AMYTHYST KIAH – ” Wary + Strange “

Posted: January 1, 2022 in MUSIC

“Wary + Strange”, the breakout album from Tennessee artist Amythyst Kiah, isn’t just a great country album: it’s a great album in all aspects, that’s not afraid to speak truth to power. If the arrangements are a faithful rendering of American roots tradition—Appalachian instruments, cyclical construction, warm vocals with a touch of timbre—her lyrics function in the exact opposite, deconstructing country tropes to expose deep-seated biases and uncomfortable truths. The Grammy-nominated “Black Myself” exhumes the racist skeletons in country music’s closet, “Wild Turkey” develops country’s thematic obsession with booze into a devastating reflection on suicide, and “Fancy Drones” decries the dehumanization of modern technology.

By “Soapbox (Reprise),” she’s tamed her demons, bared her soul, and shattered our preconceptions of roots music—not as a means of entertainment, but rather a defiant act of self-preservation. “You can keep your sophistry/ Save my brain from atrophy,” Kiah sings, “I have my own hand that feeds/ I don’t need what you think.” As listeners, we’re just lucky to bear witness.

Released June 18th, 2021

2021, © 2021 Rounder Records.

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