“I’d rather die living than live not at alive”
Words that Melissa Plett has come to live by. Whether she’s playing solo or with her band These Guys, it’s a high energy, foot stompin’, country flavored good time!
Although Melissa was raised in the prairies of South Eastern Manitoba, her life was everything but simple.
At a young age, while playing in the fields, she faced a huge scare with her cousin when they were attacked by hundreds of wasps… poisoning and sending them to emergency. A few short years later, at age 13, her and this same best friend were in a traumatic ATV accident. Melissa was hospitalized for a month and a half with the left side of her body completely broken, fighting gangrene and potential amputation, and suffering a collapsed lung, leaving her fighting for her life and dealing with the death of her best friend.
Melissa may say “These things happen… everyone has their story!” but because of hers she grew up fast knowing that life can be taken at any moment, so she’s been living life to the fullest ever since!
With ambition and passion for life, Melissa poured her heart out on the piano as a teenager, later was accepted to theatre school in New York, opting to study acting in Vancouver. She “fell into” radio, ran a live music venue and found herself travelling from coast to coast, from Mexico through America. Somewhere along the journey, she taught herself guitar and has been writing, performing and singing her heart out ever since, soaking in as much passion, life and stories her soul can carry.
In 2006, Melissa released a mellow and subtle EP called Repeated Stories, which revealed her heart and innermost gentle and softer side. However, after years of growth, including a showcase at the 2005 Winnipeg Folk Festival, festival gigging with trio group Little Black Dress, band make-ups and break-ups, she has finally found her own with Melissa Plett and These Guys.
Her new CD, Outside the City, shows the real Melissa Plett; A country girl who may be a little loud, a touch moody, but also extremely happy and full of energy! This girl loves to perform, entertain and tell a story with a giggle, wink, stomp, frown or a smile!
The “hint of country” in Melissa’s music is directly related to growing up a truck driver’s daughter, listening to the classics of Johnny Cash, Kitty Wells with a bit of soul added to the mix.
Her strong stage presence will captivate your attention while her unique and powerful voice seduces you. The stories she tells have the ability to move people, making them relate to their own life and personal history.
“Melissa Plett is a breath of fresh air. A real talent! She plays with such energy and passion it reminds me of how music used to be. Fun and full of legitimate passion. She clearly loves what she's doing and it's hard not to join in with her. Her music reaches in and touches your soul, while her voice sends shivers all the way down your spine… With the right people backing her this girl is set up to do amazing things!”
-Howard Mandshein, 92 CITI FM
“Melissa Plett’s new live recording just might sweep you away with her great ‘ol honest, rollin’ off the cuff of your sleeve lyrics, tunes and vocals. Melissa Plett’s music has the uncanny ability to make you drive to your local sock hop saloon, shake your booty and take in the exploits of this steamy story tellin’ songstress.”
- Joao Carvalho, Joao Carvalho Mastering
"She made a strong impression. She is a natural live performer with a strong, beautiful voice. She is totally at home on the stage."
- Jason Ringenberg, Jason and the Scorchers
“Melissa Plett is a singer-songwriter who draws on a wealth of experience and emotion that belies her youth, to craft a soulful, jazzy, country-tinged, roots/folk mélange that is as unique as it gets. Whether it's sad lyrics delivered with happy melodies
Dale Brown - Fiddle / Mandolin
Marie-Josee Dandaneau - Bass
David Pankratz - Drums
Best Friend Terri - Backing Vocals
Melissa Plett - Repeated Stories EP (2006)
Uh-Huh - Music Video
Melissa Plett - Outside the City (2010)
Title Track, Outside the City, has been featured on CBC Radio and Baby Please has been on various small town, and college radio rotations.
Melissa Plett - Manitoba (single is in pre-production to be released this summer)
Let the good times roll!
Please click link to view!
Hootenanny Hoe-Down’ in a Half Digi-Pack
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When Melissa Plett throws a party, there are three things to be counted on: everyone is invited, eve...When Melissa Plett throws a party, there are three things to be counted on: everyone is invited, everyone shows up, and everyone has fun! With influences clearly derived from country and folk, one would be tempted to assume it’s a party you’ve been to before, but Melissa’s music is anything but generic. It doesn’t matter if you’re a lifelong country music fan or not. There is an inescapable sincerity in her music, lyrics and groovy band that is so appealing, infectious, and danceable. You just can’t help but have fun! Her bio has her proudly pegged as a truck driver’s daughter (raised in the prairies of South Eastern Manitoba) and a realist who “grew up fast knowing that life can be taken at any moment, so she has since lived her life to the fullest”.
