Written By: Fletcher Bonin
Amythyst Kiah, the Southern Gothic, alt-country blues singer and songwriter based out of Tennessee has recently released five new tracks for those who enjoy music that defies categorization. These five tracks come to us via her digital album Amythyst Kiah and Her Chest of Glass and is available on her bandcamp page. Her music sounds like it could be the musical score to any number of westerns, and yet this oversimplifies Kiah’s talent. Her voice carries the weight of the performance, sultry and soaring, controlled and defiant. Her darkly, beautifully lyrics are enhanced further by the steady folk beats strummed, plucked and drummed behind her by her supporting instrumentals. Kiah’s voice is reminiscent of Johnny Cash, but with the energy of the Black Keys. She sings of the expected themes of the old south but with a modern twist given the screaming electric guitar solos and something intangibly modern about her voice. A perfect example of this strangely appealing dichotomy is the digital album’s first track, in which the steadily plucked guitar begins slowly before Kiah’s voice comes in with the powerful “Don’t nobody know my troubles but God” refrain. Her song, complemented by an expertly timed electric guitar riff, is echoes of Jimi Hendrix and Bob Dylan all at once.
The next track of the five song release “Hangover Blues” is an experience most of us can relate to, and yet after listening to this song, it seems as though only Amythyst Kiah has ever and will ever understand and communicate these emotions and feelings and regrets so perfectly. This, my favorite track off the digital release, rings with lyrics of truth and experience. Kiah sings, “I had the worst hangover that I ever had, I know that my baby had it going on, and if I did it all over again, I’d do the same damn thing.” This, of course, is a sentiment most of us can relate too, and yet even with lyrics that don’t over-complicate or over-tell, it is Kiah’s voice again that brings the words to life.
On “Another Man Done Gone” Kiah invites a little more soul into her performance, letting her vocals wail and gnash at the air, lashing out at a mysterious man of romantic interest who has “killed another man, he had the long jeans on.” Amythyst Kiah and Her Chest of Glass is peak blues-rock. It is gritty, haunting, dark and wonderful.
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