Singer-songwriter Amythyst Kiah turns in a riveting performance of the haunting new song “Wild Turkey” in a live video. Filmed at the Egg Center for Performing Arts in Albany, New York, the clip is part of a new monthly series called Rainey Day Recordings aimed at highlighting artists from marginalized communities.
Accompanying herself with some urgent, fingerstyle guitar work, Kiah delivers a story about numbing pain in the wake of a devastating loss. “When I was 17 I pretended not to care/Stayed numb for years to escape despair,” she laments, her voice mournful as she describes the void at the center of her life, dropping hints about the disappearance (or perhaps even death) that precipitated it. “Oh lord, will I ever feel right again?” she asks at the conclusion of each chorus.
Kiah, who most recently collaborated with Rhiannon Giddens, Leyla McCalla, and Allison Russell in the Our Native Daughters project, feels aligned with the Rainey Day Fund — named for pioneering blues hero Ma Rainey — and its mission of providing assistance to artists of color, artists with disabilities, and LGBTQ artsts through micro-grants and professional services.
“The Rainey Day Fund is a reminder of how far we have come in the recognition of marginalized people,” says Kiah. “I am honored to stand on the many shoulders of those who came before me, and so grateful that there are those who believe in giving opportunity to people who might not otherwise get it, people who have worked just as hard as their counterparts but are still overlooked.”
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“No matter who you are, seeing your image reflected on stage and in the media lets you know that you aren’t alone in this world, and we need those images to more frequently represent people of color, people with disabilities, and people within the LGBTQ community,” adds Kelly McCartney, executive director of the Rainey Day Fund.
Additional videos in the Rainey Day Recordings series will be released on a monthly basis.