Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, where Rhiannon Giddens recorded her sophomore LP Freedom Highway, is a city where the creole spirit runs deep: dubbed “the Crawfish Capital of the World,” its small confines are rich with local history that lingers in buildings dating back to the mid 1800s. So it’s no surprise that Giddens, who writes music with a deep and studied approach to its past, infused some of that swampy soul into the album, particularly on the new track “Hey Bébé.” Hear the song via the lyric video above.
Unlike her debut solo LP, Tomorrow Is My Turn, which contained only one original track, Giddens wrote most of Freedom Highway herself, including ” Hey Bébé,” which became a collaboration with the album’s co-producer Dirk Powell. Inspired in part by Creole and zydeco pioneer Armédé Ardoin, who died in 1942, it’s a jovial love song anchored by a strong bassline and rubboard, sung in near duet with the tour-de-force trumpet work of Alphonso Horne, a young jazz musician who has already preformed with Wynton Marsalis.
Freedom Highway, named after the Staple Singers’ civil rights anthem that Giddens covers on the LP, will be released on February 24th via Nonesuch Records. Giddens can also currently be found as part of the cast of CMT’s Nashville, in the role of a banjo-toting social worker.