Today is: Friday October 20, 2017 | Status: Under Re-development | Version 2.99.03

Brew City Sludge - August 2009

by Lane Klozier
Wisconsin's pat mAcdonald & melaniejane

Although she has toured throughout the U.S. and currently resides in Sturgeon Bay, melaniejane will always be a Milwaukee icon. Singer/songwriter, cellist, guitarist, pianist, and yes…even accordion, mj has taken all of her talents to many definable places. Her full length releases “flower” and “billets doux” capture a lifetime of experience in a collection of introspective and inspiring music.

Over the past few years, she has reinvented herself by way of collaboration. She still performs as a soloist, but most often she can be seen on stage with heavy hitters such as Victoria Vox. Her latest endeavor has brought her together with Pat mAcdonald. mAcdonald, while probably best known for his work with Timbuk3 has, since that band’s demise in 1995 continued to work as a solo artist becoming a legend in the art rock/folk rock scene. What seemingly brought them together is their shared love of music, as well as their reverence for the steel bridges that connect the land in the Sturgeon Bay area. Back in 2005, mAcdonald co-founded the Steel Bridge Songfest bringing gobs of talent from around the world to help keep this amazing structure in tact. Since that time, mj and mAc have been touring relentlessly as well as spending significant amounts of time in the recording studio. Live, they are a mesmerizing duo with mAcdonald’s swamp blues style of rock being accompanied by mj’s haunting cello and ever present tambourine. mAcdonald’s love of the cigar box guitar and droning, resonate vocals are the perfect compliment to mj’s airy background vocals and edgy instrumentation.

mAcdonald’s latest release is entitled Purgatory Hill and features mj on backing vocals and sundry percussion. From the opening number with it’s swampy drawl intro, this recode has you hooked. Dark and dirty, these tracks would be best listened to while driving a 67 Caddy down a dark country road at 2 a.m. on a hot August night. The drive continues on with songs like No One’s Daddy and Count to Ten urging your right foot to go a little faster…and a little more recklessly.  Stand out tracks such as Shut Up and Meet Za Monster represent all that is swamp, guts and glory. The key to a record such as this is in understanding the depth and complexity of something that is seemingly one dimensional. Heartbreak, joy, anger, lust and countless other emotions simmer just under the surface of songs that take the simplest of instruments to a very complicated conclusion. It was suggested to me that I should listen to this record at a very high volume. I did. And, I was happy to have done so.

That’s all for now my Darlings. Remember. School will be starting soon and the kiddies will be out and about…so stop driving on the sidewalk!



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