The current musical love of my life is Amythyst Kiah, whose recent Wary + Strange has not left my console record player since the day I acquired it. She’s been around for a bit and I’ve been peripherally aware of her for a while—both as a solo act and as part of the Our Native Daughters supergroup (along with Rhiannon Giddens, Leyla McCalla, and Allison Russell)—but this new record showed up in June and it was like some all-new but much-needed thing had arrived to help shake off the past year and a half; one spin on the hi-fi and suddenly everything seemed fresh and new and washed clean, like the way a summer storm knocks the dust off the leaves and leaves behind the fresh scent of petrichor.
That’s some super fancy talk! Anyway. One of my least favorite games is trying to compare one artist to another, but if you’re wondering about the general wheelhouse, it ranges from Armatrading to Etheridge, with a quick visit to Chapman. But Kiah is really her own thing; she’s none of those people more than she is them, so don’t take those comparisons too much to heart.
Wary + Strange is a little bit folk, a lot of roots, and a tiny bit country … and those genres are all mixed up together in an irresistible stew of political and personal songs; I’m hesitant to get too specific about that mix, because she has Things to Tell You and she does it so beautifully that I want you to have the experience of it the same way I did—straight from Amythyst Kiah.