Kiya Heartwood
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Kiya Heartwood

Austin, Texas, United States | Established. Jan 01, 1988 | INDIE | AFM

Austin, Texas, United States | INDIE | AFM
Established on Jan, 1988
Band Americana Singer/Songwriter




"Orlando Sentinel Best of the Fringe 2015"

The Orlando Sentinel reviewing team has seen more than 100 shows at the 24th annual Orlando Fringe Festival, now underway at venues around Loch Haven Park. From comedy to dance, from music to mystery and magic, here are our 15 picks for the Best of Fringe, listed alphabetically. All critiques, plus video previews of many of the shows, are available online at

It was a particularly strong year at the Fringe — and we had trouble narrowing down our favorites. We didn't even let ourselves count the revival of "6 Guitars," which is among the Fringe's all-time best productions.

At the end of the list, you'll find 10 shows that just missed the cut. They are worth your time, too, as we head into the final weekend of the Fringe Festival.

'Kiya Heartwood: Song Tales from the American Edge'

Kiya Heartwood is a modern-day American troubadour. She scours the nooks and crannies of history to find interesting tales of romance, injustice, danger and death. It's a simple show but it packs a powerful punch. Bronze venue, 55 mins., 7+, $10. Show: 2 p.m. Saturday, May 23. - Orlando Sentinel

"Orlando Fringe 2015 Review Kiya Heartwood"

Fringe 2015 review: "Kiya Heartwood: Song Tales from the American Edge"
Posted By Seth Kubersky on Fri, May 15, 2015 at 4:43 PM

Near the beginning of "Song Tales From the American Edge," Texan storyteller/songwriter Kiya Heartwood illustrates her tale of martyred labor leader Joe Hill by apparently drinking a glass of ashes onstage. While the moment made me reflexively recoil, it’s a perfect metaphor for Heartwood’s sincere commitment to speaking for the voiceless on society’s fringes. Most of her self-penned folk-rock story-songs are based on overlooked historical figures who lived on America’s edges – the razor’s edge, the cutting edge or even the edge of the world.

Her subjects range from a legendary Cape Cod pirate’s ghostly lover, to the beleaguered Comanche fleeing the U.S. Army’s ambush at Palo Duro Canyon, to Walt Whitman, Heartwood’s favorite poet and “fashion consultant.” An autobiographical number about the death of Kentucky’s horse culture made me tear up, and the audience participation finale might inspire you to join the union’s Dishpan Brigade (or at least subscribe to Mother Jones). I grew up going to a summer camp run by socialist hippies, and many of Heartwood’s songs would have fit in fine around the firepit. Other have choruses hooky enough to rock a coffeehouse or club, though the well-researched verses can sometimes seem like Wikipedia entries set to music.

Heartwood is no modern pop princess, but her swift fingers and soulful voice hearken back to when being a rock star required talent. (Heartwood also projects and enunciates well enough to understand every word without amplification; other performers, please take notes.) Heartwood’s odes to outsiders and antiheroes are unabashedly left-wing, so if you’re a loyal Fox News viewer, this probably isn’t for you. Then again, maybe it should be; if more people understood and appreciated the last century’s labor and civil rights struggles, we might not be going through them all over again today.

Kiya Heartwood: Song Tales From the American Edge
Outlaw Hill Arts – Austin, TX
Venue: Bronze
Length: 55
Rating: 7 and up
Price: $10 - Orlando Weekly

"The Kiya Heartwood Three Minute Interview"

by Dave House on 18th August 2014
Kiya Heartwood is an award-winning American singer-songwriter who writes smart, funny and poignant songs about the famous and not-so-famous legends of America. She is making her first appearance at the Fringe with her acoustic show, Short Stories: True Song Tales from the American Edge. Broadway Baby’s Dave House caught up with Kiya Heartwood to talk to the artist about her work.

The Fringe is a beautiful festival, mad and inspiring. Of course I hope to come back next year and many years to come.
What is “the American Edge”?

To me it's the underdogs and outsiders who aren't living on Wall Street bonuses. As Margaret Atwood wrote in The Handmaid's Tale, “We were the people who were not in the papers. We lived in the blank white spaces at the edges of print. It gave us more freedom. We lived in the gaps between the stories.”

