Music

Rhiannon Giddens Shares 'Freedom Highway' at American Songbook and on Tour

Rhiannon Giddens, formerly of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, brought her Freedom Highway tour to New York for a powerful show. The tour resumes next week and hits Newport Folk later this summer.


Rhiannon Giddens 'American Songbook' Performance

City: New York, NY
Venue: Alice Tully Hall
Date: 2017-05-13

Rhiannon Giddens began her Freedom Highway tour at a surprising place. Sing Sing prison in New York. There, she addressed the inmates (and the NY Times reporter) and performed songs from the new album, describing the prison as "perfect for what this album is about and the sort of social consciousness and activism that surrounds this record." The album highlights Giddens' earthy-roots music and her original, often political lyrics (her previous solo album post-Carolina Chocolate Drops was a covers record). She doesn't shy away from issues political, historical or contemporary, racial or social.

As Giddens tour continued, she arrived at somewhere a bit more glamorous, Lincoln Center, for the final show of the 2017 American Songbook series. She had performed in the series twice in the past few years, and this was her biggest show at Lincoln Center yet, in front of a sold-out crowd at Alice Tully Hall. Her backing band included multi-instrumentalists Dirk Powell and Hubby Jenkins, Jason Sypher on bass and Jamie Dick on drums, as well as her sister Lalenja Harrington providing back-up vocals and her nephew Justin Harrington rapping a song near the end of the powerful show. As Billboard noted, "Giddens’ vocals -- which reveal her extensive operatic training -- were front-and-center on such show highlights as Aretha Franklin's “Do Right Woman” and Patsy Cline's "She's Got You," which gave the originals a run for their money; and the Mack Gordon-written “Underneath the Harlem Moon,” which Ethel Waters recorded in the 1930s. “There’s a lot of good stuff to be found,” Giddens said of the last song. “It makes all the digging worthwhile." Photos from Giddens performance, as well as upcoming tour dates, are below.

Setlist:

Spanish Fly

The Love We Almost Had

At the Purchaser’s Option

Following the North Star

We Could Fly

Water Boy

Dimanche Apres-Midi (The Creole Song)

Mr. Big Stuff

Do Right Woman

Children, Go Where I Send Thee

Underneath the Harlem Moon

Fiddle Tunes

Julie

Birmingham Sunday

[encore break]

Better Get It Right the First Time

Freedom Highway

She Got You

Up Above My Head

Tour Dates:

06/08/2017 CAROLINA THEATRE GREENSBORO NC

06/09/2017 SPOLETO FESTIVAL USA CHARLESTON SC

06/10/2017 KCD THEATER LOUISVILLE KY

06/11/2017 CHICAGO BLUES FESTIVAL CHICAGO IL

06/22/2017 ROMP OWENSBORO KY

06/23/2017 SHAFTMAN PERFORMANCE HALL ROANOKE VA

06/24/2017 AMERICAN ROOTS MUSIC FESTIVAL KATONAH NY

07/21/2017 GILA RIVER ARENA GLENDALE AZ#

07/22/2017 CITIZENS BUSINESS BANK ARENA ONTARIO CA#

07/23/2017 VALLEY VIEW CASINO CENTER SAN DIEGO CA#

07/28/2017 CHAUTAUQUA AMPHITHEATER CHAUTAUQUA NY

07/30/2017 NEWPORT FOLK FESTIVAL NEWPORT RI

08/01/2017 STONE MOUNTAIN ARTS CENTER BROWNFIELD ME

08/04/2017 NEWPORT JAZZ FESTIVAL NEWPORT RI%

08/05/2017 NEWPORT JAZZ FESTIVAL NEWPORT RI

08/06/2017 THE EGG ALBANY NY

08/08/2017 RAM'S HEAD ON STAGE ANNAPOLIS MD

08/09/2017 NORTH CAROLINA MUSEUM OF ART RALEIGH NC

08/18/2017 ROCKY MOUNTAIN FOLKS FESTIVAL LYONS CO

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