On stage, Plett comes across as a petite blonde guitar player with tons of attitude who can’t seem to stay still and is often seen kicking and swaying in tandem while playing and singing. It’s no wonder this project had to be recorded live off the floor – there’s no other way to capture all that energy properly!
Picture yourself in a barn at a party… from the moment the title track kicks off the CD, there is no mistaking exactly what you’re in for. With Dale Brown of Dust Rhinos fame leading the way on Fiddle, Melissa counts in her rhythm section and everyone is instantly on the same dance floor (yourself included). As she sings “I know a place outside the City… come on, let’s get outta here” you find yourself wanting nothing more than to find out what else she’s got up her sleeve. The band effortlessly sails through one groove after another, understanding exactly what she’s doing and features Marie-Josee Dandeneau on bass with David Pankratz on Drums. Backing vocals are handled by “Best Friend Terri”, a young lady with short blonde hair and a very big voice who has obviously been hanging out with Melissa for a long time and knows her every musical move. This voice of hers manages to stay relatively “tamed” for the majority of the record, serving to accentuate Melissa’s already powerful vocals, but during the bridge of murdermystery folk song “Murder Hill Road”, Terri’s voice is let out of it’s cage and full-on wails.
“Those Blue Eyes” is another rollicking country kicker which manages to turn an icky, greasy topic like ‘fairness in relationship expectations’ into something to party about. Then the lights dim, the room quiets and the band decides to slow things down a little with the simple mandolin ballad “Mexico”, which takes you away somewhere so warm and peaceful that you never want to leave as the chorus lyric repeats: “the weak shouldn’t go to Mexico”.
“Eyes That Didn’t Cry” takes things up a notch, before slowing down again with the final track “If Grandma Could Sing”. Still, the passion in Melissa’s voice is evident as it breaks up slightly when she sings “I’m going home…” at the end of the already ardent record.
Pictured drinking wine outside in a tutu, Plett has scrawled across the inside back cover: “I’d rather die living than live not alive.” It is this earnest and energetic approach to her music that explains why a non-country fan like me would find this whole project so entirely captivating and entertaining. (I found myself dancing in my kitchen while making dinner the first time I heard it!) It also explains why The Winnipeg Sun would write of her “Repeated Stories” EP in 2006:
“In a world of artifice and image, Melissa Plett is the real thing.” That absence of so-called professional pretense has only become more evident and is oh, so refreshing.
If there had to be one criticism (and there always does), it would be in the final mixdown of the project. As powerful as Melissa’s voice is, at times it comes across as buried in the mix and my ear had a hard time deciphering lyrics as a result of all the other high-energy artistic stuff happening. But “Outside the City” is more than just a project showcasing artistic talent. It is also a statement and a genuine one at that. When I asked why there were only 8 songs on “Outside the City”, Melissa replied “because that’s all I wanted to record!” And for all I know, the mix is exactly the way she wanted it. After all, she doesn’t seem to live any other way.
In the inside flap of the packaging, (not even a full digi-pack, with only one sleeve housing the disc itself) Plett thanks ‘the one who’s holding this album’ and writes: “No matter what, I’m gonna sing at the top of my lungs… now… everybody dance!” Give it a spin, and partying with Melissa Plett will surely sound like a great idea.
~ Lindsey White
Outside the City - CD Review
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Recorded live off the floor at Private Ear Studios with local producer John Paul Peters in just thre...Recorded live off the floor at Private Ear Studios with local producer John Paul Peters in just three hours, Melissa Plett and These Guys’ full-length debut, Outside the City, is a fast ’n’ loose, foot-stompin’ roots/country album. The raucous tunes here are a stark contrast to those of 2006’s moody, mellow Repeated Stories EP; Outside the City showcases a more confident Plett — a true Prairie girl with true Prairie grit. She’s got a big voice and, on this record, she really lets go, especially on ballads such as If Grandma Could Sing. The best thing about this little record, though, is its honesty. This is the sound of a few friends making music together.
