Whether or not you’ve heard Rhiannon Giddens’ name, you should listen to her sing

Posted on November 13, 2015


We at G@H use our own photography whenever possible. It shows our bona fides. We actually experience the experiences of which we write. We aren’t frauds spinning imaginary tales about living gentlemanly.

This autumn, we attended a Rhiannon Giddens concert at an intimate, local theater. Wow. It was magical. She was splendid. For the blog and to better remember, we snapped a couple of photos. They didn’t turn out. It happens. We could’ve deleted them. We could’ve chalked it up to poor luck. But then, how could we share with you the treasure that is Rhiannon Giddens?

Do you know her? Rhiannon Giddens has spent ten years with the Carolina Chocolate Drops, an old-time string band from Durham, North Carolina. They won a Grammy. It was for Best Traditional Folk Album. Admittedly, that’s not a category that gets a ton of attention.

Recently, Giddens has caught fire. She appeared in the all-star tribute concert: Another Day/Another Time: Celebrating the Music of Inside Llewyn Davis. It featured the Avett Brothers, Marcus Mumford and Jack White. But Giddens stole the whole damn show with her rendition of a Gaelic folk song, “S’iomadh Rid.”

Watch this and don’t be amazed, we double-dog dare you.

After that performance, T Bone Burnett—the producer who compiles those kickass soundtracks for Cohen Brothers’ movies—organized a supergroup called, The New Basement Tapes. He selected Giddens to work with musical hotshots Jim James, Elvis Costello, Marcus Mumford, and Taylor Goldsmith. Burnett bought the rights to a box of unfinished Bob Dylan lyrics and challenged his supergroup to finish the songs.

That collaboration brought us “Kansas City,” which is awesome.

We also enjoyed Giddens in “Duncan and Jimmy.”

Giddens released a solo album in 2014 and is touring the United States. Go see her. Her voice is so rich, so deep; it will move you. The woman can belt out a tune. And, she can stir an audience. Never have we seen a crowd so involved in a concert. They hooted and hollered. They clapped and stomped. There were, at least, five standing ovations. It was a night to remember.

Here’s a taste. But, it doesn’t do justice to witnessing Giddens perform live.

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