Posts filed under ‘Cheyenne Marie Mize’
Cheyenne Marie Mize’s latest EP “We Don’t Need” is a different sound for her — which is to say she’s shed her solitary singing, lonely piano, banjo, and lush vocal harmonies, and in turn she’s picked up a couple of bandmates and a decidedly rougher edge. It’s always good to hear musicians take chances and expand their range, not that she needed it. Anyone who’s heard her older tracks, “Over the Moon” (2010), and the stunningly beautiful narcotic slumber of “Lull” (one of the most subtle and breathtaking songs I’ve heard since beginning this blog) know that she’s fine singing any style she wishes. I wrote up a quick review of her record months ago, after being given an early listen to it courtesy of her PR group. But the record is being re-released now that she’s a part of the Yep Roc label. It’s worth purchasing. And before you do, be sure to listen to her new sound, in the video for “It Lingers” below — posted by LaundroMatinee, those curators of very nice live video recordings of songs. The song is country-blues slow-smoked. It rattles like bones, and drifts prettily through electric guitar, and the haunting recollection of love: “It lingers above my bed / And it falls at my feet on the floor / It replaces the things I feel / With those things I felt before.” It contains one of my favorite Cheyenne lines, “Your face is all places I go … / Oh, let it go …” As far as the video goes, I love that blue tone LaundroMatinee get. It’s fitting. The website also posted a second video, for the song “Wishing Well”. Follow Cheyenne at facebook, tumblr, and twitter. Read more Their Bated Breath archived posts about the artist here. Note: All lyrics are unofficial. – David D. Robbins Jr.
Cheyenne Marie Mize will release a new six-song record, “We Don’t Need”, on vinyl and digital on November 8th via Roaring Colonel Records. This record is a sea change for the Louisville singer-songwriter, who moves from chanteuse to soulful rockin’ mama, more akin to Carrie Rodriguez and Amy Correia. The lead single, “Wishing Well”, is a stripped-down church-inspired anthem with a devilish sexy side: “Can I put a penny in the wishing well? / I gave all my dollars away / I wish I may / Wish I might / Have the wish I wish tonight / And if I should die before I wake / The lord can’t have my soul to take / Just in case the devil wants to make a deal / And sell my very soul to get some of your anytime … / Oh, can I get a little of your anytime lovin’?” Her song, “Going Under”, picks up where “Wishing Well” leaves off. It’s a piano-prancing, foot-stompin’ gem about having the freedom to enjoy life and love before feeling the need to take cover. It’s a real chance for Mize to show off her soulful, uptempo pipes. Normally a change this drastic would feel like a heavy-handed attempt to branch out into a new audience. But this record doesn’t feel like that. It’s wonderfully surprising and inventive, finding comfort in a ruckus as well as shadowy mood. The mighty “It Lingers”, the gem of “We Don’t Need”, alternates between a lolling slow-smoke and a furious squall of country, rock and blues. The song is the calm before the storm and the flattening force. “It Lingers” blusters with its reflective tones, edgy guitar, and speculative lyricism about life and piece of mind. It’s one of Mize’s best songs in a short career of beautiful music. “Keep It” is a fun Southern front-porch rocker, about the disgust of feeling placated. It’s got real spit and venom, set to the beat of a nasty drum and snarling guitar: “Well, I can’t hear you / Say it one more time / I can’t hear you / I might lose my mind / Keep it to yourself / Keep it to yourself, for me.” The inspired, “Call Me Beautiful”, is dark and full of emotional depth. It’s like a Tom Waits dirge — rickety, and gloriously dissonant. This is a fantastic breakout for Mize, who continues to astonish at every turn. Note: To hear more of Mize go to her bandcamp page where you can steam previous records. Read archived Their Bated Breath posts about her here. – David D. Robbins Jr.
I’m a bit late to appreciating this Cheyenne Marie Mize cover of Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy’s “I Called You Back”. Marie Mize released this track for free for all you Valentine’s Day lovebirds. I know this is a song that BPB fans know all too well. It’s a love song, about a passion that lasts. It’s a lullaby with beautiful sentiments, including the gorgeous line, “I heard your voice in everything”. But once I’d listened to the song a number of times, something else struck me as quite pretty. The most repeated phrase in the song, “And I called you back, to a place beside me”, works both for intimacy and for love in death. Okay, so maybe it’s just my mind imposing meaning into lyrics I obviously didn’t write. But I like to think the phrase matures during the song and its meaning shifts as the couple moves through time. At first, it’s a new love (“found”), then the kissing and heights of love, then old age happens (and love still maintains), then quietude — and the love is still there even in that. What a lovely concept. It’s a perfect selection for Marie Mize, and it’s hardly a surprise that she knocks it out of the park in her own unique way. There warm horns are gone. The tavern piano is gone. The duet becomes a solo. But her crystalline voice breaths it’s own warm tones into the words, with different intonations than in the original version. Then there’s a clever sound loop, much like a person blowing over a bottle top. It layers gently with a repeated vocal cooing. Sometimes listening to covers can be like watching someone put on a shoe that isn’t quite their size. The pairing can be strained, grimace-inducing and forced. But in this case, song and songstress make a perfect couple. – David D. Robbins Jr.
