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Rhiannon Giddens - Freedom Highway

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Freedom Highway

Rhiannon Giddens

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Rhiannon Giddens has always been keenly aware of the arc of American history -- the Carolina Chocolate Drops, the 2000s band she once led, was designed as a critique of the darker moments of Americana -- but Freedom Highway, her second solo album, puts her intent into perspective. Where her 2015 solo debut, Tomorrow Is My Turn, was essentially a covers album, gaining its importance through context, Freedom Highway relies on originals, but the past is never far behind. This should be expected from Giddens, who is at her core a folk artist building upon -- and expanding -- tradition, but it's still startling to realize how she establishes a vernacular at the outset of Freedom Highway, then explores all of the possibilities of African-American folk music on the album. "At the Purchaser's Option," the song that inaugurates Freedom Highway, explicitly evokes slavery, and it's spare and haunting, standing in contrast to the title-track closer, a funky number that illustrates how far African-Americans have traveled during the course of the history of the United States. Throughout Freedom Highway, Giddens plays with this idea -- how oppression gave way to freedom -- and it's not just through her lyrics, but how the music expands as the album reaches its conclusion: at the outset, it seems austere, but by its conclusion it's a robust celebration of all the weird, wonderful parts of America. This isn't an accident. Freedom Highway draws upon deep American traditions, and while its form may be a throwback, it speaks to a time when the phrase "Black Lives Matter" can be seen as controversial and, in doing so, it illustrates how these issues are deeply ingrained in American life and cannot be forgotten. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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Freedom Highway

Rhiannon Giddens

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1
At the Purchaser's Option 00:04:16

Dirk Powell, Bells, Electric Guitar, Mandolin, Co-Producer - Rhiannon Giddens, Lyricist, Banjo, Co-Producer, Lead Vocals, Writer, MainArtist - Hubby Jenkins, Mandolin - Joey Ryan, Lyricist - Jamie Dick, Drums - Jason Sypher, Bass - Malcolm Parson, Cello

2017 Nonesuch Records Inc. 2017 Nonesuch Records Inc.

2
The Angels Laid Him Away 00:02:33

Traditional, Writer - Dirk Powell, Acoustic Guitar, Co-Producer - Rhiannon Giddens, Co-Producer, Lead Vocals, MainArtist

2017 Nonesuch Records Inc. 2017 Nonesuch Records Inc.

3
Julie 00:04:29

Dirk Powell, Co-Producer, Fiddle - Rhiannon Giddens, Lyricist, Banjo, Co-Producer, Lead Vocals, Writer, MainArtist - Jason Sypher, Bass

2017 Nonesuch Records Inc. 2017 Nonesuch Records Inc.

4
Birmingham Sunday 00:06:15

Dirk Powell, Arranger, Electric Guitar, Piano, Co-Producer - Richard Farina, Writer - Rhiannon Giddens, Arranger, Choir, Co-Producer, Lead Vocals, MainArtist - Hubby Jenkins, Choir - Lalenja Harrington, Choir - Eric Adcock, Organ - Jamie Dick, Choir, Drums, Percussion - Jason Sypher, Choir, Bass - Amelia Powell, Choir - Rowan Corbett, Choir - Sophie Powell, Choir

2017 Nonesuch Records Inc. 2017 Nonesuch Records Inc.

5
Better Get It Right the First Time 00:03:25

Dirk Powell, Lyricist, Electric Guitar, Co-Producer, Writer - Rhiannon Giddens, Lyricist, Banjo, Co-Producer, Lead Vocals, Writer, Harmony Vocals, MainArtist - Patrick Bartley, Tenor Saxophone - Corey Wilcox, Trombone - Jamie Dick, Drums - Jason Sypher, Bass - Justin Harrington, Lyricist, Vocals - Alphonso Horne, Trumpet - Desireé Champagne, Rubboard

2017 Nonesuch Records Inc. 2017 Nonesuch Records Inc.

6
We Could Fly 00:04:53

Dirk Powell, Lyricist, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Co-Producer, Writer, Harmony Vocals - Rhiannon Giddens, Lyricist, Co-Producer, Lead Vocals, Writer, MainArtist - Lalenja Harrington, Harmony Vocals

