Amythyst Kiah’s 2013 album, with its combination of original songs and her take on classic American roots songs “Grinnin’ in Your Face” “Jolene” and “Dark Holler” exemplified her skills for melding a deep knowledge of old time music with sensibilities spanning classic country to contemporary R&B, early blues and alternative rock. It earned her accolades as one of roots music’s most exciting emerging talents, gifted with razor-sharp guitar picking, a commanding stage presence, authoritative lyricism, husky, sonorous vocals and a deeply moving, hypnotic sound stirring echoes of a distant and restless past. Accompanied interchangeably with banjo, acoustic guitar, or a full band, her music has grit, intensity and steely resolve.
Rhiannon Giddens took notice, asking her to join the supergroup Our Native Daughters along with her, Leyla McCalla, and Allison Russell, unleashing one of America’s great up-and-coming secrets onto the world stage. Kiah penned the Dirk Powell and Giddens-produced album’s opening track “Black Myself,” a resilient statement of struggle and triumph. She’s no longer simply a provocative and fierce artist to watch, but one who’s arrived and whose upcoming solo album will move the masses.
Biography by Kerry Clarke