Mel Stark – Broken Line (Stark Audio Productions)
A native of Eugene, Oregon, Mel Stark has been writing songs since she picked up her first ukulele in 2006 and joined her local monthly song group - where ideas are shared and members support and encourage each other’s efforts. And over the years she learned her craft, progressed to guitar and wrote more songs, and now, after an intense two-year writing / recording period, her debut album “Broken Line” has been released.
I imagine she must be very proud. It’s a fine collection, lyrically strong, and with tunes and hooks aplenty. Her voice will remind some of kd lang – though the rough edges have been left very much intact, and the production is never too refined. That’s no bad thing as it lends the collection an authenticity; a realness that’s extremely attractive to those seeking a genuine voice, and should appeal to a variety of folk, singer-songwriter and Americana fans.
She begins the album with one of her strongest tracks: “Love the Way”. It’s pacey, rhythmically robust, and the song is catchy and instantly likeable. “Baby Come Home” is just as pleasing - there’s no doubting Stark’s way with a pop hook, and the atmospheric electric guitar adds another dimension. “Old House” is perhaps the best of her story songs, where she skillfully places the listener into the narrative and the imagery she weaves is subtle and clever.