What artists have inspired your writing and musical style?
My influences are a combination of folk rock artists like Neil Young, Jackson Browne, or Joni Mitchell, contemporary folk writers like Cheryl Wheeler and Patty Griffin, Americana artists like Steve Earle, Joe Ely and Buddy Miller, British folk revival artists like the Watersons, Martin Carthy, Richard Thompson, and political singers like Holly Near and Dick Gaughan. Of course, Woody Guthrie. I hope to write story songs that are in the living tradition but I don't want to just imitate the old songs but actually keep adding new stories to the pile. There isn't as much of this going on in America as I might wish, but the stories I know best are American stories. As Woody Guthrie said, "Write what you know."

You've had a music career that's spanned nearly 30 years. What have been some of the highlights of your career?
Many beautiful moments… Getting signed to Arista in the late 80's with my Folk Rock band, Stealin Horses, being on MTV and playing Farm Aid in 1990. Playing the last gig in Cafe LMNOP in Lexington, KY, when the skaters and the punks left the bar singing the chorus to my song, ‘The Ballad of the Pralltown Cafe’ - "There'll be no rockin' in the Cafe tonight...", playing the Kennedy Center, the Philly Folk Festival and Kerrville Folk Festivals with Wishing Chair, and now as a solo artist, I'm making some amazing memories here in Edinburgh.

What do you think it is that makes these American tales so universally appealing?
These are the people who push the edges and change the center. I tend to write songs that keep my own spirits up. Many of these people are my compass points and sources of inspiration. I think people can identify with the uphill struggles of these characters.

How are you finding the Edinburgh Festival and will you come back again?
Performing regularly in Europe has been a dream of mine for many, many years and Edinburgh is amazing. Besides having many ancestors from Scotland, I love the layers of history and intellectual sparring carried in the very stones of the buildings. The Fringe is a beautiful festival, mad and inspiring. Of course I hope to come back next year and many years to come. I feel very at home here. - Broadway Baby

"Short Stories- True Song Tales from the American Edge"

by Dave House on 14th August 2014

Short Stories - True Song Tales from the American Edge is an acoustic solo show from Kiya Heartwood, an award-winning American singer-songwriter. Her songs are based in American folk tradition and tell the stories of some of America’s famous (and not so famous) legends. Within her repertoire are songs about the real Calamity Jane, the last of the great American race horses and a cross dressing confederate. Heartwood’s songs are easy listening, with a beautiful country quality that transports you to America’s folk lands.

Her songs have a personal and heartfelt quality, injected with a good amount of humour and sentiment.
Heartwood’s career in the States has spanned nearly thirty years. She was the lead singer and songwriter in the folk rock band Stealin’ Horses and was one half of the folk duo Wishing Chair. She is now pursuing a solo career, performing at the Edinburgh Fringe for the first time.

Heartwood has an endearing personality and she does a good job of bringing her audience into the songs, talking about the history that surrounds each one and getting the audience to sing along. She begins with The Ballad of the Pralltown Café and soon gets the audience joining in on the chorus. Following songs include Calamity Jane; the fantastic country song, Sue Mundy, about the cross dressing confederate; and the lively Higher Ground. While she doesn’t quite reach the raw power of some of the more renowned great folk and country singers, her songs have a personal and heartfelt quality, injected with a good amount of humour and sentiment. These are songs about America’s rich history and the real enjoyment that you get from listening to them is their ability take you into times and places long gone.

Fans of storytelling, American history and folk and country music should get a lot of pleasure from Heartwood’s modest solo set. - Broadway Baby

""Short Stories – True Song Tales From The American Edge (Kiya Heartwood)"

It's easy to like a performer who calls herself shy, then vigorously headbangs to a song about Walt Whitman. Singer-songwriter Kiya Heartwood has a disarming openness which fills her short set with warmth. She plays straightforward acoustic folk, studded with occasional blues riffs and bluegrass flurries. Though at times her earnest lyrics feel naive, it's the true stories behind them that become the real focus. Built on bitter-sweet nostalgia for America's past, they're populated by steelworkers, rabble-rousers and underdogs of all kinds. Channelling down-home friendliness and shades of Janis Joplin, Heartwood is a fine and engaging storyteller. Quickly winning over the crowd, she soon has the audience singing along, and leaves them pondering those seldom told tales." 3/5
theSpace @ Surgeon's Hall, until 23 Aug. [Dave Fargnoli] - Three Weeks

"Short Stories- True Song Tales from the American Edge"

The Edge, here, is a more marginal America that isn’t always a winner - made up of ordinary people, fighting or escaping the country’s relentless narrative of capitalism, cheap labour and globalisation. Kiya Heartwood is an acoustic guitarist and singer-songwriter from oddball oasis, Austin, Texas; but she sings tales of underdogs from all over, with a distinctly American, soulful sincerity.

