Freedom Highway Rhiannon Giddens
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- 1At the Purchaser's Option04:15
- 2The Angels Laid Him Away02:32
- 4Birmingham Sunday06:15
- 5Better Get It Right the First Time03:24
- 6We Could Fly04:52
- 7Hey Bébé03:19
- 8Come Love Come05:19
- 9The Love We Almost Had04:18
- 10Baby Boy04:28
- 11Following the North Star01:55
- 12Freedom Highway04:47
Info for Freedom Highway
"Know thy history. Let it horrify you; let it inspire you. Let it show you how the future can look, for nothing in this world has not come around before. These songs are based on slave narratives from the 1800s, African American experiences of the last century, and the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s and headlines from streets of Ferguson and Baltimore today. Voices demanding to be heard, to impart the hard-earned wisdom of a tangled, difficult, complicated history; we just try to open the door and let them through." (Rhiannon Giddens)
Freedom Highway, Grammy Award–winner and 2017 Grammy nominee Rhiannon Giddens' follow-up to her highly praised debut album Tomorrow Is My Turn, will be released by Nonesuch Records on February 24, 2017. The record includes nine original songs Giddens wrote or co-wrote while she and her band toured after Tomorrow Is My Turn's 2015 release, along with a traditional song and two civil rights-era songs, "Birmingham Sunday" and Staple Singers' well-known "Freedom Highway," from which the album takes its name. Giddens and the band will tour the U.S. in the spring; details will be announced shortly.
Giddens' writing for Freedom Highway is a departure from Tomorrow Is My Turn, which included one original song, with the rest being her interpretations of songs written or performed by a wide variety of female musicians. Giddens co-produced Freedom Highway with multi-instrumentalist Dirk Powell in his Breaux Bridge, Louisiana studio, with the bulk of recording done in wooden rooms built prior to the Civil War. As producers, Giddens and Powell sought to release the stories already in the walls, allowing the space to be a voice in itself. This approach allowed for an emotional fearlessness and presence not always easy to achieve in the studio. Together they assembled the players, which included her superb touring band, local musicians from the bayou, a soulful horn section from New York, and talented family members. The principle recording was done over an intense eight day period. The result is an album that is rawer and more personal than its predecessor.
Giddens wrote of the title track: "I am a daughter of the South; of the white working class, of the black working class; of the Democrat, and the Republican; of the gay, and the straight; and I can tell you one thing—we are far more alike than we are different. We cannot let hate divide us; we cannot let ignorance diminish us; we cannot let those whose greed fills their every waking hour take our country from us. They can't take U.S. from US—unless we let them. I recorded this with Bhi Bhiman, all-American singer-songwriter from St. Louis, whose parents are from Sri Lanka. America's strength are her people, whether they came 4,000, 400, or 40 years ago, and we can't leave anyone behind. Let's walk down Freedom Highway together. Written by Pops Staples in 1965."
Singer and multi-instrumentalist Rhiannon Giddens is best known as the frontwoman of African-American string band the Carolina Chocolate Drops, whose 2010 album Genuine Negro Jig earned them a Grammy Award for Best Traditional Folk Album. Raised in Piedmont, North Carolina, Giddens studied opera at the Oberlin Conservatory before relocating back home, where she became immersed in the rural musical traditions of that region.
A chance meeting with future bandmates Justin Robinson and Dom Flemons at the 2005 Black Banjo Gathering in Boone, North Carolina resulted in the formation of their first folk project, Sankofa Strings. Originally an outlet to perform various early African-American musical styles like blues, country, hot string jazz, and Caribbean, the bandmembers ended up learning much of their early repertoire from legendary old-time fiddler Joe Thompson. Adopting the name the Carolina Chocolate Drops, the group released four eclectic and well-respected albums before signing with Nonesuch Records to release its wildly successful 2010 breakthrough album. Following the success of Genuine Negro Jig, the band continued to tour and record with an ever-evolving lineup that remained centered around Giddens' powerful vocals and fiddle/banjo playing.
Drafted by producer T-Bone Burnett to perform solo at the 2013 Another Day, Another Time concert (celebrating the musical era of the film Inside Llewyn Davis) in New York, she gave a show-stopping performance of the Odetta classic "Waterboy," which was widely considered the highlight of the evening. Just a few months later in early 2014, she again worked with Burnett on the collaborative New Basement Tapes recording project, which featured Elvis Costello, Jim James (My Morning Jacket), Marcus Mumford (Mumford & Sons), and Taylor Goldsmith (Dawes) writing new music to recently discovered Bob Dylan lyrics.
Her own Burnett-produced solo debut, Tomorrow Is My Turn, was released a year later in February 2015.