Song Review: Amythyst Kiah - “Wild Turkey” (Studio and Live)
Named for the booze that once filled the empty bottle found in her mother’s car after she’d committed suicide by drowning, “Wild Turkey” finds Amythyst Kiah dealing with grief through music.
Set to a spare, acoustic arrangement augmented with strings, the studio version follows Kiah’s solo rendition of Our Native Daughters’ “Black Myself” as the second single from Wary + Strange, arriving June 18. The track also is out in a live-in-studio arrangement that pales against the album version, although the electric guitar that represents the sound of gathering water is a chilling addition.
When I was 17/I pretended not to care/stayed numb for years to escape despair, Kiah sings.
“Wild Turkey” is a window into the songwriter’s soul. And while that can make for uncomfortable listening, it comforts Kiah, which should do the same for her fans.
“For a long time, I didn’t understand that when people commit suicide, it’s because they believe the world will be better off without them,” she said in a statement.
“I thought my mom did it because she didn’t really love or care about me and my dad, and I interpreted that as being abandoned. Writing this song was a way to make amends with what happened and to recognize that numbing myself wouldn’t work for me in the long run.”
Round 22 of the 64 bourbons bracket — Rare Breed 112.8 vs. Four Roses Small Batch Select
Rare Breed 112.8 wins round 22 of the 64 bourbons bracket. I have really enjoyed Four Roses Small Batch Select when enjoying it on its own. I thought it had an outside chance to win this entire 64 bourbons bracket. See, I sometimes celebrate cinnamon when drinking bourbon or rye. Now, don’t get me wrong - I find Fireball to be vomit inducing swill; but I can gravitate towards cinnamon in my highball. I was nuts about Willett 3 year and 4 year rye — until they priced me out and I realized it was a one trick pony. And I love the cinnamon in Noah’s Mill and Four Roses Small Batch Select.
But it isn’t complex. This isn’t a tournament of single skills. As I write this, the cinnamon aftertaste embraces me. I just poured a consolation pour on Four Roses Small Batch Select. As the buzz kicks in, as I crank up the volume of “Hell Patrol” (cover by Astralborne), does it have a chance at the upset.
But, no. The Rare Breed 112.8 has complexity. Even just sniffing the empty glass, there are a dozen different scents swirling around my brain. A tournament isn’t won by a specialist. A player can’t win a tournament exclusively by shooting perfect free throws or having the most ankle-breaking cross-over. There has to balance. Adaptation. Adjustment. And Rare Breed 112.8 did nothing wrong. Literally.
It is usually a sign that a bottle is about to get bounced when I am rushing the final, full Kentucky chew on a glass - while preserving the rival glass to savor. That happened here. I was rushing to the Kentucky chew because I was getting 5 kinds of cinnamon and I wanted to get on to the Rare Breed journey. And what did Rare Breed 112.8 do with its Kentucky chew? A first. It brought a fucking tear to my eye. Mr. Barrel-proof-unfiltered-uncut-but-certainly-circumcised shed an involuntary tear and had to scramble for words as to what was happening on the finish for Rare Breed 112.8. That was a dagger. No way Four Roses Small Batch Select could overcome that.
And here it is, 9 p.m. on a work and school night. Astraborne growls and pounds through an unknown Judas Priest cover as I savor a consolation pour of Small Batch Select, but keep sipping the complex empty glass of Rare Breed. Rare Breed will “brutalize you, neutralize you, gonna go for your throat as you choke, then they’ll neutralize you.” Why the fuck not? Let’s go!
Bergamot oil. Steamed corn. Fruit cake. Ethanol. Cinnamon. Smoke.
Four Roses Small Batch Select:
Lots of cinnamon. Atomic fireball (candy, not Beam swill). Rye spice. Baked cinnamon sticks. Full Kentucky chew: cinnamon. Yeast towards end.
Feel / Finish -
Rare Breed 112.8:
Thick. Medium finish. Burns gums a bit. Little Kentucky hug on first sip. Tannic. Very oak forward. Second sip has a soft, meandering Kentucky hug that doesn’t go past middle of breast bone. Hangs on gums. Some Double Mint aftertaste. Full Kentucky chew: ass kicker: hot and tannic and a four alarm fire. Brought a slight tear to my eye. Then tannins put out the fire and dried everything up.
Rare Breed 112.8:
Oak. Yeast funk. Twigs. Oak pudding. Melted caramel. Fried plantains. Full Kentucky chew: yeast, oak, tannins, fire, ethanol.
Four Roses Small Batch Select:
Thick. No Kentucky hug on first sip. Finish is chalkier than Rare Breed. Mostly cinnamon coats mouth. A touch of the bitter. Later, the aftertaste is like Red Hots. A bit of alkaline bitterness on the finish. Oily feel. Full Kentucky chew: tannic, chalky, cinnamon spice. Finally get a short Kentucky hug that dips to breast bone and slightly rebounds. Chalky.