Her opener trots through the story of Man o’War, the 1920s racehorse extraordinaire. Eulogising his impressive strength—he could carry 138 pounds, helpfully translated for British laymen as both 10 stone, and an awful lot for a horse—Heartwood also uses him as a symbol for an America that’s been lost. Poignantly, she sings of stables and fields replaced by cookie-cutter houses in the neverending race to suburban sprawl.

Mother Jones is no less fearsome or loved – a black-clad widow who stirred up workers to strike for fair pay. Heartwood’s husky, wistful voice strengthens to a guttural call to arms for the “dishpan brigade” of women who fended off blackleggers with household weapons. She also stretches to naive, gutsy blues—“I built my house on a burial ground/Ghosts and spirits were all around”—and a softer, subtle memoir of growing up a tomboy in her brother’s shadow.

Heartwood describes herself as shy, but she’s clearly capable of wrestling an audience tens of times this tiny size into foot-stamping, chorus-joining submission. A soulless Edinburgh black box space might not be the best place to cosy up to her distinctive, atmospheric songs, but she’s a seasoned enough performer to light up any room with flickering, folksy warmth. - Fest Magazine

"Kiya Heartwood -Bold Swimmer"

Christy Claxton
Variety, technical expertise, and wise lyrics are the signs of a seasoned songwriter. After years of fronting successful bands, former Arista artist, Kiya Heartwood, has stepped into brave territory and offered her first solo album. If the name is unfamiliar, chances are that her collaborative efforts are not. Folk fans and women’s music supporters are very familiar with the award winning folk duo, Wishing Chair. However, these days, the Texas songwriter, that is responsible for the catchy tunes and smart lyrics that dominated the indie awards scene in the last 12 years, is jumping in by herself.
Bold Swimmer is Heartwood’s first solo effort. Her composition skills are some of the best going. It’s very hard to hear the same song twice in the music. It’s full of variety that comes with experience. She’s listened to more music than any young player, and she’s walked a long, tough road that frankly, today’s hopefuls will never know. So what sells? Skill. Top shelf guitar skills, seasoned lyrics, and masterful arrangements.
One thing she doesn’t do is give up control of her record. That means she manages to keep her recordings from getting that ubiquitous Mark Hallman brand. He’s there to engineer. Heartwood is her own producer. Hallman is the owner and ever-present entity behind the celebrated Congress House Studio in Austin, Texas. He’s responsible for Ani Difranco’s Dilate, most of Eliza Gylkison’s recordings (including her Grammy nominations), and a host of other celebrated women in music. Kiya Heartwood is perfect for Congress House because she doesn’t need coaching in the studio.
Heartwood’s instrumental skills are as tight as any studio musician, so the recording process opens up and becomes an expert volley of sounds and ideas. Listening to Bold Swimmer is a pro music marathon. Although she’s only lived in Austin a short time, Heartwood sounds like she should be side by side with Austin powerhouse musicians like Alejandro Escovedo. She brings on the kind of variety and passion that make the local Post Punk icon a perennial favorite in Rock music circles.
Those who already know Kiya Heartwood will hear the biography in Bold Swimmer’s songs. It makes for a fantastic listen. Those who are new to her music will become engaged in a moving story. The theme is clear: wading through the indie music quagmire is damn hard to do. Only the very strongest manage to last for over 30 years. That’s what the album reveals.
The subject matter of the songs varies as they lay out a musical timeline. There are songs about social justice, hard knocks, self-awakening, and love. They’re all framed in the hard knocks journey that is Kiya Heartwood’s musical career.
The album kicks off the with the title track, and right out of the shoot we know that this longtime lesbian indie pioneer is still willing to break away from her comfort zone and swim to the next horizon. The song begins, “Now the hungry ghosts are waiting at my table for a feast.” Young musicians take heed. From the very first line of Bold Swimmer Kiya Heartwood makes it clear that relying on the past gets a serious performer nowhere. The framework is set, and the album becomes a review of her life, her music, and best of all, her skill.
TV reminds me of the old Austin lesbian rock scene of the early 90’s. I’m transported back to the days of the Austin lesbian hangout, Chances. I can easily imagine Heartwood punking out with Darcie Deville and Terri Lord. This is like a calling card to say that, indeed, Kiya Heartwood has a place as an Austin rocker.
The album has also produced some Jango Radio favorites with I Love You, Change, and The Lights of Austin. Interestingly, they’re all very different tunes. This is indicative of Heartwood’s ability to change her style and mood to perfectly fit a song. I Love You is a mellow, sweet tune that is musically reminiscent of Wishing Chair. Her folk duo effortlessly burns into the collective listening memory, so it makes sense that this simple, direct song would rise to the top.
Although it would be more accurate to describe her as a roots rocker in the Americana genre, Heartwood is a social activist at heart, so Change is the kind of song that connects people to her and turns them into lifelong fans. However, I’m personally surprised that Lights of Austin is a more popular on rotation than the title track, Bold Swimmer. Maybe it’s the reference to Austin, and maybe it’s because this song bookends the album. Like the title track, this is a song about diving in and plunging forward. It’s about wisdom, and that’s the one thing a performer like Kiya Heartwood brings to the musical universe. Serious music connoisseurs are delighted with anything she produces.
Alejandro Escovedo is the closest person I can come up with for a good comparison for this new Austin musical resident. Maybe it’s because Heartwood easily stands up to the biggest male musicians in a decidedly male industry. In my fantasy world, Kiya - LC

