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Rhiannon Giddens: You’re the One

Rhiannon Giddens
Rhiannon Giddens: You’re the One
  • Music
  • Sonics
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Cut loose from the pandemic lockdown, which shaped 2021’s introspective collection of folk covers They’re Calling Me Home, singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Rhiannon Giddens enlisted Jack Splash (Kendrick Lamar, John Legend) to produce her first album of original songs. The result is often joyful, sometimes poppy (“Too Little, Too Late, Too Bad”), mostly drum-driven folk-rock that teams Giddens with Jason Isbell (“Yet to Be”) while showcasing her gospel-inflected vocals and five-string fretless banjo. Americana fans who know Giddens from her days with the rootsy Carolina Chocolate Drops might be surprised by her pop turn (“Another Wasted Life,” “Hen in the Foxhouse”). But the old-timey blues of “You Put the Sugar in My Bowl” and Dirk Powell’s ubiquitous fiddle and accordion (“Louisiana Man,” Way Over Yonder,” “If You Don’t Know How Sweet It Is”) harken to her trad roots (which get a nod on the album closer, the spry fiddle tune “Good Ol’ Cider”), while the string arrangement of the torchy “Who Are You Dreaming Of” points to a new direction. These stylistic offerings lack continuity, but make for a musical gumbo that shows this gifted North Carolina native can deftly straddle folk, blues, country, jazz and pop. Don’t fence her in.


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