Cheyenne Marie Mize
Whimsical, haunting, dreamlike music that eschews the traditional formulae, Cheyenne Marie Mize presents a rainbow of juxtapositions. Her 2010 debut, Before Lately, has been described as rugged and gentle, spacious and intimate, desolate and uplifting. The New York Times went on to describe her as “sweet without being cloying, weary without hopelessness,” noting the vast space between notes, yet lack of air.
Indeed, her multifaceted songwriting does not fit neatly into categorization, much to the chagrin of the typical armchair critic. Before Lately was a slow-burning, introspective, meditative affair. Her follow-up EP, We Don’t Need offers an expansion of the sonic palette she’s established – with more dynamic moods, instrumentation, and experimentation. Using only a dense array of percussion, the rustic opener “Wishing Well” nods to both classic R&B flavors and adventurous modern pop. A somber funeral march provides the backbeat of “Don’t Call Me Beautiful” before Cheyenne showcases her upbeat troubadour chops within the resplendent piano swing of “Going Under.” “Keep It” and “It Lingers” conjures a bombastic form of classic college radio songwriting. Instrumental album closer “Back Around” goes full desert chamber rock – monolithic walls of cavernous sound fill the backdrop behind spacey vocal samples and cinematic strings. Indeed, We Don’t Need does not fit easily into a box.
Mize introduced herself internationally on the 10″ release Among the Gold with Bonnie “Prince” Billy – an inventive take on a variety of late 19th century American parlor music handpicked by Mize and Oldham. She continued her alliance with Ben Sollee and Daniel Martin Moore as a major player in the Dear Companion tour supporting their collaborative Sub Pop release in early 2010. After the release of her debut later that year and subsequent performances at South By Southwest, Cheyenne was chosen by NPR as one of their ten “Discoveries at SXSW 2011.”
Cheyenne Marie Mize will continue to surprise moving forward, as she has done with We Don’t Need. She’s truly an artist constantly in transition, and consistently exciting.