Rhiannon Giddens’s ‘You’re The One,’ A Review Of The Album


Rhiannon Giddens’s ‘You’re The One,’ A Review Of The Album:

Rhiannon Giddens has been feeling the weight of her recent work. In 2019, the folk genius helped write the opera Omar, which was based on a slave’s diary. He also worked on several projects about the past of African American music and made a new show for the ethnic Silk Road Ensemble that was motivated by the transcontinental train.

Last year, when we were talking about roots music at a meeting, she told me, “I simply want to go sit within the corner as well as play ukulele.” Giddens’s search for relief led her to her most recent solo album, You’re the One, which was produced through Jack Splash and has a pop sound.

Rhiannon Giddens Got Famous As A Banjo Player:

It’s a left turn for Giddens, who made her name as a banjoist, fiddler, as well as singer within the black string band the Carolina Chocolate Drops before establishing herself as a well-studied folk performer on projects under her own name.

In an online conversation last month, she said, “I was feeling such as I needed to create music within a slightly distinct manner for my personal mental health.” You’re the One was her first album as a solo artist since 2017’s Freedom Highway. It is also the first record for which she wrote all the songs.

Six Years Is A Very Long Time For A Famous Artist To Wait Between Records:

Six years is a long time for most acts to wait between records. Popular music can quickly forget you, but it doesn’t take into account Giddens’ two roots albums alongside her partner, Francesco Turrisi. Their most recent album, They’re Calling Me Home, which won a Grammy for folk music in 2021, is haunting.

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She has also written the words and music for an opera, for which she won the Pulitzer Prize for music this year. Omar was based on the story of a Muslim man who was a slave within South Carolina within the 1800s. His name was Omar bin Said.

Rhiannon Giddens Shows Off Her Powerful Voice Once Again On Her New Album:

Rhiannon Giddens shows once again on her new album that she has a powerful voice that can take any song to a higher level.

She also shows that she is a smart songwriter who can write songs that range from jazz as well as pop to soul as well as country blues, enjoying moments filled with raw sensuality or tenderness.

The high-energy soul shouter “Too Little, Too Late, Too Bad” starts off the record. It has a Stax-meets-Muscle-Shoals feel, with marching piano runs, booming B3 strains, and funky snares.

With call-and-response singing in the background, Giddens’s beautiful vocals rise higher and higher into a soul realm that sounds like Aretha Franklin.

It’s A Song She Wrote For Her Son:

“You’re the One” starts out with just a few banjo plucks and violin sounds before driving snare drums take the song higher and higher. It’s a love song to her son, as well as the way the song goes from quiet at the beginning to louder in the lines and choruses shows how she feels in different ways.

“You Put the Sugar in My Bowl” starts with a bawdy piano run and then moves to a jazzy New Orleans second line beat. The singer’s sultry recitatives break up the beat.

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“Who Do You Have Your Eyes On?” Brings To Mind Nina Simone’s jazz Dance Hits:

It sounds like Blue Lu Barker’s blues song “Don’t You Feel My Leg,” which Maria Muldaur made famous on her first album by the same name. The upbeat Cajun boogaloo “Way Over Yonder” swirls as well as whirls, inviting listeners to find a partner and dance across the floor.

“Wrong Kind of Right” comes straight from the soul universe, combining sounds from Philly soul, Muscle Shoals, and early ’60s anthems like “Everybody Loves an Winner.”

“If You Don’t Know How Sweet It Is” has the sass and fun of Loretta Lynn as well as Dolly Parton and the strutting rhythms of early folk songs. “Who Are You Dreaming Of?” is beautiful and reminds me of Nina Simone’s jazz dance standards.

Giddens Makes An Album That Is A Masterpiece And Shows How Powerful She Is As A Singer As Well As Songwriter:

Rhiannon Giddens lives in her songs on You’re the One, turning every phrase inside out before delivering soaring vocal performances that mix the nuanced smokiness as well as emotional tremolo of Nina Simone, the towering spirit shouts of Aretha Franklin, as well as the swaying vamp of Maria Muldaur as well as Ma Rainey.

You can hear how happy she is when she sings these songs, as well as Giddens gives us a mini-masterpiece of a record that shows how powerful she is as an artist and songwriter.