"Kiya Heartwood Bold Swimmer CD"

Kiya Heartwood is the spice rack of indie music. Her style takes a little bit from everything -- sometimes folk, sometimes rock, sometimes country, sometimes that thing you can't quite identify but makes the whole dish taste amazing.

Not surprising, really. Heartwood wanted to be a Beatle from the age of four, writing and performing music that would change the world. Musically, she feels a kinship with Steve Earle and Bruce Cockburn, and bands that have a mix of rock and message. She listens to everything, but ultimately writes songs from the heart that are genuinely her, regardless of how many different spices are added to the pot.

She was Americana before Americana, grunge before grunge. She writes like a band, but she's one person.The ideal of being a cultural worker like Holly Near is what drives her writing. Her punk side says that anything is possible -- you play a better guitar solo because you aren't tied down by the rules.

Over the years, the different incarnations of her music have taken the flavors of reggae and rap (Radio Cafe), roots Americana (Stealin Horses), folk rock (Wishing Chair), and now as her solo career begins to ramp up (again), we see the culmination of 30 years of honing her craft.

With over a hundred original songs to choose from, her live performances are never stale or recycled. She happily draws from her past, and channels it through her present. Much like a good curry, the blend of spices she infuses into her songwriting and performance bring a complexity and diversity that can't quite be labeled or boxed in.

Heartwood recently released solo album, Bold Swimmer, is garnering rave reviews from serious music aficionados. Richard Marcus calls it, "a damn good album," and Lane Gosnay says she "delivers keen lyrical folk sensibility through a rock n roll power grid." Are you ready to take the plunge? - Anna Creech

"Wishing Chair"

Wishing Chair never fails to create that exhilarating sense one gets when great melodies, strong harmonies, and superb execution come together. But make no mistake: far from being tepid folkies, this gifted outfit delivers its finely-crafted songs with confidence, spirit and sass. - See more at: - Performing Songwriter

"Wishing Chair"

Wishing Chair never fails to create that exhilarating sense one gets when great melodies, strong harmonies, and superb execution come together. But make no mistake: far from being tepid folkies, this gifted outfit delivers its finely-crafted songs with confidence, spirit and sass. - See more at: - Performing Songwriter

"Messages to the Outlaw Circus"

Dirty Linen February/March #122 Wishing Chair - messages to the outlaw circus. Kentucky-based duo Wishing Chair serves up a lively batch of original songs that follow on to two of the oldest traditions of folk music: storytelling and political broadside. The two are often interwoven, as with "Outlaw Wedding," and often set to catchy melodies as well, as in "Bully Circus," for example. The political issues are the substance, and they are handled in a variety of creative ways to deliver those messages. The project was produced by Mark Hallman, who has worked with Eliza Gilkyson. Eamon McLoughlin and Kym Warner of the Greencards are among those who back up Kiya Heartwood and Miriam Davidson, the duo who are Wishing Chair. - See more at: - Dirty Linen

"Wishing Chair"

