Album: Freedom Highway by Rhiannon Giddens
Release Date: February 2017
My Favourite Tracks: Julie, Birmingham Sunday, The Love We Almost Had
Album Notes: I don’t know anything about music. I don’t have the words to describe the music that I like, I just know that I like it. That’s been the case the whole time I’ve been writing about the albums I listen to each (or not quite each) week, but it’s especially true here.
I didn’t know Rhiannon Giddens existed until about three weeks ago, when a former university professor (Dr Owen Robinson) with whom I’m friends on Facebook, and whom I hold in very high esteem, mentioned her new album. He described it as a ‘glorious blend of slavery-era folk, delta blues, Stax soul, New Orleans street music, and even hip-hop.’ Quoting him feels cheeky, but I would never have known that those words apply to this album. All I know is that I love this album.
Me not having heard of this astonishing woman before is of no consequence, and is no reflection on her extraordinary talent. This is music that draws on centuries of the African American experience, from slavery to civil rights to the current situation. As a white woman from Essex I can’t even pretend to understand the half of it, but music likes this gives a beautiful insight.