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Rhiannon Giddens’ You’re the One is the Grammy- and MacArthur-winning singer, composer, and instrumentalist’s third solo studio album and her first of all original songs; her last solo album was 2017’s critically acclaimed Freedom Highway. This collection of 12 songs written over the course of Giddens’ career bursts with life-affirming energy, drawing from the folk music that she knows so deeply, as well as its pop descendants. The album was produced by Jack Splash (Kendrick Lamar, Solange, Alicia Keys, Valerie June, Tank and the Bangas) and recorded at Criteria Recording Studios in Miami with a band composed of Giddens’s closest musical collaborators from the past decade alongside musicians from Splash’s own Rolodex, topped off with a horn section, making an impressive ten- to twelve-person ensemble.
Giddens made You’re the One with some of her closest musical collaborators from the past decade, including her partner, Italian multi-instrumentalist Francesco Turrisi, plus multi-instrumentalist Dirk Powell, bassist Jason Sypher, and Congolese guitarist Niwel Tsumbu. The album features electric and upright bass, conga, Cajun and Piano accordions, guitars, a Western string section, and Miami horns, among other instruments, capturing the inclusive spirit that channels through all of her work.
"I hope that people just hear American music," Giddens says. "Blues, jazz, Cajun, country, gospel, and rock – it's all there. I like to be where it meets organically. They're fun songs, and I wanted them to have as much of a chance as they could to reach people who might dig them but don't know anything about what I do. If they're introduced to me through this record, they might go listen to other music I've made and make some new discoveries.”
You’re the One opens with ‘Too Little, Too Late, Too Bad’, an R&B blast (complete with background "shoops" and horns) that takes a titan for inspiration. "I listened to a bunch of Aretha Franklin, and then turned to fellow Aretha-nut Dirk Powell and said, ‘Let’s write a song she might have sung!'" Giddens recalls. Her danceable, vivacious tribute to Franklin's sound is a vocal showcase, spotlighting her soaring high notes and nearly-growling low ones. Another highlight, ‘If You Don't Know How Sweet It Is', intentionally puts an edgier spin on the sass of Dolly Parton's early work.
1. Too Little, Too Late, Too Bad
2. You’re The One
3. Yet To Be (feat. Jason Isbell)
4. Wrong Kind Of Right
5. Another Wasted Life
6. You Louisiana Man
7. If You Don’t Know How Sweet It Is
8. Hen In The Foxhouse
9. Who Are You Dreaming Of
10. You Put The Sugar In My Bowl
11. Way Over Yonder
12. Good Ol’ Cider