Mel Parsons may seem young but her latest album Red Grey Blue shows a weariness and a maturity belying her age. Many of the songs on the album have a dark streak running through them that speaks of harsh life experiences, although theyíre balanced out by tracks like Things Will Get Good and We Will Find Love Again, both full of optimism for the future.
That darkness makes sense if you think of the album as a country album, albeit one leaning very much towards pop, but country nonetheless. Melís voice is made for the genre and has a very mature quality to it, almost conjuring up images of smoky Tennessee bars in the middle of nowhere. Donít let all this talk of country music put you off listening to her though, as itís a very accessible album and bound to find mainstream success here in New Zealand.
The album was produced by Jeremy Toy of OpenSouls and Sheís So Rad, and theyíve managed to pull in a number of well known musicians to help out with the recording. Anika Moa and Greg Johnson pop up singing harmonies, and Don McGlashan features on the baritone horn and euphonium, to name but a few of them.
My only complaint with the album is perhaps a reflection on Melís age and experience as a songwriter; some of the tracks tend to become repetitive and end somewhat awkwardly. Itís not a big deal, and the fact that that was the only fault I could find is, I think, an indication of the strength of the album.
Mel Parsons is about to hit the road with her 4-5-6 piece band The Rhythm Kings on a 12 date jaunt around the country.
Parsons debut album 'Over My Shoulder' is out now and available at all good record stores and online via amplifier and itunes.
The sound is about the songs - not too indulgent, essentially pop tunes with a country stomp or sprinkle depending on the mood.... Catchy as anything.