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MELISSA CHILINSKI

Melissa Chilinski debuts her first full length album of original music, weaving mountain storytelling, banjo, and string band arrangements into a refreshing indie inspired context.

 

Musical phenom and singer-songwriter, Melissa Chilinski, debuts her first full-length album, Melissa Chilinski, on Friday May 17th, 2024. Harvesting her undeniable skills as a songwriter, vocalist, banjoist, and guitarist, she provides a suite of earthy, emotionally-charged songs that tug at the heartstrings. The album is a cornerstone of career change and marks a clear announcement that Melissa Chilinski is a tour de force as a solo artist. Her evocative, striking voice is nestled deep within the profound and clever world of each of her arrangements. 

 

In 2022, Melissa became a full-time musician after almost a decade of work in agriculture and conservation sciences. As her life fundamentally changed, she became fascinated with the connection of old and new. Between the winter and summer of 2023, Melissa wrote the songs of the album—each song inspired by nature, connection with one’s environment, stories from friends, and her own life experience.

 

Melissa Chilinski is a record that is firmly rooted in a sense of place. Much like a wine, each song offers a deep sense of terroir. Experimental textures, instrumentation, and ambient sounds feel explorational yet familiar like the wild landscapes of Utah. On tracks like “Chirps and Williams,” the earnest sounds of old time Appalachian folk music are met with the lonesome , Western sounds of vocals and pedal steel. Melissa also enlists the unusual, brooding twang of her baritone banjo throughout the album, pairing it wisely with the rich, dark tones of her voice. Melissa thoughtfully pruned familiar sounds from songwriters, folk, and indie music to curate a garden of songs entirely distinct in beauty.

 

Melissa draws inspiration from similarly inventive musical landscapers like Andrew Bird, Adrienne Lenker, Gillian Welch, and John Hartford. The album exudes a deep sense of tradition and authenticity but allows an indie bend to warp the aesthetic into something new. 

 

Melissa is telling each of her old stories in a new way, and not always in the classic folk form. Her single, “Blind Miner,” is a true story about James LeRoy Newman (‘Roy’), the legendary blind miner of Big Cottonwood Canyon, and redefines what a classic country ballad could be. The dark reverberation of mineshaft walls can be sensed throughout. Honing in on nature more directly, “Poor Flowers” is a song that explores the ephemerality of flowers—their transient beauty. Melissa underscores how we admire flowers as special tokens for cornerstone events (weddings, deaths, etc.) even though in the process they are cut, withered, left unused, and ultimately forgotten. “Morning Prine” was inspired by the true love story of Patrick and Molly of Pisgah Banjos. Melissa wrote this song for them while staying at their home in North Carolina. She utilizes storytelling techniques indicative of John Prine, embracing a touch of humor, and light-heartedness. “Slipping Into Seasons” was written for a close friend of Melissa’s who committed suicide and tells the familiar tale of changing seasons, loss and life again.


Melissa Chilinski promises an auspicious launch for a once-in-a-generation talent. Her crafty use of instrumentation and pairings of musicians, alongside her own sincere talents as a singer/songwriter, creates a record that is equally complex and mysterious as it is timeless and enjoyable.

Catalog #: WMR2402

    1. Blind Miner

    2. Chirps & Williams (Calvin Volrath)

    3. I Will Carry You

    4. Daisy (Ode to a Dog)

    5. Long Way to Rock Canyon

    6. There You Were

    7. Back to Me

    8. Poor Flowers

    9. Slipping into Seasons

    10. Cumberland Gap (Traditional)

    11. When You Made My Friend

    12. Morning Prine

    All songs written by Melissa Chilinski except where otherwise noted.

    • Guitar/Banjo/Vocals

      • Melissa Chilinski

    • Upright Bass

      • Dr. David Baker

    • Guitar

      • Nathan Royal, Ben Weiss, Dylan Schorer, Nick McMenamin

    • Fiddle​

      • Grayson Wickel, Sam Osimitz, Megan Nay​

    • Pedal Steel​

      • Dylan Schorer​

    • Vocals

      • McKayle Law, Hayley Kirkland

    • Cello​

      • Duncan Wickel​

    • Audio/Mixing Engineer​

      • Michael Sasitch​ - Man vs. Music

    • Mastering Engineer​

      • James Anderson​ - The Bit Farm

    • Artwork​

      • Roz Newmark

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