- 18 Aug 23
Sparkling solo run from Grammy-winning songstress
Rhiannon Gidden’s third solo album, her first in six years, sees the former Carolina Chocolate Drops singer and Limerick-dweller doing what she does best, mixing elements of folk, country, bluegrass, soul and gospel into an intoxicating cocktail of marvellous catchiness.
Opener ‘Too Little, Too Late, Too Bad’ is the perfect calling card, a heady brew of soul, swing and sass that recalls the golden age of Motown and Stax. The swirling bluegrass of ‘You Louisiana Man’ showcases Giddens’ deep respect for traditional music, allied to a talent for ensuring it remains a living genre.
The driving ‘Way Over Yonder’, meanwhile, has her eulogising “A little bitty joint just out of town, got the best fried chicken for miles around” – over a musical backdrop that’s equal parts gospel and Appalachian folk.
‘Who Are You Dreaming Of’ is a timeless, string-soaked ballad that could easily fit into a classic 1950s musical. ‘If You Don’t Know How Sweet It Is’ is a hilarious southern-tinged warning to a partner who doesn’t appreciate when they’ve got it good, Giddens noting: “I heard you whine the other day that dinner wasn’t good enough/ The kids were just a little too loud, the steak was just a little tough.”
The sultry ‘Hen In The Foxhouse’ sits a little uncomfortably with the other tracks, the drum fills and funky bass feeling like a separate recording session entirely, superimposed over the LP’s earthier fare. Occasionally, there may be more polish to the production than is needed, but given the quality of the musicianship, the stellar arrangements and the timeless quality of the songs, that’s a minor quibble indeed.