Feed the Birds
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Feed the Birds

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada | SELF

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada | SELF
Band Folk Pop


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Don't Quit Your Day Job...Just Yet"

There is something sweet about Rheanna Melnick.

Whether she is feeding your soul as the folksy, whimsical, Feed the Birds -- or actually feeding you at her hipster haunt, "Jonnies Sticky Buns", your day will certainly be appetizing.

Rheanna is a professional musician who pays the bills by slinging some of the best organic baked goods Winnipeg has to offer.

It is a juggling act that frequently involves strumming and signing until midnight, followed by kneading and baking at 4 a.m. (We hope that the "day" portion of Rheanna's job somehow involves getting some sleep.)

While baker's and musician's hours appear to conflict, Rheanna somehow gets it done, getting rave reviews for both her performances on stage and in the kitchen.

As a performing artist Rheanna first cut her chops in a family band then later moved into a solo career. She now shares the stage (or should that be nest?) with Neil Goebel on bass and Steve Pennicook on drums, making for Feed the Birds.

And these aren't the only birds being fed, as Rheanna continues to measure out flour and beats for both customers and listeners alike.

Check out her tasty story below. - CBC.ca Manitoba Scene

"Jonnies Sticky Buns: Tunes for your Sweet Tooth"

By Taylor Burgess
Jonnies Sticky Buns is the hippest new eatery in Winnipeg, with a rotation of funky original cinnamon buns ranging from the classic, to the carrot ginger, to the limited edition specials (like a Guinness bun for St. Patrick’s Day). And when you enter the little storefront on the north side of Portage, between Lipton and Ruby, you know there’s some creative juices flowing around there, with collaged-over benches, the Rachel Schappert mural on the wall, and old windows used as a chalkboard and a bulletin board. So it’s probably of little surprise that the two people behind the store (and behind the counter) are established Manitoban musicians.
The two in question are Rheanna Melnick of Feed the Birds and Jon McPhail of Jon McPhail and his Family Band. They met a couple years back at open mic nights at Charlie O’s Lounge.“I remember sitting in there and Jon walked in,” Melnick recounts. “His friends all stood in front of me, because I was in the back. And he grabbed a candle from one of the tables and pretended to light one of his friends on fire.”
“Really?” muses McPhail. “Are you sure that was me? That doesn’t sound like something I would do.”
But it wasn’t until the next summer that they became more acquainted. They camped together at Folk Fest, and through mutual friends, they partook in breakfast, biking, and playing music by the river.
It seems that fate had pulled the two together. One strange coincidence that they have discovered over their friendship: McPhail’s father, a United Church minister, married Melnick’s parents. “She brought in a photo,” says McPhail, “and I asked, ‘Did you Photoshop this?’”
Another overlap is that the two play in family bands. Melnick has played with her brothers Ben and Dustin since she was young. They had helped out with her solo recordings, and they also play on Feed the Birds’ Catcher.
Jon McPhail plays as Jon McPhail and his Family Band. That, however is just in name—he plays by himself. Previously, McPhail was a member of Valsuzie, who recorded an album. However, after the album, McPhail felt a looming pressure around it all. “We tried to play some shows with a new member, and the whole thing sorta exploded. I was the glue. I was the person who was supposed to keep everything going, and get all the gigs, and be the band leader. And I really felt exhausted by the whole thing.”
So he took a year off from music, focused on his work, cooking, and managing a cafe. And after about eight months (and getting burnt out by all that) he ran off to his family’s cabin for a week and took recording equipment and every instrument he owns to record the album hummmm.
“I love how a lot of the songs have a bit of a mellow vibe because I was alone in a room,” he said, “but when I get them on stage with a bunch of people we have so much fun and—”
“It gets raucous,” says Melnick.
“Yeah, the whole experience is just ridiculous fun,” says McPhail.
Melnick, on the other hand, ended her previous solo recording project because she was sick of singing slow, sad songs, and is now the principle songwriter of Feed the Birds. Now she writes shorter, more upbeat songs. “They’re kinda in a punk format, because I always wanted to be in a punk band,” laughs Melnick. On Catcher, the album that Feed the Birds released this past fall, she’s crafted nearly a dozen sweet catchy tunes, focused on farming, relationships, and nature. It’s a dreamy affair, all led by her acoustic guitar, vocals, and tambourine playing for a mostly bittersweet ride.
“It’s really fun to play upbeat, rockin’ songs, as opposed to the slow ones, though they have their place,” she says.
Years ago, that first summer when the two started to hang out, they played a few shows together that McPhail had organized.
“And then we were going to go on tour. That worked terribly and ended spectacularly, with me sending an email entitled ‘Hey Asshole’ to one of the venues,” laughed McPhail, who said it was intended as a joke. “He replied very quickly. But not pleased. So that ended that tour.”
“We had tour meetings, and we made breakfast,” says Melnick. “And after Thanksgiving, Jon came back and said, ‘Hey, how about this idea: do you want to try to open a cafe?’”
And then two years later, it happened, to everyone’s delight.

