Leaving Eden by Nonesuch

Leaving Eden by Nonesuch
Leaving Eden by Nonesuch Leaving Eden by Nonesuch Leaving Eden by Nonesuch Leaving Eden by Nonesuch (click images to enlarge)

Leaving Eden by Nonesuch

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Description of Leaving Eden from Nonesuch

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Manufacturer Description

With their Nonesuch debut, Genuine Negro Jig, which garnered a Best Traditional Folk Album Grammy last year, the Carolina Chocolate Drops proved that the old-time fiddle and banjo-based music they'd so scrupulously researched and passionately performed could be a living, breathing, contemporary sound. They didn't seek to merely revive songs from the past as much as freshly interpret them, highlighting the central role African-Americans played in shaping our nation's popular music from its beginnings more than a century ago. A Carolina Chocolate Drops (CCD) concert, the New York Times has declared, is "an end-to-end display of excellence... They dip into styles of Southern black music from the 1920s and '30s—string-band music, jug-band music, fife and drum, early jazz—and beam their curiosity outward. They make short work of their instructive mission and spend their energy on things that require it: flatfoot dancing, jug playing, shouting."

Leaving Eden, CCD's second full-length Nonesuch disc, was produced by Nashville stalwart Buddy Miller, the go-to guy for artists ranging from Solomon Burke to Robert Plant to Emmylou Harris. On this 15-song collection, recorded live in the studio with all the players in a single room, the Carolina Chocolate Drops illustrate their own adaptability to grow and change. Following the amicable departure of founding member Justin Robinson, band mates Rhiannon Giddens and Dom Flemons recruited three exceptional new players for the recording and expanded their repertoire to incorporate more overt blues and jazz elements and straight-up folk balladry alongside brilliantly rendered string-band tunes. Robinson's replacement is Hubby Jenkins, a Brooklyn-bred guitarist, banjo player, and singer who had previously busked his way around the country. Joining the revamped trio in Miller's studio were beat-boxer Adam Matta, introduced to them by the NYC gypsy punk band Luminescent Orchestrii, with whom CCD released a live EP on Nonesuch last year, and New Orleans-based cellist Leyla McCalla, who will accompany CCD on their 2012 live dates.

Title track "Leaving Eden," an elegiac piece recounting the falling fortunes of a North Carolina mill town, is sung with plainspoken eloquence by Giddens and underscored by McCalla's mournful cello. Giddens takes an overtly bluesy turn on Ethel Waters' 1920's-era wry confession, "No Man's Mama," and she brings a hip hop-style, declamatory flair to her self-penned "Country Girl," egged on by Matta's beat-boxing. Though often striking out in new directions, CCD returns to familiar turf with tracks like "Riro's House," a traditional banjo and fiddle piece learned from their mentor, North Carolinian fiddle player Joe Thompson, and bolstered by a rousing fife-and-drum groove. They pay tribute to the venerable Piedmont guitarist and banjo player, Etta Baker, adapting words to one of Baker's vintage melodies on "West End Blues." And Flemons creates a lively new arrangement of "Mahalla," a joyfully melodic piece by spoon-wielding South African slide guitarist, and YouTube phenomenon, Hannes Coetzee.

Carolina Chocolate Drops have played to a remarkably wide range of concert-goers in the last year, with appearances at the Newport Folk Festival, the Grand Ole Opry, the Cambridge Folk Festival in London, and as part of the Dave Matthews Band Caravan, among many other events. Having just completed U.K. dates, Carolina Chocolate Drops embark on a rigorous schedule for 2012, starting with an East Coast tour of concert halls and colleges, to be followed by a slot this spring at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.

Key Product Details

  • Artist: Carolina Chocolate Drops
  • Genre: Folk

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