Melissa Payne
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Melissa Payne


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"East Coast Music"

Melissa Payne Joins Titcomb at Plan B Wednesday
Tue, Oct 9, 2012.

There's a cool double bill happening at Moncton's Plan B Wednesday night. I've already written about Liam Titcomb's latest, he's playing, that's worth it right there. Also performing is a relatively new Ontario artist, Melissa Payne. Her self-titled debut disc is just out, and she's a different kind of singer-songwriter. Or, a different kind of fiddler. That's her main axe, and indeed she understudied with the Leahy/Natalie MacMaster bunch up in Ontario, but she's no Celtic player. Payne's a modern songwriter, in the alt-country vein, with the fiddle taking second fiddle to the songs.

Blessed with a natural twang, Payne's tunes are emotional, and go-for-the-gut strong. Lead track Take My Heart kicks out at rock band level, so you know if you're going after that heart, it's going to be tough but worth it. The softer songs get the fiddle, and I really like it in this context, good country beats, and she has a very sweet and true tone with it. Don't Say is a real workout for that sound, and it's a great mix, her vocals, the peppy band and fiddle.

Payne also does haunting really well. Tryin' is bleak and hurting, a little confused and lonely. Take Me Away is more hopeful, but still looking for escape. There's not too many singers who can do the big voice and the small voice, sound as good when she's tough as when she's vulnerable, and do it all with confidence. Plus, that fiddle really sparkles when it comes in. It's Payne's only N.B. show this time through, but hopefully she'll be back soon. - CBC Fredricton - Bob Mersereau


Ennismore’s Melissa Payne launches her first CD
by Anita Locke

Ennismore singer-songwriter Melissa Payne released her first album at a CD debut party at the Historic Red Dog on Friday night. The Herald first told you about her in 2008.

The 24-year-old’s CD, titled “Take My Heart”, features an impressive 10 song collection which is sure to garner lots of attention for both her songwriting and beautiful vocals. Her style is along the lines of folk and country.

The album is co-produced by the talented James McKenty of The Spades, and features guest appearances from the likes of Natalie MacMaster on fiddle and memorable tracks from cello prodigy Nathaniel Smith.

The CD was produced at Pirate Radio Studios (James McKenty’s studio) in Peterborough.

Growing up in the farming community of Ennismore, she was surrounded by music, whether it was being immersed in her grandparents’ fiddle-loving East Coast roots, or her early music lessons from the internationally acclaimed Leahy family, or her inate love of music.

Some of her musical inspiration comes from Leahy, a well-known internationally acclaimed group of musicians that live just outside of Lakefield.

Melissa loves celtic music and was taught by one of the members of the famous family.

They continue to be an important part of her life. Melissa says, “Leahy is so inspiring; I could never get tired of listening to them and watching them perform.”

She adds, “The fiddle is a thing of history; it is nice to be able to pass on the old fiddle tunes to today’s listeners.”

She is the daughter of Vera and Steve Payne, and niece of Ennismore’s Kathy Young. Her mother is a member of the well-known Young family of Ennismore.

Her grandfather built Youngstown (which is situated between the James Gifford Causeway and Ennismore).

When she was four years old, her mother bought her a fiddle. Melissa loved that fiddle, and would play for hours. She trained herself by ear and relied heavily on musical influences such as Charlie Daniels.

When she was 18, her aunt gave her a guitar. That furthered her resolve to play and sing. She taught herself to play a full range of styles and began writing her own music.

As her confidence grew and word of her talent and beautiful voice spread, she soon became a staple on the Peterborough music scene.

All of that has culminated with the new CD. Guesting alongside her at the release party were her Aunt Kathy, and all members of The Spades.

Her current bandmates include Dylan Ireland (of The Ireland Brothers), Rob Foreman on stand-up bass and Marcus Brown on drums.

“Take My Heart” is available at Sullivan’s Store in Ennismore, and Bluestreak and Nata’s Cafe in Peterborough.

With the release of her new CD, Melissa now embarks on a 10-day tour of the East Coast which begins on August 22.

She’ll be doing shows in Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick and also looks forward to meeting up with other East Coast musicians.

Before leaving on the tour however, she performed a show on August 18 at the Red Dog as part of Ladies of the Canyon.

You can watch her online on YouTube (, or visit her MySpace page at She can also be contacted via email at - Lakefield Herald

"Melissa Payne and The Good Lovelies"

Open Peterborough Folk Festival with concert
By BRENDAN WEDLEY / Examiner Staff Writer
Updated 4 months ago
Melissa Payne had the Market Hall theatre floor shaking with the audience tapping their feet and clapping along to her fiddling Friday night to open the 2011 Peterborough Folk Festival.

Payne, the festival's selection for this year's Emerging Artist Award, played a few slower songs before exchanging her guitar for the fiddle. She was joined by Dylan Ireland on guitar and Rob Foreman on stand-up bass.

After Payne's set, the Canadian folk country trio the Good Lovelies took the stage.

