by Chelo Grubb
"This was an album that came into being as we were doing it. You can't think too hard about it." Giddens would much rather do the prep work, build the team, and then watch what happens. "I can't work any other way. I really believe in holistic, organic music making. You craft these relationships and collaborations, and then you let it happen."Interested in attending? Enter here and we'll pick a winner on Friday, April 28:
So far, the response has been enthusiastically positive, even on the other side of the world. The new album's debt to U.S. history wasn't a barrier to audiences on Giddens' recent Australian tour. "If people from outside of the States are into this music, then they have an understanding and an interest in the history," she observes. "I always find that very interesting. People are willing to dig into the slavery and civil rights aspects in a way that not everybody at home is."
Not that Giddens is only interested in preaching to the choir. Her natural instinct for collaboration has led to her working with everyone from cellist Yo-Yo Ma to Iron & Wine and New Orleans icon Allen Toussaint. Last year, she wound up on mainstream country radio, when an edited version of Eric Church's "Kill A Word" with Giddens' featured vocals became a Top Ten single.
"I don't ask 'what am I getting paid?' I'm always like, 'does that sound like a cool thing to do?' I don't worry about anything else, and that's served me well," she says apropos of the pairing. But what about performing on The Tonight Show and at the CMA Awards? "I take it all with a grain of salt. If doing something like ["Kill A Word"] will help more people learn about what I do, that's great, but I really don't care about the glitz and the glamour."