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The Daily Tar Heel

Freedman Plays Cave With Uninhibited Pure Emotion, Raw Talent

Four Stars

At the Cave on Friday night, Skott Freedman's one-man performance made the audience members put down their beers and just listen.

Seated at a small, rustic-looking piano, the 22-year-old piano prodigy wowed the crowd with graceful and precise fingerwork dominated by rapid, pulsating sequences.

All too often, singer/songwriters are extremely musically talented or more adept in their songwriting -- leaving them to compensate for mediocrity at one or the other.

But when he began to sing, it was clear that Freedman is an exception to this generalization. His flawless piano work was only the beginning.

Endowed with a deep range, Freedman's strong, vibrating voice filled the Cave (and probably a good portion of Franklin Street) with uninhibited emotion. The level of feeling was an appropriate complement to his lines of deep contemplation.

Perhaps more impressive than his vocal range was his use of dramatic phrasing and changes in tempo. Often, the vocals unexpectedly quickened and then slowed, and a seemingly neutral line would end with a bang.

His signature style was most striking during "In November," where Freedman's dynamic voice turned ordinary words like "November" into a stylized "Noveamber." And his adeptness on the piano transformed a serious solo full of raging speed into a calmer conclusion.

As if the intensity of his performance wasn't enough, his sincerity before the crowd was captivating. Making frequent eye contact with members of the audience, one might have thought Freedman was singing directly to them.

Clearly, Skott Freedman is not a musician meant solely for ambience. But he did his part to lighten things up by stopping between songs to tell funny stories about everything from being mistaken for Marc Cohn to impromptu French lessons.

Unfortunately, he didn't get many laughs. But whatever talent Freedman lacked in the humor category, he more than overcompensated for with an intense, mesmerizing set.

The Arts & Entertainment Editor can be reached at

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