The Sound Cafe
Australia's Jen Mize & The Rough 'n’ Tumble Release Superb, Soulful And Deeply Funky 'All Riled Up'
To get one’s knickers in a twist. To become excited, worked up, agitated, feisty, wild, titillated, stimulated, enraptured, fevered. In other words, somebody does it for you so well... you lose a bit of yourself.
Lots of things in life can get you All Riled Up. Traffic delays, bad manners, unpleasant neighbours, umpiring decisions, politics – you name it. But, Jen Mize & The Rough N’ Tumble’s new song is not about any of that. No Sir. Their new single is ALL about the good feels, the sexy feels, the swoony, warm rush of blood feels.
‘All Riled Up’, the 8-piece Country-Soul & Blues second single is feel good all the way. Following on from the great reaction to their debut single ‘Elevator Ride’ – the band turn it up a notch higher as the weather starts turning, the buds get blooming and the anticipation of good times ahead feels tantalizingly within reach. song doesn’t make your heart sing, best find a defibrillator!
What emerged was a natural, conversational hybrid, encompassing Mize’s early fondness for country and folk music, her teenage love of classic R&B, and a growing appreciation for maverick acoustic songwriters like Lyle Lovett, Patty Griffin, Lucinda Williams and John Prine.
“The more I looked back into my past,” she said, “the more it made sense that this music is who I am.”
As her guitar playing developed, Mize began playing sets of cover songs in local restaurants.
“After about three years of working on my own songs,” she explains, “I started to sneak a few into my sets. Slowly, people started asking, 'Who wrote that song?' I began to get more requests for my songs, then offers to play shows, and other local artists I respected started asking me to open for them.”
Australia proved to be an ideal home for the ruggedly poetic, soulfully twangy sound Mize arrived at. “Here, the lines between blues, country and folk can get a bit more blurred,” she explains. “There's a defiant musical mix in Australia that's pretty interesting.”
Through dedication, determination, and her own unique natural gifts, Mize had at last found her artistic calling. “There's been a music-shaped void in my life forever,” she concludes.
“I've been trying to fill it with a multitude of things. I always felt like I was being fickle: I'd get good at the cello then quit, work incredibly hard in musical theatre, then quit, and so on. But writing songs became a big ‘A-ha!' moment for me. It wasn't the accolades for my performance that mattered to me – it was the response to my songs. That made me feel like this is it, this is what I want to do with my life. It took a long time to get there – but that's my journey, and I couldn't have arrived here otherwise.”
In 2017, long-time songwriter pal Paddy McHugh came to ask Jen to co-host an Americana music show he wanted to start. From their Brisbane based station (Triple A) and 5 years on ‘Three Chords and the Truth’ has become a highly regarded radio show, broadcast nationally around Australia via The Community Radio Network and National Indigenous Radio Service. It’s a project close to Mize’s heart – sharing great music from around the world, with a healthy dose of Australian artists showcased.
With three well-received releases already under her belt, in 2019, Jen started juggling time in the studio making a new record with her new hand-picked 8-piece band ‘The Rough N’ Tumble’. The band consists of Jeremy Edwards (guitars/vocals), Mitch Power (guitars/vocals), Zac Watson (bass), Andy Shrav (keys/vocals), Steve Fearnley (drums), Tristan Rogers (trumpet) and Matt Luff (saxophone). The band line-up is significant not just for the members’ undeniable individual skills, but more importantly for their feel and temperament – Mize was seeking a band that was more ‘family’ than professional ring-in, able to bring that immediate sense of connection, enthusiasm and enjoyment.
“We want to shake a room, man. We want to vibrate an audience with music that feels like music used to feel. In the tradition of bands/artists like Bonnie Raitt, The Band, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Little Feat, The Black Crowes & Tedeschi Trucks Band, we are setting out to compel a crowd to shake their hips to new music that sounds classic.” Mize says. The aim was to “Get some real players together with a killer mix of old school rock, country/blues and soul. That stuff hits you, man- a tight rhythm section, two fantastic guitarists... when that B3 and Leslie get humming and those horns start in with their stabs and swells... Damn! It’s undeniable, still as good today as it was then. That’s what we are setting out to do with The Rough N’ Tumble.”
This project was, and is, a massive undertaking for Mize, who is self-producing with her band members, Jeremy Edwards & Mitch Power. The album was engineered by the formidable Jason Millhouse (Recordworks) and Mark Sholtez (Misty Mountain Sound).
Word has already hit the Australian music scene that Mize is working on something big, and she and the band are feeling the excitement and anticipation build. The first single from the album was released in June of 2022, with a handful of singles following, before the self-titled release lands in early 2023.