Twilight on the Trail
Jen Mize and Mark Sholtez
Twilight on the Trail is a beautifully rendered collection of iconic cowboy songs from the golden era of American popular music.
This collaborative work from Jen Mize and Mark Sholtez takes a fresh look at the music of the great cowboy crooners (Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, Dale Evans, Sons of the Pioneers), and like the landscape that inspired these songs, the album is rich in musical detail yet remains wonderfully open and spacious.
Jen Mize grew up in a ranch house in the heart of the Mojave Desert with dreams of being a rodeo queen. A descendant of the Native American Lumbee people, for Jen the stories captured in these old cowboy songs often run parallel to her own story and her childhood experiences exploring the rugged terrain of the Sierra Nevada and the Rocky Mountains.
Sholtez however has a vastly different connection to this music. He came to know the old west through a Hollywood lens, and in the form of the singing cowboy. Ultimately, it was Sholtez’s ongoing fascination with these lonesome cowboy chronicles, underscored by a perfect Hollywood soundtrack, that inspired the recording of Twilight on the Trail. The late-night call of the cowboy crooner was not all that different from the sounds emerging from the big city jazz clubs of the time, making it an ideal musical meeting place for this collaboration.
On first listen, it’s clear that Mize and Sholtez are the real deal. Building on their existing bodies of creative work and drawing from their rich and diverse musical backgrounds, they bring new life and new meaning to this timeless material. From the playful to-and-fro of “Lights of Old Santa Fe” and “My Rifle, My Pony and Me”, to the understated “Wand’rin’ Star”, and unapologetically heartbreaking “Black Hills of Dakota”, Mize and Sholtez’s vocal performances are charming, honest, and personal, highlighting both their commitment and connection to these songs. As a result, Twilight on the Trail feels equally nostalgic and unexpected.
MARK SHOLTEZ first came to the public’s attention with his chart topping, Tommy LiPuma (Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Miles Davis) produced debut Real Street (Verve/Universal). The APRA Awarding winning, ARIA Award nominated album may have seen him topping jazz charts, but Sholtez has always been first and foremost a singer-songwriter.
Mark’s second album, The Distance Between Two Truths (Warner), featuring production by Larry Klein (Joni Mitchell, Tracy Chapman, Shawn Colvin), saw his dedication to songwriting craft bought clearly into focus. Since then Sholtez’ music has become increasingly hard to pin down to one genre, crossing musical borders to take in elements of 70’s pop, jazz, modern day Americana, and Laurel Canyon folk, making for a consistently intriguing listen.
JEN MIZE possesses the rare ability to live in a wide range of musical worlds with absolute authenticity. Her music can be both commanding and subtle, and draws on a diverse range of influences from Sarah Vaughan and James Taylor, to Bonnie Raitt and John Prine.
Since the 2014 release of her stellar debut album Fear, Pride & a Few Stubborn Angels, and her widely acclaimed 2016 sophomore release Warnings and Wisdom (lovingly produced by Shane Nicholson), Jen has been busy touring, recording, and earning the accolades that come with the hard work of being an Alt Country troubadour.
Through the success of her national radio program Three Chords and the Truth (with Paddy McHugh), this celebrated songwriter and recording artist is also recognised as one of Australia’s foremost authorities on Americana and Alt-Country music.