Rhiannon Giddens Announces New EP and Bluesfest Sideshows

Rhiannon Giddens
Image Courtesy of Rhiannon Giddens

American trad and contemporary folk singer Rhiannon Giddens has announced plans to followup her amazing debut solo album Tomorrow Is My Turn with a five song vinyl EP Factory Girl on the 27th November (available digitally on the 11th December).

The EP is made up of material culled from the Tomorrow Is My Turn sessions and is produced by T Bone Burnett. The full track listing is here:

1. That Lonesome Road (traditional, arranged by Sister Rosetta Tharpe)
2. Mouth Music (traditional, arranged by Rhiannon Giddens)
3. Moonshiner’s Daughter (Rhiannon Giddens, Lalenja Harrington, T Bone Burnett)
4. Underneath the Harlem Moon (Mack Gordon, Harry Revel, Ethel Waters)
5. Factory Girl (traditional, additional verses by Rhiannon Giddens)

Rhiannon Giddens has also announced a handful of sideshows when she’s in Australia for Bluefest next year. Check out the full list of dates below:

Monday 21st March – The Factory Theatre, Sydney, NSW
Wednesday 23rd March – The Corner Hotel, Melbourne, VIC
Thursday 24th to Monday 28th March – Bluesfest, Byron Bay, NSW

Review: Various, Another Day, Another Time: Celebrating the Music of Inside Llewyn Davis

Inside Llewyn Davis

I think when the producers of Another Day, Another Time: Celebrating the Music of Inside Llewyn Davis decided to put the concert, and subsequent documentary and record, together they were expecting to capture lightning in a bottle, the same way the O Brother Where Art Thou? concert Down from the Mountain had done over ten years previously. And they had every right to as all the elements were there: a Coen Brothers film jam-packed with T Bone Burnett produced folk music, performances from some of contemporary folk and acoustic music’s biggest names and a reference point to a music, time and place that is beloved by millions.

But somehow they didn’t quite hit the mark.

Not to say this isn’t a great album – it certainly is. There are a lot of highlights throughout. But it’s not the kind of album I can enjoy from start to finish, not the way I can with Down from the Mountain or even the Inside Llewyn Davis soundtrack (the intentionally terrible “Please Mr. Kennedy” aside). And I think it’s for a number of reasons.

Firstly there’s too much Americana and Bluegrass music. I never thought I’d hear myself say that but it’s true. So much of the Greenwich Village folk revival was centred around traditional music from England, Scotland and Ireland and while bluegrass and country music was a part of the scene (and no doubt influenced many of the singers and songwriters of the time) it wasn’t the focus – if anything blues was more of an influence at the time. The movie soundtrack itself only really has nods to this kind of music and instead focuses on traditional music plus traditionally inspired songs from the time like Ewan MacColl’s “The Shoals of Herring” or Brendan Behan’s “The Auld Triangle”, and I think the live album should have gone the same way.

Secondly it takes 10 songs before we even hear a track from the movie and even then it’s the aforementioned intentionally terrible “Please Mr. Kennedy”. Similarly there seems to be too many originals on the album – albeit from amazing artists like Punch Brothers, Gillian Welch, Jack White and more – to claim to be “Celebrating the Music of Inside Llewyn Davis”.

And finally there are some glaring misses in the programming of the concert. I love Conor Oberst to death but his inclusion here is misplaced – his waspish voice just doesn’t seem to fit with the tone of the concert. Similarly I’m not sure we needed three tracks from a ho-hum Avett Brothers when the brilliant Keb’ Mo’ only gets one.

But all of this aside there is a lot to like about Another Day, Another Time: Celebrating the Music of Inside Llewyn Davis. Having the Punch Brothers acting essentially as the house band on many of the tracks elevates so many of the songs. The second half of the album which showcases a lot more of the songs from the actual movie – “Hang Me, Oh Hang Me”. “Green, Green Rocky Road”, “The Auld Triangle”, “Fare Thee Well (Dink’s Song)”, etc – shows just how well these songs (and their singers) stack up live. Oscar Isaac, the actor who played Llewyn Davis in the film is surprisingly solid as is Marcus Mumford who is relegated to backing vocals and drums on a lot of the tracks but comes to fore in the final four songs to prove just how good a singer he is.

