listening to it, and will continue to as well. 
Remember, Ronnie Freeman's album hits store shelves on May 21st! Check it out and see if it is for you! Especially for fans of other AC artists like Mark Schultz! 
Josh McConnell   04/25/02 



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