Southern Hell



Her voice is smooth, her words are rough, her guitar carries the early sounds of her Nashville roots. Following the instinct of the southern wanderers, at 19, she journeyed to NY, and at 21 to Atlanta. In her crossing she absorbed many sounds that warmed her soul. In an NPR interview she expressed her eagerness to speak out her views of society.  “I was like, ‘I need someone to tell me who I am. I need to see what I’m going through out there.’ So I had to go back about 80 years, but I found it.” Through the blues she found some relationship of what is to be a black woman in this country. History can be a great teacher; it can help connect the dots. And the creators of the blues left gold pieces that allowed her to find her identity.

Adia Victoria is now singing the contemporary blues. Maybe without the repeated lines, or the ruggedness of the guitar, although her music declares her fears, anger, frustration and life experiences that the blues are all about.

Her debut album, Beyond the Bloodhounds, voices about her memories of the south. Not in a Taylor Swift type of way, but in her smooth and unapologetic voice: “I don’t know nothin’ about Southern belles/ But I can tell you something about Southern hell.” In her songs there is a story of a woman on the tracks, running away from some oppression. And it is by no surprise that her words relate to our hysterical times, maybe not in an activist way, but in an intimate way that allows us to relate to her passages.

And there is nothing “glittery” about her. Her art is raw, her attitude is fierce and powerful. She brings people together to celebrate the dimness of our lives.

-Christian Alfaro