The Fallow Year, Melissa Greener's fifth album, was just recorded with Grammy winning producer Malcolm Burn (Emmylou Harris, Bob Dylan, Patti Smith, Chris Whitley). The Fallow Year is a collection of ten songs; nine original compositions and "a daring interpretation of Joni Mitchell's Blue". The album stretches Greener's writing outside of her comfort zone, delving deep inside familial trials and triumphs with mental illness and addiction.
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"To be a seeker is a profound gift. It is ones greatest soul quality." - Maryann Russell
Melissa Greener has that distinct equine quality of being able to magnify and reflect your senses back at you, forcing you to confront and surrender to them. A seeker through song, it is with an inward gaze that she discovers the universality in us all; dancing the blurred line between the defects and the divine.
At the root of Greener's artistry are her songs which summon their truth from the kind of inner pilgrimage that one must endure when one's outward explorations fall short of salvation. Greener has charted mountain ranges, holy places, deserts, oceans and forests, and endless miles of lonely blacktop from her native Detroit to the Golden Gate; Old Route 66 to the Tappan Zee and back again. And yet it is the wisdom from her inward gaze that sharpens her songs to a point so fine they cut through the bone, all the way to the marrow.
Whether fronting her psycho-folk-rock girl-power trio, duo with drums, or solo-electric, Greener is at once magnetic, delicate, fierce and tender. Boundless vocal dynamics soar over an atmospheric, sometimes raucous electric hollow-body guitar. A wash of cinematic guitar effects drench the senses, immediately setting fully realized scenes upon which Greener slays the listener with the raw truth of the human adventure - loss and grief, hope and redemption.
"Greener paints superb portraits of the human condition" - Maverick Music Magazine
Born an alien of the Motor City's however alluring cacophony, Greener was first enamored with the torch balladeers that crooned on the late night WDET radio station in Detroit. Other early inspirations were the Laurel Canyon and Greenwich Village songwriter scenes of the 1960's and 70's; then later, Texas poet-writers like David Rodriguez, Townes Van Zandt and Lucinda Williams. Years living in Austin left a permanent mark on Greener - in psyche and in song - so much so that Guy Clark took her under his wing as a co-writer in the last years of his life.
And yet Greener's musical influences stretch far beyond the borders of those west Texas plains. - To the modernist poets of Bohemian Europe, to Acadian settlers of Nuevo Brunswick, to the reedy drone of a Himalayan harmonium, to the hymns of Appalachia. Greener's expansive approach is wholly her own.
"Beautifully symmetric work, that makes writing songs look like painting." - Alt Country Forum
A natural horsewoman from the age of two, Greener has ridden all of her life and identified with the sensitivity, and mystical spirit of the animal. She has trekked mountain ranges in the Alps, Slovakia and Tibet. She's pedaled a bicycle solo across Canada, and lived in a rural village in China. “I once sailed so far into the Mediterranean Sea I couldn't see land, and have seen so many stars in an Egyptian desert I couldn't see the sky.” Her current adventure is a full-time international touring schedule.