Rhiannon Giddens to share solo album at Four Winds New Buffalo concert

Published 4:42 pm Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Submitted photo

(Submitted photo)

NEW BUFFALO, Mich. — The lead singer of the Grammy award winning Carolina Chocolate Drops has ventured out on her own.

Rhiannon Giddens will bring her brand of old-style music to the Silver Creek Event Center at Four Winds New Buffalo at 9 p.m. Nov. 6.

Giddens, who grew up in the piedmont area of North Carolina, founded the Carolina Chocolate Drops in 2005.

The group made it their mission to revive and preserve music from the 1920s and 1930s.

The Chocolate Drops found their niche and with the release of “Genuine Negro Jug,” which captured the Grammy for best traditional folk album.

In September 2013, while performing at the “Another Day, Another Time” concert at New York City’s town Hall, Chocolate Drops producer T-Bone Burnett knew it was time for Giddens to record a solo album.

For those unfamiliar with Giddens’ work, she has been described was the next in a long line of great singers like Marian Anderson, Odetta and  Mahalia Jackson.

When asked how to describe her herself, Giddens’ answer was simple.

“I am a singer,” she said in a phone interview. “I have a mission to highlight underappreciated and rarely discovered pieces of American history. I have definitely trained in different things, but I have spent the last 10 years shining a light on pieces of musical history that need to be highlighted.”

While the Chocolate Drops, of which she is still a member, do that, a solo album allowed Giddens to shine a light on even more music from performers like Dolly Parton and Patsy Cline.

“So much of the music I promote is pre-genre music or music that really doesn’t have to be in a genre, but we put it in a genre because that is what the record companies tell us to do,” she said. “I like to just call it American music.”

Giddens enjoys bringing life to music.

“Music lives best when it is being performed,” she said. “There is so much music that is languishing in books or old recordings that tells the story of America. So bringing that back out is a great thing I think.”

While Rhiannon said the thought of doing a solo album was a bit unnerving, the fact that it was T-Bone Burnett producing it made that decision a lot easier for Giddens.

“That makes a big difference when you have somebody like that with sort of this casual confidence in what you can do and your record label is behind you,” she said. “Yes, it was definitely scary, but I said I am 37 years old and I have been doing this for over a decade. This is clearly what God has in store for me.”

Giddens said the album, “Tomorrow Is My Turn,” has been well received and will be highlighted during her performance in New Buffalo next month.

“It has had almost embarrassingly good reviews,” Giddens said. “I feel that people are supporting what I was trying to do with it, which was highlighting these women in Americana music that I wanted to pay homage to. They are really behind it.

“Touring has been a blast. People are really enjoying the show. The year has been successful so far.

Giddens said that people should expect a show that features songs from the solo record as well as Carolina Chocolate Drop songs. There will also be songs from a project she was a part of in 2014 called “Lost on the River: The New Basement Tapes.”

That project, also produced by Burnett, featured a compilation of partial songs written by Bob Dylan that were never released. Also featured are Elvis Costello, Marcus Mumford, Taylor Goldsmith and Jim James.

Tickets are now on sale for her November performance through Ticketmaster or by calling (800) 745-3000.