In recent months Rhiannon Gibbons has contributed to a range of collaborations involving some of the best and brightest on the current music scene, notably Elvis Costello, Jim James and Marcus Mumford. Whether through her contribution to the T Bone Burnett produced supergroup "The New Basement Tapes" or the show stopping performance in the concert film of "Inside Llewyn Davis", it is clear the Rhiannon Giddens oozes star quality and has one of the best female voices to grace the record business in years.
T Bone Burnett is back on producing duties on this debut solo album "Tomorrow is my turn" which is largely a covers album and builds on some of the musical preoccupations of her band the Carolina Chocolate Drops. It is a super confident record and Giddens mines that source of pure Americana with aplomb. Her version of "Waterboy" stopped the audience dead at the "Llewyn Davis" concert and her sassy powerful delivery on this album is a revelation as is the funky groove of "Black is the color". it takes a brave artist to cover a Patsy Cline classic quite as famous as "She's got you" yet she does the old Hank Cochran standard proud and makes the vocal sound as effortless as her great country precursor. Another song by a country giant, in this case Dolly Parton, is tackled on "Don't let it trouble your mind" and again not a step is out of place. Perhaps best of all is the sweet simplicity of the version of Elizabeth Cotten's "Shake Sugaree" which is a pure delight although the deep blues of the Geeshie Wiley's "Last kind words" packs spiritual real punch.
If there is is a small complaint about this album it is perhaps that a couple more originals might have also allowed the listener to pass keener judgement on Giddens songwriting skills which if they come any where near her vocals will be a force of nature. As it stands the one self penned song, namely the country swing of "Angel City", does show real potential and it bodes well for future albums. This debut shows an artists beginning to stretch out and cash in on a rare talent which will undoubtedly feature across many great albums in the future. "Tomorrow is my turn" shows that Rhiannon Giddens as a musical prospect to be devoured and followed with rapt attention.
Review by Red on Black