Sing Out! Volume 49 #4, Winter "Kiya Heartwood and Miriam Davidson, collectively known as Wishing Chair, score again. They have a lot of important things to say in the dozen Heartwood originals on this CD. Although versatile on a variety of instruments themselves, producer Mark Hallman roped in another nine musicians to give the album variety and texture. It ranges from pop to folk, leaning somewhat toward a more produced sound, with consistently involved performances by Heartwood and Davidson. Not only are the vocals assured, but there's also some great guitar picking by Heartwood and banjo by Davidson. The songs range from the rigors of the road in the opening One Real Song,to an anti-war Civil War song with a twist, Sue Mundy,? to a proudly defiant song , Outlaw Wedding.Bully Circus wastes no words about the travesty of our current government. Adagio pays homage to Vedran Smailovic, a cellist in the former Sarajevo Opera, as well as Holly Near who told Heartwood the story on which she based the song. Heartwood and Davidson have never sounded tighter or more energetic in their performance. Wising Chair just keeps getting better." - See more at: - Sing Out!

"Messages to the Outlaw Circus"

Dirty Linen February/March #122 Wishing Chair - messages to the outlaw circus. Kentucky-based duo Wishing Chair serves up a lively batch of original songs that follow on to two of the oldest traditions of folk music: storytelling and political broadside. The two are often interwoven, as with "Outlaw Wedding," and often set to catchy melodies as well, as in "Bully Circus," for example. The political issues are the substance, and they are handled in a variety of creative ways to deliver those messages. The project was produced by Mark Hallman, who has worked with Eliza Gilkyson. Eamon McLoughlin and Kym Warner of the Greencards are among those who back up Kiya Heartwood and Miriam Davidson, the duo who are Wishing Chair. - See more at: - Dirty Linen

"Kiya Heartwood- Bold Swimmer"

The most difficult thing about writing this review was concentrating on the writing of the review. Kiya Heartwood draws you into the music, heart, mind, and soul. So I frequently found myself lost in the music with an empty page glaring back at me. Of course my old hippie self was and is overjoyed at "Bold Swimmer" and all that Kiya brings to the listening enjoyment. However the reviewer side was stuck on simple reactions like; "wonderful", bravo" "beautiful!" and the ever-present hit the replay button! Truly unique, and in some soothing ways reminiscent of names like Heart and Bonnie Raitt. In other words an awesome talent! Kiya Heartwood is one half of the award winning duo Wishing Chair. Kiya's stand alone strength is equally inspiring.

Eleven tracks strong this is a full flavored and all delivering showcase of the power of Heartwood's talent. A folk based rocking blues musical trip which leaves you wanting more. Much more. Ten of the songs are pure Kiya Heartwood words and music. That is indeed a very good thing. However, just as mesmerizing is Heartwood's cover of the Bricusse/Newly classic "Feeling Good". There is no lesser standing to any portion of "Bold Swimmer". Production is flawless. Instrumentation and accompaniment is perfect. Lyrics are pertinent, timeless, and touching. Kiya takes you from toe-tapping indulgence to out of your chair and moving, in seamless sweeps of musical passion. The album title comes from Walt Whitman's "Song Of Myself Part 46" and in that tells you right away this is a thinking music lover's CD.

Beginning with the title track, "Bold Swimmer" Heartwood delivers more than this listener imagined. By the end of the title song I was drawn in, totally at ease, and lost in Heartwood's talent. "Bold Swimmer" is catchy yet not overly commercial in style. Immediately I found myself humming along and in a pure state of enjoyment. Transitions from song to song are natural. No rough bumps or suddenly endings. Heartwood is smooth and wraps your senses with pleasant imagery, soul soothing melodies, and lyrical prowess. I would be hard pressed to pick a favorite form "Bold Swimmer".

Stand outs for me would be obviously more than one song. "Change (Is Gonna Come) however warmed this activist's heart. Yet was more inspiring than emotionally charging. No angst ridden protest songs here. Real lyrics about our times and reactions of the heart and soul, not marching music. "I Love You" a pure love song but not a 'done me wrong' song. Refreshing in that Heartwood talks of loving, and not the frequently heard he/she broke my heart type. That same positive and touching approach is constant throughout the entire CD which is "Bold Swimmer". "Cross The Line" more about taking it to the next level, than what you would expect from the title. Is a steamy bluesy piece which for me passed the threshold of classics like "Black Velvet". In "Lights Of Austin" Kiya combines the power of musical symmetry with lyrics which encircle you with welcoming visuals. Beguiling and familiar, this song quickly imbeds itself in your psyche and you are very happy with that reaction. The closing track, and only non-Heartwood written song, "Feeling Good" is a completely unique take on a timeless classic. Leaving you satisfied and yet with a strong yearning for more.

