4 Songs, 15 Minutes

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About Rachel Baiman

For the Nashville-based singer/songwriter Rachel Baiman, progressive folk isn't limited to musical terms. While Baiman fuses many different kinds of styles -- she's grounded in old-timey string music but is well-versed in soul, blues, pop, country, and rock -- she also takes a progressive stance in her original songwriting, as evidenced by her 2017 album Shame.

Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, Baiman's parents instilled a sense of social responsibility at an early age, taking her to meetings of the Ethical Humanist Society of Greater Chicago. As a child, she was drawn to music and picked up the fiddle, winning the Illinois State Fiddle competition when she was 17. After high school, she moved to Nashville to pursue a professional musical career.

In 2014, Baiman released the independent album Speakeasy Man, which focused on older folk tunes. Afterward, she wound up gigging regularly -- her prominent hires included a slot supporting Kacey Musgraves -- and she teamed up with fellow fiddler Christian Sedelmyer to form 10 String Symphony; they released their debut album Weight of the World in 2015. Following the 2016 presidential election, Baiman formed the national political awareness group Folk Fights Back, where musicians assembled events and concerts to protest the Trump administration.

Produced by Andrew Marlin of Mandolin Orange, Baiman's 2017 album Shame concentrated on original material exploring sexual politics and class in modern America. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Songs

Albums