Violet Country Spotlight: Melissa Carper “Makin’ Memories”

by Eryn Brothers

My sister recently told me that she used to sneak out of work to go see Sad Daddy perform in our hometown in Arkansas’ farmer’s market. I got jealous when she told me– there I was, in the past, grueling over a flat top grill at the breakfast joint we mutually worked at, while she was watching Melissa Carper play live. My sister was fourteen, and already way more badass than I. And well, Melissa Carper has always been cool as hell.

From projects like Sad Daddy, Buffalo Gals, and The Carper Family, Carper has seemingly always been on the fringe of my Ozark to Austin life. I’ve seen her play live, been at the same parties, shows, and never had the guts to say hi. There was always such an air of laid back ambition about Carper, harkening back to older times with touches here and there of punk, and I was scared shitless to introduce myself. 

But shit, y’all, coolness and introductions are hard. Yet, even after the multitude of recordings, work, and name staking, Melissa Carper’s first single, “Makin’ Memories,” off the upcoming album– due out March 19th–Daddy’s Country Gold, is a great introduction to a cool fucking album, and a fantastic solo debut to a long standing artist/self proclaimed wanderer such as Carper. There’s a premiere-like stroll in the rhythm of “Makin’ Memories,” that harkens back to the time where album titles called you to meet the artist. For those new to Carper’s work, it’s an absolutely fantastic greeting, for those familiar, it’ll be a delightful homecoming. I know I felt both of these things after listening to it for the first time. 

“Makin’ Memories” was written in Austin, TX in 2013 or so when I lived there, inspired by a meeting up with old friends at a SXSW event,” says Melissa. “Some Carper Family fans will probably remember the song well as we played it a bunch. In fact, I have many memories of playing the song at The White Horse for all the dancers and giving a shout out to Larry and Steve. I finally recorded the song on Daddy’s Country Gold and couldn’t be happier with the way it turned out!”

Like the rest of the album, “Makin’ Memories,” promises a tender homage to country and western swing. Carper brings a freshness to new country music that has been so very needed. The recording and playing is straightforward, with the fun whimsical charm of what I like to call, “them talkin’ parts,” of older country tunes. (Who doesn’t delight in Dolly Parton’s cackle, Loretta and Conway shooting the shit? It’s just as darling when Carper and her band do it.) There’s something so rewarding, nostalgic, and refreshing in “Makin’ Memories,” like being fourteen and cutting work to see an old timey-esque band play at the farmer’s market for the first time. You know what to expect, but it all feels so exciting and new.

Take some time to get acquainted with Melissa Carper’s “Makin’ Memories.” I’m certain, all my own bashfulness aside, Carper would be more than happy to hear a hello and howdy from y’all. Introductions are hard, memories easy to make, and Melissa Carper does all of it in absolute style with the first single off Daddy’s Country Gold.