REST IN LOUISVILLE: I don’t do this with many musicians, but I pretty much post anything I can related to Cheyenne Marie Mize. Once you hear her voice, and the sheer elegance of her compositions, you’ll see why. This singer-songwriter creates music that for the brief span it’s playing, feels like the only music in the world at that given moment. In the new video below, recorded live at Louisville’s famed Green Building, Mize sings her track, “Rest”, from off her new release, “Before Lately”. Read a Their Bated Breath archived review of Mize’s album, or listen to “Over the Moon”, a song she created for a cause she holds dear. Every time I hear Cheyenne I think of how elegantly simple she makes things. Melodic, passionate, but rooted to an old-world sense of romance. Her mood-inundated vocal sways are enough to make the hair on your arms stand on end. Really. Listen to her flutter at the 3:26 mark. But what I love about this track is the tone and delicacy of the first two lines, “Lay with me honey, for awhile / You don’t have to stay, but if you do it’ll be alright.” It’s almost as if her rising and then falling inflection is the easing of the head on a pillow. It’s vocalization matching lyrical content. And it’s amazingly beautiful. — David D. Robbins Jr.
NEW VIDEO: To kick off the release of her new record, “Before Lately”, Cheyenne Marie Mize sent a cover of Neutral Milk Hotel’s “Oh Comely” to Mixtape Muse. It’s a pretty cool concept to ask musicians what songs inspire them, ask them to record it, and post the results. In this case, Marie Mize (via an I-phone recording) talks about how “Oh Comely” gives her goosebumps and often brings her to tears. It’s a difficult song to sing. When Neutral Milk Hotel lead singer Jeff Mangum sings it, his voice breaks often with fragility, giving it’s strange lyricism a sense of crumbling and breakdown. Listen to Marie Mize’s cover below, courtesy of Mixtape Muse. You can also read an archived Their Bated Breath review of “Before Lately” or listen to her new song, Over the Moon. Here is a link to the original version of “Oh Comely”: “Your father made fetuses with flesh licking ladies, / While you and your mother were asleep in the trailer park. / Thunderous sparks from the dark of the stadiums, / The music and medicine you needed for comforting. / So make all your fat fleshy fingers to moving, / And pluck all your silly strings, bend all your notes for me. / Soft silly music is meaningful magical, / The movements were beautiful, all in your ovaries.” – David D. Robbins Jr.
FOR A GOOD CAUSE: The Greek myths say Orpheus could enrapture nature with his music. Sometimes, I imagine Cheyenne Marie Mize‘s voice quieting forests, melting snowy mountaintops, and bending rivers. Seriously, what else is one to do but acquiesce to its whims? To listen to her latest record, “Before Lately”, is to be beguiled by beauty. If you’re like me, you just can’t get enough. Well, thankfully, she’s just released a new single, “Over the Moon” — for a cause she holds dear. Hear the track below. (I’ve listened to it perhaps 50 times already in one day.) She recorded it on the heels of her new record. It’s a drowsy heartbreak of a song. Banjo tip-toes underneath a slow-swell of strings as Marie Mize coos with soothing vocals: “Make it, make it, make it easy for you / Break it, break it, break my heart in two / Take it, take it, take it home with you.” It’s stunning.
The song is available on her bandcamp page for $1, in order to benefit Norton Healthcare’s Music Therapy Departments in her hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. I’ll let her speak about it: “My passion for music therapy is just as strong as my passion for playing music. It actually is the same thing for me. The Norton hospital system employs eight music therapists throughout the various hospitals in the Louisville area, all of whom are grant and donor funded. I have worked at several of these hospitals over the past five years and have seen all the programs grow from the beginning. I have also seen how much can be done with just a little bit of extra funding.” “Over the Moon” was recorded with the help of her friends from Maiden Radio, Joan Shelley and Julia Purcell. Note: Click here to read an archived Their Bated Breath review of “Before Lately”. Go out to see her upcoming shows in support of “Before Lately”. She’ll be playing with Ólöf Arnalds on one half of the tour and Johnny Flynn on the other. I know my Canadian and Brooklyn readers will show her some love.