You can find out everything you need to know about the eatery at www.jonniesstickybuns.com. Feed the Birds can be found at www.myspace.com/feedthebirdsband, and Jon McPhail’s Family Band is at www.myspace.com/jonmcphailfamilyband. - Stylus Magazine Winnipeg

"Review – “Catcher” – Feed The Birds"

Review – “Catcher” – Feed The Birds
Posted on March 21, 2011 by lstanley24

Reviewed by Laura Stanley

Combine the writing style of Irish folk musician Lisa Hannigan, up-and-coming Canadian folk musician Charlotte Cornfield and a bit of the older Tegan & Sara sound and you’ll get Rheanna Melnick, otherwise known as Feed The Birds.

Perfect for a summer day or a road trip to the beach, Catcher is filled with warm and catchy folk-pop songwriting and songs guaranteed to be in your head all day.

Melnick’s voice blends well with her folk-pop sound, showing her capable range between a low tone and her beautiful high falsetto.

“The Weatherman,” sets the stage for not only the pleasant and catchy sound that is constant throughout the album but also provides an appropriate beginning for a very nature-themed album.

Songs like, “Bees” and the foreboding “Trouble,” add a darker tone and another element to Catcher, while at the same time proving that Melnick’s songwriting is capable of more than just memorable choruses.

While some of the backing band comes off as unnecessary at times, it adds to the fun of the album (listen for the Kazoo in “Background”), keeping the listener happy and entertained.

The standout hit, “Poetic Farmer,” also chosen as one of five Manitoba finalists for CBC Radio 3 and the David Suzuki Foundation’s Playlist for the Planet contest in 2010, provides clever lyrics like, “I am a farmer, I’ve forgotten how to grow,” and toe-tapping folk goodness.

If you’re in the Winnipeg area stop by Rheanna Melnick’s bakery, Jonnies Sticky Buns (www.JonniesStickyBuns.com).

Top Tracks: “The End,” “The Weatherman,” “Poetic Farmer”

Rating: Strong Hoot (Good) - Greyowl Point

"Feed the Birds - Catcher"

Now under a new moniker (previously Ryelee), Rheanna Melnick still has everything it takes ? a lovely voice and an ear for sweet melodies ? to churn out an album full of precious acoustic pop tunes in her sleep. But she's better than that. Alive with genuine wit, revolt and yearning, the Manitoban has endowed Catcher's songs with soul. It has all the grit and messiness that come with being real, and that's exactly what makes her music memorable. Charming verses may rest on well-matched guitar strums and some reassuring, up-tempo percussion, but offbeat handclaps, wheezing trombones and a mocking kazoo are sure to keep you on your toes. Like the cymbal Melnick recounts having hand-hammered with her brother to later record on an eight-track, Catcher reveals its musical dents and pockmarks, to the glory of its maker. - Exclaim.ca

"New music / Folk"

Catcher (Independent)

WINNIPEG'S independent folk scene is rich with all kinds of talented artists working hard trying to get a leg up and move their careers even just a little bit forward. One such diamond amongst the proverbial coal is Rheanna Melnick, who now goes by the name Feed the Birds.

