Rhiannon Giddens – Freedom Highway (2017) [Official Digital Download 24bit/88,2kHz]

Rhiannon Giddens – Freedom Highway (2017)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/88,2 kHz  | Time – 50:01 minutes |  914 MB | Genre: Folk
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: Q0buz | Digital Booklet | © Nonesuch

Grammy Award–winner and 2017 Grammy nominee, Rhiannon Giddens is a folk revivalist who knows that old stories can still have a powerful and painful relevance, and on her second solo album since leaving the Carolina Chocolate Drops, she sings about the history of America’s fight against racism, in order to warn of current dangers. Her last album was an adventurous covers set, but here she matches her own powerful compositions based on vivid, true stories from the slavery era against classic blues, and civil rights songs from the 60s.

Rhiannon Giddens has always been keenly aware of the arc of American history — the Carolina Chocolate Drops, the 2000s band she once led, was designed as a critique of the darker moments of Americana — but Freedom Highway, her second solo album, puts her intent into perspective. Where her 2015 solo debut, Tomorrow Is My Turn, was essentially a covers album, gaining its importance through context, Freedom Highway relies on originals, but the past is never far behind. This should be expected from Giddens, who is at her core a folk artist building upon — and expanding — tradition, but it’s still startling to realize how she establishes a vernacular at the outset of Freedom Highway, then explores all of the possibilities of African-American folk music on the album. “At the Purchaser’s Option,” the song that inaugurates Freedom Highway, explicitly evokes slavery, and it’s spare and haunting, standing in contrast to the title-track closer, a funky number that illustrates how far African-Americans have traveled during the course of the history of the United States. Throughout Freedom Highway, Giddens plays with this idea — how oppression gave way to freedom — and it’s not just through her lyrics, but how the music expands as the album reaches its conclusion: at the outset, it seems austere, but by its conclusion it’s a robust celebration of all the weird, wonderful parts of America. This isn’t an accident. Freedom Highway draws upon deep American traditions, and while its form may be a throwback, it speaks to a time when the phrase “Black Lives Matter” can be seen as controversial and, in doing so, it illustrates how these issues are deeply ingrained in American life and cannot be forgotten. ~~ AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine

01 – At the Purchaser’s Option
02 – The Angels Laid Him Away
03 – Julie
04 – Birmingham Sunday
05 – Better Get It Right the First Time
06 – We Could Fly
07 – Hey Bébé
08 – Come Love Come
09 – The Love We Almost Had
10 – Baby Boy
11 – Following the North Star
12 – Freedom Highway