Prolific indie trailblazer Ani DiFranco will release her next studio album, Evolve, on March 11th. The album will be her twelfth release in the thirteen years since she offered up her self-titled debut on her own Righteous Babe label. If that pace seems busy, it doesn't even include 1996's The Past Didn't Go Anywhere and 1998's Fellow Workers, two collaborations with legendary lefty folksinger and storyteller Utah Phillips. Nor does it count a handful of live albums, most recently So Much Shouting, So Much Laughter, a set culled from performances between 2000 and 2002 and released last September.
"By the time I was recording the last few songs on the album, I felt like I was evolving," DiFranco said of the title. "This record represents the culmination of a certain musical era, and it gives a little glimpse of what's to come."
Evolve is also DiFranco's first studio recording since 2001, when she issued a pair of albums packaged together, Revelling/Reckoning. She has again enlisted her regular band, including longtime collaborator, keyboardist/vocalist Julie Wolf, basist Jason Mercer, drummer Daren Hahn, a trio of trumpeters (Ravi Best, Shane Endsley and Todd Horton) and reedman Hans Teuber.
"We developed our own vocabulary, our own aesthetic over the years," DiFranco said. "It was an interpretive collective that involved a lot of me just listening, picking up on what they brought to the table."
For those who haven't caught DiFranco live recently, two of the album's twelve songs may still sound familiar. "In the Way" and "Slide" were both included among the footage on Render: Spending Time With Ani DiFranco, last year's DVD/VHS release.
On February 6th, DiFranco will begin an eleven-date tour of Australia and New Zealand, before returning stateside for seventeen dates. As with her 2002 fall tour, all dates will be solo.
In other DiFranco news, her poem "Self-Evident," which was originally issued on So Much Laughter, was recently included on the two-CD benefit record, Peace Not War, along with songs by Public Enemy, Billy Bragg and Massive Attack.
Track listing for Evolve:
In the Way
O My My
Here for Now
Ani DiFranco tour dates:
3/11: Johnson, VT, Dibden Center
3/13: Concord, NH, Capitol Center
3/14: Portland, ME, Merrill Auditorium
3/15: Schnectady, NY, Proctor's Theater
3/17: Hartford, CT, Bushnell Center
3/18: Harrisburg, PA, Forum Theater
3/19: Newark, NJ, New Jersey Performing Arts Center
3/21: Red Bank, NJ, Count Basie Theater
3/22: Trenton, NJ, Patriots Theater
3/28: Jacksonville, FL, Florida Theater
3/29: Hollywood, FL, Calliope Fest
3/30: Orlando, Bob Carr Performing Arts Center
4/11: Toldeo, OH, Stranahan Concert Hall
4/12: Joliet, IL, Rialto Square Theater
4/17: Lexington, KY, Singletary Center
4/18: St. Louis, The Pageant
4/27: Tucson, AZ, Grand Ballroom
C'MON C'MON THE CLUB IS OPEN