2017 Nonesuch Records Inc. 2017 Nonesuch Records Inc.

7
Hey Bébé 00:03:19

Dirk Powell, Lyricist, Co-Producer - Rhiannon Giddens, Lyricist, Banjo, Co-Producer, Lead Vocals, Writer, MainArtist - Jamie Dick, Drums - Jason Sypher, Bass - Alphonso Horne, Trumpet - Desireé Champagne, Rubboard

2017 Nonesuch Records Inc. 2017 Nonesuch Records Inc.

8
Come Love Come 00:05:20

Dirk Powell, Electric Guitar, Co-Producer - Rhiannon Giddens, Lyricist, Banjo, Co-Producer, Lead Vocals, Writer, MainArtist - Hubby Jenkins, Banjo - Jason Sypher, Bass - Malcolm Parson, Cello - Rowan Corbett, Harmony Vocals

2017 Nonesuch Records Inc. 2017 Nonesuch Records Inc.

9
The Love We Almost Had 00:04:19

Dirk Powell, Guitar, Piano, Co-Producer - Rhiannon Giddens, Lyricist, Co-Producer, Lead Vocals, MainArtist - Bhi Bhiman, Writer - Jamie Dick, Drums - Jason Sypher, Bass - Alphonso Horne, Trumpet

2017 Nonesuch Records Inc. 2017 Nonesuch Records Inc.

10
Baby Boy 00:04:29

Dirk Powell, Co-Producer - Rhiannon Giddens, Lyricist, Banjo, Co-Producer, Lead Vocals, Writer, MainArtist - Lalenja Harrington, Lyricist, Vocals - Leyla McCalla, Cello, Vocals - Jamie Dick, Percussion - Jason Sypher, Bass

2017 Nonesuch Records Inc. 2017 Nonesuch Records Inc.

11
Following the North Star 00:01:56

Dirk Powell, Co-Producer - Rhiannon Giddens, Lyricist, Banjo, Co-Producer, Writer, MainArtist - Jamie Dick, Percussion

2017 Nonesuch Records Inc. 2017 Nonesuch Records Inc.

12
Freedom Highway 00:04:47

Roebuck "Pops" Staples, Writer - Dirk Powell, Co-Producer, Bass - Rhiannon Giddens, Co-Producer, Lead Vocals, Hand Clap, MainArtist - Hubby Jenkins, Mandolin - Bhi Bhiman, Electric Guitar, Vocals - Eric Adcock, Organ, Wurlitzer - Patrick Bartley, Tenor Saxophone - Corey Wilcox, Trombone - Jamie Dick, Drums, Percussion - Amelia Powell, Hand Clap - Sophie Powell, Hand Clap - Alphonso Horne, Trumpet - Ina Powell, Hand Clap

2017 Nonesuch Records Inc. 2017 Nonesuch Records Inc.

Descripción del álbum

Rhiannon Giddens has always been keenly aware of the arc of American history -- the Carolina Chocolate Drops, the 2000s band she once led, was designed as a critique of the darker moments of Americana -- but Freedom Highway, her second solo album, puts her intent into perspective. Where her 2015 solo debut, Tomorrow Is My Turn, was essentially a covers album, gaining its importance through context, Freedom Highway relies on originals, but the past is never far behind. This should be expected from Giddens, who is at her core a folk artist building upon -- and expanding -- tradition, but it's still startling to realize how she establishes a vernacular at the outset of Freedom Highway, then explores all of the possibilities of African-American folk music on the album. "At the Purchaser's Option," the song that inaugurates Freedom Highway, explicitly evokes slavery, and it's spare and haunting, standing in contrast to the title-track closer, a funky number that illustrates how far African-Americans have traveled during the course of the history of the United States. Throughout Freedom Highway, Giddens plays with this idea -- how oppression gave way to freedom -- and it's not just through her lyrics, but how the music expands as the album reaches its conclusion: at the outset, it seems austere, but by its conclusion it's a robust celebration of all the weird, wonderful parts of America. This isn't an accident. Freedom Highway draws upon deep American traditions, and while its form may be a throwback, it speaks to a time when the phrase "Black Lives Matter" can be seen as controversial and, in doing so, it illustrates how these issues are deeply ingrained in American life and cannot be forgotten. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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