Equal parts lush and dark, ‘Drylands’ is Mel Parsons’ stunning 3rd full length album, and was
recorded at Lee Prebble’s Surgery studio (The Phoenix Foundation, The Black Seeds), Wellington,
in late 2014. Co-produced by Parsons and Irish-Kiwi Gerry Paul, the album is a sonic side-step
from her last two releases while remaining true to the singer-songwriters’ essence – the telling of a
good story. Hitting the studio immediately after a five week stint on the road, the pair had the ideal
pre-recording road-test “it gave us the opportunity to feel out what worked, which songs really
connected with audiences” recalls Parsons.
Mel Parsons cold-called one of her musical inspirations, iconic Canadian songwriter Ron Sexsmith,
asking him to lend his voice to a song from her new album. Upon hearing the tracks, Sexsmith
enthusiastically joined the project, contributing vocals to the song ‘Don’t Wait’ – a true testament to
the quality of Parsons’ songwriting and commitment to her craft.
As with her last release, Mel Parsons’ touring companion and long-time friend Anika Moa features
heavily as a backing vocalist on the album. Co-producer Gerry Paul (who tours internationally with
Grammy-winning bluegrass star Tim O’Brien) plays most of the electric and acoustic guitars on the
album, with Bunnies On Ponies’ Craig Terris on drums, and Parsons’ longtime bassist Aaron
Stewart rounding out the rhythm section.
In addition to Ron Sexsmith, other international guests on ‘Drylands’ include renowned Irish cellist
Vyvienne Long (Damien Rice), and ex-Waterboys bassist Trevor Hutchinson on double bass. New
York-based New Zealander Andrew Keoghan lends haunting vocals to the mellow retrospective
Since her first release in 2009, two-time Tui Award finalist Parsons has made home a hotel room
and a suitcase, building a solid fan base in NZ and around the globe; relentlessly racking up tours
and festivals through Australia, Germany, Canada, UK & Ireland.
Currently touring in the cold climes of the North American winter, Parsons will hit the ground
running in April for the release of ‘Drylands’, with performances at WOMAD & Festival of Colour,
along with ‘Fly My Pretties’ shows at the prestigious Byron Bay Bluesfest in Australia before
embarking on a 22-date nationwide tour of New Zealand with her band.