It’s good to know the story from the start. I checked back and my first blog about Rhiannon Giddens‘ band, Carolina Chocolate Drops came out in March 2010. They visited us then and again in 2012 and how life has changed.

The first time they dropped by Rhiannon was juggling the duties of travelling, singing and playing with looking after her baby daughter. Interviews were conducted between key feeding times and generally (I’d imagine) life on the road was a fairly tough job, all carried out on a fairly limited budget. The good news was that they were moving in the right direction. You may well have witnessed some of those early gigs – there was a great reaction when they played Celtic Connections – but you may not then have predicted where Rhiannon Giddens’ career would be in January 2016.


Although the band have continued to thrive, one particular night back in 2013 changed the trajectory of Rhiannon’s career. You can see the video for yourself where she steals the show on ‘Another Day, Another Time’ a concert to celebrate the music from the film, ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’ and receives a very well deserved standing ovation from the New York audience. But, perhaps more importantly, standing in the wings was the curator of the night, T Bone Burnett who asked if he could produce a record with her. “It was clear the first time I heard her at rehearsal that Rhiannon is next in a long line of singers that include Marian Anderson, Odetta, Mahalia Jackson, Rosetta Tharpe,” he went on. “We need that person in our culture.”

We do and we have. Hear her talk with me about that collaboration and much more from her debut album, ‘Tomorrow Is My Turn,’ on Tuesday evening.

We have an exclusive for you this week.  We’ll play the first track from a new album of duets by Kelly Jones and our old friend, Teddy Thompson. We’ll also have the first single from the new Lucinda Williams album and we’ll be reminding you that as well as Lucinda there will be some very special guests at this year’s Celtic Connections. We will be welcoming three of them to our CCA Round on the 19th January; Rickie Lee Jones, Angaleena Presley and Noah Gundersen and playing some of their current music on the show.

We’ll remind you how good Don Williams, Faith Hill and Leon McAuliffe sound and still surprise with you a new thing or two. Did I mention that fine single from the upcoming Aoife O’Donovan album? Thought not. Join me if you can from five past nine this Tuesday on BBC Radio Scotland.


Despite the fact they’ve been well warned they are having me back on the airwaves this Sunday too. I hope to be talking to Tracey Ullman and playing you more great acts visiting Celtic connections this January. It all starts at five past ten.