Once again Rhiannon Giddens is an absolute standout. Her version of the Gaelic “S iomadh rud tha dhith orm/Ciamar a ni mi ‘n dannsa direach” is the only track I just had to go back and listen to twice on my first time through the album, it was so good. And then of course there’s Joan Baez, proving exactly why she’s a legend, outclassing Elvis Costello on a duet of “Which Side Are You On?” and absolutely killing it on “House of the Rising Sun” and “Give Me Cornbread When I’m Hungry”.

I think my advice with this album is not to go in with any pre-conceptions – either from the O Brother Where Art Thou? and Inside Llewyn Davis or from Down from the Mountain. Instead listen to Another Day, Another Time: Celebrating the Music of Inside Llewyn Davis in isolation, pick and choose the individual tracks you want to buy (you’ll want more than you’ll leave behind) and enjoy the music as is sounds like the live audience did.

Another Day, Another Time: Celebrating the Music of Inside Llewyn Davis is available now on iTunes

Rhiannon Giddens (Carolina Chocolate Drops) Announces Debut Solo Album

Rhiannon Giddens
Image Courtesy of Rhiannon Giddens

Singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and founding member of the Carolina Chocolate Drops Rhiannon Giddens has announced plans to release her debut solo album early next year. The album is Tomorrow Is My Turn and was produced by the legendary T Bone Burnett who Giddens also worked with on The New Basement Tapes project.

“I had already started putting together a list of songs that didn’t really fit into the Chocolate Drops world,” Giddens explained. “At the top was “Tomorrow Is My Turn” [immortalized by Nina Simone]. Seeing Nina do it on YouTube was revelatory. I knew she’d gone through a lot of hard times, as so many people did in that time period. Watching her sing this song, with the words “tomorrow is my turn,” I began to think about the struggle of her and women like her.”

Tomorrow Is My Turn is due for release on the 10th February. Check out the full tracklist below along with audio from the tracks “Don’t Let It Trouble Your Mind” and “Shake Sugaree”:

1. Last Kind Words (Geeshie Wiley, arr. Rhiannon Giddens)
2. Don’t Let It Trouble Your Mind (Dolly Parton)
3. Waterboy (Jacques Wolfe)
4. She’s Got You (Hank Cochran)
5. Up Above My Head (Sister Rosetta Tharpe)
6. Tomorrow Is My Turn (Charles Aznavour/Marcel Stellman/Yves Stéphane)
7. Black Is the Color (Traditional, arr. Rhiannon Giddens)
8. Round About the Mountain (Traditional, arr. Roland Hayes)
9. Shake Sugaree (Elizabeth Cotten)
10. O Love Is Teasin’ (Traditional, arr. Rhiannon Giddens)
11. Angel City (Rhiannon Giddens)

Watch the New Video From The New Basement Tapes, “Liberty Street”

The New Basement Tapes
Image Courtesy of The New Basement Tapes

The latest single from The New Basement Tapes, made up of Elvis Costello, Rhiannon Giddens (Carolina Chocolate Drops), Taylor Goldsmith (Dawes), Jim James (My Morning Jacket) and Marcus Mumford (Mumford and Sons), is “Liberty Street” which has its own lyric video. The track is taken from the upcoming T Bone Burnett produced album Lost On The River: The New Basement Tapes which sees the band putting music to “lost” Bob Dylan lyrics from 1967. The album is due for release on the 6th November.

