Singer/songwriter Caroline Herring’s new album, Camilla, captured our attention here. Named Best New Artist at the Austin Music Awards in 2002, the Mississippi native has since gained a devoted following and much critical acclaim. Music journalist Silas House writes, “Herring’s specialty is studying the South and the way race still haunts its people and places but her music transcends that—the race-haunted South becomes a microcosm for the nation, and even the world entire.” Listen to a few songs while reading CDS director Tom Rankin’s thoughts on Herring’s music.
“I like to talk about the long tradition of the documentary voice being heard through songwriters and singers. As we celebrate the Centennial of Woody Guthrie we are reminded just how poignant and searing are many of his songs about America, sometimes sharp and critical and other times soothingly reverent. The timelessness of his songs is, in part, fueled by his documentary impulse. And so it is with Bill Monroe and a song like ‘Have a Feast Here Tonight,’ Charley Patton’s ‘High Water Everywhere,’ or Lucinda Williams and the first-person story in ‘Bus to Baton Rouge’ or Steve Earle’s ‘Billy Austin’ and ‘Over Yonder.’
Caroline Herring has let this grand tradition wash over and inform her for years, joining with her deep understanding of history and injustice in all its dark tangles. Merging her sense of time, temperament, and cultural memory with the powerful pitch and creative chords of imagination she has delivered to us this most literary new CD, Camilla. Telling someone about powerfully good new music is like trying to explain the feeling of love: just enter the room, breath and listen, take it all in. And then do it again. Play the songs, hear the words. Camilla will give and give again.” —Tom Rankin
Caroline Herring visited CDS in 2006, performing at a reading by Natasha Trethewey, who was recently named U.S. poet laureate. Listen to the podcast.