Rhiannon Giddens w/ Guests at the Rio Theatre, May 21st (Free Ticket Giveaway!)

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It was toward the end of the T Bone Burnett–curated September 2013 Another Day, Another Time concert at New York City’s Town Hall—a celebration of the early ’60s folk revival that had inspired the Joel and Ethan Coen film Inside Llewyn Davis—when singer Rhiannon Giddens indisputably stole the show. Performing Odetta’s “Water Boy” with, as the New York Times put it, “the fervor of a spiritual, the yips of a folk holler, and the sultry insinuation of the blues,” Giddens brought the star-studded audience to its feet. She was the talk of the lobby during intermission as those attendees unfamiliar with her Grammy Award–winning work as a member of African-American folk interpreters Carolina Chocolate Drops wondered who exactly Rhiannon Giddens was, with her elegant bearing, prodigious voice, and fierce spirit.

Backstage, Burnett already knew the answer and was immediately moved to ask if she was ready to make her own record. “It was clear the first time I heard her at rehearsal that Rhiannon is next in a long line of singers that includes Marian Anderson, Ethel Waters, Rosetta Tharp, Odetta, Mahalia Jackson, Nina Simone,” Burnett says. “We need that person in our culture. She is, in fact, that person in our culture.”

On her Nonesuch solo debut Tomorrow Is My Turn, Giddens and Burnett revisit “Water Boy,” its Odetta-arranged work-song rhythm serving as both provocation and a statement of power. Giddens delivers an equally thunderous rendition, one made all the more striking when placed between a gentle, ruminative interpretation of Dolly Parton’s “Don’t Let It Trouble Your Mind” and a version of Hank Cochran’s “She’s Got You,” popularized by Patsy Cline, that Giddens imbues with “an old-timey R&B vibe,” abetted by Carolina Chocolate Drops band-mate Hubby Jenkins. The breadth of musical vision on Tomorrow Is My Turn fulfills the promise of that brief but stunning star turn at Town Hall. The album incorporates gospel, jazz, blues, and country, plus a hint of proto-rock and roll, and Giddens displays an emotional range to match her dazzling vocal prowess throughout.

Tomorrow Is My Turn was recorded in Los Angeles and Nashville, with a multi-generational group of players whom Burnett assembled. Among them are fiddle player Gabe Witcher and double bassist Paul Kowert of label-mates Punch Brothers; percussionist Jack Ashford of Motown’s renowned Funk Brothers; inventive drummer and Burnett stalwart Jay Bellerose; veteran folk-blues guitarist Colin Linden; legendary backup singer Tata Vega; and Nashville session great, bassist Dennis Crouch. Giddens enthuses, “We had Dennis and Paul on stand-up bass at the same time on some of these tracks. They are all ‘musicians’ musicians’ and they did cool stuff they don’t always get the opportunity to play. It was a bit of a challenge for them too, all these different kinds of music; every day was something new. We’d start the day by watching the original inspiration for the song on YouTube, and then we would go cut it. They were a diverse group of people, but it felt like a real band.” Giddens’ bandmates from the Drops—multi-instrumentalist Hubby Jenkins, cellist Malcolm Parson, and multi-instrumentalist Rowan Corbett—are part of her touring band for Tomorrow Is My Turn.

Through the process of creating this album with such a disparate set of musicians and practically a century’s worth of songs, she also illustrates the democratic way American music has taken shape and evolved: “The strength of American music is in bringing all these things together—Celtic, gospel, jazz, folk—all these things that make American music great. Putting them side by side and having a production that pulls it all into a cohesive whole shows how related all these things are.”

The songs here, says Giddens, “are all facets of the human condition.” Taken together, they answer the question Twyla Tharp posed at the beginning of Giddens’ solo adventure. Tomorrow Is My Turn is a composite portrait of “Ruby,” of America, and of Giddens herself, whose turn is clearly right now.

Event Info:

  • When: Thursday, May 21st
  • Where: Rio Theatre | 1660 East Broadway Vancouver, BC
  • Time: Doors @ 7:00 p.m. | Show @ 8:00 p.m.
  • Tickets: $33.50 General Admission | All Ages |  Buy Online | Call 1-855-985-5000

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WE’RE GIVING AWAY A PAIR OF TICKETS TO SEE RHIANNON GIDDENS ON THURSDAY, MAY 21ST AT THE RIO THEATRE! SIMPLY POST A COMMENT BELOW TELLING US WHY YOU WANT TO ATTEND AND BE AUTOMATICALLY ENTERED TO WIN. WE’LL SELECT A WINNER ON THURSDAY, MAY 14TH AND NOTIFY THE WINNER BY EMAIL. GOOD LUCK!
CONGRATULATIONS SAGE! YOU ARE THE LUCKY RECIPIENT OF A PAIR OF TICKETS TO SEE RHIANNON GIDDENS ON THURSDAY, MAY 21ST AT THE RIO THEATRE. PLEASE CHECK YOUR INBOX FOR FURTHER DETAILS ON HOW TO GO ABOUT CLAIMING YOUR PRIZE. THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO POSTED A COMMENT. CONTINUE TO CHECK BACK FOR MORE GREAT STORIES AND GIVEAWAYS ON INSIDE VANCOUVER.
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