A singer, songwriter, and guitarist with a voice that puts equal value on grit, scorn, and tenderness, Jen Cloher is an indie rock musician from Australia. A native of Adelaide, Cloher moved to Sydney after secondary school to study at the National Institute of Dramatic Art, but pursued music instead of acting upon graduating. Her debut EP, Permanent Marker, emerged in 2005 on the Shiny Records label.
Released under the name Jen Cloher & the Endless Sea, her first full-length album was 2006's Dead Wood Falls. Collaborators included violinist Andrea Summer, pianist Ross Calia, guitarist Michael Hubbard, bass player Geoffrey Dunbar, and drummer Jen Sholakis. The LP led to an ARIA Music Awards nomination for Best Female Artist. Her next release, 2009's Hidden Hands, was informed by the effects of her mother's worsening Alzheimer's. Also credited to Cloher & the Endless Sea, its rejiggered lineup included guitarist Tom Healy.
After some time off related to the loss of both of her parents in 2011, she returned to music in 2012 with "Mount Beauty," a split single paired with Courtney Barnett's "History Erase." The song also appeared on her third LP, 2013's In Blood Memory, which arrived via Milk! Records (Australia) and Vitamin Records (U.S.), this time under her name alone. That same year, Cloher's vocal harmonies appeared on Barnett's album Avant-Gardener.
In 2015, Cloher and Barnett released another split single, "Needle in the Hay"/"Swan Street Swagger," and the following year, Shiny Records issued Dead Wood Falls on vinyl for the first time, to mark its tenth anniversary. Milk! Records and Marathon Artists released Cloher's fourth LP, the eponymous Jen Cloher, in 2017. With guests including Barnett and Kurt Vile, it was well-received by critics and fans alike in her native Australia, where it reached number five on ARIA's album chart. ~ Marcy Donelson