You may know Melissa Payne as the female half of Express and Company – the sweet background vocals, the killer fiddle player, the on-stage joke teller (when forced by Dylan), but did you know she has a solo career as well?
Her second album, produced by Greg Keelor (this is where I should note what popular Canadian band he’s been in for 20 years, but.. you should know! If you do not – Google!), has received a really nice response from journalists, and is setting her up for a long run in this crazy music biz.
Today’s Thursday Track is the title track from her newest effort, High and Dry. Enjoy!
Some praise for High and Dry:
“Payne delivers a solid collection of heartbreak songs without over-singing a single one of them. Her second solo album, High and Dry, is beautifully arranged and performed by a who’s who cast of musicians, including Michael Boguski (Blue Rodeo) on piano and organ, Anna Ruddick (Ladies of the Canyon) on bass, Graham Walsh (Holy Fuck) on synth and Dylan Ireland on guitar and drums. Produced by Greg Keelor, the record recalls what’s best about the genre so epitomized by Blue Rodeo — gentle, sincere, road trip-ready Canadiana. Title track ‘High and Dry’ is the energetic standout single, but the slower songs (‘Not The Only One,’ ‘Cool West Wind,’ ‘Cold Out There’) provide just as much punch, thanks to great musicianship.” – Exclaim!
“‘Kitchen Walls’ is a rip-roaring piano led, rocking old fashioned Country belter, and when the fiddle cuts through the middle section a huge smile lit up my face. The album flits across the Country genres like a butterfly and songs like ‘Call Me a Fool’ and ‘Cool West Wind’ both country songs worthy of Nanci Griffith’s typewriter; yet the punchy ‘Gunning For Me’ brought back memories of the first time I heard Lucinda all those years ago.” – No Depression
“The Canadian songstress has spent many years honing her craft; be it playing guitar, fiddle or writing songs, time spent learning from the experts around her has served her in good stead. But it’s her husky, soulful, sunny voice that comes naturally, and it’s that which sets her apart, sparkling in its purity and in the rawness of her emotion. From the gentle melancholic tones of ‘Downtown’ to the wistful Americana of ‘Call Me A Fool’, Melissa hits us square and hard with every wailing pedal steel, every aching vibrato, every well-placed lyric, drowning in honesty and realness…I could play this on repeat and just let it wash over me, cleansed and content.” – For The Country Record