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Jaye Madison Releases New EP

Modern country music – is there all that much to it? Take a few basic instruments and put them behind a vocalist who can belt out smart lyrics, and most would figure they had a good formula for making a splash on the FM dial.

Contemporary country is, in reality, a little more complicated than that, and when analyzing it through the bold lens of Jaye Madison, we’re forced to acknowledge just how strange and spellbinding a musical universe we’re living in right now. Jaye Madison’s new EP MIRЯOR: Framework takes elements of folk, pop, country, and a touch of bar band-style moxie and throws them into an aesthetical blender right off the top in “Catch 22.”

From the harmony-born haze of this opening cut to the almost Hank Williams-esque strut of “Devil I Know,” there’s rarely an instance in this tracklist where we’re left unstimulated by vocals and instruments the same. “Shadow Man” is the solemn ballad I wasn’t expecting to light up my mid-March much as “In the Grey” is the retro-country revival I wouldn’t have anticipated finding next to the other songs on this record, and while opposites attract in MIRЯOR: Framework, they’re never made to be so experimental as to repel the occasional country fan from its content.  

The chemistry between these players is remarkable and helps to manage the eclectic nature of the music supremely well. I don’t know that the folkisms of “Catch 22” would make as much sense were it not as fluidly realized as it is in this record, and while Jaye Madison primarily centers on its chief melodic centerpieces, the project doesn’t feel like a vanity vehicle for a solo artist at all. On the contrary, the lack of predictable arrangements in songs like “Shadow Man” and “In the Grey” makes it easy to pick up on the numerous influences different contributors are bringing to the table here, and not the singular concept of a puppet master in the background. MIRЯOR: Framework lends quarter to no bland harmonies, filler songs, overdone guitar solos, or self-righteous lyricisms all found commonly in the commercial faction of western music right now; it’s all creativity, often in its rawest and most unfiltered form.  

I hear the foundations of a proper LP in this extended play that I hope to see in further development later this year, but even if it takes Jaye Madison a little longer to hammer out their new full-length, this latest release indicates that the wait will be more than worth it. As a critic, I’m just not seeing the same ambitiousness to the right of the American underground as I am on the left side, and you don’t have to look much further than an indie work like this one to know exactly what I mean. Jaye Madison rep Nashville exceptionally well in MIRЯOR: Framework. The city is experiencing an indie country renaissance that a lot of journalists predicted coming to fruition as early as ten years ago, and with increased exposure for songs like “Devil I Know” and “In the Grey,” the buzz is bound to grow even stronger.  

Mindy McCall



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