The concert at Market Hall, that was just shy of a sellout audience of 300, kicked off the three-day festival.

Organizer Candace Shaw spoke about the musical talent, the wide range of workshops for activities such as hand drumming, crochet and song writing as well as the children's area at the free-admission festival.

"It's a community building festival.”
Candace Shaw

"It's a community building festival," she said.

There are concerts and activities at Nicholls Oval from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday and workshops in Millennium Park on Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.

It was the first time that the festival held its kick off concert at the newly renovated Market Hall at George and Charlotte streets. For the last two years, the concert was held at the Canadian Canoe Museum.

Market Hall theatre has about twice the seating capacity of the space the festival used at the Canadian Canoe Museum, but with the talented Melissa Payne and the Juno Award-winning Good Lovelies the festival successfully moved the concert to the larger space.

Payne played songs from her debut album Take My Heart, including the title track and Home.

She played the guitar and the fiddle, even though she broke a finger on her left hand last week.

She performs on the main stage at the festival starting at 5 p.m. on Saturday.

Payne had the audience tapping their feet - enthusiastically enough to shake the floor - and clapping. The Good Lovelies had them singing.

Caroline Brooks, Kerri Ough and Sue Passmore charmed the audience between songs with their playful banter and stories.

They played songs from their new album Let the Rain Fall such as Old Highway and Lonesome Hearts.

Bands at the Folk Festival on Saturday include acts such as the Unsettlers, an 11-piece band from Montreal, and Ukrainia.

Ukrainia plays Ukrainian folk songs with the punk rock twist, Shaw said.

"They're great dance music," she said.

The festival brings together terrific acts "from across the country and across the street," Shaw said.

"It's all free and it's a lovely weekend." - Peterborough Examiner

"In Praise Of Payne"

(ENNISMORE) It’s most appropriate that as 2011 winds down, Melissa Payne finds herself on the formidable stage that calls Market Hall home.
What better way to close out a year which saw the Ennismore native take huge strides musically, her constant companion -- her fiddle -- always close by.
In August, there was her being named Emerging Artist of the Year by the Peterborough Folk Festival, putting her in the very good company of past honourees such as Serena Ryder, James McKenty, Beau Dixon and Missy Knott.
Then there was the release of Take My Heart, a 10-track debut album co-produced by McKenty and featuring contributions from Natalie MacMaster and cello prodigy Nathaniel Smith.
And all along the way, there has been countless live appearances, both locally and abroad, as Payne stretched her touring legs.
“It’s been a good year,” she understates.
“I’m really happy with where I am and thrilled to be performing this Thursday night at Market Hall.”
Payne, with guitarist Dylan Ireland and bassist Rob Foreman, is opening for Luke Doucet and Melissa McLelland, a Canadian indie rock duo who’s on the road promoting their latest album, Whitehorse. Tickets to the 8 p.m. concert cost $22.50 ($25 at the door) at Moondance and Titles Bookstore, or order online at
“I’m always watching other performers. I’m always trying to learn from them in the hopes of taking something away, whether it be musically or how they carry themselves onstage. It will be no different Thursday and, in that way, is a great opportunity. It keeps you motivated.”
From all accounts, Payne has been paying attention and pretty much has been since an early age. She really had no choice considering her family’s east coast roots. In other words, she comes by her love of fiddle-centred music naturally. Learning the instrument with help from the Leahy family certainly didn’t hurt matters.
“I love playing live. I wish I could do that every night.
“That instant feedback is so good for me in gauging where I’m at and where I want to be.”
Having said that, Payne has quickly developed a kinship with the recording process as well. That desire will be well satisfied in February when she heads back to McKenty’s studio to record her sophomore album. - Peterborough This Week.


Melissa Payne- Self Titled



“Melissa Payne had the Market Hall theater floor shaking with the audience tapping their feet and clapping along…” – Peterborough Examiner

Like many artists before her, singer-songwriter Melissa Payne grew up in an area where musical talent ran deep and was never in short supply. That was Ennismore ON. Inspired by family and friends and fiddle lessons from the internationally acclaimed Leahy family, Melissa developed a love for playing and performing music at an early age.

By 18, she had taught herself to play guitar and began writing songs. With her fiddle and guitar and a batch of original songs she began building a fan base in the Peterborough On area performing wherever she could. She also managed to land a job as a tour hand on the road with world renowned fiddler Natalie McMaster. It was during that time she learned first hand about the determination and dedication it takes to be a successful touring artist. The past couple of years have been busy with playing, touring and writing including appearances at Mariposa, the Boots & Hearts festival and the Peterborough Folk festival. .

In 2009, Melissa released a collection of songs she now refers to as her “early demos” It was those songs that caught the attention of the Seventh Fire record label. and a relationship developed which culminated in her 2012 signing to the label and the forthcoming release of her nine song self titled debut album.

The album was produced by engineer/producer James McKenty (Blue Rodeo,Cuff The Duke, The Spades) and 7th Fire label head, Tom Street. The self titled album is due out in September 2012 distributed nationally through Fontana North.