22 Jun 2024
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Jenny Mitchell - Single Review: Trouble Finds A Girl with Tami Neilson

14 Oct 2021 // A review by Kev Rowland

The Auckland Folk Festival earlier this year was an embarrassment of riches, with so many great Kiwi artists playing multiple sets, and I spent the weekend trying to soak in as much as possible. There is no doubt that one of the highlights was Jenny Mitchell, who with her sisters Nicola and Maegan, provided warm and emotional country music in a style which seemed very much at odds with her age. I was supposed to be seeing her play a house concert last month, but COVID got in the way, and I am now hoping against hope that she will be able to play Auckland in December. On that night she will be playing with Tami Neilson, a bona fide country legend, but until then we can satisfy ourselves by listening to their new song, Trouble Finds A Girl, which was written together at an APRA Songhubs songwriting camp. It came out of a conversation regarding their own experiences, along with the work undertaken by Stuff journalist Alison Mau who investigated #metoo claims within the New Zealand music industry.

“The song is for my younger self, who put up with far too much out of fear that if I didn’t ‘play the game’ I might lose opportunities,” says Jenny. “It’s for my little sisters, who I hope to be able to guide and educate as they make their way through the music industry. It’s for the world in general, and any person who’s ever felt unsafe; inside the entertainment industry or not.”

It commences gently, creating the emotional feel and atmosphere I have come to expect from Jenny, where the listener falls into her world, where nothing else matters. The music may be gentle and restrained, but the lyrics are powerful, designed to resonate and to make people think. This is a song about my daughters, my wife, every woman. Tami takes over for the second verse, again keeping it mellow, but she has an edge of restrained power that lets everyone know it is taking all her effort to keep it sweet, as she wants to cry to the world. They combine on the chorus, but while they lift it slightly, there is still the emotional presence.

Tami kicks off the third verse, with Jenny coming in later, but it is at the bridge where they finally let loose some of the passion where it becomes gospel, as they are joined by Nicola, Maegan, Jenny’s father Ron Mitchell, as well as New Zealand artist Kaylee Bell, and Australian artist Fanny Lumsden. We get vocal gymnastics over the top of the choir, and one just knows this is going to be a massively extended singalong at gigs. It ends with Jenny totally unaccompanied singing the words, It’s trouble’s turn to lose. The song is packed full of warmth and empathy, emotion and atmosphere, with incredibly strong words. The music is gentle, with acoustic and electric guitars, brushed percussion and bass, providing just the right amount of support, as we are drawn to the voices and the words. This is a siren call of passion which we all need to heed.

Rating: ( 5 / 5 )
 

About Jenny Mitchell

Originally from Gore, Jenny Mitchell is a Wellington-based alt-country songwriter with songs wrapped in wisdom and wit. Her music defies easy categorisation but if you admire music by genre-defying artists from Emmylou Harris to Kasey Chambers, you’ll love Jenny.

Described by Rolling Stone as, “her best work yet,” her 2022 album Tug of War, is a deep and emotional dive for the artist and the listener. No stranger to the road, she’s opened for acts including Tami Neilson, The Warratahs and Nadia Reid – and toured her headline show through Aotearoa and Australia.


Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Jenny Mitchell

Releases

Tug of War
Year: 2022
Type: Album
Wildfires
Year: 2018
Type: Album
The Old Oak
Year: 2015
Type: Album

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