Melissa Carper Releases Single 'Lucky Five' Ahead of New LP

The EP, Borned in Ya, will be released on July 19.

By: May. 03, 2024
Melissa Carper Releases Single 'Lucky Five' Ahead of New LP
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Austin-based singer-songcrafter/upright bassist Melissa Carper has announced her forthcoming LP, Borned In Ya, due out July 19th via Mae Music/Thirty Tigers, with the release of its first single and video, “Lucky Five.”

"Lucky Five" is a lighthearted track about past relationships. "I have much personal experience to draw from in writing a song that speaks of learning from past relationships, growing as a human, and being able to know how to love better as you grow," says Carper. "I believe that any difficult experience that presents itself is just an opportunity to learn and face something in ourselves that needs to be confronted, in order to learn." The video, set in the Austin Roller Rink, was filmed and directed by Brian Schwarz of Painted House Productions. 

“I don’t think you can get this sound unless it’s borned in ya,” said bluegrass legend Ralph Stanley, when asked about what he called “old-time mountain music.” When Melissa Carper heard those words, something jumped inside her. While staying in the country with a friend, she found an old DVD of Down From the Mountain, the documentary and concert film of the “O, Brother Where Art Thou'' soundtrack that featured this particular Stanley interview. She immediately jotted down “borned in ya” on a piece of paper. “I knew I had to write that song,” she recalls.

In the Spring of 2023, Carper went back to East Nashville’s Bomb Shelter – the same “analog wonderland” where she’d recorded Ramblin’ Soul and its predecessor, Daddy’s Country Gold, and enlisted the help of her trusted co-producers – Dennis Crouch and Andrija Tokic. “Borned In Ya” would become the title track of the new album, out July 19th via Mae Music/Thirty Tigers.

Like much of her writing, the song applies a homespun sensibility – and a bit of humor – to questions about life’s journeys. “I was turning over in my mind what it means to have something ‘borned in ya’,” she said. “The song evolved as I was writing it to be more about having your soul 'borned it ya,' and the more life experience you have, you hopefully grow to embody the highest version of yourself that you can be.” “Borned In Ya” could certainly stand as a reflection on Carper’s life in music. “Authentic” might be an overused word to describe an artist’s appeal, but there’s something so natural and true about Carper’s musicality that she must have been born with it: An easy sway to her singing, a precise, but laid-back sense of timing. A feel. And, lyrically, she has an instinctive sense for storytelling, both observant and intuitive.

Carper, born into a music-loving family, was raised on roots music, immersing herself in a family record collection that featured Hank Williams Sr., Loretta Lynn, Patsy Cline, Ray Charles, Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, and more. Carper earned a music scholarship to attend the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. College didn’t quite take, but while there, she spent hours in the music library, drawn to jazz vocalists like Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra, and she discovered seminal blues artist Lead Belly.

Borned In Ya showcases Carper’s long-standing influences as well as her artistic growth and sense of adventure. In addition to her familiar blend of country with jazz, blues, soul, and R&B, the new album sees Carper exploring a more subtle and expert crossing of these genres and with a matured lyrical depth. The title track kicks things off with a gospel-style vocal chorus before settling into an impeccably funky groove. “Evil Eva” recalls the classic R&B of the 50s and 60s, and “Let’s Stay Single Together” puts Carper’s crooning vocal to a delightful jazz-tinged country soul feel. “There’ll Be Another One” sounds like classic Roy Orbison with Carper floating atop the bed of ever-growing emotion, fueled by the stunning string arrangement from fiddler, Rebecca Patek. “Somewhere Between Texas and Tennessee” is straight out of the honky tonk and “Lucky Five” is reminiscent of an old Frank Sinatra swinger. Carper rounds out this album with covers of two classics, “That’s My Desire,” crossover jazz/country tune from the 30s, and a beautiful rendition of Cole Porter’s “Everytime We Say Goodbye.”

Borned In Ya features a cast of top-flight musicians like bassist Dennis Crouch (Johnny Cash, Gregg Allman, Alison Krauss, Robert Plant), guitar and pedal steel player Chris Scruggs (Loretta Lynn, Jim Lauderdale), pianist Jeff Taylor (The Time Jumpers, Riders in the Sky), fiddle master Billy Contreras (Ricky Scaggs, Buddy Spicher, George Jones), and multi-instrumentalist Rory Hoffman (Ricky Skaggs, Kathy Mattea, John Cowan). This is Carper’s first album featuring horns; Doug Corcoran, from JD McPherson's band, plays trumpet and saxophone. And there are soulful backup vocals by Kyshona Armstrong, Nickie Conley and Maureen Murphy, as well as beautiful harmonies by Carper’s longtime music pal and bandmate, Jenn Miori Hodges (Carper Family). Carper penned the majority of the album’s 12 songs herself, though she co-wrote three tunes with friend and bandmate, Brennen Leigh (Wonder Women of Country). 

Carper is eager for the release of Borned In Ya, and hopes it will resonate with fans of her earlier work while establishing an artistic step forward. “People call me retro or throwback, and I’ve been OK with that,” she says. “But, I feel like I’m still creating something new. I’m taking styles and blending things in a way that maybe hasn’t been done before. And, in the process, I’m evolving in my own way.”

Borned In Ya is available for pre-save HERE. Be sure to follow Melissa Carper at the links below for the latest news and updates.


Borned In Ya

I Don’t Love You Anymore

Your Furniture’s Too Nice

Evil Eva

There’ll Be Another One

Let’s Get Outta Here

Somewhere Between Texas and Tennessee

That’s My Desire

Let’s Stay Single Together

Lucky Five

Every Time We Say Goodbye

Waxing and Waning


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