Every now and then a new record comes my way and it just blows me away after the first listen. Everything that is happening at the moment just stops and I just let the music take me away on a it’s journey. Just a handful of records have done that in the past few years and now I can add a new one to that list.
The latest offering from Melissa Harding is an absolute gem. Best Of Me is a five song EP that is a followup to her 2013 release, Set Me Apart and it’s a collection of songs that is full of emotion and sensational story-telling that will surely relate to an experience you’ve had.
The title track leads things off and at first I though there was something wrong with the download as there was a slow rewind of a tape sound but I quickly learned that was intentional as the song talks about moving forward and not looking back. The gospel-esque September Morning really shines on the commanding vocal of Melissa and brings out the rawness of the song and a great and gritty guitar solo really compliments the song. Like Gold is a song, as Melissa describes,that takes ‘an inventory of what really maters’ and ‘looking ahead at the rest of your life and knowing who you want to have standing next to you on that journey’. It has a great uplifting, toe-taping feel to it that will have you singing ‘…living Like Gold’ all day long. It Ain’t Home has some attitude to it…no, a lot of attitude to it – and that’s a good. A fast-tempo tune with an “I’m not going to take any you-know-what anymore’ message that is very empowering.
Melissa really saved the best for last. Stay With Me is a powerful song that she collaborated with Sixx:A.M.’s James Michael. It’s a beautiful song that is stripped down to the core of their vocals and an a acoustic guitar. A song about the battles of a relationship and the fight for it, the force of the emotion that is displayed in their voices really takes over you and makes you feel as your a part of this story. I was really overcome by the magnitude of this song especially of it’s simplicity musically. It really shows how powerful music can be when it’s just two voices and and a guitar.
I can’t stop listening to this and the only downside to this offering is that it’s just five songs. Melissa and her co-writing and producer Douglas Showalter did a magnificent job on this EP and I really hope you grab Best Of Me for your collection and just sink in to it. I hope to see Melissa perform these live and if you can’t catch a performance, you can see her in her backing vocalist duty with Sixx:A.M on their upcoming 2016 tour.
Melissa Harding – Best Of Me *****
1. Best Of Me
2. September Morning
3. Like Gold
4. It’s Ain’t Home
5. Stay With Me