An Amazing Voice
A founding member of the Grammy-winning country group, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Rhiannon Giddens continues her streak of high-quality music in her debut solo album, Tomorrow is My Turn. The album features a diverse group of tunes that have a country, blues and folk sound, lots of acoustic instruments, and Giddens’ fantastic voice.
Tomorrow is My Turn covers a lot of ground in terms of styles and emotions. This includes tunes like “Up Above My Head” and it’s driving rhythm, growling and vocal pops leading up to a fun big finish. Or “Tomorrow is My Turn”, a soulful ballad in triple meter where Giddens is accompanied by a string quartet. “Shake Sugaree” is simple, quiet, and quaint, supported by bass, guitars and a little tambourine.
From the first track, this record is full of acoustic instruments. “Last Kind Words” features upright acoustic bass and acoustic guitars. Tambourine, clapping and instrumental hits dominate the rhythm section. String instruments – viola, violin or cello – join the bass for supporting sounds on songs such as “Angel City”. Horns and other voices are added for extra body. The harmonica prominently supports “Black is the Color” and its playful lyrics, “I love my love and he loves me / And to my soul he holds the key.”
Like many classically trained musicians, Giddens’ opera training pays off for the lead singer here. Her voice is the standout feature of the album, with a rich, soulful tone and a flexible vocal range. “O Love is Teasin’” includes vocal leaps that stretch from Giddens’ alto register into her upper register in the space of a beat, large intervals she cleanly executes. Whether it’s a jazzy, full-bodied tone and clear sense of rhythm during her solo singing on “Water Boy” or growling and pops during “Up Above My Head”, Giddens is always spot on with impeccable diction.
Never straying too far from her country, blues and folk roots, Tomorrow is My Turn is a strong debut for Rhiannon Giddens’ solo career. Her standout voice, great combination of instruments and a wide variety of feel from track to track make Tomorrow is My Turn worth a listen and perhaps a coveted spot on the favorites playlist.