All in all that, "yearning for more" feeling is the strongest reaction with which I can best describe the overall experience of "Bold Swimmer". Obviously my compulsion to hit the replay button won many times. Even while writing this review Kiya Heartwood's "Bold Swimmer" is playing and inspiring. And continues to do so in my mind. My sincere hope is that Kiya Heartwood and "Bold Swimmer" garner the attention and reception deserved. I cannot imagine why it would not. Although in the genre sadly women are sometimes overlooked and not granted the acclamation and respect deserved. Heartwood's talent however demands that same acclimation and respe - Stonewall Society

"Kiya Heartwood- Bold Swimmer"

....."It turns out Kiya Heartwood is just as good a solo performer as she is when working in a duo.
Her new release, Bold Swimmer, is a great collection of material that ranges stylistically from
rocking blues to what I'd call country, but most would probably call folk."

One of the first things you'll notice about this disc that distinguishes it from most other
recordings of this kind is that there aren't any songs about a lover treating the singer badly on
it. I don't know what it is about blues-based rock that makes people think they have to write
about being cheated on all the time. If I never hear another he/she broke my heart tune it will be
too soon. Can it be so hard for people to think of anything else to sing about? There are eleven
tracks on Bold Swimmer and not one of them qualifies as a he/she done me wrong song. Even the
love song, I Love You,; is just a nice and simple tune speaking directly to the subject of why
the singer loves her partner without undue sentimentality or any of the histrionics one normally
associates with love songs by both male and female singers.

While these tracks are good, and in fact there's not really a weak number on the disc, two tracks
that really stand out are Change (Is Gonna Come) and Lights of Austin." In the case of the
former the lyrics were the primary attraction, while in the latter it was the overall sound that
captured my attention. Too many political songs are nothing more than self-righteous rants by
people feeling guilty for making a killing in record sales and box office receipts. It's rare to hear
someone take the time and effort to analyze their own reactions to events in the world.

In "Change" Heartwood sings about how anger and frustration aren't the answer and are self-
defeating if we want change. Sure there are lots of reasons to be angry, and she lists quite a few
of them, but in the long run we only hurt ourselves and those who need our help with anger. Real
change can only be accomplished with hope for something better. This doesn't mean we should
just sit back and hope things get better, but we need to find a way to effect change without anger
being our motivating force. It's a powerful message that needs to be heard more often, one that
offers an antidote to the rhetoric of hate you usually hear from political types of all stripes in this
day and age.

"Lights Of Austin" shows Heartwood is more than just your typical folk rock performer.
Musically it might fall into that catch-all category of "Americana" or "roots," but those
labels don't seem to do justice to the song's emotional depth. With its simple acoustic guitar
introduction gradually being embellished by the other instruments, she sings about the
importance of following your dreams, whatever they may be, as far as possible. It's a topic
that's ripe for being turned into sentimental tripe, but Heartwood avoids any of the musical and
lyrical cliches that you'd normally find in this type of material. There are no swelling strings or
crescendos of any sort, just a good simple song about living a life which generates stories that
can be told long into the future.

Heartwood's singing voice is ideally suited to the type of material she's chosen to create. Its

roughness suits both the bolder rock and roll/blues numbers and the slower country/folk tunes.
With the former there's the power needed to sound convincing without having to strain and
sound like she's working too hard, while with the latter it gives the material the extra little edge
of authenticity required to make them credible. Combine this with her abilities as a songwriter
and composer and you have an album of music that is more than just a cut above what you'd
normally hear these days from a solo female performer. You have something that's good no
matter who wrote or performed it.

Don't listen to this disc because it's something you feel like you should do, like pretending you
enjoy eating something because it's good for you; listen to it because it's a damn good album.
Pleasures don't always have to make yo - Seattle PI

"Kiya Heartwood Bold Swimmer CD"

I don't know about anyone else but I've always resented people telling me I should listen to, or even worse like, a certain performer because of who they are or what they sing about. Just because somebody agrees with me politically has no bearing on their abilities as a musician or the quality of the songs they write. Some of the worst tripe I've ever heard being passed off as music has issued from some of these so-called important singer-songwriters. Giving someone a good review just because of their politics, gender, or skin colour is as biased and unethical as giving them a bad review for the same reason.

