Amythyst Kiah’s new song “Wild Turkey” is one of 11 from her forthcoming new album, Wary + Strange. The devastating track finds the singer-songwriter recalling her mother’s death and the fallout from the tragedy.
Throughout “Wild Turkey,” Kiah shares details of her mom’s suicide: “Body in water for days and days / Hopes for a safe return were hopes in vain / ‘Cause she’s never comin’ back / No, she’s never comin’ back,” she sings in the first verse. She adds in the second, “Wild turkey in the car seat / The bottle’s empty, I hope it gave her some relief.”
“When I was 17, I pretended not to care / Stayed number for years to escape despair,” Kiah sings in each chorus, over a mournful melody. “When your soul dies, you just can’t hide it / Everyone can tell / Oh, Lord, will I ever feel right again?”
“Wild Turkey” is the third of 11 songs all written or co-written by Kiah, on Wary + Strange, her debut album for Rounder Records. Kiah recorded the project, produced by Tony Berg, at Sound City Studios with Blake Mills, Wendy Melvoin, Gabe Noel and Rich Hinman, among others.
Per a press release, Wary + Strange covers not only her mother’s death, but also Kiah’s own struggles with alcohol and what it’s like to be a Black, queer woman in the Bible Belt, in “raw, yet nuanced” ways. It’s “a deeply immersive body of work and the culmination of years of tireless effort and exploration,” the release adds, calling its sound “a collision of styles that is fearless, iconoclastic and exhilarating.”
In addition to “Wild Turkey,” fans have also been able to hear Kiah’s solo version of “Black Myself,” another of Wary + Strange‘s songs. Kiah earned a 2020 Grammy Awards Best American Roots Song nomination for the song, originally recorded by Our Native Daughters, a quartet also featuring Rhiannon Giddens, Leyla McCalla and Allison Russell.
Wary + Strange is due out on June 18 and available to pre-order and pre-save now. Full album details are below.
Amythyst Kiah, Wary + Strange Tracklist:
2. “Black Myself”
3. “Wild Turkey”
4. “Hangover Blues”
5. “Fancy Drones (Fracture Me)”
7. “Tender Organs”
8. “Ballad of Lost”
9. “Sleeping Queen”
11. “Soapbox Reprise”
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