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SouthBound Replay: Rhiannon Giddens Connects The Musical Dots In The South, And All Over The World

Ebru Yildiz

Today we’re bringing you a replay of a conversation we had with musician Rhiannon Giddens back in October of 2019, on the morning of a concert she’d perform that night here in Charlotte. Remember live music? That was fun.

Giddens’ musical life has covered an extraordinary range, from string-band music with the Carolina Chocolate Drops, to operas she has performed and written, to the global roots music she’s exploring with her partner Francesco Turrisi. Their new album, titled “They’re Calling Me Home,” comes out next month.

She’s also a member of the group Our Native Daughters, with three other Black female banjo players. She acted in the TV series “Nashville,” and was a featured commentator in Ken Burns’ series on country music.

In this episode, we explore how Giddens’ background in a multiracial, multicultural family laid the groundwork for her lifelong search of the musical roots that connect us all.

But we start out talking about something else that connects many Southerners: our food. In particular, for Giddens, the K&W Cafeteria in her hometown of Greensboro, North Carolina.

Show notes:

Music in this episode:

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.