Melody Pond
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Melody Pond

Fayetteville, Arkansas, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2007 | SELF

Fayetteville, Arkansas, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2007
Duo Folk Jazz



The best kept secret in music



Candy Lee Long and her husband David moved here from Fayetteville, Arkansas at the beginning of the summer, to study and be closer to their friends; she has quickly gotten established herself in a scene already swollen with skilled singer-songwriters. She notes Tobacco Pat, Robin Rutenberg, Gospel Music and Sunbears! among those she’s enjoyed so far, when not herself working spots like Burro Bar,European Street, Dog Star Tavern, Speckled Hen Tavern, New Orleans Café and the Riverside Arts Market. She hosts the open mic nights at the Wine Bar and has featured at Creekside Songwriters Showcase. A strong start, but any standard.

She’s new to this scene, but not to Florida, or the business. Born in Ft. Myers 27 years ago, Candy Lee lived briefly inVermont but spent the last three years studying and performing in her adopted hometown of Fayetteville, which is where her artistry really caught stride as leader of a group (which included Dan Dean, Warren Dietzel, Jennifer Graham and Emily Jenkins) aptly dubbed “Candy Lee and the Sweets”. It was there where she found the confidence to really begin to define herself as a creative individual, performing as a solo act and putting the emphasis on her own songs. And feedback was positive: she was named Best Female Singer/Songwriter and Best Female in a Band by the Northwest Arkansas Music Awards.

Lee has been singing since childhood, and performing in school bands and various other groups for almost as long, but only started on guitar four years ago. “I used to play clarinet, but haven’t since high school. Now the only instrument I play proficiently is my voice. My knowledge of music theory is minimal. I can read music, but when it comes to what I do as a singer/songwriter, I mostly play by ear.” With diligent practice she’s evolved on the instrument to effectively support her songwriting. These skills are ably displayed on her debut solo recording, The Gate, which comes in a package entirely designed by her. (It’s worth noting here that Candy Lee is also a skilled artist and graphic designer.) Not many musicians are as intimately involved in every aspect of their recording.

According to her website, “The Gate is a project of music, art, and philosophy. It explores the evolution of human thought, as experienced by Candy Lee. It is the story of the hero’s journey to Self-realization and enlightenment.” Recorded inFayetteville last year, the album features her own artwork and her own compositions, which display a melodic sense of unusual potency. It captures a musician of ferocious self-assurance, one unafraid to go full speed ahead and miles away in pursuit of her artistic objectives.

Candy Lee’s voice changes tone and pitch from song to song; the voice services the song, rather than the other way around. Hers is the only voice heard on the album, frequently overdubbed for harmonic purposes; this comes out in places like the choruses on “Worst Enemy”, one of the album’s best tracks. In practice, her voice sounds very much like the Casady sisters, aka Coco Rosie; this comes through on the opening track, “Blues Skies”. At others, like on “Experiences”, it’s more reminiscent of Cranberries singer Delores O’Riordan. It doesn’t sound derivative, but more like a set of certain sonic tools employed in service of the songs.

Following the album itself, a few minutes of silence yield to a bonus track that shows off yet another aspect to Candy Lee’s artistry: electronic music, rendered by her group “Metasapien”, whose debut disc, Art Or Die, was released a couple years ago. Candy Lee sings the hooks while husband David Long raps over beats they crafted together. The two met shortly after she graduated high school, playing together briefly in an acoustic duo called 50 Cent Trade. Long also records as “I Am”; his third album, Spiral Dynamics, was released in February, and all can be had via his Bandcamp site.

From a newcomer’s perspective, what are her initial impressions of our scene? “I like the indie folk scene and the fans who attentively listen at shows,” she says. “I didn’t really know what to expect when I got here, as far as the music scene goes. I had heard that there were plenty of places to play, but nothing in detail about the other bands in the scene. My initial impressions of the music scene in Jacksonville were positive. I am happy the music scene here is so diverse.

“What I dislike about Jacksonville is that it seems very commercial, like most of Florida. I miss the small town, environmentally conscious vibe of Fayetteville, with its independent businesses, bike trails, community gardens, and kid friendly events. The environment there gave rise to a certain level of introspection” in the resulting cultural products. Of course, many people here are working to change both that perception and the underlying realities; the fact that the city still attracts her type, even in this ridiculous recession, is certainly cause for optimism. - Shelton Hull (Folio Weekly)

"Candy Lee Set to Release "The Gate"

The interview with Candy Lee on the NPR show, Ozarks at Large, can be heard on the KUAF website. - Ozarks at Large on NPR

"Candy Lee on the Indie Review"

Many times those of us that are always in search of great artists cross paths with many diamonds in the rough but rarely run right into one that is naturally cut and polished. So, I was elated when I happened upon Candy Lee.

Candy Lee’s new album “The Gate” is what I would describe as holistically eclectic. It’s variety of musical elements draw from such styles as jazz to ethnic old world, from earthy folk to a nearly new age feel. No matter the style of the song from “The Gate” it is the type of album you can easily lose yourself in. When I asked Candy to describe it, she gave a playful answer that I would expect to hear from some of my close friends: “Philosophical kids' songs for grown-ups... on acid? A psychedelic journey through the states and stages of consciousness. Maybe a combination of both?” But, she wants you to make up your own mind!

The first time I listened to this album I thought it was a fun and nice and mellow. The more I really started listening the more drawn in I became. It was at this point that I found the true depth through-out the entire 16 tracks. Now, I can’t put it down. The tracks “Why” and “Worst Enemy” seem to really strike home with me personally, just to name a couple. It is, without a doubt, one of the most intelligent works that I have had the pleasure of listening to. Candy, I get it!

Let’s talk musicianship. Everyone who had a part in The Gate was a master at their respected instrument. This is evident in every track of this record. Candy’s vocals tend to pull you into her world and hold you there much like a spiritual experience. It’s hard to compare her voice with others because it’s so unique. However, I assure you that it’s alluring, captivating, sultry, and beautiful in every way!
- Donny Pitre


Still working on that hot first release.



Melody Pond is the duo made up of Candy Lee and Emily Rowland, who have a been singing together for almost a decade, perfecting their tight, seamless harmonies. Their sound ranges from fun and powerful to honest and tender. Rooted in the earthiness of folk, these genre bending ladies take the sound of their native Ozark Mountains, and infuse it with modern indie influences, and throwback moods of jazz and blues. Melody Pond has been compared to modern artists The Shook Twins, First Aid Kit, and The Ditty Bops, and traditional artists such as The Andrews Sisters.

Candy Lee is the 2011 Northwest Arkansas Music Award Winner for Best Female Singer/Songwriter and Best Female Vocalist in a Band. She was also a Grassy Hill New Folk Finalist at the 2015 Kerrville Folk Festival. Melody Pond (formerly Candy Lee and the Sweets) have performed at the Yonder Mountain Harvest Festival, as well as the Fayetteville Roots Festival, and a sold out show at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. They have opened for Elephant Revival, Ben Miller Band, Amy Lavere, and The Lost Gonzo Band. 

Band Members