On the heels of her highly acclaimed solo debut Tomorrow Is My Turn, Rhiannon Giddens's five-song EP Factory Girl was first released on Nonesuch Records on November 27, 2015, to coincide with the Black Friday Record Store Day event, and became widely available, including digitally, December 11, 2015. The EP is culled from the same T Bone Burnett–produced sessions that yielded Tomorrow Is My Turn, which the Wall Street Journal said "confirms the arrival of a significant talent whose voice and distinctive approach communicate the simmering emotion at the core of the songs." Additionally, theLos Angeles Timescalled the album "a collection that should solidify her status as one of the bright new lights in pop music."
As with Tomorrow Is My Turn, Giddens again records traditional songs music and rethinking ones written or made famous by her musical heroes Ethel Waters and Sister Rosetta Tharp. Giddens co-wrote, with her sister Lalenja Harrington and Burnett, "Moonshiner's Daughter," which draws inspiration from family lore about her great-grandfather, a notorious rum-runner. A traditional Gaelic mouth music tune also is featured, along with the title track, a traditional Irish song for which Giddens, deeply troubled by the 2013 factory collapse in Bangladesh that killed 1,100 workers, wrote additional lyrics.
The sessions for the album and EP took place in Los Angeles and Nashville, with a multi-generational group of players assembled by Burnett. Musicians on Factory Girl include Burnett; fiddle player Gabe Witcher and double bassist Paul Kowert of label-mates Punch Brothers; percussionist Jack Ashford of Motown's renowned Funk Brothers; drummer Jay Bellerose; guitarist Colin Linden; veteran Nashville session bassist Dennis Crouch; and Giddens' Carolina Chocolate Drops touring band-mates, multi-instrumentalist Hubby Jenkins and beat-boxer Adam Matta.