A collaboration between two artists who really do require no introduction – but when has that ever stopped us ? Ben Harper of rootsy blues fame, and also noted for work with legends such as Mavis Staples and Charlie Musselwhite. And Rhiannon Giddens who broke into worldwide recognition with the Carolina Chocolate Drops, and has since released a clutch of solo albums and is Jason Isbell’s closest rival in the winning awards for pure excellence in Americana stakes.
This new version of Nick Drake’s ‘Black Eyed Dog’ has Harper on lap steel and Giddens on banjo, and also represents the first time these musicians have worked together. As they both explain, first Ben “Rhiannon and I are both black purveyors of American roots music, and while this is not an anomaly, it is an exception within a subculture. We have unquestionably tapped into the same creative well of influence, carrying on the tradition through our own individual instincts and perspectives.” Rhiannon Giddens adds “I’ve been hearing and hearing about Ben Harper for a long time, but had never gotten to meet him until recently at an event in LA and I was immediately struck by a kindred spirit. Didn’t have as much to do with the kind of music we play, although we share many, many commonalities as black folk playing roots music, but more to do with the spirit that we access when we play it. I felt that spirit in him right off and knew if we ever got the chance, we could make something beautiful together.”
‘Black Eyed Dog‘ is the proof that Rhiannon Giddens got that one right – surely an album must follow?