“There’s no place like home” sings Juno Award winning singer-songwriter Melanie Doane on “Ruby Slippers”, the opening track from her new album THE EMERALD CITY, out March 1 on iTunes internationally. While a Wizard of Oz theme is apparent, Melanie isn’t channeling her inner Dorothy on this fresh set of pop-rock gems. “The Emerald City is an image we all know,” says Doane. “It means different things to different people, but ultimately it's the only image I know of that embodies disenchantment and hope at the same time. It's the shattering of something you believe in, but somehow optimism remains. That’s where I’m coming from with these songs.”
THE EMERALD CITY follows 2008’s critically-acclaimed A THOUSAND NIGHTS, an album inspired by Melanie’s experiences with motherhood and featuring an assortment of original tunes and classic covers re-arranged as lullabies. That album generated prominent song placements in hit shows like CBC’s Being Erica and CBS’s Flashpoint, and celebrated Melanie’s softer side musically and lyrically. In contrast, THE EMERALD CITY feels like a return to form, recalling the edgier style of her breakthrough Gold-selling record ADAM’S RIB while tactfully showcasing Melanie’s multifaceted skills as a vocalist, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist (she plays guitar, violin, piano, ukulele, mandolin, and bass). “I had more to say this time around, so it's nice to have a place to say it,” affirms Doane.
The “more” she’s referring to are the changes she’s faced over the past few years. Having embarked on a new side project as a music educator while continuing to tour and write songs, the recently separated mom is busier than ever and putting it all into her creative work. “My life has been changing considerably, and like all moms, it's a bit of a balancing act. Nevertheless, music still remains at the centre of everything I do and [I feel] this album showcases that. I'm grateful to continue to have my music as an outlet.”
Artfully produced by her drummer and brother Creighton Doane, THE EMERALD CITY is an emotional journey, chronicling love lost and an understanding of self gained. A witty songwriter who skillfully employs a “less is more” approach to her craft, Doane finds new and interesting ways to incorporate familiar images and phrases into her most personal work to date. The verses of “The Stupider I Am” recount the simple things we learn growing up (“Eat when you’re hungry/When you’re tired, close your eyes”), while its chorus cleverly asserts ownership of one’s missteps (“The more I know, the stupider I am”). “Disaster Waiting to Happen” finds Melanie comparing personal crisis with that of famous tragedies (“I’m the Titanic, just before the ice/I’m Romeo and Juliet/I’m a disaster waiting to happen/But I can’t see it yet”), while the album closer “Make God Laugh” is about relinquishing attempts to control fate and accepting the present as reality. (“My only sorrow/My only true regret/Living for tomorrow/One day I’ll never get”)
The product of a musical family, Halifax-born Doane has spent a large portion of the last fifteen years on the road supporting her numerous solo albums. While her debut album SHAKESPEAREAN FISH received critical praise and garnered a loyal following, the release of ADAM’S RIB in 1998 brought Melanie's music to a mainstream audience. With a running theme that is best described as a “delving dichotomy”, ADAM’S RIB brilliantly showcases Melanie’s flair as both an instrumentalist and songwriter, featuring punchy-relevant lyrics laced with strong musical wit. What followed the albums release is nothing short of extraordinary: multiple top 40 singles, a Juno Award for Best New Artist, a Canadian Radio Award for Most Charted Rock Artist, over 200 shows in Canada and the U.S., and a Gold record award.
Since ADAM’S RIB, Melanie has pursued her career independent of the label system. In 2001, she recorded and released the fan cherished MELVIN LIVE, an album showcasing her energetic and diverse live show. Her third studio album YOU ARE WHAT YOU LOVE followed in 2003, preceded by the lead single “Still Desire You”, which spanned multiple formats and eventually went Top 5. A THOUSAND NIGHTS followed in 2008, preceded by the albums lead single "Songbird" which reached Top 5 on the iTunes Country singles chart. To date, Doane has written seven chart topping singles across various formats in Canada, including "Goliath", "Still Desire You", "Adam's Rib", and "Waiting For The Tide". She also has toured or recorded songs with some of Canada's finest talents, including Jann Arden, Jim Cuddy, Sarah McLachlan, Ron Sexsmith, Ed Robertson (of Barenaked Ladies) and Great Big Sea.
Between raising kids and making records, Melanie has managed to tour in support of each album, write songs for various artists, play as a side man on several albums, have her music featured on hit television shows like Brothers and Sisters, Being Erica, Flashpoint, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and travel across Canada and the U.S. (in 2007, 2008, and 2010) on the CPR Holiday train - playing 60 shows in less than a month while raising money for local food banks. She was also recently commissioned by Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton to write and record a song celebrating 20 years of Women’s Bobsleigh in Canada and was invited to perform the song (“Here on Top of the World”) at the F.I.B.T World Cup in November.
With the release of THE EMERALD CITY, Melanie will continue doing what she loves – making great music. “I'm in a better place creatively than I have been for a long time. I'm excited to be promoting this new album and I'm looking forward to writing and planning for the next one.”
