The Key Studio Sessions: Highnoon - WXPN | Vinyl At Heart

Kennedy Freeman and their project Highnoon first hit our radar in summer of 2019, when the breezy single “Lens” began making the rounds on Bandcamp. It was a solid preview of the Semi-Sweet EP, which encompassed the verve of indie-pop and the introspection of classic singer-songwriters.

A couple years, a global pandemic, and a few lineup adjustments later, and Freeman and Highnoon are journeying even further down that road. An terrific set at Philly Music Fest last fall set the stage for the radiant new songs the project would be rolling out this year, and Highnoon kicked off 2022 with “Back To You,” a gorgeous single with an uplifting melody that feels equally at home alongside Stevie Nicks, The Sundays, Sixpence None The Richer, or Soccer Mommy.

Highnoon played the song live at WXPN Studios for this week’s Key Studio Session, and debuted two other singles they’ll release later this year. Things gradually build and bloom on “Are U With Me,” as Freeman meditates on how a person can have a confounding presence (even in their absence); meanwhile, their bandmates slowly enter — drummer Justin Roth’s swift beat setting the pace and guitarist Brendan Simpson dipping and diving on a soaring lead. “Phone,” by comparison, finds the band starting at once and taking an interlocked journey together: Freeman getting in their feelings over fuzzy pop tones, then ducking out momentarily so bassist Rachel Wild can introduce a stunning groove that the band engages with and jams out to until the explosive finale.

Connection is the over-arching theme in these new Highnoon songs, and threw their dulcet and comforting voice and their intimately relatable words, Freeman builds connections, one verse at a time. Watch videos of all three songs below, courtesy of NPR Music Live Sessions, and see Highnoon at one of their upcoming Philly gigs. This Sunday the 20th, they’ll play Original 13 Ciderworks with Waveform*, A Country Western, and Big Sham; and on April 9th, they’ll play the Ukie Club as part of the three-day Julia’s War Fest. Tickets and more information on both shows can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar.

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