Any notion that poises the Music Issue as an outlet for the latest music happenings seems a little silly right now, as I present to you “Among The Gold” by Cheyenne Mize and Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy. Despite having been released well over a year ago, comprising a handful of hundred year old American parlor songs, this music doesn’t seem dated in it’s sepia haze, whatsoever! We revisit this one as Mize sets out to tour the US Midwest, offering a free download of this collaboration with the ever-prolific Bonnie Billy.
If you are a follower of Will Oldham and his live show, you may remember Mize singing with the travellin’ Bonnie band throughout late 2008 and from the resultant ‘Funtown Comedown’ concert album. This recorded team-up eventuated following an invitation to contribute his mythic timbre to a couple of Mize’s favorite antique tunes. They so enjoyed the initial sessions that Bonnie chose to stay, contributing to the musical arrangements and singing with Mize on all six songs.
This set is accompanied by little touches of guitar, autoharp and fiddle, with performances that feel bouncily disjointed, affecting an evening around the lounge room in your corsets and smoking jackets, listening to your Victorian Age parents wander through a few of their after-dinner favorites. There are moments that feel recited, but just as soon, the pair of them slip into doe-eyed duet mode and take you somewhere else completely. Unless you are a fan of parlor songs or most things antique, you may be dubious of spinning this one, but chancing “Among The Gold” will offer a rewarding experience in the form of melodious baubles of pleasantry that can be applied to breezy afternoon kickbacks or floating down in the evening after work.
All of that being said, this record didn’t exactly blow my mind, nor did it have me scrambling to find other collections of parlor music or any other 19th century music in it’s wake. It has a wonderful air to it, in it’s projected world of lace doilies and glass encased pheasants. You can almost hear a horse drawn carriage rolling past your window, if you inclined to let you’re mind wander! If this sounds like your cup of tea, then you can grab it here: cheyennemariemize.bandcamp.com/album/among-the-gold