As I am a person who is re-joining the unseen world of music entertainment and all its relevant components, I am slowly adjusting back to one of its harsh realities: promotional packages. They are important because they put things on my radar, which is always good seeing as I do not have an eye on current music anymore; there’s too much old obscure stuff I’m interested in investigating. The unfortunate part is that they are usually filled with a lot of empty words and promises. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been lied to by these things.
As a result, when I review CDs, I usually never read the promotional material. It might get glanced over, but that’s at best. My review process is totally basic: I look at the booklet/cover of the record (1/2 of judging a record is if it has a cool cover or not; there are noted exceptions to this rule) then I listen to it. Super simple.
Filtering through my email one day, I found a press package for a young lady named Cheyenne Marie Mize who is currently on tour to support her debut album Before Lately. While she has street cred from working with Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Mize has to be able to stand up on her own. One cannot ride the coattails of a more famous star to get ahead. If you don’t believe me, ask Audio Two (I swear I’ll stop making Audio Two references, but this one works here). So, to begin the review, I did step one: looked at the cover. The album passes the first test: it has a really cool cover. It would catch my eye in a CD rack.
Now on to the music. I will hesitate to give her album a full review because it is not available until September. I’ll review the album more fully then. For the time being, I’ll keep it vague but useful. Mize’s songs are quite gorgeous, filled with beautiful, sparse instrumentation and a voice that is clear and expressive. The songs maintain a sadness and a vague sense of longing for something more. Some have a tinge of country flavor while others might not be out of place on a revision of Music for Airports. For someone who is stepping out on her own for the first time, Before Lately shows a great amount of talent, diversity, and promise. While there are some missteps on the album, the overwhelmingly majority of the album is filled with the kind of songs that one wishes folk singers to write, songs where the listener is entranced and focused upon every word. In short, she’s someone to pay attention to now and in the future because, from what I can tell, she is only going to get better.
Lucky for Iowa City, we will have the opportunity to see her on the 29th of July at The Mill. She will be opening for Portland, OR-based folksters Archaeology. They are also quite good. This show promises to be a humdinger for the folk fans that populate our fair town. Admission’s $6 and restricted to those of drinking age (21+). Doors are at 10 PM.