In this day and age, country music is a different and multifaceted beast to what it was 80 years ago. Back then, in simpler times, the music reflected tales both true and imagined about day-to-day life, heroes and adventures. The likes of Gene Autry, Roy Rogers and Sons of the Pioneers ruled the wireless and silver screen with crooned cowboy songs. Much of it was for show but there’s no denying the beauty and craft in many of the songs from that time. Singer songwriters Jen Mize and Mark Sholtez have come together to create a wonderful tribute to those songs with a collection of intimate, heartfelt and authentic interpretations.
Mize and Sholtez both possess exceptional voices,. Clearly schooled in not just country music, they draw on jazz, soul, blues and folk which adds to the timeless sound, whether they are harmonising on the iconic ‘Home On The Range’ and ‘Cool Water’ or taking solo flights on songs such as Mize’s soul-baring and moving rendition of ‘The Black Hills Of Dakota’ and Sholtez’s ‘Wand’rin’ Star’, which sounds like Chet Baker serenading last drinks in an empty saloon.
Mention needs to be made of the top shelf playing on Twilight On The Trail. Everything is understated and delivered with a soft and consummate touch, adding perfectly to the aural equivalent of a sunset over open plains and the glowing embers of a heartwarming campfire.