Discovering a talented new artist is very rewarding and at times unusual. Such is the case with 57 year old Arkansas native Jim Mize. Like the best of southern songwriters, he paints detailed, often stark character portraits and delivers his tales mostly with unadorned rock n’ roll – bar room style. Two kindred southern songwriters –guitarists, John Paul Keith and Jimbo Mathus add their axes as well.
Whether Mize is writing about boozers, lost souls, or modestly satisfied blue collar types, it’s evident that he is writing from first-hand experience. “I’ve been through nine hurricanes and I don’t know how many tornadoes, and seen way too many car wrecks where people got killed”, says Mize, the insurance adjuster who has traveled through the South and West for more than 30 years. Nonetheless, he prefers writing love songs like the captivating opener, “Rabbit Hole” and “This Moment with You”. As the album unfolds, it’s clear that Mize can write gorgeously indelible melodies too, evidenced best on the album’s centerpiece, “Drunk Moon Falling”. “Eminence, Kentucky” depicts Mize’s equally expressive balladeer style. Arkansas residents may be fortunate enough to see Mize live. The rest of us may need to wait a few years unless this recording explodes on radio. It’s more than deserving and is one of this year’s best surprises.
– Jim Hynes