My arm hairs are still standing a month later, thanks to Rhiannon Giddens

I was blown away when I saw her in 2012 at my first ROMP. She has such a presence on stage that it’s impossible to focus on anything else. Every hair on your body is pretty much upright during the entire performance. Rhiannon Giddens is an incredibly talented musician who has pushed herself musically over the last few years, venturing into new collaborations and a solo act.

Rhiannon strikes me as someone who knows exactly what she wants her music to sound like, and she will go to great lengths to achieve that. I recently watched the documentary Lost Songs: The Basement Tapes Continued on Showtime – based on that viewing, my perception of her was solidified. The scene where she reworks and reworks and reworks “Lost on the River” sums up her need for perfection, and also demonstrates that she can work magic because she is so diligent, so determined to get the best possible product.

Her Mercury Ballroom show last month reinforced my appreciation for Giddens’ musical mastery. She delivered yet another incredible performance alongside a band that has joined her for her solo tour. It was the first time she’s played with a drummer (a detail that definitely sets this newer set of work apart from her previous endeavors), but longtime bandmate Hubby Jenkins still stood by her, providing a link to her older stuff, as well. Unsurprisingly, the crowd danced and sang along to pieces from every point of her career, proving that she’s got it, no matter who joins her on stage.


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