Freedom Highway by Rhiannon Giddens

On the cover of Freedom Highway (Nonesuch), the new album by Rhiannon Giddens, the singer stands alone in a forlorn position, barefoot on a muddy country road. The colours are as subdued as the artist who graces the cover. Frank Zappa once said that album art is often a key to the music inside, yet one would be surprised by the music on Freedom Highway, a wide-ranging sequence of original songs, closing with the Pops Staples title track. For Giddens, who prides herself as a student of African-American history, bowing one’s head in respect to past generations is the first order of the day. After that, a celebration the songs of which Freedom Highway are made. Rhiannon Giddens has come a long

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