Check out the lyric video for “Liberty Street” below:

Details of the Inside Llewyn Davis Live Album

Inside Llewyn Davis

I’m going to admit right here that after all the hype I ended up feeling pretty “meh” about the Coen Brothers film Inside Llewyn Davis. I have a love-hate relationship with the Coen Brothers – I absolutely love their quirky comedies but their existential dramas can get lost on me, especially when their lead characters are unlikeable like the case was with Inside Llewyn Davis. So I was a little bit disappoted with the film, but the soundtrack I absolutely lobe.

To coincide with the release of the film last year the Coen Brothers and musical director T Bone Burnett held a benefit concert featuring music from the film, the 60s folk era and music along the same folk lines at the Town Hall in New York featuring music from the likes of Punch Brothers, Gillian Welch, Dave Rawlings Machine, The Milk Carton Kids, Secret Sisters, Lake Street Dive, Elvis Costello, Oscar Isaac, Conor Oberst, Colin Meloy, Joan Baez, The Avett Brothers, Jack White, Marcus Mumford and more.

The concert is now being released as a two disc live album titled Another Day, Another Time: Celebrating the Music of Inside Llewyn Davis and is due for release on the 13th January. The full tracklist for the album is below – can’t wait t have a listen to this one!

Disc 1:
1. Punch Brothers – Tumbling Tumbleweed
2. Punch Brothers – Rye Whiskey
3. Gillian Welch – Will the Circle Be Unbroken?
4. Gillian Welch & David Rawlings – The Way It Goes
5. Willie Watson – The Midnight Special
6. Dave Rawlings Machine – I Hear Them All/This Land Is Your Land
7. The Milk Carton Kids – New York
8. Secret Sisters – Tomorrow Will Be Kinder
9. Lake Street Dive – You Go Down Smooth
10. Elvis Costello, Oscar Isaac and Adam Driver – Please Mr. Kennedy
11. Conor Oberst – Four Strong Winds
12. Conor Oberst – Man Named Truth
13. Colin Meloy – Blues Run the Game
14. Joan Baez, Colin Meloy, and Gillian Welch – Joe Hill
15. The Avett Brothers – All My Mistakes
16. The Avett Brothers – That’s How I Got to Memphis
17. The Avett Brothers – Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise

Disc 2:
1. Jack White – Mama’s Angel Child
2. Jack White – Did You Hear John Hurt?
3. Jack White – We’re Going to Be Friends
4. Rhiannon Giddens – Waterboy
5. Rhiannon Giddens – ‘S iomadh rud tha dhith orm/Ciamar a ni mi ‘n dannsa direach
6. Oscar Isaac – Hang Me, Oh Hang Me
7. Oscar Isaac – Green, Green Rocky Road
8. Keb’ Mo’ – Tomorrow Is a Long Time
9. Bob Neuwirth – Rock Salt and Nails
10. Chris Thile, Chris Eldridge, Paul Kowert, Marcus Mumford, Noam Pikelny and Gabe Witcher – The Auld Triangle
11. Gillian Welch, Rhiannon Giddens and Carey Mulligan – Didn’t Leave Nobody But the Baby
12. Elvis Costello and Joan Baez – Which Side Are You On?
13. Joan Baez – House of the Rising Sun
14. Marcus Mumford and Joan Baez – Give Me Cornbread When I’m Hungry
15. Marcus Mumford- I Was Young When I Left Home
16. Oscar Isaac and Marcus Mumford – Fare Thee Well (Dink’s Song)
17. Marcus Mumford and the Punch Brothers – Farewell

Listen to Four Tracks From Lost On The River: The New Basement Tapes

The New Basement Tapes
Image Courtesy of The New Basement Tapes

Lost On The River: The New Basement Tapes is the upcoming album that brings together a treasure trove of recently discovered lyrics handwritten by Bob Dylan in 1967 with icons of modern folk, roots and popular music Elvis Costello, Rhiannon Giddens (Carolina Chocolate Drops), Taylor Goldsmith (Dawes), Jim James (My Morning Jacket) and Marcus Mumford (Mumford and Sons).

