Monday, April 13, 2009

Tanning on rooftops

It's a fine afternoon in downtown Toronto. The sun is shining & it's 8 degrees. God bless global warming. I'm counting down the days to a Maui trip with my Ladybirds. We've been playing our little wings off trying to pay those hefty plane tickets. Until then I'll be planning a cd release & a wedding. Lots of big things on my plate. I'm keeping this short, so two things before I go. Dear Canadians: vote! And vote from your heart. On a totally different subject, dear Americans, I've been getting so many requests for Rooftop. Unfortunately, this song was just released on the Degrassi compilation cd & I'm unable to have it up for grabs. 'Pretty Blue' is there for the taking & when my record label gives me the go ahead, I'll have Rooftop available too. Sorry bout that! I'm flattered by all the requests. Now I'm off to bask in the balmy winter sun. xoxo, Melissa


Saturday, January 26, 2008

Blue Rodeo

3 weeks into the tour,11 cities, 5 pedals, 4 dresses& one broken thumb. This month I am one member of Luke Doucet & the White Falcon. You know that sexy white guitar that plays the starring role in Luke's new record Blood's Too Rich? The one that was designed to look like a whores wedding & was Neil Young's Crazy Horse baby? That's the Falcon & now that's us. Opening for Blue Rodeo across Canada has been a dream. The first night, they invited us up on stage for Lost Together & Greg threw the 3rd verse my way on a whim. Luckily Luke had the lyrics scrawled across his arm. He held them up in front of me as I sang my grateful heart out. Later on, on the bus Greg looks at me and says 'after all those nights making out with your boyfriend under the skyway bridge & you still don't know my goddamn lyrics??'. I've since memorized all my parts & added a few more BR songs to my repertoire along the way. It's been a fantasy come true to be up there singing with such legendary Canadiana dudes. Aside from being Luke's guitar slingin' backup singin' gal I've been writing away. I'm ready to make my next record & I'm starting to panic at the realization that this is happening a bit late. It's tricky business trying to find the means, so cross your fingers for me & keep your ears open. New music is on its way. Oh, and that broken thumb. We had a day off in Banff. Luke's not such a great skier. But thank our lucky stars, he can still rip it up on guitar, cast & all. The show must go on. Toodaloo, from Regina.

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Monday, November 5, 2007

Long May You Ride...

Where has the time gone? It's hanging out with my old bike in front of the Bloor. st cinema. The back tire flat, the front break busted & its rusted, tired surface once gleaming with pride now only a reflection of the long road behind it. This bike was more then a sweet ride. It was a gift at a time of immense change & loss. Leaving it at the side of the road was like tearing a teddy bear from the arms of a 5 year old whose parents just got divorced. You'd think there was an imaginary string section playing some weepy song as I stood there for 15 minutes with my arm outstretched. Sigh. Where has the time gone? It's stumbling through the streets of La Rochelle singing 'les poison, les poison!' Or sitting on top of a hill in Segovia on a rainy night, getting soaked with a bottle of cheap champagne. It's standing on stage with the wind blowing the streamers from her wrists & ankles & our three voices making music in the heart of Salmon Arm. It's making its way from Parkdale to St. Clair west at 5 in the morning, 30 degrees & the birds chirping 'it's way past your bedtime!' Time, time, time.. it's hiding in the canoe we took to the little island up at foxwood. We spread out a blanket & with our books & a bottle of wine, enjoyed the sweet silence that one year of marriage has earned us. & a particular moment in timeā€¦ stomping my foot on that Massey Hall stage in my lovely red dress & Luke by my side. I apologize for the overly nostalgic tone of this journal. I always get this way this time of year. Happy fall my friends.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Dire Straits & the Texas two step

I've been waiting at the crossroads making catcalls to the devil. I'm holding a perfectly untuned guitar, extra thick calluses on my fingertips. So, I'm not Robert Johnson yet, but I've spent the winter with my hand gripped around the neck of my guitar. Luke & I have had an unusual amount of time off & we decided to skip off on the Canadian winter & head to music city USA. Just to reassure you, our time has not been spent wandering up & down music row pleading with the powers that be, or writing catchy pop country tunes with Christian overtones in hopes that Faith Hill will one day cover it. Instead, we've been digging through the crap & finding what's truly special here. All those people & places that have made us feel at home when it is otherwise so clear that we are not. We've struggled through the awkwardness of trying to be creative in a tiny one-bedroom apartment & managed to collectively write 34 songs. Ok, Luke wrote 31 & I wrote 3, BUT I did learn the lead guitar part for Sultans of Swing from top to bottom. My dad will be so proud! I've jammed along with JJ Cale records & geeked out over guitar magazines. So, basically I've spent the winter as a teenage boy. I just want to come back to y'all a little more accomplished then when I left. This morning at 5am, we stumbled into bed from a 15 hour drive & four days of constant music & tequila. South by southwest takes over the city of Austin & it seems this year that the nocturnal birds partied even harder then the skinny jeaned indie rockers. Highlights would have to be new Lost Highway act Hays Carl whose first song inspired a bar brawl, sixshooter/mint hootenanny (always a good time), Iron Cactus Guacamole, learning the Texas two step & my big showcase performance when halfway through my set the vents under my feet suddenly shot on, sending my dress all the way up to my ears. Oh my! The spring will find me back on familiar ground again with the wonderful Jesse Cook. My knees are already shaking with panic & delight at the thought of playing Massey Hall! I'll also be releasing the video for Skyway Bridge. I once again enlisted Luke Hutton (route 66) to direct this outdoor shoot. I flew home for what turned out to be the coldest weekend of the year & braved the lakefront Hamilton shoot. The crew scurried around in parkas all day too cold to even complain & the dear, saintly Greg Keelor spent the entire day working with us on this extremely difficult shoot. I'm sure the finished product will be worth all our efforts. Huge thank you to the crew & Greg Keelor. I know these blogs are few & far between & I have to ask you to please not be angry with my procrastinating ways. From now on I will try & be more frequent with my updates & I always appreciate the kind comments to reassure me that you are out there. Happy spring my friends. It's right wing American talk radio for the drive home (sick fascination). I'll be a happy girl when the CBC makes it onto our radar.

