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Melody Guy

Dry the Rivers – 2019 ( Self-released)

Reviewed by Robert Wooldridge

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CDs by Melody Guy

The 10th release from Nashville-based singer/songwriter Melody Guy is a mix of country, bluegrass and rock driven by Guy's powerful vocals. The strongest country tracks are the ballad "Mercy" ("Pick me up when I start crying/Sing to me when I'm blue/God have mercy on the lonely/Right now my only hope is you") co-written with Ray Stephenson, and the introspective "Tell Me I'm Not the Only One" ("I need someone to hear my fears/And tell me I'm not the only one").

The bluegrass flavored "I Can't Live There" (co-written with Donnie Skaggs) finds Guy confronting painful memories from the past and the need to remove herself from the scene ("I'll fall right in/I'm lost again/Underneath your spell") with nice banjo work from Richard Bailey. Similarly the title track has Guy dealing with current demons ("I've got monsters creeping in/I hear voices speaking sin/I feel the darkness settle in/Under my skin") featuring Chas Williams on Dobro and slide guitar.

Guy's most impassioned vocals are on bluesy rockers such as the opening "Tangible Love" in which the singer feels disconnected from an absent lover ("You're just a voice on the phone/I need someone to touch me"), which recall Janis Joplin. Perhaps the most touching composition is the closing ballad "Shadow" (co-written with Rick Tiger) in which Guy addresses the complex relationship between a mother and daughter that progresses from closeness during childhood ("You'd follow me around and try to do the things I did") to the difficulty in letting go ("I won't change a thing in your room/Just in case you ever need to find your way back home") with Mike Daly on pedal steel and Dobro.

Produced by multi-instrumentalist Michael Webb (organ, accordion, bass, piano), the backing throughout is stellar. With strong tunes and Guy's soulful vocals, this is an entertaining listen.