Adia Victoria’s “blues existentialism” (4/19 at MilkBoy)

In the decade that Adia Victoria has been kicking out twangy blues jams (In the MC5 sense, not the hippie or party-ready sense.), she’s managed to play all of...

In the decade that Adia Victoria has been kicking out twangy blues jams (In the MC5 sense, not the hippie or party-ready sense.), she’s managed to play all of the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection’s favorite barroom dive venues, from local metal mecca Kung Fu Necktie, to honky-tonk-turned-punk-hangout Boot & Saddle, and hipster haven Johnny Brenda’s, where she’s played numerous shows over the years.  So, it seems fitting that on her upcoming tour she’ll be making her first appearance at MilkBoy, Center City’s last remaining cramped and sweaty rock club.  The Nashville-based, South Carolina-bred singer/songwriter will be headlining the 11th-and-Chestnut venue Tuesday, April 19th, with folk singer/songwriter Lizzie No handling support duties.

Adia Victoria is currently between legs of the Ain’t Killed Me Yet Tour, whose namesake is her most recent single, “Ain’t Killed Me Yet,” which dropped earlier this week.  The song serves as a companion to Lucille Clifton’s poem “Won’t You Celebrate With Me,” and was inspired by the Spring of 2020, when Adia took a job working at an Amazon warehouse to pay the bills, while very aware of the constant threat of mortality posed by the virus currently consuming the world.  In a recent discussion of the track (included in her most recent press release), she says that her situation (and that of so many others) inspired the song’s classic blues sentimentality.

“‘Ain’t Killed Me Yet’ is the blues existentialism pared down to its bones. It is the irreverent celebration of those who meet life on their own terms. When the future is uncertain, the immediacy of the pleasures and vagrancies of the now is all that matters. I wrote ‘Ain’t Killed Me Yet’ while behind the wheel on the way to work in a warehouse where death was a real possibility. The blues anchored me in the now so that I could not only survive but I could give the finger, and blow smoke in the face of my fear and anxiety.”

“Ain’t Killed Me Yet” follows up Adia Victoria’s third full-length, A Southern Gothic, which dropped last fall to great critical acclaim.  “With a fiery brilliance, A Southern Gothic subverts the title phrase. Victoria tells about the South from the perspective of Black women in a collection of mesmerizing songs that traverse the rawness of Hill Country blues, the country soul of Memphis, the urban rap of Atlanta, the spiraling layers of folk blues, and the sultry languor of smoky jazz,” says No Depression, while The A.V. Club says, “It’s clear the musician is taking influence from the rich history of Southern Black storytelling, and using it to push her rich folk-blues fusion somewhere powerfully new and vital, yet steeped in tradition.”

This January Adia Victoria served as support for Jason Isbell (who’s featured on album track “You Was Born To Die,” alongside Kyshona Armstrong and Margo Price) before kicking off the first leg of the Ain’t Killed Me Yet Tour.  The next leg of the tour kicks off April 1st in New Orleans and, in addition to headlining dates, also includes appearances at Mission Creek Festival in Iowa City and Highwater Festival in Charleston, SC.  These dates will be followed by two weeks of dates in Europe in June, and a number of West Coast dates in July, culminating back on the East Coast, with a stop at The Newport Folk Festival on July 23rd.

*Get your tickets here.

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During the day Izzy Cihak teaches transgression, subversion, and revolution at Temple University. At night he haunts Philthy's best venues to cover worthwhile acts for Philthy Mag. Morrissey is everything to him and, in their own heads, all of his friends see themselves as Zooey Deschanel.