Midwest singer-songwriter Jerrika Mighelle releases their album, Be Brave. Produced with acclaimed guitarist Evan Middlesworth, the album is a testament to the folk-rock singer’s sonic and personal evolution.
“Be Brave is a deep statement about the role of self-determination for all people in a highly politicized and polarized society. As one of modern country-folk-rock’s most engaging, and engaged, queer artists, she is forging new paths for a community that seeks to find the kind of happiness all human beings aspire to.” - Americana Highways
Within the grooves of singer-songwriter Jerrika Mighelle’s third album, Be Brave, you’ll hear the kind of determination it takes to stake your claim upon the world in a time of upheaval. Jerrika’s new album comes at a propitious time for this ever-evolving artist - they co-emceed Eau Claire’s prestigious Blue Ox Music Festival in late June, as well as playing a rousing set on the Backwoods Stage that brought their music to a new group of fans.
Be Brave is about opening up space for yourself in the world, and it’s also about the passage of time. The album delivers the Eau Claire singer-songwriter’s message via courageous folk rock that’s hard stuff and pulls no punches. Jerrika’s vision as an artist takes the toughness of the post-pandemic, politically and culturally charged moment and returns it to a place of love.
With recognition coming from the Americana Music Association and Americana Highways, both of which has highlighted the single track and video of the first single from Be Brave, “The Fuel.” As well as airplay and features on The Current 89.3 FM’s Local Show for the title track, “Be Brave” - Jerrika is poised to take their place as a major voice in modern folk rock.
Adventures in Americana declares: “Be Brave showcases Mighelle’s powerhouse vocals, a midtempo country-rock sound and expressive guitar solos. The album represents a sonic evolution for Mighelle.” In addition, Mighelle’s powerful folk rock music has also been praised on KFAI 90.3 FM’s WomenFolk Radio.
Jerrika has already taken their place as a daring artist in Americana and folk rock, starting with their 2017 debut Like the Sea, noted for its “heavenly tones that ascend into the stratosphere,” as Converge Radio 101.9FM enthused. Their 2021 album Brightest Star continued Jerrika’s evolution as a great chronicler of the ephemerality of all things human, with Be Brave a no-holds-barred account of Jerrika’s journey toward the kind of centered life we all deserve.
Growing up in Eau Claire - and with time spent in Utah and California before Jerrika’s family moved back to Eau Claire, where she's lived for years as a closeted queer with a passion for baseball and, later, music, Jerrika began creating her own take on folk rock with her sisters as the drummer for the band QuinnElizabeth. After going solo with Like the Sea, Jerrika has also embraced sobriety, writing many of the songs on Be Brave, including the title track, after making this momentous change.
What you hear in the title track of Be Brave is a profound message - life is fleeting, and we all deserve to take the stage as actors in our own plays. You can also hear the power of Jerrika’s folk-blues vocals, which at times recall the power of early Joan Baez. There’s pain and redemption in their performance of the title track and “The Fuel” - the latter the first single from Be Brave - all enhanced by producer and guitarist Evan Middlesworth’s sympathetic guidance. Lauren Anderson’s bass and Matt Happala’s drumming complete the picture. Give credit to Evan’s recording studio aesthetic as well - Jerrika and company cut Be Brave at his Pine Valley studio outside Eau Claire. Evan’s finely judged guitar solo on “Be Brave” provides a second voice on the record.
Like the album's previous critically acclaimed singles, “My Greatness” and “The Fuel,” “Be Brave” is the sound of an artist who has found their voice through hard work and the kind of focused introspection that sharpens your take on the world.
Be Brave is indeed a sonic evolution for an artist who combines the fervor of folk icons like Joan Baez with the heartfelt songwriting only a musician committed to making sense of the fractured nature of the modern world can muster. Be Brave is about longing, as in “Maddi’s Song,” which features an insistent bass line and these lyrics: “I could lose you / In many ways / Oh, I want to keep you safe / I want to keep you / You are my way.” Their passion for the classic era of folk comes through equally in “Sister” and “River on the Run,” and each song on Be Brave adds to the cumulative effect of a major statement from an ever-changing artist.
Americana Highways on “The Fuel”: “Combined with the powerful, uplifting music that Mighelle & Co. crafted in the Eau Claire studio Pine Hollow with co-producer and guitarist Evan Middlesworth, it’s a deep statement about the role of self-determination for all people in a highly politicized and polarized society. “
In regards to the album, Jerrika commented: “The rush and the noise of this world is constantly banging against our minds and hearts, making it nearly impossible to hear our own calling. Our existence is fragile and fleeting. Whether we are remembered after we are gone or not is not even up to us. What is, is how we choose to live our lives right now, while we are alive. So why not make the most of it and live our lives to the fullest. So be brave and be open to discovering what that means for your life. And if you already know what that means, I hope this song inspires you to be brave and chase after that full-heartedly.”
Currently living in Minneapolis, Jerrika is pursuing their master's degree in human rights studies from the University of Minneapolis. They continue to tour to growing audiences across the country, and in June co-emceed Eau Claire’s Blue Ox Music Festival with Justin Bruhn of Pert Near Sandstone.