THE ROOTS OF A NEW SOUTH
Two fresh albums make classic styles feel right at home in the 2020s
It’s no small feat to render the Mississippi hill-country blues as contemporary in 2021, but that’s exactly what Cedric Burnside does on his stunning new LP. The latest from the grandson of blues legend R.L. Burnside is a tonally and emotionally dynamic set of originals that touches on compassion, perseverance, and divine intervention, from the sparse acoustic plea of “The World Can Be So Cold” to the righteous roots-rock of “Step In.”
The blues is only one element on Amythyst
Kiah’s major-label debut. Kiah, who’s as likely to namecheck Foucault as Wild Turkey, incorporates drum programming and strings as she blends plaintive balladry (“Firewater”), neofolk (“Soapbox”), and crunchguitar rock (“Black Myself ”), creating music at once ancient and urgent.