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Abingdon Sessions at Barter Theatre: Amythyst Kiah
February 29, 2020 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Saturday, February 29th
**2020 Grammy Nominee**
Born in Chattanooga and now based in Johnson City, Amythyst Kiah’s commanding stage presence is matched by her raw and powerful vocals—a deeply moving, hypnotic sound that stirs echoes of a distant and restless past.
Accompanied interchangeably with banjo, acoustic guitar, or a full band, her eclectic influences span decades, finding inspiration in old time music, alternative rock, folk, country, and blues.
Our Native Daughters, her recent collaboration with Rhiannon Giddens, Leyla McCalla, and Allison Russell (Birds of Chicago), has delivered a full-length album produced by Rhiannon Giddens and Dirk Powell, Songs of Our Native Daughters (out now on Smithsonian Folkways). NPR described the opening track, Black Myself, written by Amythyst, as “the simmering defiance of self-respect in the face of racism.” The supergroup will hit the road in July with a series of special dates that include performances at Washington D.C.’s Smithsonian Museum of African American History & Culture as well as Newport Folk Festival. Most recently, the group has been nominated for Duo/Group of the Year at the 2019 Americana Honors & Awards.
Amythyst regularly tours the United Kingdom and has performed at Celtic Connections, Southern Fried Festival, Cambridge Folk Festival, the Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival, and SummerTyne Americana Festival. She is a crowd favorite at Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion in the U.S. and has shined at the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, Smithsonian Folk Life Festival, Winnipeg Folk Festival, and opening for artists such as the Indigo Girls, Rhiannon Giddens, Dom Flemons, Old Crow Medicine Show, First Aid Kit, Darrell Scott, and Tim O’Brien.
Provocative and fierce, Amythyst’s ability to cross boundaries is groundbreaking and simply unforgettable.
In today’s crowded musical landscape, it’s hard enough to develop a unique and recognizable sound that can set you apart. That done, you face an even greater challenge: What IS this music? Although Front Country has a foundation in traditional music, they are creating their own path and sound with grace, poise, confidence and extreme skill. They call it “roots pop” and its easy to agree with them. In fact you can’t deny the infusion of these two sounds.
As you dig in, you might also hear moments that feel like the classic rock of Fleetwood Mac or the Police, as well as the modern country sounds of the Dixie Chicks or Chris Stapleton. This new record features skills – both vocally and instrumentally – of a band seasoned well beyond their years. Front Country is anchored by the pure power and touch of Melody Walker’s lead vocal. She brings an attack that has a hint of effortless irreverence while revealing brutal honesty and vulnerability in both singing and songwriting. As exciting a band on stage as they are in the studio, Front Country stands strong and tall in today’s American roots music scene.