“Past the lakes, to where Mount Beauty took my breath away…”
I’m at quite an interesting point in my life where a lot of Australian musicians that I admire and grew up with have turned into friends and acquaintances, people that I know and trust. Five years ago, as a nervous sixteen-year-old, I asked for Jen Cloher‘s autograph at a show she did with The Audreys, Ash Grunwald and Xavier Rudd. These days, I’m happy to count her as a friend. Her 2009 album, Hidden Hands, resonated with me like few other LPs did that year. When personal tragedy struck for me earlier this year, Jen was one of the first people I spoke to about it. Hell, her song Rain was one of the first songs I ever learned on guitar. In other words, Jen and I have a history – and I’m so glad that it gets to continue here.
Mount Beauty is the first song from Jen’s first album without her band The Endless Sea, entitled In Blood Memory. It starts with spiralling acoustic picking before drifting into a gritty folk-rock number, replete with Cloher’s great storytelling and bold imagery. The latter is particularly touched on in the Bec Kingma-directed video, which sees Cloher take her guitar out of the city and into the depths of the woods, through freezing waters and filthy tunnels. Not only does she look totally badass while doing it, but it adds layer upon layer of intensity and grit to the song’s dynamics. I love a strong narrative in videos, and I love it when it’s making a great song even better. Lord, it’s great to have Jen Cloher back on the scene. You should see her live next month at these venues.
I hope you enjoyed this horribly biased piece of writing. Hey, that’s what friends are for.