At the end of the month Jen Cloher will embark on her first headlining tour of the US. Although she may not be a household name in the United States, in her native Australia she has a reputation as being a leader, as well as one of the most respected artists working right now. Her 2017 album, Jen Cloher, demonstrates why many on the scene look to Cloher as a role model. Thematically, the record looks at life as a touring musician from the perspective of the wife who awaits her rockstar to return home. Through the guitar driven album, Cloher’s brilliant, poetic lyrics examine the strain that puts on the relationship and on her own sense self.
In Australia the album was released on Milk! Records, which Cloher co-founded along with her wife Courtney Barnett. The pair continue to be two of the most outspoken artists in Australia, lending their voices to the Marriage Equality movement and standing with CAMP COPE (Backstage’s 2017 Discover of the year) when they protested the lack of representation at the Falls Music Festival (It should come as no surprise that a lack of representation also plagues US Music Festivals as well). Cloher also has been especially vocal in advocating for the rights of artists. Simply put, when Cloher uses her voice, it is usually to lift others up.
In November Cloher played her first shows in the US, opening for Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile. When the tour stopped in Boston, I was able to talk with Cloher about writing this intensely personal record and how she is able to weave the personal and the political into one seamless piece of art . During this conversation, I was reminded of Cloher’s natural leadership ability. Later that night, when I saw her play a captivating six song set, I was reminded why Cloher is one of the best artists Australia has to offer.