Melanie Peterson: Live in Burlington, ON

Melanie Peterson

Toronto-based singer-songwriter Melanie Peterson recently made her Burlington Sound of Music festival debut (on a beautifully sunny – and breezy – Saturday afternoon on Brant St.), and took the opportunity to share music from her 2020 “We Got This” EP, and new tunes from her forthcoming “We Got This (Side Two)” EP (due for a September release).  Accompanied by Peter Collins (bass/vocals) and “Lucky” Pete Lambert (drums/vocals), Melanie (guitar/vocals) pulled off a stunt that only those paying complete attention may have realized – that during their 50-minute slot, the trio performed every track from both EP’s – and in sequential order to boot.   

Opening with “Back To You,” the tempo was very quickly established, as was the rapport between the artist and her audience.  “It is so cool to be here in Burlington at the Sound of Music festival,” she declared following a fabulous rendition of “Damaged Goods.” “I’m going to play a song now called Tailspin and it goes out to anyone who’s ever had anyone they love caught up in a toxic relationship.” As “Lucky” Pete stepped away momentarily from the drum kit at the close of “Tailspin,” Melanie and Peter went on to perform the beautiful, dual-harmony ballad and EP title track. “This is the title track to the EP I released in 2020 and I didn’t get out to play very much. Of course, you guys know why,” Melanie stated. “So, it’s nice to play songs from it today, and this is a song about keeping the marriage together, about keeping the love alive.”

Progressing to the new material, the trio had the audience fully engaged with the recent power-pop single, “Somebody’s Somebody,” itself the first taste of what to expect with the next EP. “Still got the same phone number / Still drives likes a maniac / She still leaves the porch light on / To guide your way back / You told yourself you had to play it safe and you did / But deep down don’t you wish you had just let her in.”  Melanie’s press statement that accompanied the single release back in early May shed a little light on the origins of this tune. “The song is about a breakup that happened years ago between two friends of mind,” she shared. “They both still hold on to the memory of that relationship and I believe it’s because ultimately, they are each other’s somebody.” “Everybody wants to be somebody’s somebody / And sometimes somebody is hard to find / Everybody wants to be somebody’s somebody / So won’t you tell me why your wasting time.” 

Melanie Peterson

As the new tracks played out from the stage, my first impression was of a noticeable difference between those from the 2020 EP.  Where the earlier pieces offered strong, definitive emotional tales and vocal delivery, there is a shift to peppier, lighter sonic pleasures to be discovered here (the yin to the yang, perhaps). “Diamonds And Pearls” teeters towards an Americana-pop direction, while the fun and frivolous “One Tequila” is destined to be a lock for pleasing crowds on the live music circuit for many years to come. “One tequila, raise your glass / two tequila, tip it back / three tequila, four,” Melanie recites, accompanied by a fabulous marching rhythm that is almost impossible to not tap your foot along to. “Five tequila, aching head / Six tequila, empty bed / Seven tequila, floor.”  Soaking up the applause following this catchy tune, Melanie jokingly recommended not drinking that much tequila.

Naturally, there are a pair of slower compositions that binds the new material to the first EP, with a tale of finding a soul-mate during a visit to Montreal (“Heaven On Earth”), and a moving, strings-filled (as found in the studio version to follow) ballad titled “Ruined Lovin’,” which sees Melanie tugging at the heartstrings once more.  Those welcoming the diversity in sound and style with these new tunes will fall instantly for the EP’s closing track, “Passenger Seat,” where Melanie dabbles with a sojourn into pop-rock territory.  Looking over my own notes taken during the performance at Burlington, my musings stated “a light country vibe with nice use of tempo changes” – yet having followed up listening to the full studio version, there’s so much more going on here. The tempo changes are indeed there, but the instrumental shifts and burst of intensity really elevate Melanie’s game to an all-new level.  

Melanie Peterson - We Got This (Side Two)

In closing, I simply want to state that Melanie’s fans have every reason to be excited about the pending release of “We Got This (Side Two),” and that nobody shall be disappointed.  A great performance in Burlington, and the first of many more to come around the GTA as Melanie gears up for the formal release of this latest EP.  Here’s hoping we one day find both EP’s making up a deluxe vinyl package.

Set List:

  1. Back To You
  2. Do You Want To Be Loved?
  3. Damaged Goods
  4. Tailspin
  5. We Got This
  6. Tightrope
  7. Somebody’s Somebody
  8. Diamonds And Pearls
  9. Heaven On Earth
  10. One Tequila
  11. Ruined Lovin’
  12. Passenger Seat
  13. Country Roads (John Denver cover)

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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