The group, billed as The New Basement Tapes, came together this March to put 26-year old Dylan’s words to music for the project, all produced by the legendary T Bone Burnett. The result, Lost On The River: The New Basement Tapes, is due for release on the 6th November. Check out the track listing here:

1. Down On The Bottom
2. Married To My Hack
3. Kansas City
4. Spanish Mary
5. Liberty Street
6. Nothing To It
7. Golden Tom – Silver Judas
8. When I Get My Hands On You
9. Duncan and Jimmy
10. Florida Key
11. Hidee Hidee Ho #11
12. Lost On The River #12
13. Stranger
14. Card Shark
15. Quick Like A Flash
16. Hidee Hidee Ho #16
17. Diamond Ring
18. The Whistle Is Blowing
19. Six Months In Kansas City (Liberty Street)
20. Lost On The River #20

So far four of the tracks have been revealed form the album in the form of lyric videos and we thought we’d collect them here for your easy viewing pleasure. Take a listen to “Nothing To It”, “Married To My Hack”, “When I Get My Hands On You” and “Spanish Mary” below and tell us what you think:

Details of the Inside Llewyn Davis Soundtrack Revealed

Inside Llewyn Davis

Almost as exciting as the prospect of the upcoming Coen Brothers film Inside Llewyn Davis, which focuses on the 60s folk scene in New York is the prospect of its accompanying soundtrack produced by the legendary T Bone Burnett (O Brother Where Art Thou?).

As well as featuring songs from the film’s stars Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan and Justin Timberlake the soundtrack also features contributions from the likes of Marcus Mumford (Mumford and Sons), Bob Dylan and Punch Brothers.

The soundtrack is due for release on the 17th September and has an exciting mix of traditional songs, folk classics and originals – check out the track listing below:

Inside Llewyn Davis
1. “Hang Me, Oh Hang Me” (Traditional; Arranged by Oscar Isaac & T Bone Burnett) – Oscar Isaac
2. “Fare Thee Well (Dink’s Song)” (Traditional; Arranged by Marcus Mumford, Oscar Isaac and T Bone Burnett) – Marcus Mumford and Oscar Isaac
3. “The Last Thing on My Mind” (Tom Paxton) – Stark Sands with Punch Brothers
4.“Five Hundred Miles” (Hedy West) – Justin Timberlake, Carey Mulligan and Stark Sands
5.“Please Mr. Kennedy” (Ed Rush, George Cromarty, T Bone Burnett, Justin Timberlake, Joel Coen and Ethan Coen) – Oscar Isaac, Justin Timberlake and Adam Driver
6. “Green, Green Rocky Road” (Len Chandler and Robert Kaufman) – Oscar Isaac
7. “The Death of Queen Jane” (Traditional; Arranged by Oscar Isaac and T Bone Burnett) – Oscar Isaac
8. “The Roving Gambler” (Traditional) – John Cohen with The Down Hill Strugglers
9.“The Shoals of Herring” (Ewan MacColl) – Oscar Isaac with Punch Brothers
10.“The Auld Triangle” (Brendan Behan) – Chris Thile, Chris Eldridge, Marcus Mumford, Justin Timberlake and Gabe Witcher
11.“The Storms Are on the Ocean” (A.P. Carter) – Nancy Blake
12.“Fare Thee Well (Dink’s Song) (Traditional; Arranged by Oscar Isaac) – Oscar Isaac
13.”Farewell” (Bob Dylan) – Bob Dylan
14.“Green, Green Rocky Road” (Len Chandler and Robert Kaufman) – Dave Van Ronk

Live Music at The Grammys

Levon Helm Tribute

Following yesterday’s Grammy Awards and the big wins from the folk side of the fence (including Album of the Year for Mumford and Sons) we thought we’d post some of our favourite performances from the ceremony.

Because of the nature of The Grammys (in taht they want to protect when and where the broadcast takes place) these videos are not “official” and there’s a very good chance they’ll get taken down – so jump in quick if you want to see some amazing performances.

