Upright bassist, singer and songwriter Melissa Carper has been playing in bands since she took up the position of bass in her family band at the age of 12. She grew up with a reverence for country music in her small town Nebraska family. The original Carper Family band toured regionally on the weekends at Elks Lodges, VFWs and small bars. Little Melissa made $50 a gig, which allowed her to take her friends out for dinner and gave her an early sense of what it was like to be a paid musician. She attended school for music, but ended up leaving two and a half years in and began her rambling.
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Melissa has lived in Nebraska, New York, Alaska, New Orleans, Arkansas and Austin, to name only a few. She usually has stayed around a place for a couple years until she moves on. Along the way, she’s formed many bands like a new version of The Carper Family, Sad Daddy and Buffalo Gals. In recent years, she’s been releasing albums under her own name, which is strange because she doesn’t like being the center of attention. Her writing is filled with humorous quips, even though she claims to have a “slow wit.” Her classic country sound is unique in that her writing is sharp, her delivery is relaxed and her voice is unreal. She spent a lot of time studying the voices of Hank Williams and Leadbelly to develop that honeyed, yet raw sound. Melissa Carper is the real deal! Go check out her new album Ramblin’ Soul and enjoy our conversation.
Editor’s Note: Basic Folk is currently running their annual fall fundraiser! Visit basicfolk.com/donate for a message from hosts Cindy Howes and Lizzie No, and to support this listener-funded podcast.
Photo Credit: Lyza Renee
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