By LACHLAN BRYAN
Jen Mize grew up on the outskirts of Las Vegas, Nevada. Her early years were spent loitering around casinos (both her parents worked in the gambling game) and her first jobs included ‘hypnotist’s assistant’ and ‘singing gondolier’, but she still found time to perform for First Lady Hillary Clinton at The White House, play cello with the Las Vegas Symphony Orchestra and tour as a singer with The Duke Ellington band.
Mize taught herself guitar whilst working as an entertainer on cruise ships, before settling in Queensland with her Australian husband in 2006. It was then that she began to write and perform the songs that would make up her debut album – Fear, Pride and a Few Stubborn Angels.
Recorded in Brisbane, the record was released both here in Australia and in the USA, winning over critics and fans with its distinctly Americana sound – after all, how could Jen, with her ancestral roots shared between North Carolina Tobacco Farmers, Appalachian Moonshiners and the Lumbee Tribe of Native Americans, be anything less than authentic!?
In truth, Mize’s voice is quite astonishing – powerful when it needs to be, warm and gentle at all other times. The album contains lovingly crafted songs and can be filed alongside the likes of Lucinda Williams and Patty Griffin – fine company indeed. If you can’t catch Jen Mize in Melbourne this month, pick up Fear, Pride and a Few Stubborn Angels on iTunes.