New release! A Handmade Life

The dark world of fairy tales may strike some as an odd subject for an entire album of songs. There was a time when I might have agreed. But a few years ago, I happened upon several books that explored the Jungian psychology buried within such tales, and I was suddenly entranced—passionately—by the interpretations. Fairy tales—they are like dreams, filled with deep symbolism about the human psyche. They carry the voice of our unconscious, the part of us that silently, continuously sings the song of our humanity, our being-ness. I found I wanted to dive into those dreamy stories, swim deep, and see what I came back with. And so I did. This CD is the expression of what I found there.


What Reviewers and Listeners Are Saying About “A Handmade Life”

“A masterpiece of audacious proportions. A stunning, truly ambitious achievement. The kind of album songwriters talk about someday making….” — Paul Zollo, American Songwriter (read more here)

“A Handmade Life is not quite like anything I have ever heard before…. this is dramatic in the extreme, the music written for maximum effect.” Frank Gutch, Jr., No Depression (read more here)

“Jill Freeman deserves loud applause for this musically and lyrically ambitious, imaginatively crafted collection.” Jeff Burger, The Morton Report (read more here)

“This album is an absolute masterpiece. If Jill Freeman doesn’t write another song she can wake up every morning, turn on the CD player and say to herself, ‘job done.'” Donald MacNeill, FRUK – Folk Radio UK (read more here)

“With a sound reminiscent of Danny Elfman’s popular Nightmare before Christmas soundtrack, Freeman has crafted an eerie album that is perfect for this time of year…(Jill’s) voice is the perfect complement to the backing musicianship, creating songs that will be remembered long after they have been heard…This album is a definite keepsake that belongs in every music lovers’ library.  We highly recommend you rush out and Get it” Bob Leggett, Indie Voice Blog at, Get it or Forget it

“A great new CD by Jill Freeman – ‘A Handmade Life.’ Jill has written 13 songs from the point of view of characters in fairy tales. These songs take a wild ride through the gamut of the human mind. Scary, outrageous, heartbreaking and fearless, this collection is precisely piloted by a master musical storyteller. What a treat! You can buy it right here from her website. Go ahead. You’ll come back and thank me.” Terre Roche, of “The Roches”

“In every respect, Jill Freeman’s ‘A Handmade Life’ is a triumph.” — Russ Buchanan, Craving Sense (read more here)

Interview with Dave Stallard, Trail Mix, Blue Ridge Outdoors (read here)

“Finally, a soundtrack for my personal evil carnival!” Jessie Horsting

“This album has so many rich elements, from bluesy folk to a haunting burlesque style which evokes the sensuality and strength of Bessie Smith with the narrative elements of Joan Baez. This woman not only ‘runs with the wolves,’ but dances, sings, and makes music with them!! It’s my go-to-press-play these days. I’m possessed!” — Jenny Hannah

“This CD is amazing. Tones of Kurt Weill, Shock Headed Peter, Stephen Sondheim and all wrapped in a candy coat of Carl Jung! I love the intelligence, the innocence and darkness, the fearless courage, and the quiet frailty. This work seems to alternate between a delicate and lacy weave and a firm grip around the throat. Joel Wachbrit’s love for Jill and this music, as well as his deft producer’s hand, was evident in both its sound and quiet fury. I hope you get that I loved it. Great work. Smart, complex and cutting. How cool is that?!” — Ron Schultz

“Jill Freeman’s new CD… is a masterpiece!! The writing is so intelligent and the production by Joel Wachbrit is brilliant!! The arrangements are wonderful… I found myself listening to instrumental passages, like the clarinet in ‘Letters From Murdertown,’ the clarinet and bass in ‘Walking on Glass,’ the violin in ‘Eyes of Fire’ and ‘A Little Bit Of Red,’ and the duo organ and violin work in ‘Sweetheart My Dream Is Not Over,’ and thinking ‘what the ____, that’s fantastic!!’ What I was surprised by is all the roots music influence – besides jazz and blues, there’s traditional folk, and even bluegrass, with each song being arranged in its own style, creating for it its own individual, special  fairy tale world. This recording is just an extreme pleasure to listen to all the way through.” Sandy Ross

“Plain and simple, this album is just a masterpiece! I can honestly say that this is my favorite album in a long time – from beginning to end! The creativity in each song is just out the roof, the instrumentation choices are great and the musicianship, top notch!… Every single song is so creative and so well-done. And the whole fairy tale theme is so intriguing as well!  Jeannie Willets

“‘If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.’ – Albert Einstein. If you are ready to a take a wonderfully dark, sultry and playful journey through a handful of classic fairy tales listen to Jill Freeman’s ‘A Handmade Life.’ Her musical interpretations of these stories are shared with a reverence that engages the listener into a deep connection with the characters. Jill’s voice is phenomenal, her unique style that weaves together indie folk, burlesque and blues and her instrumental ensembles are so rich!” — Rosanna Caira

“I was mesmerized. The music is addicting and Jill’s voice captures the essence of the fairy tales. Now I want to go and find all the stories I am not familiar with and listen again and again and again!” — Carrie Manaugh


Website Credits

Artwork — Ginny Bayly
Photography —Paul Zollo
Web Design — Danny Pugh