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.
“Amythyst Kiah is one of roots music’s most exciting emerging talents, blending a deep knowledge of old time music with sensibilities spanning classic country to contemporary R&B” Rolling Stone
“Her razor-sharp guitar picking alone guarantees her a place among masters, but it’s her deep-hued voice that can change on a dime from brushed steel to melted toffee that commands attention” NY Times
“The spirit and theme of the songwriting like that is new territory for Russell, and the same could be said for Kiah’s Southern soul-rock number “Black Myself.” Jabbing each line of the bluesy, mulish melody and supported by her bandmates’ gospel-style harmonies, she depicts the simmering defiance of self-respect in the face of racism” NPR
“Amythyst Kiah, whose rich vocals brought Odetta to mind, sang a breathtaking rendition of the civil rights anthem “Keep Your Eyes On The Prize” and, fittingly, ahead of Memorial Day, the anti-war classic “Last Night I Had The Strangest Dream” Billboard
“Amythyst Kiah is going to be famous…the best way to experience her music is in person. I don’t think it’s an understatement to say that Amythyst Kiah will remind you what it is to love live music” No Depression
“Old time music, country and blues is woven together with a jaw-dropping voice and a natural gift for storytelling…from the moment she first opens her mouth you know you’re in for a helluva ride” MusicOMH
“Amythyst has a voice that could make the most unflappable of folk bawl bowling ball tears. When paired with the natural rawness of the guitar or banjo, her voice claws at the plastic wrap to get at that nugget residing in the deepest recesses of everyone’s soul. The result feels like eating tomatoes in the garden. If this is what she can do on a record, I can’t wait to see her live” Libra Music