Yola released her critically acclaimed debut album Walk Through Fire earlier this year. Produced by Dan Auerbach (of The Black Keys) is a contemporary twist on a traditional sonic tapestry of orchestral strings, fiddle, steel, and shimmering tremolo guitars. The album was written and recorded at Auerbach’s Nashville studio, Easy Eye Sound, with contributions from songwriting legends who between them have written songs for artists from Glen Campbell to Aretha Franklin. Musicians who performed on the record included bassist Dave Roe (Johnny Cash) as well as drummer Gene Chrisman and pianist Bobby Wood, who played on hits by Dusty Springfield and Elvis Presley; guest performers included country music icon Vince Gill.
Dan Auerbach said, “The moment I met Yola I was impressed. Her spirit fills the room, just like her voice...she has the ability to sing in a full roar or barely a whisper and that is a true gift. She made everyone in the studio an instant believer.”
Hailing from a small town outside Bristol in the UK, Yola grew up in poverty with an unsupportive parent who “banned” her from making music. She later experienced homelessness, living on the streets of London, and also struggled with stress-induced voice loss. Yola overcame these challenges to launch a successful career in writing and performing on pop hits and briefly joined British band Massive Attack before launching her solo career, becoming a breakout star in the USA. Since the release of her debut album, she has made her US TV debut on CBS Saturday Morning Session and shared a stage with artists including The Highwomen, Mavis Staples, and Dolly Parton at Newport Folk Festival. Yola is a guest on the new The Highwomen album, performing on the “Freedom Rider” verse on the album’s title track.
“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 blues masters, but it’s her deep-hued voice that can change on a dime from brushed steel to melted toffee that commands attention.” —The New York Times
Read The New York Times review of Amythyst’s Globalfest performance
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.
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