Holler Country Music

EXCLUSIVE: Melissa Carper Announces New Album Borned In Ya and Premieres the Video for ‘Lucky Five’

May 2, 2024 1:00 pm GMT

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Love is an irrational thing. It doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense, however much we try to get our heads around it. We fall in love too easily for us to be logical about it; whatever your Type T boyfriend tells you. If love sometimes seems unfair and unpredictable, that’s because in the end all it really boils down to is good or bad luck.

Melissa Carper is rolling hot as she steps up to the table with the first taste of her forthcoming album, Borned In Ya, due out in July on Mae Music via Thirty Tigers.

Like the soundtrack to a deleted scene from La La Land where Mia and Seb dance around the tables in a Wild West theme park saloon, ‘Lucky Five’ is a joyously jazzy slice of old-timey western swing with a sentiment sweeter than a packet of Pixy Stix.

“The first iteration of ‘Lucky Five’ started a few years ago as ‘Number Five’, but it felt as though the word ‘number’ was insulting,” Melissa Carper says, explaining how the song developed over time. “I wanted to try to save the song because I felt that it had a sweetness and good melody, and I realized if I simply changed ‘number’ to ‘lucky’, it fixed the problem”.

“Though I still don’t love referring to number one, two, three, and four, it’s kind of lighthearted and in good fun,” she adds. “I have much personal experience to draw from in writing a song that speaks of learning from past relationships, growing as a human, and being able to know how to love better as you grow. I believe that any difficult experience that presents itself is just an opportunity to learn and face something in ourselves that needs to be confronted, in a sense, in order to learn.”

The video for ‘Lucky Five’ is premiering exclusively on Holler below.

In the Spring of 2023, Carper went back to East Nashville’s Bomb Shelter – the same “analog wonderland” where she’d recorded Ramblin’ Soul and its predecessor, Daddy’s Country Gold, and once again enlisted the help of her trusted co-producers – Dennis Crouch and Andrija Tokic.

The album title is taken from a Ralph Stanley quote that Carper came across watching an old DVD of Down From the Mountain, the documentary and concert film of the O, Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack.

“I don’t think you can get this sound unless it’s borned in ya,” the bluegrass legend says at one point in the documentary when asked about what he called “old-time mountain music”.

When Melissa Carper heard those words, something jumped inside her. She immediately jotted down ‘borned in ya’ on a piece of paper. “I knew I had to write that song,” she recalls.

“I was turning over in my mind what it means to have something ‘borned in ya’,” Carper says. “The song evolved as I was writing it to be more about having your soul 'borned in ya,' and the more life experience you have, you hopefully grow to embody the highest version of yourself that you can be”.

Carper’s origin story began playing upright bass and singing in her family’s traveling country band in rural Nebraska. Her love of country classics was cultivated by her parents’ record collection - Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, Ray Charles, Elvis Presley - and a compilation of Jimmie Rodgers’ recordings gifted to her by her father.

After attending the University of Nebraska-Lincoln on a music scholarship, where she found a new appreciation for jazz classics and vocalists such as Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole, she hit the road in her family’s 1980 Dodge Maxi Van playing the streets and clubs of New Orleans, Austin and even a stint in NYC as a founding member of The Maybelles.

Along the way, she founded The Carper Family, the perfect outlet for her unique skills and style. The band brought her original work to life in a simple yet dynamic fashion, serving her inspirations - country, bluegrass, western swing and old-style jazz - while playing festivals and shows across the globe. Carper also holds a spot in award-winning Arkansas foursome and firm Holler favourites Sad Daddy, and founded roots duo Buffalo Gals with Sad Daddy bandmate and partner, the award-winning fiddler Rebecca Patek.

Her 2021 album Daddy’s Country Gold and its follow up Ramblin’ Soul brought her a wider audience with a burgeoning enthusiasm for old timey traditional country, and more recently she’s been hitting our ears as one third of Wonder Women of Country, along with fellow traditionalists Brennen Leigh and Kelly Willis.

Leigh joins her to co-write three of the 12 songs on Borned In Ya, featuring a cast of top flight musicians like instrumentalist Chris Scruggs, currently touring as a member of Marty Stuart and the Fabulous Superlatives, Dennis Crouch (Johnny Cash, Gregg Allman, Alison Krauss, Robert Plant), pianist Jeff Taylor (The Time Jumpers, Riders in the Sky), fiddle master Billy Contreras (Ricky Scaggs, Buddy Spicher, George Jones), and multi-instrumentalist Rory Hoffman (Ricky Skaggs, Kathy Mattea, John Cowan). It will also be Carper’s first album to feature a horn section, courtesy of Doug Corcoran, from JD McPherson's band, on trumpet and saxophone.

One of Holler’s most keenly anticipated albums of 2024, Borned In Ya showcases Carper’s long-standing influences as well as her artistic growth and sense of adventure. The old-time jazz sounds we came to know on Daddy’s Country Gold are back in full force along with the R&B and Soul of Ramblin’ Soul. We can't wait for this one!

Borned In Ya is out on July 19th via Mae Music/Thirty Tigers.

For more on Melissa Carper, see below:


Written by Jof Owen
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