Cheyenne Marie Mize, out of Louisville, is nothing if not
self-assured, taking up every inch of sonic space in her latest six-song EP,
strutting and stomping and occasionally revealing heartbreaking vulnerability
in a broad range of rock and Americana styles. A versatile singer, she
navigates the spoke-sung, blues-y chants of stand-out “Wishing Well,” the
tremulous self-laceration of “Call Me Beautiful,” the road-house diva-isms of
“Going Under” and the indie rocking directness of “Keep It” without a miss. She
even plays all the instruments – raucous washboard scrapes and cowbell rattles,
plaintive guitars and enough piano rolls and slides to make a Western’s saloon
Not that Mize couldn’t have help if she asked for it. She
first caught the spotlight working with Will Oldham on his Among the Gold compilation of late 19th century American parlor
music. From there, she joined the Dear Companion tour with nouveau
traditionalists Ben Sollee and Daniel Martin Moore. We Don’t Need, a six-song EP, is her first release since the debut
full-length Before Lately in 2010,
and the first for the Yep Roc label.
But no, she goes it alone – and that means she does what she
pleases. She hop-skips between genres and styles willy-nilly, without even a look over the shoulder to see if
you’re following along. Looking for another shot of the sassy, savvy,
junk-percussion-punched talking blues of “Wishing Well”? You’ll look in vain. Transfixed by the
excruciating honesty “Call Me Beautiful”?
Hit the repeat because there’s nothing else like it on the record.
Indeed, after these two songs, the intensity diminishes markedly, through by-the-numbers
Americana rave-ups (“Going Under”), 1990s indie-girl confessions (“Keep It”), and
a bizarrely different, electronically-altered dream ballad (“Back Around”) at
The shifts are so drastic that you’ll catch yourself
thinking: Wait, what record is
this? Still? You’re kidding.
None of it is bad, but none is quite so good as the first
two songs. I’m not saying I want a whole album of “Wishing Wells” or even a
side of “Call Me Beautifuls” but when something works this well, why not push
Well” “Call Me Beautiful” JENNIFER