Repeated Stories EP Review (March '06)
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Melissa Plett Repeated Stories EP (Indie) B+ Released in January, Repeated Stories EP finds...Melissa Plett
Repeated Stories EP
Released in January, Repeated Stories EP finds singer/songwriter Melissa Plett assembling a talented cast of locals to craft a great little album. At its core, this disc is a woman with a guitar, but the sound is fleshed out by Dave Pankratz (Quinzy), Matt Epp, John Paul Peters (who also produced the disc), Brian James and others. The full effect is quietly beautiful, especially on Be Here Tonight and Winter in September. Both songs are patient, down-tempo numbers that allow Plett’s clear, warm voice to shine, and both songs can stir up some emotion if they catch you in the right mood. Hell, the delicate guitars and mournful violin on Be Here Tonight made this banger sniffle just a bit. In the liner notes Plett writes: “Thanks for the song, now I’ll move on.” No, Melissa, thank you. — MW
Repeated Stories EP Review (April '06)
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MELISSA PLETT REPEATED STORIES INDEPENDENT FILE UNDER: The beginning of a beautiful friends...MELISSA PLETT
FILE UNDER: The beginning of a beautiful friendship. SUBSTANCE: In a world of artifice and image, Melissa Plett is the real thing. What you hear with this folky singer-songwriter is what you get. And what you get on her debut EP is six tales of heartworn confession voiced in earthy tones, set to mournful melodies and dotted with jazzy arrangements and classical flourishes. STANDOUTS: The slow, sad Saturday; the supple Because of You.
By, DARRYL STERDAN
Wolseley Musician males pilgrimage to Mexico
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By James Turner March 15, 2007 Watching Melissa Plett interact with people at the small, b...By James Turner
March 15, 2007
Watching Melissa Plett interact with people at the small, bustling Portage Avenue restaurant where we meet, it’s clear people quickly take to her.
People smile back at her and their body language relaxes as they interact with the 25-year-old – perhaps disarmed by her friendliness.
“I love cafés,” she says, smiling broadly.
The slim, blonde-haired Plett is equally as open with her responses to questions about her upcoming adventure to Mexico, and how she thinks she can make a difference in people’s lives through her music, her faith, and cappuccino.
Plett arrived March 12 in Guadalajara where she will work alongside her sister Sandra and other members of the Mennonite Brethren Mission and Service International (MBMS) in furthering the goals of what’s known as the Matthew Team.
The Matthew Team has been in Guadalajara over the last year-and a half, working to grow the Christian community there.
Headquartered out of the RETO Internacional (International) Church, Plett’s role will be to help set up a small café, where she will also entertain with her music, self-described as folk-roots with country and jazz overtones.
Asked what she thinks the state of the café project might be on her arrival, the Wolseley resident says her expectations of what the café space currently looks like isn’t important.
“As far as I know, it’s a room in a church right now,” she says,“it’s so hard to judge if everything is going to be in place.”
Plett’s parents recently returned from a trip to the city. From their comments she says she’s formed an impression of what she’ll find outside the walls of the church.
“I have this image of this beautiful place filled with people that are sick, tired and bleeding,” she says, drawing the bleeding reference from a tale her father told her of a person on the street with skin so dry it bled.
“It’s definitely going to be eye-opening.”
Although she says her trip is self-financed, Plett has been fundraising for the South American sojourn by selling copies of her CD Repeated Stories and putting the cash from sales aside.
“I don’t like claiming I’m a Christian musician – I’m a musician that is a Christian…I don’t ever want to come across as being holier-than-thou,” she says.
Plett adds her trip will largely be a learning experience for her – learning how to use her gifts to bring joy to people’s lives down south.
“It’s all about finding what skills will fit,” she says, but adds she’s willing to accept she may have to be prepared to go with the flow and adjust her plans over the three weeks she’s there.
“I know what I want to do…But I know nothing ever goes as planned.”
Lloyd Letkeman, a regional mobilizer for MBMS for Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta says Melissa’s gifts for relating to people will help touch the lives of people in Guadalajara.
“Her enthusiasm for life and her gifts will help the group in Mexico,” he said in a telephone interview from his home in Gretna, Man.
Plett’s talents will play a part in MBMS’ mission to help implant the RETO church as a fixture of peace in the Latino Christian community.
“(Plett’s) part is to grow and learn about the community,” says Letkeman.
Her “personal impact will be encouragement” for people there, he added.
Letkeman says the goals of the MBMS fall inside the Anabaptist tradition of fostering peace within entire communities, not just within believers.
“We’re a peace Church – we make peace wherever we are,” he says.
Plett will be posting podcasts (Internet radio broadcasts) of her experience in Guadalajara on her website, www.melissaplett.com.
Approx. 45 min. in length made up of original songs with the occasional cover and my own version of a classic Johnny Cash song.
Although listed below are 2 "standard" sets, I am able to adapt longer set requirements or add a 3rd set!
Outside the City
Thanks A Lot - (Neko Case)
Ode to Grand Forks
Murder Hill Road
Eyes that Didn't Cry
Those Blue Eyes
Fist City - (Loretta Lynn)
If Grandma Could Sing
Walk the Line - (Johnny Cash)
The Gambler - (Kenny Rogers)
Hound Dog - (Elvis)
There are no upcoming dates at this time.