It was toward the end of the T Bone Burnett–curated September 2013 Another Day, Another Time concert at New York City’s Town Hall —- a celebration of the early ’60s folk revival that had inspired the Joel and Ethan Coen film Inside Llewyn Davis —- when singer Rhiannon Giddens indisputably stole the show. Performing Odetta’s “Water Boy” with, as the New York Times put it, “the fervor of a spiritual, the yips of a folk holler, and the sultry insinuation of the blues,” Giddens brought the star-studded audience to its feet. She was the talk of the lobby during intermission as those attendees unfamiliar with her Grammy Award–winning work as a member of African-American folk interpreters Carolina Chocolate Drops wondered who exactly Rhiannon Giddens was, with her elegant bearing, prodigious voice, and fierce spirit.
Well, now you can find out what all the fuss is about. Just sit back and listen.