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Adia Victoria Lights up Americana Fest

One of the pleasures of seeking out new music is watching a young artist get better and better. And though we weren’t riding the Adia Victoria bandwagon from the very start, it feels like we may have jumped on in time to enjoy a great ride.

Victoria and her band lit up 3rd and Lindsley Saturday night, scorching through her 45-minute chunk of the 2022 Americana Music Festival and Conference. It’s the third time we’ve seen her this year, and a busy touring schedule has served her and her band well. She plays her own guitar, but also rides on the shoulders of – and occasionally launches into a musical higher place from – a tight, powerful band, lead by her "creative partner," Mason Hickman.

At a festival more commonly adorned in faded blue jeans and friendly flannel, Victoria commands the stage like a blues priestess in her long black dress and trademark red cowboy boots.

Victoria is a Blues singer with a chip on her shoulder and a message she is not afraid to make crystal clear, namely that young women of color and other outsiders have as great a claim on the blues as anyone else. She has steeped herself in the great Delta blues artists, then mixed that up into her own experience, particularly as a South Carolina girl raised in an evangelical church she eventually realized didn’t have anything to offer her. She sees the problems in her native South, and wants to fix them rather than walk away from them.

Listen to her words on her best-known song, “South Gotta Change,” which she described as an homage to the late Rep. John Lewis.

“I stood up to the mountain

Told the mountain, “Say may name”

And if you’re tired of walking

Let the children lead the way

‘Cause I love you, I won’t leave you

Won’t let you slip away

Come what may

We’re gonna find a way

The South gotta change”

Maybe the bottom line is I’ve always been a sucker for artists who leave it all on the table; who look at a show as more than a chance to stand there and play you their music, but as an obligation to make you understand why they wrote it.

Listen to her music. Go see her show.


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