American roots music singer and multi-instrumentalist Rhiannon Giddens is playing Marathon Music Works tonight with support from the husband-wife Americana duo Birds of Chicago. Giddens is best known for her work leading the string band the Carolina Chocolate Drops, and, last year, she released her first solo record, Tomorrow Is My Turn, to much acclaim. The T Bone Burnett-produced album features Giddens covering songs that were either written by or covered definitively by women in Americana she admires, including Odetta, Patsy Cline, Nina Simone, and more. Giddens is a powerful presence who oozes authenticity in her performances and has a deep knowledge of the history of American folk music, throwing everything from minstrel songs to old Gaelic tunes into her sets. Giddens’ performances feel like part hoedown, part history lesson, as she goes deep into the roots of America’s musical history. She’s earned well-deserved raves for her solo album as well as her work with the Drops both praising her live performances and the records she’s played on.
This is not a show any fan of Americana music should miss and you can grab tickets for $18-$38 here. Click through for more info on the lineup.
Rhiannon Giddens first got involved with T Bone Burnett when playing the concert Another Day, Another Time featuring music from and inspired by the Coen Brothers film Inside Llewyn Davis. She performed a jaw-dropping cover of Odetta’s “Water Boy” that brought the house down, and was cited by the New York Times as being the highlight of the evening. From that collaboration came the idea to make an album of Giddens’ favorite songs by the best female musicians and songwriters in Americana.
BIRDS OF CHICAGO
We recently caught the lovely, hopeful songs of the soul-influenced Americana duo Birds of Chicago during their AmericanaFest showcase at The High Watt. Their style is a more contemporary take on the genre than Giddens’ far-flung throwback in time, but the female lead of the husband-wife team Allison Russell is a similar multi-instrumentalist and vocal powerhouse. Their harmonies have been compared to Emmylou Harris and Gram Parsons, and their shows feature compelling storytelling with a celebratory atmosphere, a definite contrast from the dark, morose tone of many of their peers in the roots scene.
Rhiannon Giddens and Birds of Chicago will perform Wednesday, Oct. 7 at Marathon Music Works. The show is 18+, begins at 8 p.m. (doors at 7 p.m.), and tickets are available for $18-$38.