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Saturday, August 26, 2006

Where do I begin. Lets go backwards, just for fun. Here I am in my living room, rice on the stove, big momma thornton wailing hound dog on the stereo, michael our old italian neighbor working on his vegetable garden in the backyard. I have a pile of laundry as tall as the CN tower, but our house is clean & smells like fresh flowers. It's nice to be home. Rewind two days & I've realized that I've mastered the art of sleeping on a plane. Really sleeping. Not noticing the take off or the landing & completely missing out on those crappy handout factory scraps they try to pass off as snacks. The night before, I stood on a stage in Burnaby in front of 6000 David Gray fans, turned around & snapped a picture of my dorky grinning face, trying to capture the moment. For days before that I bounced around from place to place playing for summer tourists & anybody willing to listen. I got to play rockstar for a day singing backups for Sarah Mclachlan at the Starbucks mansion in the Hamptons. The event was to raise money for the Jane Goodall Institute & I was lucky enough to hear this brilliant, compassionate & inspiring woman speak. I spent some downtime in Vancouver celebrating pride, hanging out with my wonderful little stepdaughter & managers (whose professional title seems silly when considering friendship) & writing music. new songs are starting to find their way to my fingertips & vocal chords.. always a good feeling. Now comes the meat of my journey.. the big hunk of tofurky shoved in between now & then (wow my metaphors need work). The route 66, from Chicago to LA in 9 days with some talented friends, a van, a fancy pants camera, my guitar & of course a few pretty dresses. There were many purposes served on this trip. A music video for Passenger 24, documentary footage of the historical route & its keepers, live performances & new songs. what stands out to me though.. names for slippery body parts in 110 heat (eg. tit falls, crack creek), individual pickles in plastic sacks sold in gas stations, laughing fits at 1am, coffee that tastes like hamburgers, ostriches pecking at my hand, eating ants for lunch, muppets at 6am, homemade moonshine in a mason jar, a hillbilly biting my thigh & the list goes on. Full tales of our adventures will be revealed over the coming months. And now we end up at the beginning. Standing at the edge of a lake with the reverand NQ Arbuckle, family, friends & my brand spankin' new husband! I wont go into details cause then it would just sound like a wedding & it was really so much more. The coming months I'll find myself sticking close to home before I completely uproot myself to Nashville. This is just a temporary American fling though. Canada is home & I realize this more & more each time I arrive back on my doorstep. sigh.. home.

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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

high heels & home baked goods

I've been trying to compose the simplest of journal entries for weeks now.
Not too difficult a task, but there are so many little busy bees buzzing
around inside my head these days that I can't make out a single thought, let alone translate them into a charming little spiel. So instead I'll tell you a story. When I was about yay high I met a boy named Blakely. It was a short lived summer romance between two kids & I was too young to know why I'd blush every time he passed by my cottage. I don't remember anything about Blakely except that we bonded over my Donald Duck sings the classics cassette tape & that at the end of it all he said he adored me. I asked him what that word means & he said it means you like it so much you want to marry it. oh. Ever since then I've associated the word 'adore' with 'getting married'. I suppose this little memory has come to the forefront because in 3 weeks I will 'adore' someone right to the alter. & instead of bonding over Donald Duck tunes with my sweetie, it's a lil' record called 'Thumbelina's One Night Stand'. The music on the record consumed our thoughts for months. We sweated over every note & word & pulled what we feel is the very best out of the stories & music. That pint sized floozy is out on the loose even as I write this, so run to your nearest record store & find out what the heck I'm blabbing on about. I swear, I 'adore' this record so much, I'd bake cookies in heels for it all day. I hope it has the same affect on you.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

pretty sister, ugly sister

It was pouring rain in Nappa Valley yesterday. The sky had a sci fi yellowish tint to it. We laughed our heads off on the drive up, swooshed glasses and smirked our way through pretentious sounding wine lingo. Had a beautiful lunch & drove back down. The sky turned a bit gray along with my mood. Wicked rainstorm hangover & had to sing over the pounding in my head. Ive made many bold escapes this past month. Flew all the way to Maui with the birds & came home as pale as a non organic, factory farmed white assed egg. Did get a couple new freckles though & managed to get the whole island playing pretty sister, ugly sister. The most beautiful day was the day we left, all glassy eyed, already romanticizing the memories, we spotted a rainbow from behind the glass of the airport window. I love my ladybirds more than anything. More then salt & vinegar chips & trampolines or watching Jake & Heath get it on in Brokeback Mountain. [Weird? those were honestly the first three things that popped into my head.] And as I flew back into our time zone, I had just enough time to do my laundry & fly right back out. LA was LA. Had a very romantic drive up the coast & stayed in Monterey where my parents honeymooned as teenagers 43 years ago. California holds such a strong family history for me that I always find myself quietly writing songs when traveling through these parts. The imagery is endless. Winding roads flooded with a heavy fog, beach littered with lazy fat seal yelping at the sky, Big Sur sunset. Theres been nothing dreary about this February, my least favorite month of the year. And Im actually happy and a bit relieved to just be home now. I need to briefly hibernate in familiar surroundings & maybe feel one last chill to remind me that I am indeed Canadian, before spring arrives.