Festival Friday Radio is a weekly blog series showcasing Spoleto Festival USA’s 2017 visiting artists. Each Friday, tune in for these hand-selected playlists that highlight a musician’s top 10 tracks—or get exclusive, artist-curated lists that reflect their own listening preferences.
You may remember frontwoman for the Grammy-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops Rhiannon Giddens when she played during the Festival in 2010 and 2008. Since then, she’s been introducing her own powerful perspective on traditional music by reviving and recasting songs from a variety of sources. For example, producer, performer, and songwriter T-Bone Burnett has likened Rhiannon Giddens’ cultural influence to that of Nina Simone and Ethel Waters. Giddens’s second solo album Freedom Highway—released today—follows her highly regarded solo debut album, Factory Girl, and includes original, traditional, and civil-rights era tracks.
During the 2017 Festival, Giddens’s authentic and tenacious voice will craft an American roots music experience like none other at the Charleston Gaillard Center—CLICK HERE for tickets. Before her June 9 performance, listen to “Waterboy” and “She’s Got You” for a sample of her powerful vocals and unique ability to make a wide range of acclaimed songs truly her own.
Photo (at top) by Tanya Rosen Jones