First up is The Lumineers performing their mega-hit “Ho Hey” in a way only they know how – stripped back, raw and pure.

Next is Mumford and Sons with their first 2012 single “I Will Wait”.

But the highlight for us was the tribute to the late great Levon Helm, singer and drummer for The Band. The tribute song was, naturally, “The Weight” and featured performances from Elton John, Zac Brown, T Bone Burnett, Mavis Staples, Brittany Howard (Alabama Shakes) and Mumford and Sons. Check out a rehearsal video here:

And then the final tribute performance is here:

Folk Wins Big at The Grammys

Mumford Grammys
Image Courtesy of Mumford and Sons

With the nation a-buzz about Gotye’s triple Grammy win we thought we’d steer some of that attention toward the fact that folk and acoustic music also had a massive night. The big winner of course were Mumford and Sons who managed to snatch the Album of The Year title from the likes of The Black Keys and Jack White. Mumford and Sons, along with Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros and Old Crow Medicine Show, also took out the Best Long Form Music Video for their Big Easy Express documentary.

Other Timber and Steel favourites who received a nod included Bonnie Raitt (Best Americana Album), Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer and Chris Thile’s excellent Goat Rodeo Sessions project (Best Folk Album, Best Engineered Album Non Classical) and Taylor Swift (hear us out) with The Civil Wars and T Bone Burnett (Best Song Written for Visual Media).

The full list of Grammy winners we think Timber and Steel readers will be interested in are below. All the winners can be found at the official Grammy site here.

Album of the Year
Babel – Mumford and Sons

Best Country Solo Performance
“Blown Away” – Carrie Underwood

Best Country Duo/Group Performance
“Pontoon” – Little Big Town

Best Country Song
“Blown Away” – Josh Kear & Chris Tompkins, songwriters (Carrie Underwood)

Best Country Album
Uncaged – Zac Brown Band

Best Americana Album
Slipstream – Bonnie Raitt

Best Bluegrass Album
Nobody Knows You – Steep Canyon Rangers

Best Blues Album
Locked Down – Dr. John

Best Folk Album
The Goat Rodeo Sessions – Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer & Chris Thile

Best Regional Roots Music Album
The Band Courtbouillon – Wayne Toups, Steve Riley & Wilson Savoy

Best World Music Album
The Living Room Sessions Part 1 – Ravi Shankar

Best Song Written for Visual Media
“Safe & Sound (From The Hunger Games)” – T Bone Burnett, Taylor Swift, John Paul White & Joy Williams, songwriters

Best Engineered Album, Non Classical
The Goat Rodeo Sessions – Richard King, engineer; Richard King, mastering engineer (Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer & Chris Thile)

Best Long Form Music Video
Big Easy Express – Mumford & Sons, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros & Old Crow Medicine Show

New Arcade Fire Song From The Hunger Games “Abraham’s Daughter”

Arcade Fire
Image Courtesy of Arcade Fire

Over the weekend one of the two Arcade Fire songs to appear on this year’s soundtrack to The Hunger Games big screen adaptation debuted online. The track, “Abraham’s Daughter”, is embedded here:

Speaking to Entertainment Weekly Arcade Fire frontman explained the process he went through when writing “Abraham’s Daughter” for the teen movie. “I tried to put myself in the headspace of how excited I’d be if this film was coming out when I was 15. I still remember hearing Radiohead’s “Exit Music (for a Film)” in Romeo + Juliet when I was that age,” Butler said. “Our whole approach was to get into the world and try to create something that serves the story and the film. There’s something in the story of Abraham and Isaac that I think resonates with the themes in the film, like sacrificing children. So we made a weird, alternate-universe version of that, where it’s as if Abraham had a daughter — kind of a metaphor for [Hunger Games character] Katniss.”

Arcade Fire are also contributing the orchestral “Horn of Plenty” to the T Bone Burnett produced soundtrack which is due for release on the 20th March.

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