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SouthBound: Rhiannon Giddens Digs Deep Into The South's (And The World's) Musical Roots

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Ebru Yildiz

When you listen to Rhiannon Giddens, you might hear a little bit of anything. She grew up in Greensboro, North Carolina, biracial and multicultural and absolutely omnivorous when it came to music.

She studied opera at Oberlin but set it aside to form the Carolina Chocolate Drops, which put a musical and historical spotlight on black string band music. She has released three solo albums, each one a deeper dive into music’s  common roots. She acted on the TV show “Nashville,” and she’s one of the main commentators on Ken Burns’ new documentary on country music. We spoke recently on the afternoon of her concert with collaborator Francesco Turrisi at McGlohon Theater in Charlotte.

Let's keep the conversation going. Who do you want to hear from next on the SouthBound podcast?

Submit your idea in the box below. You can also send a tweet to @tommytomlinson or @wfae, and email me at ttomlinson@wfae.org.

Show notes:

Rhiannon Giddens music in this episode:

  • "Wayfaring Stranger"
  • "Waterboy"
  • "Up Above My Head"

New episodes of SouthBound come out every other Wednesday. Subscribe:

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SouthBound is a production of WFAE. Our host is Tommy Tomlinson. Our audience engagement manager is Joni Deutsch, and our main theme comes from Josh Turner.

Tommy Tomlinson has hosted the podcast SouthBound for WFAE since 2017. He also does a commentary that airs every Monday. He's the author of "The Elephant in the Room," a memoir about life as an overweight man in a growing America. He spent 23 years as a reporter and local columnist for the Charlotte Observer, where he was a finalist for the 2005 Pulitzer Prize in commentary. He has also written for publications including Esquire, ESPN The Magazine, Sports Illustrated, and Garden & Gun. He’s a graduate of the University of Georgia and was a 2008-09 Nieman Fellow at Harvard University. Tommy and his wife, Alix Felsing, live in Charlotte.