Melissa Carper’s Ramblin’ Soul

By Brian Rock

The most distinctive voice in Americana, Melissa Carper, takes us on another musical journey on her second solo release, Ramblin’ Soul. Effortlessly combining down home country with uptown Jazz, Carper’s voice adds a sophisticated elegance to her country songs and an easy accessibility to her jazz tunes. Part denim, part silk, Carper’s voice is an enchanting new fabric that produces flying carpets where others only produce rugs.

The title song finds Melissa in a travelling mood to open the album. With her iconic Ella Fitzgerald meets Patsy Cline voice, Carper sings, “Oh Lord, I’m a ramblin’ soul. Where do I call my home? It’s out on the open road.” Barrelhouse piano, staccato guitar, and moaning pedal steel echo the sounds of galloping horses, rolling wagons and train whistles as they propel the story forward in classic western tones. Traversing the American Midwest, Carper makes lyrical stops at Minnesota, New Mexico, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Texas. Recalling the feel of Roy Rogers’ “Don’t Fence Me In,” Carper pays homage to America’s wide-open spaces.

Sliding into Jazz mode on “From What I Recall,” Carper captures the sound and feel of the Great American Songbook. A delicate string section and subdued, cascading piano notes set an elegant mood as Carper recounts the ways that her ex-lover was never right for her. Pedal steel adds a surprising depth of texture to this charming ballroom ballad, as she finally asks herself, “So after all this time has passed, why does my love for you last?”

Combining elements of early country, rock, jazz and soul, Carper weaves a wonderous tapestry of sound. From the rockabilly ode to her, “1980 Dodge Van,” to the Western Swing of, “Texas, Texas Texas,” to the Mamas & Pappas inspired folk of “I Do What I WANNA,” to the haunting, Patsy Cline stylings of “I Don’t Need to Cry,” to the playful Dixieland Jazz of “Holding All The Cards,” Carper floats from genre to genre and era to era with grace and flair. The one common theme uniting these diverse styles is Carper’s incomparable voice. She is vulnerable on the heartbreaking, “Ain’t A Day Goes By.” She is alluring on “Hit or Miss.” She is yearning on “Hanging on to You.” She is playful on “Boxers on Backwards.” But she is always mesmerizing as each song reveals a new facet of her personality.

Melissa Carper and her Ramblin’ Soul, take us on magical musical journey not just geographically across the country, but also chronologically through the evolving styles of American music.  |  fb  |  buy

Brian Rock

Brian Rock

Brian was raised gypsy style, moving every other year until well after college. As friendships proved to be temporary, Brian found a constant companion in music, wearing the grooves off Beatles and Dylan albums before moving on to Lyle Lovett and Dwight Yokam. Living so often in flux, he has come to value music and lyrics of lasting quality. Not moved by trends or fashion, he is drawn to timeless lyrics and soulful rhythms. Although now settled down, Brian still expresses his gypsy spirit through his writing. He has co-written songs with musician friends he’s met along the way, including several contributions to the 2012 ICMA Album of the Year, Family Album. Brian also writes children’s books and poems, including the Children’s Book Council featured title, The Deductive Detective.
Brian Rock

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