Folk-rocker Melissa Ferrick finds flawless beauty even in sorrow
A rare performer whose work impresses whether live or in a studio, lesbian siren Melissa Ferrick proves that music doesn’t have to be complicated to be compelling.
A songwriter whose lyrics read like the stark admissions of a spurned lover, Ferrick finds her inspiration in the recesses of her own heart. Her themes may be the usual grand ones of life, love and loss, but Ferrick’s focus is always on smaller moments. On her ninth studio disc, “In the Eyes of Strangers,” the Boston-based artist doesn’t stray from her signature formula miring in the joy and the pain of romance.
If the lyrics on “In the Eyes of Strangers” are to be believed, the last couple of years have been rough. With only a couple of exceptions, the songs on this record find her recounting all too-familiar fights and admonishing herself for her emotional state.
On the anguished “Stuck,” she complains that she’s “waiting for the other shoe to drop” in a doomed romance. On “Come on Life,” she’s even more explicit, referring to a cheating lover and backstabbing former friend. Perhaps not surprisingly, Ferrick’s evident pain only makes these songs even more beautiful in their execution.
Not all of “In the Eyes of Strangers” proves as depressed as its most autobiographical moments. On the mellow “Everything You Get,” a funky-plucky organ joins Ferrick’s acoustic guitar. The cautiously optimistic “Closer” is another clear standout one made all the more charming by Ferrick’s trepidation at her own happiness.
Smartly written, strongly voiced and flawlessly performed, “In the Eyes of Strangers” doesn’t blink in the face of emotional pain much to Ferrick’s and her listeners’ benefit.
Simple, but with an honesty that’s evident from its first chord, this record fearlessly takes on romance, whether for better or worse, and literally makes it into beautiful music.
2007 RESOLUTIONS FOR PATRICE PIKE
Though she might not have made the final cut in CBS show “Rock Star: Supernova,” 2006 was an incredible year for Dallas-bred bisexual Patrice Pike, pictured. Aside from the massive reality-TV exposure, the bluesy rocker also released a new solo album, “Unraveling.” As she performs in Dallas on Saturday, we’ve come up with four PR coups that could earn Pike some more time in the limelight.
1. Hook up with Angelina Jolie.
Since Jolie can’t seem to stop bedding co-stars, all this would take is a small film role for the sexy singer. Hey media, can you say “Pangelina?”
2. Start partying with Paris and “forget” to wear panties.
The trailer-trash hubby is optional.
3. Three words: Adopted African baby
Besides, Chihuahuas are so 2001.
4. Make fun of Donald Trump’s comb-over
Hey, it worked for Rosie!
Pike performs at the Granada Theater, 3524 Greenville Ave., Jan. 27 at 8 p.m. $12-$15. 214-824-9933.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition January 26, 2007