With able tuneful support from family members and friends, she has moved past her former incarnation as Ryelee to an area of musical confidence and lightness. Catcher is the kind of easy on the ears treat that, when drifting through your sound system, will immediately push out any negativity that may be gnawing at your psyche. Her bright, yet warm falsetto singing style and charismatic folk-pop musings reveal a deeper meaning every listen, and while she doesn't break any new ground in the genre, she should catch some accolades when the festival season begins this summer. 3 stars

-- JM

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 8, 2011 C4
- Winnipeg Free Press


"Catcher" released to radio September 28, 2010
internet release November 2010

CKXU in Lethbridge at #8
CJSR in Edmonton at #8
CJAM in Windsor at #6
CFBX in Kamloops at #14 and 21
CKUW in Winnipeg #22



"Rheanna Melnick still has everything it takes - a lovely voice and an ear for sweet melodies - to churn out an album full of precious acoustic pop tunes in her sleep. But she's better than that. Alive with genuine wit, revolt and yearning, the Manitoban has endowed Catcher's songs with soul. It has all the grit and messiness that come with being real, and that's exactly what makes her music memorable." (Exclaim.ca)

With an autumn Western Canadian tour and a Canadian College radio campaign under her belt, Feed the Birds is finding audiences with "her bright, yet warm falsetto singing style and charismatic folk-pop musings reveal a deeper meaning every listen" (Winnipeg Free Press).

Never one to mince words, Rheanna’s lyrics are poignant and topical, yet all at once ambiguous enough to let you make your own mind up as to what, exactly, that she might be referring. It could be about anyone. It could be about you. It’s simple, catchy music that flows straight from the heart; deeply honest without taking itself too seriously.

Feed the Birds' indie pop songwriting leans on folk traditions all the while kicking out a rock and roll swagger. Lyrical fragility combined with rhythmic sense; creates a dynamic live performance which transitions beautifully in all settings.

Catcher: The Album

It was mid July.
Rheanna Melnick quit her job as a delivery driver/prep cook at a Winnipeg bakery, drove her rusted up car to Minnedosa, Manitoba and spent a week recording music for an intended she had tentatively called “Catcher”.
It was hot in the valley.
With a budget of close to zero, family ties and help from Mom and Dad funded Rheanna’s first ‘Feed the Birds’ album.
Rheanna and Ben, her older brother, began the project with gusto but the neighbours constantly mowing their lawns, trains echoing through the valley shaking the walls of the trailer home recording studio, and small town boys in big trucks spending summer nights roaring through the small town made the lone week of recording “Catcher” trying.
Four days in Rheanna decided to take a breather and drove another two and half hours to her parents place; sat in the quiet for a day and then brought her younger brother, Dustin, back with her to Minnedosa to complete the project.
The siblings recorded eleven songs in seven days and didn’t kill each other. Percussive farm machinery rhythms served as inspiration when the trio decided a washboard, a kazoo and a jar of mismatched coins were a perfect fit on several of the tracks.
After just over a week in the country, Rheanna returned to Winnipeg, jobless and with an almost complete album. One more marathon day of recording followed with Rheanna’s adopted Winnipeg brothers - Neil, Jon and Steve - (fueled by homemade hamburgers as payment) adding gang vocals, drums, trombone and cello as the finishing touches on Catcher.
A November tour followed, sandwiched between opening a sticky bun boutique bakery (JonniesStickyBuns.com).
No longer jobless, baker by early morning musician the rest of the time with a mix of folk pop and punk rock, Feed the Birds is about to take flight.