My latest musical fixation is a young lady by the name of Cheyenne Marie Mize from Louisville, Kentucky. Cheyennes first release Before Lately is a beautiful collection of melancholy folk tunes with the occasional tinge of country and bluegrass. Her voice has an intimate breathiness sometimes reminiscent of Fiona Apple while being more reserved and classy. My favorite track on this album is probably Friend. A song that manages to be haunting and uplifting at the same time, with a guitar providing a bobbing rhythm and a banjo coruscating beneath Cheyennes sad, but hopeful sounding vocals.
Her newest release, We Don’t Need, is more musically diverse – exposing influences of blues, R&B and rock. On her site it says that Mize wants listeners to know “the songs on We Don’t Need are meant to be digested individually more than as continuous parts of a complete whole. Each has its own character and will likely be enjoyed in different mental states”. She goes on to say that each of the diverse tunes are a hint of things to come.
It Lingers, track 5 on WE Don’t Need, is the song that began my obsession with Mize. Dark chords banged out on a gritty, jangling, reverb-covered guitar in the vein of Wye Oak. Awesome tune. Don’t Call Me Beautiful brings to mind the evocative lilt of Beth Gibbons of Portishead. The opening track, Wishing Well, is thankfully not a cover of Terrence Trent D’Arby’s 1987 hit (though I guiltily admit to liking that song it does not need to be redone). It’s a fun, upbeat number that I can see being a radio success for Mize.
Cheyenne has performed with fellow Louisville native (and one of my all-time favorites) Bonnie “Prince” Billy. Finding a bit of creative chemistry they collaborated on a recording of 19th century American parlor songs hand-picked by the two of them. The 6-song collection, Among the Gold, can be downloaded for free here.
I can’t wait to hear more from this artist. While I wait I’ll be wearing out the 16 tracks available on Spotify.