Rolling Stone Says

Rolling Stone named Adia Victoria's "blistering blues testimony" as one of the best performances at this year's Newport Folk Festival:

Her hour-long show was both a thrilling victory lap and an always-needed reminder for any folk or roots festival: “What we’re doing today, what we’re experiencing,” as Victoria put it herself, “comes from Black people.”


The blues sits alongside spirituals as a foundational core of African American music. Its roots in Black folk traditions such as work songs, field hollers, chants, street cries, and borrowed folk songs melded in the late 19th century to become a primary voice of Black expressive culture after Emancipation. By the Roaring ‘20s, blues artists took the stories and songs of working-class Black life to mainstream and global audiences, upsetting the puritanical sensibilities of the day and inspiring jazz musicians like Duke Ellington and literary figures like Langston Hughes.

Today the influence of the blues is evident across many genres of American music like soul, rock ‘n’ roll, and hip-hop, but the blues as a genre unto itself never stopped evolving. Artists like Adia Victoria represent the many routes the blues has taken over the past century. In one breath, her music represents a contemporary Southern gothic landscape; in the next breath she’s mining classic feminist texts to weave a song that reverberates with the resistance themes of early blues mothers such Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, and Ida Cox. A native of Spartanburg, Victoria has traveled the world to find her home in the blues and its poetic ethos to be music for the people by the people. Her music takes audiences through a journey of self-discovery just as seamlessly as she takes on issues of oppression, mental health, and finding one’s voice in today’s world. Her performance for More Than Rhythm pulls together soulfully haunting vocals, acoustic guitar, and the original poetry that has grounded her as a blues artist and truth teller.

Presented by the Baker & Baker Foundation. This program has been made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Democracy demands wisdom. This program is supported by  a Connected Communities grant from Central Carolina Community Foundation. Sponsored by Ambient Media.