Singer/songwriter and upright bassist Melissa Carper has released a reimagined version of Odetta’s 1970 classic “Hit Or Miss” the latest from her forthcoming LP due out on November 18th via Mae Music/Thirty Tigers. The video for “Hit Or Miss” features Carper performing the song with legendary swamp funkster Shinyribs. “Like the other songs on the album, it’s a song about living a free life, rambling around, looking for a place to fit in or just being happy sticking out, reimagined by Carper as a joyously old-timey blues shuffle,” commented Holler. in the premiere. “Her voice is like a gloriously aged whiskey, with a deep smoky flavour that cuts through everything around it. It’s no surprise the singer has been fondly dubbed ‘HillBillie Holiday’ by friend and collaborator Chris Scruggs.”
“I hadn't realized until more recently how much of a figure Odetta was in the American folk music revival and also what a pioneer she was for female artists,” Carper told Holler. “I would never have thought of trying to sing this song because I am frankly intimidated by the power and attitude Odetta sings it with. Someone suggested I record ‘Hit or Miss,’ so I decided to give it a try. I recorded a demo of it and, listening back, quickly realized that I would have to sing this song like I meant it or I was never going to pull it off. I gave it my best shot and tried to embody her attitude,” she continues. “The morning before we recorded it, I listened to Odetta sing it 50 times over to get pumped up!”
“I've always admired Shinyribs' musicianship and his highly entertaining stage presence. I knew he would be really fun to work with and super groovy on a song like ‘Hit or Miss,’ so I was excited when he said yes to doing this video,” she explains of performing with Shinyribs, the solo project of artist Kevin Russell. “I have a tendency to be too serious when I'm performing and every time I looked over at Kevin, he just made me laugh. It was a blast making the video and he even showed me a couple dance moves. Plus he gave me socks with flames on them! They are my favorite socks now.”
“Hit Or Miss” follows the release of the album’s title track, written while Carper was driving down the road on a familiar trip from Arkansas back down to Texas. “I had just spent time with some musician friends and was feeling re-energized,” she told The Bluegrass Situation. “On this trip, I realized just how much that free, ramblin’ life I’ve lived over the years has stimulated my creative process…if something isn't working for me and making me happy or it seems I've gotten in a rut somewhere, then I move on to whatever the next thing is that feels right, or I get out of town for a bit to find some new inspiration and fresh perspective. That is really the gist of it, trying to go with the flow of life wherever it seems the Universe is guiding me." Carper penned the album’s soulful lead single, “Ain’t A Day Goes By,” in 2014 after the death of her beloved dog, Betty. “This song is very emotional for me,” she reveals. “It was difficult to go through my Dad's death, then my Mom's death only a year later, and really, in a sense, losing my younger brother to severe mental health issues that have changed his personality completely,” she says. “Betty's death crushed me because she had been through it all with me. The grief just started pouring out at that point.” LISTEN // WATCH: “RAMBLIN’ SOUL” LISTEN // WATCH: “AIN’T A DAY GOES BY” After the success of her critically-acclaimed 2021 release Daddy’s Country Gold, Carper was eager to get back in the studio. With co-producers Andrija Tokic (St. Paul & The Broken Bones, Hurray For The Riff Raff) and Dennis Crouch (The Time Jumpers) behind the boards again at Tokic’s analog paradise The Bomb Shelter in Nashville, Carper assembled that same crew of magical music makers - plus a few more - to join her on the adventure. In 2020, grappling with the loss of regular gigs, Carper and her partner, award-winning fiddler Rebecca Patek, moved to a friend’s farm near Austin, working in exchange for housing, organic vegetables, and fresh, country air. The simpler life afforded Carper the space and rejuvenation needed to channel her muse and begin writing for her next album. Ramblin’ Soul features upbeat and diverse styles and grooves, venturing into blues, early rock n’ roll, and old-school soul, blended with Carper’s signature styles of country, western swing, and jazz. The album is available for pre-order HERE. Be sure to follow Melissa Carper at the links below for all the latest news and updates.
TOUR DATES 11/9 - Baton Rouge, LA @ Red Dragon* 11/10 - Baton Rouge, LA @ Red Dragon* 11/11 - Taylor, TX @ Black Sparrow Music Parlor* 11/12 - Fischer, TX @ Devil’s Backbone Tavern* 11/13 - Galveston, TX @ Old Quarter Acoustic Cafe* 11/17 - Dallas, TX @ Poor David's Pub 11/18 - Little Rock, AR @ White Water Tavern 12/1 - San Antonio, TX @ The Lonesome Rose 12/2 - Austin, TX @ State Theatre 12/3 - Houston, TX @ White Oak Music Hall 12/4 - New Orleans, LA @ Cafe Istanbul 12/7 - Asheville, NC @ The Grey Eagle 12/8 - Decatur, GA @ Eddie’s Attic 12/9 - Nashville, TN @ Station Inn 12/10 - Knoxville, TN @ Boyd’s Jig & Reel 12/11 - Berea, KY @ Rebel Rebel Studio & Lounge * w/ Kelly Willis & Brennen Leigh