Over the years, Ani DiFranco has become part of a musical family tree that branches from New Orleans to New York. Over the last decade, her tracks have mature, the same way a tree grows and its roots lodge themselves deeper into the ground. While she now calls New Orleans her home, Righteous Babe Records still makes its home in Buffalo, NY. And DiFranco visits the in-between when her current tour makes a Nashville stop September 24 at Marathon Music Works.
Along with her extensive catalog, DiFranco brings tunes from her latest album, ¿Which Side Are You On?. DiFranco contemporizes the album's title track, a labor anthem written in the 1930’s and popularized by Pete Seeger in the 1960s. Other highlights include: "J", "Promiscuity" and the "dopey, love song" "Hearse."
On "J," DiFranco compares our materialistic society to a drug addiction and laments that it’s illegal to smoke marijuana but not to push the need for increased consumption upon the masses. The New Orleans metaphor that permeates the first part of the track is a strong testament to the lingering effects of Katrina. "Promiscuity" finds DiFranco eschewing the fact that promiscuity is bad when she sings “ . . . how you gonna know what you need what you like 'til you been around the block a few times on that bike.” Listening to "Hearse", one can only envision the picture of the dog at the soldier’s funeral that was plastered over the internet last year. Love can be a powerful emotion and DiFranco sums it up when she sings, “I will follow you into the next life like a dog chasing after a hearse.”
Ani’s albums can sometimes feel a bit uneven but ¿Which Side Are You On? may be her strongest album since Little Plastic Castle. I used to bank on the fact that DiFranco would release an album every 12-18 months, but maybe the 3 year lag between this and 2008’s Red Letter Year really paid off. Ani, you asked which side am I on . . . yours.
And O&AN wants to put you on Ani DiFranco's side too! Check out the video for "Hearse" and find out how you can win tickets to her show below!
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