Melissa Ferrick has the kind of relationship with her audience that few artists are blessed with. Her live performance is fierce and funny, outspoken and vulnerable, passionate and real. The emotional honesty of Ferrick’s first-person lyrics, the force of her vocal delivery and the disciplined fury of her musicianship connects her to her audience with confidence and grace. She’s been gaining fans since her first release at age twenty-two on Atlantic Records. Her next three recordings were released by indie label What Are Records. In 2000, Melissa launched her own label: Right On Records. Her newest album, “In the Eyes of Strangers” is the label’s sixth release.
Always groundbreaking, Melissa recently achieved an industry first by setting up a direct digital download from her website. “For $6 or more, people bought six acoustic versions of the songs that are on the new record,” explains Ferrick. “So half of this record was funded by my fans. One fan (who would like to remain anonymous) donated all of the expenses of the recording studio.”
A full-blown studio affair produced by Ethan Allen (Throwing Muses, Patty Griffin, 60 Ft. Wave), “In The Eyes of Strangers” maintains all of the passion of previous Ferrick releases yet is infused with a new invigorated sense of urgency. With an all-star cast of musicians including drummer Daren Hahn (Ani DiFranco, Eels, Break Mechanics), keyboardist Julie Wolf (Bruce Cockburn, Ani DiFranco, Dar Williams) and friends Tegan Quin (Tegan and Sara), Erin McKeown, Natalia Zukerman and Rachael Davis, “Strangers” marks a personal and professional departure for Ferrick. Her last release, “The Other Side” was a completely self-made project wherein Ferrick produced, engineered and played every instrument.
Non-stop touring and the daily pressures of being one’s own boss had taken their toll on the songwriter before she began recording “Strangers.” “I was so worn down that I just showed up and played,” Ferrick recalls. “This time, because I was so exhausted, I didn’t have the energy to take care of other people which is something I tend to do. This raw state I was in, in hindsight, was a good thing for the recording; the emotional and physical pain I was in comes through.” The result is Ferrick’s strongest release to date- a sentiment the songwriter shares. “It’s the best record I’ve made.”