Jen Cloher is a songwriter and performer living on unceded Wurundjeri land in Naarm (Melbourne), Cloher's new album I Am the River, The River is Me is released via Milk! Records/ Marathon Artists. Cloher’s taut, terse brand of rock is charged with the static tension that comes with being an eternal misfit; they have spoken truth to power with the shrewd eye that only an outsider can possess.
On their first album in five years, Cloher finally breathes out. I Am The River, The River Is Me, her fifth album, is verdant and rich; it luxuriates in stillness, and carries itself with cool, unfussy confidence. It suggests that home is not found in a place or a politic, but in the community you keep: Inspired by Cloher’s powerful matrilineal line of wāhine Māori, I Am The River, The River Is Me is not urgent, or hurried, but it is vital, made with the care and ease of someone who knows that their past began before birth, and will continue long after they’re gone.
I Am The River, The River Is Me is an album of remarkable generosity and grace. Recorded between Aotearoa (NZ) and Naarm (Melbourne) with producers Tom Healy (Tiny Ruins, Marlon Williams), Anika Ostendorf (Hachiku) and Cloher’s longtime drummer Jen Sholakis; the album brings in trailblazing artists including Emma Donovan (Gumbaynggirr, Yamatji), Kylie Auldist, Liz Stringer, Te Kaahu (Waikato-Tainui, Ngāti Tīpā), Ruby Solly (Kai Tahu, Waitaha, Kāti Māmoe) and members of the Naarm-based Kapa Haka, Te Hononga o ngā Iwi. The entire record feels communal — a celebration not just of Cloher, but of the rich, life-filled communities that surround them.
These are fiercely political songs that never feel heavy: They are energetic and full-blooded, alive with the knowledge that to simply exist — to scream and laugh and sing and make art — is as much a form of resistance as to fight.