Rhiannon Giddens Edmonton Folk Music Festival, Edmonton AB, August 11

Rhiannon Giddens  Edmonton Folk Music Festival, Edmonton AB, August 11
Photo: Dana Zuk

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Rhiannon Giddens is perhaps best known for her involvement in Grammy-winning group Carolina Chocolate Drops, but the vocalist and string enthusiast stepped into her own spotlight yesterday evening (August 11), accompanied by her own backing band. Giddens demonstrated the vastness of her musical capabilities to festivalgoers, taking many by surprise and ending the Friday night of the Edmonton Folk Music Festival with a bang.

From deep swampy bluegrass to keyboard-heavy soul music, Giddens put her full arsenal of instrumental skills on display, whether she was playing her banjo at lightning speed or ferociously gliding across a fiddle — all the while, belting her heart out. Her eclectic vocal style is as enthralling as it is stunning, showcasing incredible control of tone and an ability to define the mood and create atmosphere on each song.

Giddens' impressively diverse abilities paired with her tremendous and explosive stage presence gave music lovers a thrilling experience that ended the night's festivities on an unmatchable high note.