Album Review: Melissa Ferrick, “Still Right Here”

Melissa Ferrick

Editors note: this article is part 1 of a 3 part series reviewing indie record label MPress Records’ 2011 catalogue.  Full disclosure: the author of this review is “twitter friends” with various employees on the MPress staff.

In the endless universe of recorded music, there are two galaxies that exist in close proximity to one another — pop, and country.  It appears Melissa Ferrick holds dual citizenship.

Ferrick’s 2011 effort Still Right Here, an effort that often finds Ferrick channeling her inner Alanis Morissette,  produced a collection of songs that manage to creep their way from pop to country so slowly and so soulfully you often barely notice the difference.

And that’s precisely where this album shines — the borderline between heartbreak and hope, between twang and pop.

More empathetic than powerful, Ferrick’s vocals are the highlight of the album, emotionally and musically — a point that’s underscored on the album’s opening effort “Still Right Here.”  The soul behind Ferrick’s voice carries the track; a track that, as with the rest of the album, makes you feel more like you’re listening to the most talented friend you know play a set at an east village coffee house than to an overproduced pop tune.

The album really finds its stride roughly midway through.  “Seconds Like These,” a song that sounds like it could have been an alternate on a Counting Crows record (or perhaps it’s the other way around) marries her strongest moments as a lyricist to her brightest moments as a vocalist.

Mostly an issue of track order, the album’s energy wanes towards the home stretch, grouping a number of slower and more generic songs in a row, dampening some of the momentum built by the first two thirds of the album.

Thankfully, Ferrick ends the collection on possibly its strongest note with the touching “This Time Of Year.”

Melissa Ferrick’s Still Right Here earns itself an emphatic 3 / 5.  While the album never manages to reinvent the wheel, it clearly doesn’t attempt to, instead delivering as solid a sampling of folk-rock as you’re liable to find in 2011.  A bit average at its worst and surprisingly touching at its best, Still Right Here spends most of its time right in Ferrick’s comfort zone, and it shows.  A strong effort from a seasoned professional.

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One Response to “Album Review: Melissa Ferrick, “Still Right Here””
  1. Dan Young says:

    Hi There Contested,
    This might be off topic, however Oh brother! I’ve only recently come to this conclusion myself, but the National have just released the best album of their career. 2001’s self-titled album and 2003’s Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers were certainly fine, literate, memorable warm-ups for the brilliant Alligator, but with Boxer, the National have finally delivered their knockout. Ahem.

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