DiFranco Readies One Album, Writing Another
Even though her 13th Righteous Babe studio album, "Knuckle Down," won't be out until Jan. 25, Ani DiFranco admits she has already accumulated another album's worth of material.Even though her 13th Righteous Babe studio album, "Knuckle Down," won't be out until Jan. 25, Ani DiFranco admits she has already accumulated another album's worth of material.
"I tend to follow my own pace so that it shifts from year to year but generally, it's pretty fast and furious and it's more like a sensation of running to catch-up with my muse, I guess," the artist tells Billboard.com. "I'm going to go back to my place in New Orleans and start working on new recordings over the holiday break."
"Knuckle Down" marks a departure for the fiercely independent singer/songwriter, who enlisted the services of fellow musician Joe Henry to co-produce the 12-track disc. After touring together last year, the Buffalo, N.Y., native says she felt a creative kinship with Henry.
In addition, DiFranco decided to mix things up by leaving behind her upstate New York studio to record in Los Angeles with longtime stage partner/bassist Todd Sickafoose and a host of musicians -- Julie Wolf (melodica), Tony Scherr (electric guitar), Noe Venable (voice), Andrew Bird (violin, glockenspiel, whistling), Patrick Warren (piano, samples, chamberlin), Jay Bellerose (drums and percussion) and Niki Haris (voice).
As for the even newer songs, which include "Shroud," "Hypnotize" and "A Spade, A Spade," DiFranco says they feature a definitive political slant that separates them from the more personal narrative heard on "Knuckle Down."
"A lot of what I've been struggling with in my writing lately, with these new songs, is how to give voice to very specific, direct, political ideas and still have it be poetry and music," says DiFranco. "I feel very urgently about wanting to communicate some things but it's much easier to write love songs. It's difficult to use words in songs like 'patriarchy' or 'filibuster.' It's like, how do you really make a pointed, political statement and not have people recoil either from elaborate language or just kind of trigger language that people I think are reticent to hear?"
While there's no release date on the schedule for these songs, fans can expect to hear them on a month-long tour slated to begin in early February. Joining DiFranco on the road will be Sickafoose and Bird, who will also open the show.
"It's a really gorgeous, new place for me to realize my songs in," says DiFranco. "To have all of those stringed instruments -- the guitar, the upright bass and the violin -- together, makes a whole new palette, which is really quite beautiful on stage."