Ear Trumpet Folk Club: Rachel Baiman
Bluegrass, folk, old-time and country with bittersweet lyrics from this stunning Chicago singer-songwriter
Ear Trumpet Folk Club: Regular intimate, sit-down gigs with some of the greatest musicians from around the globe.
Raised in Chicago by a radical economist and a social worker, Rachel Baiman was surrounded by social justice issues her entire life. “If I wanted to rebel against my parents I could have become a finance banker or a corporate lawyer” she says of her childhood. While her classmates went to church or temple on Sunday mornings, Baiman attended the Ethical Humanist Society of Greater Chicago, a non-religious community formed around discussions of morality and current events. “That was always a tough one to explain at school” she says with a laugh.
As a teenager, Baiman found music to be a welcome escape from worrying about global politics. “I often found the constant discussion of seemingly unsolvable problems to be intense and overwhelming, and when I moved to Nashville to pursue music it felt like something positive, beautiful and productive that I could put into the world. Now that I’ve had some years to devote to music,”—Baiman has been recording and touring internationally for the past 4 years with 10 String Symphony, and has played fiddle for numerous other artists including Kacey Musgraves and Winnipeg folk band Oh My Darling
Baiman’s 2017 label debut Shame was featured on NPR’s “Songs We Love”, called a “Rootsy Wake-up Call” by Folk Alley, and described by Vice’s “Noisey” as “flipping off authority one song at a time.” Now Baiman has announced Thanksgiving—out November 2 on Free Dirt Records—a self-produced four-song EP, featuring her live trio and special guests including Molly Tuttle and Josh Oliver. Thanksgiving is a collection of music to inspire an introspective holiday spirit. The songs center around themes of Indigenous Rights, home and homelessness, and love in hard times. “Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays,” says Baiman. “But two years ago in November, the fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline was in full swing, and it just got me thinking about how the relationship between indigenous and white people in this country has hardly changed at all over the years. The irony of Thanksgiving being celebrated right as people were being arrested and sprayed with water guns for protecting their right to clean water really hit me”.
Baiman’s Thanksgiving is an intriguing follow up to Shame, allowing her a chance to stretch out stylistically, moving effortlessly between bluegrass, folk, old-time and country. The bittersweet lyricism she’s become known for conveys the ups and downs we often feel around the holidays, and is a reminder to raise our glass to both the joy and the hardships many experience during this season.
“A goose-bump-instigating talent that reminded me of a young Gillian Welch or Joy Williams (Civil Wars).”
Z. N. Lupetin, The Bluegrass Situation
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