Freedom Highway

Format: CD
Release Date: 2/24/2017
Availability: In Stock

There's a natural warmth and intensity to the music of Rhiannon Giddens. It's earthy yet sophisticated, grounded yet worldly. On Freedom Highway, her ability to use all of this to strike at the heart of difficult issues serves her remarkably well. On this album, she travels down a winding road of 12 songs about freedom and/or the loss of it. For "Julie", Giddens based the lyrics on the memoir of a 19th-century slave. "At the Purchaser's Option" alludes to an 1830s advertisement for a young slave and her nine-month old baby. Heavy subjects, for sure, and yet Giddens has made uplifting, thoughtful music from these ashes. As the follow-up to her acclaimed 2015 solo debut, Tomorrow Is My Turn, Giddens chose to produce this album with Dirk Powell, a terrific multi-instrumentalist. They went to his studio in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, and recorded most of the tracks in "old wooden rooms" built before the Civil War. The South and the setting helped shape the country-simple charm found in each track. The ballads are beautiful. "Baby Boy" is a stunningly sorrowful lullaby featuring Giddens singing with her sister Lalenja Harrington and cellist Leyla McCalla. "Birmingham Sunday", written by the late folksinger Richard Farina, simply takes your breath away. But Giddens also knows how to cut loose. "Hey Bebe", written by Giddens and Powell, pays homage the the great Creole musician Amede Ardoin. It's a zydeco romp punctuated by Giddens' joyful voice and the trumpet work of Alphonse Horne. The title track, a reworking of the 1965 Staples Singers gem, caps this set, dripping with the ghost of Pops Staples' guitar tremolo and vocal work by Giddens and Bhi Bhiman. As winter gives way to the warmth of spring, Freedom Highway will be in heavy rotation. This is music that drillins in deep and warms the soul. - DownBeat Magazine Editors' Pick

1. At the Purchaser's Option
Length: 04:16
2. The Angels Laid Him Away
Length: 02:31
3. Julie
Length: 04:27
4. Birmingham Sunday
Length: 06:13
5. Better Get It Right the First Time
Length: 03:23
6. We Could Fly
Length: 04:52
7. Hey Bébé
Length: 03:19
8. Come Love Come
Length: 05:19
9. The Love We Almost Had
Length: 04:17
10. Baby Boy
Length: 04:28
11. Following the North Star
Length: 01:55
12. Freedom Highway
Length: 04:49
Album Details
Disc Count: 1
Total Length: 49:49
UPC: 075597939613