Sunday, March 5, 2017

Song of the Day # 1,141 Rhiannon Giddens

A chocolate box album, in its smooth, silky production values and well crafted and thoughtful songs. Its subject matter is hundreds of years of attrition, struggle and violence but there's little explicitly voiced anger, instead Freedom's Highway is all dignity and poise, 'full of songs like The Purchaser's Option which were written over the past few years but sound like they've been lurking around the American subconscious for centuries, passed along by oral tradition or via song collectors and academics until they found their way to this particular singer, to this particular album, to this particular moment in history.'

It's a good record for a Sunday morning in 2017. Focused on giving a voice to those who had none and particularly a voice to women. Drawing musically on folk, gospel and soul traditions and it's all immaculately poised and thoughtful and felt, more to the Martin Luther King side of the argument to that of Malcolm X in a time when the relevance of the dialogue between these two perspectives as responses to events has not been so relevant since the sixties.And that was not the first time by any means that these two ideas had been articulated as this is very much aware.

Just four songs here but I could have posted any one of the eleven here. 'No cold history lesson or dry academic exercise,' a beautiful statement, that should be in the running for awards and album of the year honours later on. Giddens meanwhile, is clearly a star!

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