Melissa Gibson,
Welcome to Stay
(Java Joe, 2003)

This is Americana with more than a hint of folk. Melissa Gibson acknowledges the influences of Mary Chapin Carpenter and Joni Mitchell on her music, and that shows to great effect in the 15 self-penned tracks on this top-drawer CD.

The title track is my favourite on this album. It has a combination of some well-written lyrics along with excellent accompaniment and delivery. One can hear it as a hit song if it gets the exposure that it deserves. "No Room for Blue" is another very good track and in many ways it is prophetic in that when you give your ears and heart to this CD you will not have much room for feeling blue. Sitting alone at a "Table for Two" is feeling many may have had, but Melissa sings it so well that we may feel privileged to be at such a table.

Another song with great potential here is "Smoke and Mirrors." If it were to get the airplay that most of this CD deserves, we could have a worthy successor for Gibson's influences. "The Journey" takes us on a beautiful trip through a life. The lines read "the journey keeps you guessing" and this track does the same, drawing us in wondering where it will lead us. "Turn Back Now" shows that Gibson is every bit as good at the more upbeat renditions.

For a haunting track you must listen to "These Woods." The cello blends excellently with a voice that really makes us feel the words. (I notice a Jim Unger credited for fiddle on this and other tracks and wonder if there is a connection with Jay Unger of "Ashokan Farewell" fame.) Gibson's final track is "Sleep Well Tonight," a beautiful lullaby. If you give this CD a listen you will indeed sleep well, the sleep of the contented. Here again is a track worthy of a much wider audience.

Unfortunately, Gibson does not include the lyrics on the insert. This is a shame because having the words to read could greatly enhance the experience of hearing this CD.

- Rambles
written by Nicky Rossiter
published 8 November 2003

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