Calling all Indie/Folk/Acoustic rock fans: award-winning Buffalo singer-songwriter Jess Chizuk has been on our radar for a while now and the soulful songstress will be releasing her long-awaited new album Lehigh Valley Line on September 16th. Today we’re delighted to team up with Jess to exclusively unveil the LP’s beautifully honest and heartwarming second track, “Eyes On The Horizon.”
Stream it now and enjoy a special Q&A about the song and album below!
MEB: “Eyes On The Horizon” has this very comforting, storyteller vibe to it. Were the lyrics inspired by any particular event in your life?
Jess Chizuk: I wrote “Eyes On The Horizon” when I was in the middle of a pretty rough spot about a year and a half ago. It was one of those times where no matter how much effort you’re putting in, not even the smallest thing wants to go in your favor. Needless to say I was frustrated and exhausted, and this song was the best thing that came out of those few weeks. But I’m far from the first songwriter to say that their favorite work came from a tough situation!
What do you feel makes “Eyes On The Horizon” stand out from the other songs on Lehigh Valley Line?
Most of the other tracks are inspired by events and things that have happened to me with the aim of telling stories. “Eyes on the Horizon” was written more for myself, so to speak. I wrote it with the intention that I could listen back on it when things aren’t going well down the road, as a reminder that something good can come from rough times, with a real “keep your head up” vibe. Cliche? Probably, but I think having that in mind while I wrote it helped strengthen the song.
Your vocals are so soulful and engaging, at times soft and other times soaring – are there any specific vocalists you looked to for inspiration on this song and album?
Well, I’ve always loved super smoky, raspy vocals – Janis Joplin and Melissa Etheridge and the like. That kind of tone just feels more soulful to me than a lot of other vocal styles. Unfortunately I wasn’t blessed with that kind of timbre to my voice. So I do what I can with dynamics and try really get myself in the mindset of the song so I can be as emotive as possible, to work towards a similar kind of feel despite my much clearer tone.
If fans can take away one message or detail from Lehigh Valley Line, what would you like them to know?
A lot of the music I’ve released in the past has been heavily produced and backed by a lot of other musicians, and super high production values were kind of paramount because of the people involved. While I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working on those projects, I wanted this to be really in my control so it could sound more like I actually do at live shows! So expect something different – more mellow and down to earth – but musically still my best work to date in my opinion. It’s all about the songs this time around.
Any other upcoming events/live shows we should know about?
The CD release is the big one! Hat Trix Bar & Grill in Hamburg, NY at 7pm on September 16th. However I encourage anyone looking for more live performances to check out my website (www.jesschizukmusic.com/tour.html) for a full show listing!
Many thanks to Jess for taking some time out to speak with us about her new song and album! If you dig it and want to pre-order Lehigh Valley Line, you can do so via Amazon here.