January 5, 2011

Day 111: Melissa McClelland - Passenger 24

How did I ever come across Melissa McLelland? I can't really remember...it was at least eighteen months ago, I remember that. But I can't remember how I came to know of her...and that is strange.

Every time I listen to McClelland's fourth album, Victoria Day, I remember riding in my sister's Ford Ranger, riding out of the city for a mountain-bike-riding adventure. The dust from the sides of the road explodes behind us as the beat picks up between the first and second parts of my favourite tune, the title track. That transition - between Victoria Day (April Showers) and Victoria Day (May Flowers) - reaches into my psyche in a way that music is supposed to; in the way that I fell in love with the craft. It's not just about the lyrics, but so much more than that. As a writer, I understand the rhythm of words, and how to use them to create a certain affect on the reader. It is music like this that makes me wish I was a musician so that I could understand how to create so much more than words to have a greater affect on the listeners...

If this is your first time hearing McClelland, I hope it's not your last. Born in Chicago, but raised in Hamilton, Ontario, she made her big break in Toronto and will therefore forever be claimed by Canada. Her music is reminiscent of great American folk artists, though - reminding us all that it matters less where you're from than what artists have influenced you. In North American folk, it's pretty tough to not have been touched by numerous different cultures. That's what I love about living in this mosaic.

Passenger 24 is off of her third album, Thumbelina's One Night Stand, which I have yet to add to my collection....must put that on a 'To Do' list somewhere (it looks worthy of being on my shelf, not just playing in my ears). This single, apparently, made big waves for her south of the border, which never hurts an artist. For her fourth album, she did a few more collaborations (fellow Canadian Ron Sexsmith and her husband, Luke Doucet, who also produced the album), and apparently that's when she popped onto my radar: 2009. Well, I'm glad she did, because every once in awhile you need a good album to listen to while you sit back, relax, and go on a journey through the country roads of our past...

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