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The WDVX Blue Plate Special – 3/21 – Amythyst Kiah / Marc Anthony Thompson of Chocolate Genius, Inc

March 21 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

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Part of Big Ears Festival:

The Rounder Records debut from Amythyst Kiah, Wary + Strange marks the glorious collision of two vastly different worlds: the iconoclastic alt-rock that first sparked her musical passion, and the roots/old-time-music scene where she’s found breakout success in recent years, including recognition from Rolling Stone as “one of Americana’s great up-and-coming secrets.” Along with tapping into the vibrant musicality she honed in part through her studies in East Tennessee State University’s Bluegrass, Old Time, Country Music program, the Chattanooga-bred singer/songwriter expands on the uncompromising artistry she’s displayed as a member of Our Native Daughters—an all-women-of-color supergroup whose Kiah-penned standout “Black Myself” earned a GRAMMY nomination for Best American Roots Song and won Song of the Year at the Folk Alliance International Awards.

Produced by Tony Berg (Phoebe Bridgers, Amos Lee, Andrew Bird) and made with esteemed musicians like Blake Mills, Wary + Strange arrives as a deeply immersive body of work, endlessly redefining the limits of roots music in its inventive rhythms and textures. With an unforgettable voice that’s both unfettered and exquisitely controlled, Kiah gracefully interlaces potent vulnerability and personal revelation, ultimately offering a raw yet nuanced examination of grief, alienation, and the hard-won triumph of total self-acceptance.

Chocolate Genius the brainchild of Marc Anthony Thompson, an eclectic singer and songwriter whose work has encompassed contemporary forms of R&B, jazz, folk, and rock. Thompson was born in Panama, raised in California, and later moved to New York, where he became involved in the downtown avant-garde scene. Thompson conceived Chocolate Genius partly as a joke—the alias of a fictional, self-important recluse—but it soon turned into a full-fledged recording project. Two proper Chocolate Genius albums, Black Music and Godmusic, were released in 1998 and 2001, respectively. The loose, free-floating collective of instrumentalists who supported Thompson included Marc Ribot, Jane Scarpantoni, John Medeski, Chris Wood, Chris Whitley, and Vernon Reid, among others. Thompson and his associates then went by Chocolate Genius Inc. for Black Yankee Rock (2005), Swansongs (2010), and Truth vs. Beauty (2016), predominantly low-key and atmospheric works for smaller labels.


March 21
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
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