Wise Blood, Flannery O'Connor wrote: "Where you come from is gone, where you thought you were going to never was there, and where you are is no good unless you can get away from it." These, too, are the guiding principles behind Beyond the Bloodhounds, the striking debut LP from Adia Victoria. Like O'Connor, Victoria has an uncanny, unsettling knack for spinning a Southern Gothic yarn, but the narrative on Bloodhounds reverberates with Victoria's own perspective, that of a black woman growing up poor in the South. There's a subtle sense of emotional fatigue that permeates the record, but in her boldest, barest moments, Victoria confronts her audience with stark, challenging imagery — particularly on "Stuck in the South," where she sings, "I've been dreaming of swinging from that old palmetto tree." Writ large in her sound are the musical traditions of the South, from Delta blues to gospel to folk-country balladry; not only does she name-check Delta Blind Billy, but her ragged electric guitar plugs into the heritage of Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Lady Bo, and the long line of unsung black women who shaped rock 'n' roll. With Beyond the Bloodhounds, Victoria is ready to reclaim that history and emerge from it as a powerful new voice.
In her first novel,