Shows: Oct. 15 in Columbus, Ohio in Wexner Center Performance Space (w/ Ólöf Arnalds); Oct. 16 in Louisville, Ky. at Christ Evangelical United Church (w/ Ólöf Arnalds & Doug Paisely); Oct. 17 in Gambier, Ohio at The Horn Gallery at Kenyon College (w/ Johnny Flynn); Oct. 18 in Toronto, Ontario at Lee’s Palace (w/ Johnny Flynn); Oct. 19 in Montreal, Quebec at Il Motore (w/ Johnny Flynn); Oct. 20 in Boston, Ma. at TT The Bears (w/ Johnny Flynn); Oct. 21 in Brooklyn, N.Y. at The Sycamore (CMJ show w/ Christopher Paul Stelling) and Oct. 23 in Brooklyn, N.Y. at Surreal Estate (CMJ show w/ Christopher Paul Stelling) – David D. Robbins Jr.
HEARTBREAK GIRL: Cheyenne Marie Mize doesn’t need gimmickry, wild instrumentation — or for that matter, antecedents. Who needs all that when the music you make is exceptionally your own? Her upcoming release, “Before Lately”, is a mighty record, sometimes sounding like the country-tinged Americana of Eleni Mandell, the piano balladry of Carole King, with a dash of Samantha Crain and Shelby Lynne. The strength of Mize’s music is how she coats the bitter with a sugary topping. Her voice is the angelic part, but the devil is in the other details: she has an eclectic ear for melody, fanciful musical transitions, dreamy tones and earthy lyricism. The writing is severely honest, cutting straight to the chase like a shot of whiskey. Each song is titled with one word. No disguises here. “Before Lately” is a debut made with a veteran’s acumen.
The heartbreak opener, “Best”, sounds like Mandell on “Snakebite”, swaying with a countrified-twang guitar and dark, deep, bluesy repeated refrains, “I tried my hardest to be what you wanted / But now, we both see, it was all for the best / It was all for the best / I left and you thought I would be brokenhearted / I didn’t expect you to ever forgive me.” Unexpectedly, Mize shift gears with the second track, “Waiting”, a song that feels like some ‘Alice In Wonderland’ lullaby, with chimes, crying guitar and a drowsy sway. “Rest” is a shady sundown on the front-porch — a song about seeking repose in the warm glow of the person you love. It’s a credit to Mize’s talent that she can sing so forthright about love without sounding cliché. “Rest” is reminiscent of those lovely ballads written by musicians Julie and Buddy Miller. It’s a golden outpouring. Songwriting at its highest peak, rising through sheer simplicity of expression. There’s such a purity to every nuance.
Just as good, if not better, is the graceful “Lull”. A piano drips. Short phrases, drawn out notes. Like Erik Satie’s “Gymnopedies”. A banjo, sparse and crooked, tries its best to find comfort. Mize’s voice joins this gossamer pairing, stretching itself across them with a gentle morning ease, “Holding fast to you / In the late summer time / The love / Of warmth / Of skin / And of breathing / Rising / Falling / If only your love could cycle this / Slowly / This / Slowly / I / Slowly I wake and realize / That I am holding fast to you.” Typing the verse out doesn’t come close to doing justice to her phrasing and annunciation. (Or the fact that the lyrics circle back to the original line, just like the singer wishing for a ‘cycling’ or rebirth of love.) Mize sings the verses with subtle stumbles, and butterfly flutters, breaking apart words like a slow unraveling of both love and lyric. The last vibration of the piano hammer hitting the string is a reverberation of pure noblesse. It’s the song of nymphs and lotus-eaters falling into narcotic summer slumbers filled with scents of plum and melon.
“Kind” is built around a repeating double-tracked chorus, with bossa-nova styled guitar. “Not” feels like the sister-song to “Best”, another song centered around a crumbling relationship. It’s a heart-searing torch ballad, ala Fiona Apple. Where some of the lyrics many seem soft, the earnestness of Mize’s voice, mixed with sad strings, lifts the track with its sincerity. It’s hard not to feel the heartache, and the overwhelming nature of love having slipped away. “Path” plays like a heatwave in search of a cool patch of grass to lay down in. Wind chimes and a distant rattle are faintly heard in the background, as a running western guitar line plays underneath vocals sung like a mantra. A steel guitar carries “Friend” down an Appalachian pathway, dusty and graveled, in search of shelter from the oncoming stormy weather. A standout track, “With(out)”, is a song about the inner struggles of love, wanting to give yourself away completely, and yet knowing it may mean giving more than you want to give. It will be interesting to see where Mize goes after this. This album hangs on the edge of Americana, country, folk, jazz, blues, and piano pop. One gets the feeling Mize can do anything she wants. It’s only a matter of what she chooses to do next.
Note: Mize introduced herself musically on the 10-inch release “Among the Gold” – a collection of late 19th century American parlor music handpicked by her and Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy. “Before Lately” will be out October 12th, 2010 via sonaBLAST! Records. (Lyrics in this review are not official.) — David D. Robbins Jr.