Folk Alley Sessions at 30A: Amythyst Kiah

There are hundreds and thousands of great musicians out there today, making music, giving concerts, tuning guitars and writing the lyrical poetry that becomes memorable songs. You have to wonder: how do they ever even get started with a life in music? Tennessee native Amythyst Kiah credits her parents for getting her to fall in love with music when she was just a kid. She’s got a powerhouse of a voice, guitar and banjo chops to put anyone to shame…and a unique musical worldview, informed by a love of classic rock and MTV. After getting her first instrument at 13, Kiah spent the next decade or so honing that musical worldview and coming up with a sound that defies traditional categorization – it’s bluesy, folky, country rock, and gospel soul, all mixed together.

In 2013, she was able to create her first full length studio album, Dig, and in 2018 she joined forces with Allison Russell, Rhiannon Giddens, and Leyla McCalla as part of a collaboration called Our Native Daughters. They’ve since released an album on Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, Songs of Our Native Daughters. Later in 2019, Kiah releases another new solo album, Weary and Strange, and she shared some of her extraordinary history with us at this year’s 30A Songwriters Festival in Florida.



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