Country Queer

Lifting up LGBTQ+ voices in country and Americana.

Amythyst Kiah Delivers a Knockout

By Adeem Bingham, Staff Writer

Photo by Sandlin Gaither

I remember the first time I heard Amythyst Kiah. It was probably 6 years ago and I was immediately chilled by the warm timbre of her voice and the frailty of the recording. Simply her and a banjo crafting worlds, stitch by stitch, in the imagination with what felt sonically like a record of history.

This folk-centered sound guided the release of “Black Myself” with Our Native Daughters – which won Song Of The Year by FAI in 2020. It is a striking performance with a simple and raw production; prominent banjo, subdued percussion, and an incredible vocal arrangement.

On the new release of this instant classic, however, there is no sign of frailty. In a tight, punchy production, she belts the lyrics with her signature warmth and clarity, kicking her way through the mix. If you haven’t heard the song, it is dripping with poise and strength. Taking aim at Christianity’s history of racism and oppression and staring boldly into the face of White Supremacy.

“Black Myself” collects these portraits of casual racism and the extensive history of the systems that give it weight and then converts it into unfettered confidence. There is no quiver in Amythyst’s voice when she laments white people locking their doors as she passes. She adopts no shame from the institutions that would throttle her success.

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She has “washed away (her) blood and tears (and) been born brand new,” poised to deliver a gut punch of an album that can’t come soon enough.