I might take things like the conditions under which a recording was made into account when reviewing a disc, but making what a person is more important than what they can do is not somewhere I'm ever going to go. In the 1980s and 1990s I knew people who would tell me it was my duty to like certain, more-often-than-not women, performers because it was a way of showing solidarity with the people you supported politically. There were a couple of them whom I actually liked; Ferron and Holly Near are still names I remember fondly (that doesn't mean either of these women are dead or have stopped performing, it just means I've not heard anything they've done recently). The rest of them were all so busy competing for the "more earnest than thou" prize they forgot that music should be an expression of the soul first and foremost and everything else is secondary. Your content can be as politically progressive as Che, but if you don't sound like you're putting your heart into it, who cares.

Six years ago I reviewed a disc by the folk duo Wishing Chair and was impressed by both their musical abilities and their songwriting skills. So when somebody contacted me and asked if I'd be interested in reviewing a solo recording by one of the two women in the group I said yes. It turns out Kiya Heartwood is just as good a solo performer as she is when working in a duo. Her new release, Bold Swimmer, is a great collection of material that ranges stylistically from rocking blues to what I'd call country, but most would probably call folk.
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Article Author: Richard Marcus

Richard Marcus is the author of the What Will Happen In Eragon IV? and The Unofficial Heroes Of Olympus Companion, both published by Ulysses Press. He has had his work published in print and online all over the world including the German edition of Rolling Stone Magazine and …

Visit Richard Marcus's author page — Richard Marcus's Blog

Read more:
- Blog Critics


Palo Duro (2016)
The Living Tree (2013)
Bold Swimmer (2012)
True Frontiers ( 1993)
Gravity (1983)

Best of Wishing Chair (2013)
Stand Up 8 (2009)
Folk and Roll - Live in Austin (2007)
Underdog (2005)
Dishpan Brigade (2003) (w/ Kara Barnard)
Crow (2002)
The Ghost of Will Harbut (2000)
Undisputed Country (1998)
Singing with the Red Wolves (1995)

Best of Stealin Horses (2013)
Mesas and Mandolins (1991)
Stealin Horses (1988)
The Ballad of the Pralltown Cafe (1986)

First World ep (1985)




Kiya Heartwood is an internationally touring singer/songwriter.The Kiya Heartwood Band is Kiya on songs, lead vocal and guitar,Sarah Stollak on fiddle and Jay Dee Hicks on Percussion.Kiya is formerly half of the folk duo Wishing Chair and the lead singer and songwriter for the Arista rock band, Stealin Horses. Kiya is currently touring her latest CD, Palo Duro and her international one woman show, Song Tales from the American Edge. Kiya has performed throughout the US, Europe and Canada from arena shows with Stealin Horses to festivals, concert halls, colleges, clubs and house concerts as a solo performer and with The Kiya Heartwood BandStealin Horses and Wishing Chair.


2017 Nominee Just Plain Folks Best Singer Songwriter Album for Bold Swimmer.
2017 Nominee Just Plain Folks Best Singer Songwriter Song Lights of Austin.
2017 Nominee Just Plain Folks Best Political Song for Change ( Is Gonna Come).
2014 Best of the Fest Frontera Fest for Song Tales from the American Edge
2012 Kerrville Folk Festival Ballad Tree 
2010 Pride in the Arts Favorite Group ( Wishing Chair) 
2010 Pride in the Arts Best CD (WIshing Chair Stand Up 8)
2008 Jane Schliessman Award for Outstanding Contributions to Women's Music
2006 BEST New Folk Album, Underdog, JP Folks
2006 BEST Roots Song, Sue Mundy, JP Folks
2006 2nd Place Best New Folk Song, Sidewalks, JP Folks
2006 Finalist Kerrville Music to Life Public Domain Foundation Political Songwriting Contest
2003 Finalist Kerrville Public Domain Foundation Contest 2003 Winner Best Overall/Best Mellow Song, South Florida Folk Festival
2003 Runner Up Best Folk Song, Northern California Songwriters Association
2002 Finalist Falcon Ridge, Emerging Artist
2002 Best of, This Way Out, OutWords,
2002 Best New Folk Song, JP Folks
2001 Best Folk Album Runner Up
1988 Billboard AOR #32 Turnaround ( Stealin Horses)
1988 Billboard top 200 Albums Stealin Horses, Stealin Horses Arista Records.

Band Members