There are reasons to pay attention to new music. No wait, let me reword that. There is a definite reason to listen to new music. Her name is Cheyenne Marie Mize, and she is a multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter based out of Kentucky.
In 2010, she released her first album, an introspective, moody compilation of songs titled Before Lately. In 2011, she released her EP We Don’t Need, and performed at SXSW. NPR fell in love with her and listed her among their 10 “Discoveries and SXSW 2011.”
This year she released a new album on Yep Roc, Among the Grey, and visited NPR to record a Tiny Desk Concert. This was my first experience with her music. At first glance, it’s hard to know what you’re in for. For the first track, Mize played ukulele, the favorite instrument of hipsters everywhere, and she looks very indie chic. But once the music starts and truly gets going, you know that you are in the hands of someone who knows exactly what she is doing. Mize is powerful, without being overbearing, and unquestionably talented. Her music hearkens back to PJ Harvey—there’s a sense of depth to her music, and in the three songs featured on NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert (Raymaker, Whole Heart, and Wait for It) she spans the spectrum of emotions—from light, to melancholic, to dramatic. And with each piece, Mize used a different instrument. “It’s a blessing and a curse,” she explained in between songs, “I’ve never been able to decide which instrument to play. Sometimes it’s helpful, and sometimes it means I just have to carry a lot of things.”
If you do any research on her, you’ll quickly find this is not on accident. Cheyenne Mize is a music therapist, and thus can sculpt her lyrics to fit the energy of the music.
And every album has outstanding tracks. My personal favorite from her older material: Wishing Well. The song is impossibly catchy and bluesy, and impossible not to sing along with it.
If you have not familiarized yourself with Cheyenne Mize, take a few moments to do so. You will not regret it.
Among the Grey:
Wait for It:
And if you’ve made it this far….visit NPR All Songs Considered, as linked above, and watch her Tiny Desk Concert. Just do it.
1st image by Meagan Jordan and published in Time Out Chicago
2nd image from Dan Lubbers photoset published online.