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Rhiannon Giddens (from the album You’re the One available on Nonesuch Records) (by Lee Zimmerman)
At this point in her storied career, Rhiannon Giddens could be considered a veritable musical institution. Beginning with her early efforts as part of an innovative and eclectic combo called the Carolina Chocolate Drops, she’s played a prominent role in the evolution of traditional American music by furthering awareness of Appalachian, archival, and other cultural combinations. In so doing, she’s achieved the highest levels of artistic accreditation, having won a Grammy for her efforts as part of the Carolina Chocolate Drops and, perhaps most impressively of all, a Pulitzer Prize for Music as a result of the opera ‘Omar’, which she cowrote with composer Michael Omar.
A multi-instrumentalist equally adept on vocals, fiddle, and banjo, her five solo albums have proven her prowess in terms of taking the trappings of archival precedent forward towards the future. Here however, she opts for more contemporary credence by sharing songs of a genuinely soulful variety. Many of the songs share thoughts on love and longing, from the defiance and outrage of “Too Little, Too Late, Too Bad” to the sensual sounds of “You’re the One”, a reflection of unwavering satisfaction. Mostly though, Giddens maintains her typically assertive stance, whether she proclaiming her absolute independence via “Hen in the Foxhouse” (‘I’m a woman in a man’s world/There ain’t no changing that…’) or sounding off about “Another Wasted Life”, a powerful pronouncement condemning those who fail to function to their own best advantage.
That’s not to say she doesn’t occasionally opt for a somewhat sly attitude. “You Louisiana Man”, “You Put the Sugar In My Bowl”, “Way Over Yonder”, and “Wrong Kind Of Right” pose a combination of sass, soul, and some distinctive down-home designs. The hoedown that ends it all, a brief instrumental titled “Good Ole’ Cider”, affirms the fact she hasn’t lost her penchant for Americana authenticity.
Likewise, she isn’t devoid of sentiment. “Who Are You Dreaming Of”, a cowrite with Dirk Powell, sounds like a nocturnal standard, one that blends strings, style, a croon, and a caress. That’s Rhiannon Giddens’ greatest strength — the ability to infuse honest emotion in a powerful and provocative way, while never losing sight of the objective or intent. (by Lee Zimmerman)
Listen and buy the music of Rhiannon Giddens from AMAZON
Please visit the Rhiannon Giddens website for more information
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