Abigail Washburn is a blonde, blue-eyed banjo player from the Midwest who is obsessed with China, speaks Mandarin and sings in Chinese when she feels like it. That is, when she’s not performing her very contemporary versions of traditional Appalachian-style folk songs, threatening in one to use her shotgun on a lover who has betrayed her. (She ends that song with a wicked smile.)
In this edition of “Quick Hits,” SOUND TRACKS reporter Arun Rath talks with Washburn about how she fell in love with China and how listening to Doc Watson made her fall for bluegrass music. And she performs three songs exclusively for “Quick Hits,” including “City of Refuge,” the title track from her new album.
Don't miss other Quick Hits starring Seun Kuti, Dengue Fever, Charles Bradley & Sharon Jones, Helene Grimaud, Jovanotti, KT Tunstall, Meklit Hadero, Ozomatli, and Seu Jorge. For more info visit Sound Tracks's site.
With Abby, what would never work on paper has a way of coming out natural and swinging, this song being a perfect example. There’s simply no one else on the planet who could pull this off. Piao means “floating,” and Abby sings in Mandarin, “This morning I woke up to no big plans, no great ambitions, just floating, floating, floating…” It’s hard to explain the mix of influences in this song—just watch and enjoy.