Rhiannon Giddens, the Grammy-award winning musician and lead singer of the Black folk trio Carolina Chocolate Drops, is gearing up to release her sophomore album via Warner Music Group Feb. 24. Giddens’ 2015 solo debut, “Factory Girl,” was nominated for two Grammys at the 2016 awards show.
Her upcoming album, “Freedom Highway,” is more stripped down than “Factory Girl.” Whereas the former used electric string instruments in the opening track, “Last Kind Words,” the latter is acoustic, minimal and composed with eerie depth.
“Freedom Highway” deals with slavery and Giddens’ past life reflections of African-American reality as she sings of rape by her oppressor in the first person in the opening track, “At the Purchaser’s Option.” Giddens has always had a talent for channeling the past of the American South and slavery, writing and reproducing vivid accounts of Black life through her knowledge of history and ancestral murmurs.
Giddens said of the opening 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.”
A virtuosic banjo and folk string musician with the voice of a yearning angel, Giddens takes you on a journey down a road of longing and oppression. Her music is beautiful, captivating and full of depth and wisdom. Make sure you obtain a copy of “Freedom Highway” on its February release.