Red Light Management


March 3, 2021


Rhiannon Giddens has shared a second preview of her forthcoming album They’re Calling Me Home, recorded with Italian multi-instrumentalist Francesco Turrisi (April 9/Nonesuch Records).  The piece finds Giddens and Turrisi revisiting “Waterbound,” a traditional fiddle tune first recorded in the 1920s that includes the refrain: “Waterbound, and I can’t get home, down to North Carolina.”  The song captures a central theme of the new album: longing for the comfort of home and family in this time of prolonged isolation.

Watch the video for “Waterbound” here:  It was filmed recently in Ireland and includes footage from the recording session that took place in a small studio on a working farm outside Dublin.  The song and video also feature Congolese guitarist Niwel Tsumbu.

Rhiannon says, “‘Waterbound’ is a song I learned a long time ago and it brings me forcefully home to North Carolina when I sing it, and considering that I am, indeed Waterbound, and have been for a long time, it’s a rare moment when a folk song represents exactly my situation in time.”

Giddens and Turrisi, who both live in Ireland when they aren’t on tour, have been there since March 2020 due to the pandemic. The two expats found themselves drawn to the music of their native and adoptive countries of America, Italy, and Ireland during lockdown.  Moved by the moment, they recorded the album in just six days.

In February Giddens announced the new project and unveiled “Calling Me Home,” written by folk music pioneer Alice Gerrard.  In an interview with Rolling Stone, Giddens said: “You know how singing sad songs makes you feel better in this weird way? Themes of death and homesickness and leaving and loss in all these old traditional songs, they express things so well and so simply. Generations of people have gone through things as bad or worse for many, many, many years, and these songs connect us to those generations.”

Giddens will also host a third season of Aria Code – the critically-acclaimed opera podcast from The Metropolitan Opera and WQXR – beginning March 10.  Aria Code pulls back the curtain on some of the most famous arias in opera history, with insight from the biggest voices of our time and performances from the Met’s treasured archived.  The podcast has earned praise from The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Washington Post, Stereogum and beyond.

They’re Calling Me Home is the follow-up to Giddens’ 2019 album with Turrisi, there is no Other (Nonesuch), of which Pitchfork said, “There are few artists so fearless and so ravenous in their exploration.” Giddens earned a GRAMMY nomination (her sixth) for the album, which is at once a condemnation of “othering” and a celebration of the spread of ideas, connectivity, and shared experience.

In the past two years alone Rhiannon Giddens has been profiled in the New Yorker, featured on multiple magazine covers, and appeared in Ken Burns’ Country Music on PBS and Samuel L. Jackson’s Epix series Enslaved, among other appearances. She received the inaugural Legacy of Americana Award at the Americana Awards & Honors, composed her first opera (with a forthcoming debut at Spoleto Festival USA), shared remote performances for the Late Show with Stephen Colbert and NPR’s Tiny Desk (Home) Concert, and was named Artistic Director of the Silk Road Ensemble.

They’re Calling Me Home Track List:

  1. Calling Me Home
  2. Avalon
  3. Si Dolce È’l Tormento
  4. I Shall Not Be Moved
  5. Black as Crow
  6. O Death
  7. Niwel Goes to Town
  8. When I Was In My Prime
  9. Waterbound
  10. Bully For You
  11. Nenna Nenna
  12. Amazing Grace

Pre-order They’re Calling Me Home: