A couple of years ago, I had a dream year of gigs, including 3 international gigs (I don’t go to many of the big gigs lately – they are just too much on the pocket, even when I am working.) I had to go to these three, though. My favourite female country singer/songwriter, Mary Chapin Carpenter, the wonderful Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell and the incredible Iris DeMent. My friends, The Weeping Willows had been a support for Iris in Melbourne. I said, bummer, it would have been good if you guys were supporting her in Sydney. Laura said, you will love the support. Her name is Jen Mize. I had no idea who Jen was. I was a total ignoramus.
Onto the stage steps Jen. OMG. Yes, my dear favourite trees were spot on. I loved Jen from the first note. I was going to love that night anyway. One of my heroes was going to walk on that stage and play for me, but a good appetizer is often just as important.
After that, I ran into the Las Vegas come Queenslander a few times, at a sombre occasion (Karl Broadie’s day at Rooty Hill) and at a happy occasion at Petersham Bowlo with those Willows and some up and coming young lady called Fanny Lumsden.
I reviewed Jen’s album, Warnings and Wisdom (which has become one of my favourite albums and then I bought her older album, Fear, Pride and a few Stubborn Angels. Both albums are necessary for your collections.
I have seen Jen a few times this year – a few times at Tamworth in January and also with Lachlan Bryan and Mitch Power at the Django Bar.
I love her new radio show, Three Chords and the Truth on Thursdays with Paddy McHugh. It tackles some meaty subjects and the music is just awesome.
Jen’s music is folky, bluesy, swampy, to the point and beyond and extremely earthy. She has the most incredible voice and her songs are so honest and outside the box. She is not afraid to tackle slightly and not so slightly controversial topics in her songs or off the record.
Jen is a great addition to the Australian Country Music scene. Her gutsy honesty and wholehearted passion for essential “real” music make her a great leader in the Alt. Country movement. I play her albums a lot, especially the the later one. I hope that Jen continues to deliver this kind of music and the home truths that we don’t always like to hear, but we know that they are for real.
To try and describe Jen’s voice or compare her to anyone, would be a grave injustice. Just put an album on for a spin or two and you will realise that her music doesn’t need any explanation.
Just feel, think, enjoy. Thank you for the music Jen, please always call Australia your home…..at least in part.