Rhiannon Giddens has released a new solo recording, the snarling blues number “Don’t Call Me Names.”
Over hypnotic, murky bass, Dobro, and violin tones, Giddens stands her ground against a cruel lover. “You wouldn’t treat a dog that way, don’t call me names,” she sings. Mid-song, it reaches a feverish mix of pounding drums and slashing electric guitar to match Giddens’ intense wails. Giddens, who has often penned narratives other than her own for her songs, takes a look inward for “Don’t Call Me Names.”
“The real story of this song is accepting my inner strength & refusing to continue being gaslit, held back, or to sacrifice mental health. I don’t often write personal songs but this one has stayed with me,” Giddens tweeted Sunday night.
“Don’t Call Me Names” follows a pair of Giddens-related full-length projects to come out in 2019. The all-star quartet Our Native Daughters put her together with Amythyst Kiah, Leyla McCalla, and Allison Russell and addressed slavery, misogyny, and racism on their album. Giddens also released There Is No Other with collaborator Francesco Turrisi.
In July, Giddens was named the Artistic Director of Silkroad Ensemble. Giddens, a MacArthur Genius winner, also teamed up with Ben Harper to record a cover of Nick Drake’s “Black Eyed Dog.”