Freedom Highway

Rhiannon Giddens - Freedom Highway
Critic Score
Based on 11 reviews
2017 Ratings: #69 / 734
User Score
Based on 55 ratings
2017 Ratings: #138
February 24, 2017 / Release Date
LP / Format
Nonesuch / Label
Folk, Americana / Genres
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CRITIC REVIEWS

100
AllMusic

Freedom Highway draws upon deep American traditions, and while its form may be a throwback, it speaks to a time when the phrase "Black Lives Matter" can be seen as controversial and, in doing so, it illustrates how these issues are deeply ingrained in American life and cannot be forgotten.

90
Exclaim!

On Freedom Highway, Giddens juxtaposes historical narratives with present-day contexts for an emotionally powerful record.

85
Paste

Always ambitious, Americana/traditional folk artist Rhiannon Giddens uses Freedom Highway, her second solo album, for a contemporary end: tracing the roots of the #BlackLivesMatter movement from plantation property to today.

80
Slant Magazine

For those who see their own stories in Freedom Highway's laments, it will seem as if Giddens is content to gloomily reflect back to us our own experiences, but for those willing to see these songs as calls to action, the album is nothing short of inspiring.

80
American Songwriter
The word “freedom” only appears in a few instances but the overall feel of the album is searching for that elusive state.
80
Mojo
Giddens plies soul, R&B and hip-hop as easily as she does old-time music, blues, gospel and jazz. The cohesion across settings and styles is a testament to both her characters’ resilience and the skills of Giddens and co-producer Dirk Powell. A vital album for an anxious era.
80
The Guardian
Rhiannon Giddens is a folk revivalist who knows that old stories can still have a powerful and painful relevance, and on her second solo album since leaving the Carolina Chocolate Drops, she sings about the history of America’s fight against racism, in order to warn of current dangers.
80
Uncut
This is no cold history lesson or dry academic exercise. Giddens inhabits these songs as though taking the stage in short plays, dramatising her characters in a way that makes their predicaments sound visceral and urgent.
76
Pitchfork
That shared sense of African-American tradition is the driving force behind Giddens' art as she lays bare the ugly symmetry of America’s history. Here is timeless, striking proof that what was once worth protesting in song 200 years ago remains every bit as vital today.
60
The Independent

On Freedom Highway, Rhiannon Giddens animates black American history – notably, the arduous journey from slavery to civil rights – in songs which pair her strong, sonorous delivery with arrangements echoing pre-blues minstrel music.

Z.Younk
76
Blows her last record out of the water. Improved the style and sound tenfold.
95
A striking, expansive view of African-American struggles, both past and present.
JacksonMartinez
95
I’m generally used to listening to male blues-folk, but Rhiannon is beyond praise, very deep and sensual, at that time it’s melodic. Bravo!
69
"Freedom Highway" reminds me of Hurray for the Riff Raff's "The Navigator" in that it's a politically relevant and bold, powerful statement that perhaps works better on paper than as a collection of songs. Rhiannon Giddens reclaims the Black roots of American folk music and uses them to channel both the struggle and empowerment of African Americans past and present. It's an important album that deserves to be heard, and Giddens deserves recognition for it. The only issue is ... read more
WildChameleon
79
+ Pretty and distinct voice
+ Above-average americana's album ...

- ... but any revolution

Very charming !
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Decade Lists

/AllMusic (2010s)

Track List

  1. At the Purchaser's Option
  2. The Angels Laid Him Away
  3. Julie
  4. Birmingham Sunday
  5. Better Get It Right the First Time
  6. We Could Fly
  7. Hey Bébé
  8. Come Love Come
  9. The Love We Almost Had
  10. Baby Boy
  11. Following the North Star
  12. Freedom Highway
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Added on: December 9, 2016