Alt-Country Artist Melanie Brulée Returns to Philadelphia

Melanie Brulee

After making her debut at the Philadelphia Folk Festival last summer, Melanie Brulée quickly earned an invitation back to perform for the Philadelphia Folksong Society on the west side of the city.  Plans to catch Melanie at this show last November, however, were scuppered by a freak snowstorm that decimated the East Coast, forcing the event to be postponed and rescheduled for a later date.  Blessed with much better weather this time around, we made the three hour trek to Philly to spend an evening in the company of one of our favorite singer-songwriters.

As Melanie and her touring companions (Jean-Philippe Hebert/guitars and Desiree Haney/cello) plugged in their instruments and checked their tunings one last time, the PFS MC would announce that Melanie was voted one of the top five ‘new’ artists from patrons at the Folk Festival last summer.  Quite an accomplishment given the stellar line-up of artists that performed at the prestigious event.  Appreciating the accolade, the stage was handed over to Melanie, who quickly addressed the audience.  “There’s a few empty seats in the front row here, are you afraid of me?” she asked.  “I’m Canadian, I’m fine, We won’t bite, we’ve had dinner.”

With the release of “Fires, Floods & Things We Leave Behind” last October, Melanie was naturally willing to share her unique brand of alt-country Canadiana on this given night.  Opening with the always atmospheric “I Will,” she filled the room not only with music, but with many personal tales of the inspirations for such songs.  Following the performances of popular tracks “Pretty Wasteland” and “Weak,” Melanie was eager to share a comical tale about the origins of “Can’t Rely On Rain” with the audience.  “[It] was inspired by a very dry Toronto summer, and I had the only back yard in Toronto…[with] enough grass to grow a little garden, and so the first couple of years I lived there, I did grow a little garden,” she explained.  “And then the raccoons ate most of what I planted, but you know, it’s the journey, not the destination!”  Pausing to embrace the chuckles from the room, Melanie continued with her story, reminiscing about attempting to water the tomatoes in her back yard garden, only to find that the hose pipe had frozen and exploded.  “So I hauled buckets of water from my apartment, down two stories, and it was just not happening, because there was no rain,” she shared.  “With my fist raised in the air, I said, ‘well, you can’t rely on rain, can you?’ and that’s where this song came from.”

With discussions about dealing with addiction, the loss of loved-ones, and her childhood home on the St Lawrence River, Melanie kept the audience fully engaged all evening.  “I was force-fed country music in my grandmother’s trailer – you can’t make this shit up,” she joked.  “My grandmother has this summer trailer and she would listen to the twangiest music, and my mother loved it too, therefore I hated it, anything with pedal steel, and here I am now releasing a record with pedal steel all over it.”  Prior to performing “Tennessee Years,” Melanie reminisced once more.  “So I was in Nashville, I wanted to write a classic country song, and I originally wrote this one about my ex, but now it’s about my dog!”

Having shared nine of the eleven full length tracks from her new album, Melanie delighted us with some new additions to her repertoire down the stretch.  With both a phenomenal cover of the Greg Klyma penned “Bobby Charles On The Jukebox,” and an unrecorded (and deeply personal) track, “The River,” Melanie would close with a pair of our French language favorites, the upbeat and great audience-participation “Crier,” and of course, her bilingual cover of the Nancy Sinatra classic hit, “These Boots Are Made For Walking.” (complete with the distribution of small percussion instruments into the crowd for added effect).  Returning for an encore, not only would Melanie close with her French language hit, “Obtus,” but given the incredibly receptive response received from the room, she added a bonus a capella piece; a cover of the popular Edith Piaf tune, “La vie en rose.”

Another knock-out performance from Melanie Brulée, who continues her brief US tour with just a couple more select dates, before hitting the road for probably her biggest event yet, her first ‘by invitation only’ inclusion in the highly regarded SXSW music festival in Austin, TX.  We are incredibly grateful for the opportunities we’ve had to experience Melanie’s music live, and marvel at how her music and confidence has grown exponentially over the last couple of years.  From Cornwall, ON, to stages across North America, here is an artist making huge waves on the music scene.  We cannot wait for our next encounter with her, and of course, strongly encourage everybody else to do the same.  If Melanie Brulée’s name appears on the marquee sign at a venue near you, don’t walk, but run to be first in line for tickets.  Team GDW guarantee that you shall not be disappointed!

Set List:

  1. I Will
  2. Pretty Wasteland
  3. Bust It Up & Fix It
  4. Whiskey & Whine
  5. Can’t Rely On Rain
  6. Tennessee Years
  7. I’ll Get Over You
  8. Weak
  9. We Get Lost
  10. Bobby Charles On The Jukebox (Greg Klyma cover)
  11. The River
  12. Crier
  13. Ces bottes sont faites pour marcher

Encore:

  1. Obtus
  2. La vie en rose (Edith Piaf cover)

Visit Melanie Brulée’s website.

Martin Noakes

The British guy that crossed the ocean and crash landed in central Pennsylvania (to quote Greg Keelor, “And I wonder what am I doing here?”). As the youngest of four siblings, exposure to music from a very early age nurtured my passion and appreciation for many musical genres. Continuing to discover some amazingly diverse and talented musicians based in Canada, I gravitate to live music experiences and remain devoted to spreading the word about such a vibrant music scene.

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