South Australian singer-songwriter Juliet Oliver first became interested in country music through Miley Cyrus’s alter ego, Hannah Montana. Oliver was 11 at the time, and at that same age her parents bought her a guitar. Over time her musical influences changed to Dolly Parton, Patsy Cline, Linda Ronstadt and Jason Isbell. Oliver is still only 19 years old but some of those later influences can be heard on her self-titled debut EP, released earlier this month.
Oliver has Cline’s edge mixed with Parton’s warmth, and Parton and Ronstadt’s pop melodic sensibilities. The EP contains four country-pop songs that hit the right notes melodically and lyrically. The adjective that first comes to mind is ‘sweet’, and that is not at all a pejorative – pop songs should be sweet, and with country pop it’s often the country part that gives them a little dollop of pain or regret or wistfulness to balance it out.
Oliver has struck that balance, and this is a perfect little package that introduces a very talented newcomer.
Juliet Oliver is out now.