Melissa Ferrick – Still Right Here
2011, MPress Records
2011, MPress Records
Melissa Ferrick is at it again, criss-crossing the country on tour in support of her latest release, Still Right Here. An enigma in the rock and roll world when she first started out, Ferrick has kept the Indie light burning throughout her career, refusing to give in to the mores of major label madness. Still Right Here is about what you would expect for Ferrick, well-written songs full of great lyrics and an understated storyteller’s panache.
Ferrick gets things started with the title track. “Still Right Here” is a catchy little number with great pop sensibility about facing the reality of yourself and who you are. Kaki King sits in on “Headphones On”, an ode to overcoming life’s difficulties through music. Ferrick shares the great, swaying feel of “You Let Me Be” with none other than Ani DiFranco in a highly enjoyable duet that could play just as easily as a love song or a friends song. “Seconds Like These” is catchy, with a solid chorus. It’s a paean to making the most out of life. Ferrick’s songwriting is solid on “One Of A Kind”, finding a rough-hewn, open sound that fits her voice very well. It’s a great listen with a positive message.
Regret is the theme of “Checking In”; a retrospective on a relationship past that tries to understand what was lost with an air of cautious indifference and a deep-seated hope for renewal. The vulnerability here is palpable; cast behind a thinly veiled sheen of intellectual curiosity. The genius of this song is the utter human imperfection and honesty of the lyrics. “I Will Back You Up” is a pragmatic love song. With great writing and a memorable melody, Ferrick creates one of her best tunes to date while dancing on the line between her more mature works and an almost Indigo Girls-like sound. Ferrick wraps up with the gorgeous contemplation of fall and winter in the Northeast, “This Time Of Year”. There is no complexity here, just a simple love for the land and the season that is stunning in its unadulterated beauty.
There was a time, back in the mid-1990’s, when Melissa Ferrick was hailed as the next Melissa Etheridge. Yet she has proved over time that such media-attributed expectations truly can be overcome. Ferrick has grown considerably over the years, developing into a finely nuanced songwriter who can still pick up a guitar and rock your socks off when the mood strikes her. Ferrick has grown more contemplative over the years, zeroing in on a deeper understanding of the world around her through song, but the energy that runs through her songs hasn’t changed. While “Still Right Here” perhaps doesn’t capture quite the magic that Ferrick managed on 2008’s Goodbye Youth, it’s not far off the mark. The songwriting is solid-to-excellent throughout, and Ferrick just keeps getting better over time as a performer. Still Right Here is a worthy effort.
Rating: 4 Stars (Out of 5)