“In a sea of pretty female singer-songwriter voices, Melissa Payne’s stands out: part velvet, part gravel and bursting at the seams” Kristin Cavoukian- EXCLAIM MAGAZINE
Melissa Payne understands the finest artistic breakthroughs often occur when the personal flows out of the artist and rings as relatable for the audience. Such is the power of High and Dry, the second full-length album from the Peterborough, Ontario-based songwriter. Payne’s songs are rooted in honesty and quiet urgency while she and her five-piece band play with passion and graceful restraint that speaks to the ebb-and-flow pacing of life, especially the Millennial-age relationships and struggles that inspired much of her writing on High and Dry.
Payne, an accomplished musician who has been proficient on the fiddle since childhood, played fiddle in the Ontario-based band Express & Company in addition to writing and performing her own songs. In 2009, Payne crafted her early songs into a self-released album of demos that won the interest of Seventh Fire Records and culminated in her 2012 self-titled, full-length debut. After making an indelible impression with her playing on Express & Company’s 2013 album, Ontario, Payne, accompanied by producer Greg Keelor (Blue Rodeo) and co-producer/engineer James McKenty, took that momentum into the studio to write and record the songs that would become High and Dry.
The record is Payne’s most personal and ambitious music to date. Writing from a place that comes across like her heart is under the microscope and singing with equal measures of pensive beauty and triumphant power, the nine songs of High and Dry feel intimate, warm and lived in, even as they stomp and holler at the true volume of a throbbing heart. Payne and her crackling band incorporate guitars, synthesizers, keys, percussion into the recordings to create a work that both rocks with immediacy and rolls with the delicate touches of healing wounds.
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