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Certified Gold With Melissa Carper

We review Melissa Carper

Melissa Carper – Photo: Aisha Golliher

Melissa Carper’s ‘Daddy’s Country Gold’

“Classic Sumptuous and Authentic Country”

By Rob Dickens

Daddy’s Country Gold (Love Police Records and Tapes) contains twelve sumptuous originals of classic country, western swing and jazz with Melissa Carper‘s sublimely accurate vocals reflecting the feel of seminal songs from the past. Having said that, she carefully avoids simply copying a bygone era and infuses her own personality and experiences.

Co-produced by Andrija Tokic (Alabama Shakes, Hurray For the Riff Raff), Daddy’s Country Gold features a line-up of Nashville’s finest session players including Chris Scruggs (Marty Stuart) on rhythm guitar and pedal steel , and guest appearances from friend Sierra Ferrell,  Lloyd GreenBilly Contreras on fiddle, the iconic session player Dennis Crouch and the wonderful singer Brennen Leigh.

Gaining valuable experience in Arkansas, New Orleans, New York City, Austin and eventually Nashville, Carper has absorbed many musical influences and delivers a vintage product.

The song “My Old Chevy Van” features Ferrell: 

And here’s a live version of another track “Back When”:

About Melissa Carper

As a child, Carper, who acquired the nickname “Daddy” years ago from her bandmates for always knowing how to “take care of ‘bidness’,” would lay her head underneath the family record player as she listened to Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash and other greats from her parents’ collection. After a childhood spent in her family’s country band, Carper attended the University of Nebraska on a music scholarship, spending much of her time in the library devouring every Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, and Nat King Cole album she could find. Around this time, Carper’s father gifted her a full collection of Jimmie Rodgers’ recordings, which was a pivotal moment in finding her unique style of song craft.

After two years of college, wanderlust spirited her away in an inherited 1980 Dodge Maxi-Van, to the historic little town of Eureka Springs, Arkansas, where she saw street performers for the very first time. Busking seemed a very free and appealing endeavour, so Carper diligently learned all the old country songs she loved as a child. As she belted out the lyrics to “Ramblin’ Man” on the Eureka Springs street corners, life began to imitate art; Carper relocated to music hubs like New Orleans, New York City, Austin, and eventually Nashville, oftentimes busking to make ends meet until gigs would come along. In each hub, she immersed herself in the regions’ musical styles and added them to her arsenal of influences.

Along the way, she founded award-winning bands like power trio The Carper Family, the perfect outlet for her unique skills and style. The band brought her original work to life in a simple yet dynamic fashion that also served her inspirations – country, bluegrass, western swing, and old-style jazz, playing festivals and shows across the globe, and on shows like “A Prairie Home Companion.” Carper also holds a spot in award-winning Arkansas foursome Sad Daddy and founded roots duo Buffalo Gals with Sad Daddy bandmate and girlfriend Rebecca Patek.

Wanderlust and kismet collided during a stint in Nashville, where she knew she wanted to record her old-time country-tinged, western swing-infused solo album. Having befriended fellow Arkansan and bassist Dennis Crouch (Time Jumpers), Carper sought his advice in putting together the crew that could bring her vision to fruition. Armed with an impeccable line-up of Nashville’s finest session players – Chris Scruggs on rhythm guitar and pedal steel, Jeff Taylor on keys, Matty Meyer on drums, Billy Contreras on fiddle, guest appearances from Lloyd Green, Brennen Leigh, and Sierra Ferrell – the foundation was set. With Crouch and producer/engineer Andrija Tokic at the helm, the all-in-one-room performances were captured live to tape at Tokic’s studio The Bomb Shelter. With Crouch on bass duties, Carper was free to focus on delivering her vocal magic, and the raw, early 20th-century vintage sound she desired came to life.

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Via Love Police Records and Tapes and Dave Laing Publicity

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We review Melissa Carper

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Author: Rob Dickens

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