Music You Don't Know You Like Yet
2011-01-10Review by Steven “Nick” Nickelson of Before Lately by Cheyenne Marie Mize: Shades of Nona Marie Invie (Dark Dark Dark)! I could swear this was the same woman, they sound so much alike! Even the repetitive phrasing is (almost) identical on at least one song (“Best”, “Doctor”); however, the musical phrasing is deeper and much richer from this expat-Canadian (most recently, Kentuckian), Cheyenne Marie Mize.. I can also detect subtle influences by Laura Nyro (“ Before Lately”, “Not”). Ms. Mize commands melancholy torch songs and breezy pop ditties with equal vigor, bringing a particularly unique aloofness to everything she does - adding banjo or a capella harmonies where you’d least expect them. My favorite song on this cd is a sweetly, breathlessly sung “Waiting”, and the thing that appeals to me is the contrasting jangle of the background music, juxtaposed with light xylophone taps and violin/banjo plucks. This cd provides an opportunity for Cheyenne Marie Mize to test the waters in the country arena, with a slow and sugary-sweet “Rest”. “Kind” is a repetetive, but sweetly played song, and the same holds true for “Friend” - another beautifully contrasting song. Some songs I cannot seem to get my head around - they just seem to be out of place in her repertoire (“Path”, a song more likely to be performed by Tori Amos or Enya) comes to mind). “With(Out)” seems to be just a filler song – or another attempt at reaching a different audience (albeit perhaps on another planet? “Lull” seems to fit that pattern. Just my two cents. --------Nick ARTIST BIO There’s so much space between notes on Cheyenne Marie Mize’s debut album, “Before Lately” (sonaBLAST!), but hardly any air. Last year, on “Among the Gold,” an EP of 19th-century traditionals recorded with Will Oldham, she was a steady beacon for the purposefully erratic Mr. Oldham. On this sometimes startling collection of tough, dreamy, cloudy-sky country and chamber pop, Ms. Mize deploys her tools sparingly but effectively. Ms. Mize, from Louisville, Ky., has a rare voice, sweet without being cloying, and weary without hopelessness. On “Not” and “Waiting” she’s deliberate and undistractable, suggesting a more centered Fiona Apple. At the beginning of “Lull” just a handful of piano notes add up to something oceanic, filling a full minute before she enters with a soft whisper. “Rest” uses just a few tools — a drowsy guitar, a brushed snare — to create a heavy air of expectation. “I just want a piece of your mind,” Ms. Mize sings, drawing the sentence out over several measures, “But your mind is on the rest of the world/And how can I compare to that?” ---- New York Times review
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