Melanie Doane - vocals / guitar / violin / piano / mandolin / bass / ukulele
Mike Borkosky - guitar / vocals
Brad Barker - bass
Creighton Doane- drums / vocals
"The Emerald City" (March 1, 2011) - Prairie Ocean
"A Thousand Nights" (2008) - Prairie Ocean
"You Are What You Love" (2003) - Actorboy/Warner Music Canada
"Melvin Live" (2001) - MapleMusic
"Adam's Rib" (1998) - Sony Canada/Columbia USA
"Shakespearean Fish" (1996) - Sony Canada
"Harvest Train" (1993) - Indie
"Songbird" (feat. Jim Cuddy) - Top 5 iTunes Country Singles
"Wilma Or A Betty Man" (2003) - Top 20 Hot AC
"Still Desire You" (2003) - Top 5 CHR/Hot AC
"Happy Homemaker" (1999) - Top 40 Hot AC
"Goliath" (1999) - Top 20 CHR/Hot AC
"Waiting For The Tide" (1999) - Top 40 Hot AC
"Adam's Rib" (1998) - Top 20 Rock/CHR/Hot AC
Flashpoint: "Chopin Ballad"
Being Erica: "Every Little Thing"
Brother’s and Sisters: “Good Gifts”
Buffy The Vampire Slayer: “I Can’t Take My Eye’s Off You”
Dawson’s Creek: “Bionic”
Party Of Five: “Absolutely Happy”, “Waiting For The Tide”
That’s Life: “Bionic”, “Still Desire You”, “Way Past Blue”, "You Are What You Love", "Absolutely Happy", "Good Gifts", "Mel's Rock Pile"
Baywatch Hawaii: "I Can't Take My Eyes Off You"
Resurrection Blvd: "How You Cried", "Good Gifts", "Still Desire You"
American Express (Commercial): “Good Gifts”
Prom Queen (TV Movie): “You Are What You Love”
Black Swan (Movie): “Here I Am”, “Way Past Blue”, “Still Desire You”
Santa Baby (Movie), “Happy Together”
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After a five-year hiatus, Doane returns with quite a special album opening with her own, lovely "Eve...After a five-year hiatus, Doane returns with quite a special album opening with her own, lovely "Every Little Thing." Tackling "Song of Bernadette" was gutsy and successful and her Ron Sexsmith duet on "Devoted to You" is near perfect. Wow!
...duet of the year...
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Slow dancing on a sawdust floor, Doane knows its right with a Blue Rodeo harmony singer (Jim Cuddy)....Slow dancing on a sawdust floor, Doane knows its right with a Blue Rodeo harmony singer (Jim Cuddy). The fiddled Fleetwood Mac cover ("Songbird") is the kindest made-in-Canada duet of the year, next to the Feist-and-Constantines’ Islands in the Stream.
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A Thousand Nights is a soothing mix of 70's songs (including Devoted To You, Song of Bernadette and ...A Thousand Nights is a soothing mix of 70's songs (including Devoted To You, Song of Bernadette and Wildflowers) each of them graced with Doane's artful touch (she plays mandolin, bass, guitar, fiddle and piano). Album highlights: Duets with Ron Sexsmith, Jim Cuddy of Blue Rodeo fame and Doane's husband, Ted Dykstra.
CD's We Love
Feature Pick: Melanie Doane - A Thousand Nights
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“Melanie Doane is a woman with a fiddle, but don't jump to any conclusions. She is no sweetheart of ...“Melanie Doane is a woman with a fiddle, but don't jump to any conclusions. She is no sweetheart of the rodeo and, despite hailing from Nova Scotia, she is no Celtic sprite either. Pop-rock is her thing, and judging from her show last night, she plays it with plenty of passion and panache.”
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“As Melanie Doane takes the stage, the powerful voice and intense focus that earned her the title of...“As Melanie Doane takes the stage, the powerful voice and intense focus that earned her the title of Best New Canadian Artist are clear.”
Well Worth Going to See
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“Doane’s soulful voice and multi-instrumental talents made for an intimate, relaxing environment. Do...“Doane’s soulful voice and multi-instrumental talents made for an intimate, relaxing environment. Doane impressed the audience not only with her sweet throaty voice, but her abilities on keyboard, guitar, electric fiddle and the ukulele. The club felt more like a coffee house with the sunshine yellow and warm red lighting and Doane's playful chatter with the audience. Doane is a talented artist with a cheery inviting stage presence, well worth going to see.”
“Expressive lyrics and stunning vocals make this album [You Are What You Love] addictive.”
Her own woman...
“She's her own woman, something that shines through powerfully in her punchy and relevant lyrics."
...wicked sense of irony...
“This artist possesses a wicked sense of irony underneath her wholesome and positive exterior...."
Melanie's current set list draws from each of the releases in her impressive catalog, covers featured on A Thousand Nights, and varies depending on the event.
There are no upcoming dates at this time.