A blend of country and blues. Amythyst Kiah is releasing her new album Wary + Strange, which is released on 18th June 2021. I received the album via a music promoter and felt that it is definitely an interesting sound worth presenting.
Amythyst Kiah – About The Artist
Amythyst Kiah is from Chattanooga, Tennessee. She first got in focus as member of the band Our Native Daughters. In this act, she is also pairing with Allison Russell, of whom I recently reviewed the album Outside Child. Amythyst is not only a vocalist, but also playing the guitar and the banjo.
Amythyst Kiah – Wary + Strange – Track by Track
The eleven track album lasts 41 minutes.
More than an intro: just Amythyst and her acoustic guitarist Tony Berg welcome you in the 1:36 minute opening track Soapbox. A very gentle way to introduce the album with a a lot of atmosphere.
2. Black Myself
After this quiet start, Black Myself is just louder and more present. Amythyst Kiah’s voices gives a nice touch of soul, the guitars are roaring with a bit of distortion. The lyrics are powerful as well – not that surprising, this second song has been one of the single releases of the album so far:
I wanna jump the fence and wash my face in the creek
But I’m black myself
I wanna sweep that gal right off her feet
But I’m black myself
I’m tired of walkin’ ’round with no shoes on
But I’m black myself
And your precious God ain’t gonna bless me
‘Cause I’m black myself
3. Wild Turkey
Even though Kiah uses quite a wide instrumentation including instruments like the mellotron and the banjo, Wild Turkey feels intimate, personale, fragile. A lovely way to concentrate on her voice. Lovely listen.
4. Hangover Blues
Two more songs, which have been single releases already. the fourth track is the Hangover Blues, which which Kiah really touches the blues genre and mixes it with her powerful, present voice full of soul. I love the way the song is producing an intense aura to the listener. Great experience
5. Fancy Drones (Fracture Me)
The fifth track stays in the blues-ish flavor, but is definitely coming with a stronger groove. The press kit states that this song has been recorded using a bass harmonica and the mellotron – the latter is adding these very catchy synth-sound bass squeezes in the background. Unique listen… In a good sense.
So can you just leave me be
Been drenched in firewater won’t save me
I’ll forsake the path of filth and fleas
Can you just leave me be
After soulful, dark vocals in previous tracks, Firewater is the absolute opposite again: the song almost feels fairy-alike and comes with a very gentle touch. Amazing how versatile the song of Amethyst Kiah in fact ist.
7. Tender Organs
From the musical and melodic view, the complex Tender Organs is likely the most interesting track of the album. It mixes soul, blues and rock elements and uses a wide range of instruments. Ten different musicians (some with multiple instruments) are named in the credit. Not done too much – the sound of the song is really a nice one.
8. Ballad Of Lost
The 5:15 minute Ballad Of Lost is not only the longest track of the album, it also features the strongest reference to country music, likely. The key reasons are the scrumming acoustic guitar sounds as well as Rich Hinman’s work in the background of the song. The pedal steel guitar sounds are just making you to feel like wearing boots and a hat.
9. Sleeping Queen
With the strong groove and rhythm, especially at the beginning of Sleeping Queen, the song feels like a soul-pop or R&B track. Unfortunately, I do not get into the song as well as I enjoyed other ones on this album.
The last full track of the album is Opaque. Again, a very different touch of a song, which has a very nice instrumentation and mood – even though the song itself does not catch me that much.
11. Soapbox Reprise
About a minute longer than the intro and with more instruments (including strings), the album closes with the Soapbox theme as well. The violin and cello sound at the end of the track farewell the listener. Feels a bit of plushy, but also posh.
Amythyst Kiah – Wary + Strange – Spotify
Here is Wary + Strange on Spotify:
Amythyst Kiah – Wary + Strange – My View
Amythyst Kiah did a really interesting album with Wary + Strange. It contains so many sounds – on the vocal as well as on the instrumental side – and touches a couple of genres. On the album, the album is not complex in a way that it becoming tiring or annoying to listen to it. Towards the end of the album, some recordings do not touch me as much as the beginning of it – but I definitely enjoyed the whole listen.
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