That’s the thing about melancholy. Do it right and it becomes more up than down. MaryLeigh Roohan does it right and, as she walks the yellow brick road to redemption on her EP “Living Alone”, she manages to turn all she seems to have done wrong into something so right.
Let’s clear things up first. You’ll not find a duff note here. We aren’t talking musical mistakes here. No, it’s an emotional thing that that takes you, as a listener, on a trip into Carly Simon territory only, this time, the wives aren’t in Connecticut and there are no secrets. That’s not to say, of course, that there aren’t shadows here - for there are many - but melody illuminates them all. You wouldn’t sing along to “The Hunter” as presented here, for example, but spray it in shades of Nashville and hand it to Gretchen Wilson and the neon lights of transitory fame would surely shine upon the song for it is the depth, or perhaps the truth, in Ms. Roohan’s words that is her special sauce. She writes songs of such strength that they simply don’t need ballast and such songs are a gift to any singer. Take the case, should you need further proof, of “Somebody Save Me”. Gloriously dramatic to the point of becoming spiritual, this song walks you towards Babylon with the flag of regret forever caught in the wintry breeze of reality. With a whisky in my hand and sorrow in my heart, I would grab the karaoke microphone and attempt to claim this song as my own.
Even the straight down the line cover of “Bang Bang” draws more from Phoebe Snow than Nancy Sinatra. It’s a point of view, a reflection if you like, rather than an attempt to bring something new to the song. It’s shop window irony as if seeing your reflection in a television makes you real.
If ever there were to be a princess in the kingdom of redemption then her name would undoubtedly be MaryLeigh. Princess MaryLeigh. That has a nice ring to it.
Available from Bandcamp. Buy it now and maybe, just maybe, she will come back to Scotland.