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GONZO WEEKLY #353/4: Melanie Jane

Some weeks ago I introduced you to a young lady called Melanie. No, not the “ brand-new pair of rollerskates“ girl, but an immensely talented and interesting singer/songwriter from the north of England. As so many things in my life I’ve done over the past 20 years, my discovery of this fragile but irresistible talent was down to my old mate David Curtis, himself quite well known as a singer and songwriter, and currently performing with a band called Auld Man’s Baccie that has taken one of the most hackneyed and overdone musical genres - da bloooze - and made it relevant for what Kevin Ayers described as our “insane times”.

Apparently Auld Man’s Baccie and Melanie Jane were on the same bill recently, and he was so impressed with her fragile neopsychedelic music, that they made friends on Facebook, and then he almost immediately passed her on to me.

I saw what he was impressed that once, and have made it my task over the intervening weeks to spread the word about this remarkable young lady who performs solo and also with a band called Emerald Stone. My days of soliciting young ladies for their telephone number were over many years ago, and in these days of “#Me Too” I, like many men, find it increasingly embarrassing to go about one’s daily business, which if you are a journalist does involve approaching total strangers and asking questions about their lives. Much though I dislike it, Facebook Messenger has become an invaluable tool for us journo types, and so, over a period of a couple of weeks, we had several conversations and I learned more about Melanie Jane and her music. There is something particularly English about her and her art, because despite the fact that her chosen genre is one that came out of San Francisco with flowers in its hair, she is first and foremost a girl from the North Country, and long may she remain so. It is very much a cottage industry, with her and her colleagues doing all the things that need to be done themselves. She writes the songs, plays the songs, and films and edits the videos, and despite the fact that she is performing within a genre that has not been part of the mainstream since about 1967, she somehow manages to make it seem relevant and contemporary.

So, after having plotted to give her the front cover of Gonzo Weekly  for several issues now, I have finally managed to do so, and the only thing that remained was to telephone her for a chat…


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