Courtesy of the artist
In "Knockin'," the eras-spanning string band Carolina Chocolate Drops teams up with the Luminescent Orchestrii for a percussive, assertive gem.
In "Knockin'," the eras-spanning string band Carolina Chocolate Drops teams up with the Luminescent Orchestrii for a percussive, assertive gem. Courtesy of the artist
Artist: Carolina Chocolate Drops and Luminescent Orchestrii
CD: Carolina Chocolate Drops and Luminescent Orchestrii
The Luminescent Orchestrii and Carolina Chocolate Drops were each performing at a folk festival in Memphis when an impromptu jam session led to a formal collaboration. Originally written and performed by the Luminescent Orchestrii, "Knockin'" is the perfect song to capture the two groups' individual and combined gifts. In this new version, beatboxer Adam Matta provides a rich backbeat to accompany Benjy Fox Rosen's upright bass. Matta is adept at vocal turntablism as well as keeping a steady rhythm, and in live performances, Rhiannon Giddens and Matta scat as Matta emulates a trumpet perfectly. CCD member Dom Flemons even rattles bones for additional percussion.
For her part, Giddens gives the song the strongest vocal presence it's had. In the original, Rima Fand and Sarah Alden traded verses and harmonized to provide extra texture; here, they provide rich backup to Giddens. Given the song's playfully assertive message — "Show me the money and the milk and honey" — "Knockin'" is an excellent companion to "Hit 'Em Up Style," a pop hit the Carolina Chocolate Drops already gave a unique facelift.
Clearly, these sounds are familiar to the Luminescent Orchestrii, whose members wrote the song, but "Knockin'" offers a new way to hear the Carolina Chocolate Drops. The group has long bridged the sounds of American roots music for modern audiences, but between "Knockin'" and "Hit 'Em Up Style," it's exciting to hear Giddens sing with so much verve and conviction.