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Reviewed by Amanda Mills

Mel Parson: Drylands

Reviewed by Amanda Mills

Mel Parson: Drylands

Mel Parsons, Westport-born now Christchurch-based folk chanteuse, has been busy of late, touring through the USA ahead of the release of this third album, which follows 2009’s ‘Over My Shoulder’ and ‘Red Grey Blue’ from 2011. Parsons released the first single from ‘Drylands’, the rhythmic Far Away in February, though fans will be familiar with it, as she performed it as part of Fly My Pretties‘ ‘The Homeland Recordings’ album and tour. ‘Drylands’ has a polished sound – it was recorded at The Surgery in Wellington, and produced by Parsons and guitarist Gerry Paul. The album features well-known musicians including vocalist/guitarist Ron Sexsmith, cellist Vyvienne Long and double-bassist Trevor Hutchinson, all of whom add to the full, lush sound achieved. While a folk album, there are elements of country, blues and singer/songwriter balladry here – the latter style effectively used on the haunting, plaintive Don’t Wait. Lyrically, romantic relationships are a recurring theme. Parsons tells a good story on Far North Coast and the noir-ish Get out Alive. She has many talents, from her dusty voice to her way with melodies, and this highly accessible album will only broaden her appeal.