Rhiannon Giddens’ second full-length album Freedom Highway is scheduled to be released on February 24 by Nonesuch Records. It was recently named Album Of The Month by the UK’s Uncut, which wrote, “Freedom Highway is full of songs like ‘At the Purchaser’s Option,’ which were written over the past few years but sound like they’ve been lurking around the American subconscious for centuries, passed along by oral tradition or via song collectors and academics until they found their way to this particular singer, to this particular album, to this particular moment in history.”
Freedom Highway includes nine original songs Giddens wrote or co-wrote while she and her band toured after Tomorrow Is My Turn’s 2015 release, along with a traditional song and two civil rights-era songs, “Birmingham Sunday” and Staple Singers’ well-known “Freedom Highway,” from which the album takes its name (track listing below). Giddens co-produced Freedom Highway with multi-instrumentalist Dirk Powell in his Breaux Bridge, Louisiana studio, with the bulk of recording done in wooden rooms built prior to the Civil War.
This is a busy time for Giddens, whose five-song Factory Girl EP will be released on CD for the first time on February 10 (it was previously available on vinyl and digitally). The EP has been nominated for two GRAMMY Awards—the title song getting a nod for Best American Roots Performance, and the EP itself garnering a nomination for Best Folk Album. The New York Times said that Factory Girl included “a clutch of tunes that work together like the cards in a winning poker hand.”
Additionally, Giddens has a recurring role in CMT’s series Nashville and her duet with country superstar Eric Church on his powerful anti-racism song “Kill A World” which is currently top 10 on country radio.