Feb 12, 2024 - News

North Carolina native Rhiannon Giddens plays on new Beyoncé track

Rhiannon Giddens plays a banjo on a stage

Rhiannon Giddens performs during the FreshGrass Music Festiva in 2023 in the Berkshire mountains of Massachusetts. Photo: Douglas Mason/Getty Images

North Carolina native Rhiannon Giddens, a prolific folk musician and artist, is helping Beyoncé go country on the new song "TEXAS HOLD 'EM."

Why it matters: Giddens is one of North Carolina's most influential artists over the past decade, helping spread the African origins of the banjo and African American influences on folk music into the popular imagination.

  • The Beyoncé collaboration will likely expand her influence even more.

Background: Giddens was born in Greensboro and raised partially in the rural Piedmont.

Driving the news: Giddens plays the banjo and viola on the new Beyoncé track, Variety reports.

  • Beyoncé's next album "Act II" is set to arrive March 29 and reportedly will have more country music influences.

What she's saying: In a Facebook post, Giddens said the timing of the Sunday release took her by surprise — she secretly worked with Beyoncé on the song two years ago.

  • "My only hope is that it might lead a few more intrepid folks into the exciting history of the banjo," Giddens wrote.

Zoom out: Mainstream pop stars have been diving headfirst into the country genre recently, Axios Nashville's Adam Tamburin writes.

  • Lana Del Rey and Post Malone previously announced their next musical projects will come with a country angle.

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