Cheyenne Mize: 3-fingered bloody guitar, Wayne Coyne and playing in Lexington

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Cheyenne Marie MizeBY KAKIE URCH

Cheyenne Marie Mize (iTunes), the extraordinary young folksinger and instrumentalist from Louisville, is wheeling into town for a local gig at Cosmic Charlie’s on Saturday, August 4, touring behind her new EP “We Don’t Need,”  (Yep Roc) and bringing Kelli Scarr of Brooklyn with her as an opening act.

Mize, whose work can also be heard on her first release  ”Before Lately” and on her collaborations with Ben Sollee and Daniel Martin Moore (“Dear Companion”) and Bonnie “Prince” Billy (Among The Gold) and on the compilation Louisville is for Lovers, sings and plays her own compositions in a gorgeous voice — closest to Emmy Lou in this generation, I’d say — and with great musicianship — on fiddle, banjo, mandolin, guitar and keys.

She has played in Lexington a number of times at Al’s Bar, Natasha’s, Cosmic Charlie’s and at the unforgettable Bonnie “Prince” Billy show at the Red Mile’s Round Barn.

We bothered her to send us some notes from the road on different topics and she complied with great humor — in an e-mail that arrived at the usual musician time: 3:34 a.m.

Her comments give an insight into the last year on the road, the new material and playing in Lexington, and portend a good show on Saturday.

On The Material, Some of it Run Through a “Velvets” Garden on “We Don’t Need”

“In the summer of 2011, I had a group of songs (some older, some newer) that I really wanted to get out into the world. They each needed slightly different treatment in the studio, but by and large the work was done by me and my co-producer/recording engineer Kevin Ratterman.”

“I think I was the most pleasantly surprised by how “Call Me Beautiful” turned out- the sampled strings and extra vocals weren’t necessarily in the original plan but ended up really making it one of my favorites.”

“I don’t think the 6 songs on We Don’t Need necessarily have a unifying theme or mood. They’re actually all quite different. But they were all kind of stand out songs from the last couple years that I have been writing- ones that I didn’t think would be involved in my next full-length album. I don’t think it signifies a new style of songwriting as much as it does just a progression of my writing over time.”

On The Road

“I’m writing you now from a hotel room in West Nashville. We just played Grimey’s Basement tonight, heading your way in the next few days. Right now I’m just taking things as they come, no huge plans at the moment, but things always seem to materialize at the last minute just when I think I’m going to have some down time!”

” The longest drives are always the worst. My favorite show this year so far is probably when we played in NYC at the Mercury Lounge in April- and we got some extra down time there which is always a plus.”

On Lexington, The City and The Venue

“Being a long-time Louisvillian, I have always felt close to Lexington (you know, except in March). I had friends that went to UK and I seriously considered it before I found out about UofL’s Music Therapy program. I also have some great musician friends based in Lexington and have had some really fun experiences at Cosmic Charlie’s and Al’s Bar.”

“I think you must be speaking of the show I played with the Bonnie “Prince” Billy band in the spring of 2009- which was by far the longest, hottest, most awesome show I’ve probably played thus far. It was the very end of our 3 month tour, so I don’t think any of us were ready to let it go.”

On Multiinstrumentality

As far as instruments go, I came to the piano first, violin and guitar shortly after that, and have slowly accumulated other stringed things as the years have gone by.

Most Memorable Festival Moment

It was a little more than a year ago, but my time at the Nelsonville Music Festival in Ohio was maybe the most memorable. I cut the end of my left index finger (almost off- seriously there are pictures) about a week before the festival.

Keep in mind this is the biggest festival I have ever played AND my set was on the main stage AND we were playing just a few bands before The Flaming Lips AND I had to re-learn to play guitar with only three fingers because of the injury AND I had to play with a huge bandage wrapped around my hand.

Not to mention the fact that Wayne Coyne was watching the whole set (no pressure) and then it rained all day and night and there was no choice but to enjoy the Lips’ set on stage, dancing around with 30 people dressed as Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz in the pouring rain covered in mud and confetti. Won’t be forgetting that one…

On What To Expect This Weekend

“I’ll have the full band with me, and maybe even a Lexington great or two joining me on stage. Also, I’ve recently acquired a pipe organ which is powered solely by bourbon which might make its first and only stage debut…so don’t miss it. But most of all, you should come and check out the lovely Kelli Scarr and her band- they’re here all the way from Brooklyn and don’t make it to KY so often…”

Cheyenne Marie Mize on iTunes



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