Melaena Cadiz (pronunciation key: muh-LAY-nuh ca-DEEZ) is the REAL DEAL. Many of you might remember this gorgeous siren from the record of hers I worked in 2010, Rattle The Windows. It did great on CMJ and ALSO, that album hit NUMBER ONE on Earshot’s Folk/Roots/Blues chart!! Can we do even better with this one?!
The world is already on board: NPR premiered her lovely video for “Needles River” (track 8) a couple of weeks ago. She’s got a Daytrotter Session coming up, Folkadelphia is squarely on board, and I bet you’re next!! This album is coming to radio exclusively as a download, so don’t wait for a hard copy – grab it right now!! (If you’re a radio rep it should be waiting there in your station’s email, but if you can’t find it, feel free to contact me!)
This whole album is genuinely gold from start to finish, so I had a really hard time picking out recommended tracks. Luckily Melaena had her singles pretty firmly in mind, so that’s what I listed as my “start with” tracks, but honestly you could pretty much just press play at any point on this album and come away with stunning success. Try it!!
Also: Melaena’s about to embark on a very cool tour with her very cool photographer husband, Mikael Kennedy. He’s also got a photo book that shares a title with Melaena’s album (also he directed that “Needles River” video): tour dates below, let me know if you’d like to come out – I’d love to set you up!
DEEP BELOW HEAVEN
Wild Kindness Records
The Michigan-bred, Brooklyn-based artist has been bringing small portraits plucked from the American landscape, using the language of folk, pop, and country to bring them to beautiful, breathing life.
On her latest album, Deep Below Heaven, the songs have a literary quality to them, a notion embraced in the LP’s title, which comes from a short story written by writer/playwright/actor Sam Shepard.
“Part of the story involves a man in a motorcycle accident,” Cadiz says. “As he falls from his Kawasaki, he has the sense of ‘being deep below heaven. The distance. The wetness of flesh. Metal ripping. People helplessly apart.’ To me, it evoked the idea of us humans swarming the earth with all our love and sadness, our desires and defeats.”
The young singer-songwriter used this jumping off point to create 10 songs that are filled with finely wrought characters that are striving for a better place in the world or, at the very least, a way to quiet the deep ache within their bones. There’s the young person heading for the West Coast to “find what I’ve been looking for” in “Home Town,” the jilted lover looking for answers in “Swinging Low,” and the friends, driving home late one night, and singing Leonard Cohen songs to each other in “Neon Drag.”
As detailed as the lyrics are, that same level of attention is paid to the music within. Produced by Alex Foote, Cadiz and her backing band prove agile in the ways of shuffling bootstompers (“Keep It”), contemplative porch swinging (“Home Town”), and melting into the smoke hanging above a neon-lit bar (“Dreams”). Let’s not forget Cadiz’s voice, which can, within the space of one song, coo you into quietude and rattle your bones with its volume and power. It’s an incredible instrument that she has remarkable control over.
Like a great book, this is an album to get completely lost in, to put on your stereo and not come up for air until the last notes fade away. And it offers up ample detail to explore with each successive listen. Settle into your favorite chair with a cup of tea or stiff drink in hand and let Melaena Cadiz transport you to her world of rich characters and richer musicianship.
RIYL: Neko Case, Alela Diane, Julie Doiron, Emmylou Harris, Bill Callahan, Marissa Nadler, Dana Falconberry, Matt Bauer
Start With: 2, 8, 3 FCC CLEAN
DEEP BELOW HEAVEN TOUR DATES:
5/28—New York, NY—Westerlind Showroom
6/4—Nashville, TN—Stone Fox
6/5—Florence, AL—Billy Reid
6/13—Los Angeles, CA—Alchemy Works
6/14—Venice Beach, CA—1638 Abbot Kinney
6/16—Oakland, CA—E.M. General Interest Small Bookstore
6/27—Rock Island, IL—Daytrotter session
7/1—Pittsburgh, PA—House show
Contact me for a download link if you’re a radio rep!