It’s become commonplace, during the last miserable year, to embrace silver linings of any sort—needlepoint, baking, credibly bailing on social obligations. To these pleasures we can now add another: Rhiannon Giddens’s They’re Calling Me Home, one of the most quietly beautiful and evocative records you’re likely to hear this year—and one that “a hundred percent wouldn’t exist without the lockdown,” according to its creator.
It’s not a party record. “This is definitely a March/April album, it’s not June/July/August,” Giddens said of the spare, traditional music drawn from Irish, American, and Italian cultures. “I just felt like it was of the time, and it was important to get it out.”