Georgia-based Americana/folk singer-songwriter Melody Duncan has just released a brand new album, Wolf Song, a compelling gem of a record that Duncan recorded and produced by herself. Layers of violin dance with Duncan's stunning vocals, swirling around the evocative lyrics she penned, with some whistling and nature sounds adding just the right touch of whimsy to the mix. Roughstock sat down with Duncan recently to talk about "Wolf Song" and her music, to learn about the "wow" moment behind the title track, and to get the scoop on what she's been up to during the pandemic and what's up next for this exciting talent.
Roughstock: Hi Melody! Thanks for joining us today. We love your new song, "Wolf Song." What is the story behind this song? Why did you write it?
Melody: Thank you for letting me join you today! "Wolf Song" was inspired partly from an experience I had in Westcliffe, Colorado. There’s a wolf sanctuary there called Mission: Wolf. During our tour, my previous band and I took a trip to visit the facility on our day off. I brought my violin along, and we asked if I could play some music for the wolves. The owner loved the idea and let us enter one of the giant enclosures. At first we weren’t sure how the wolves would react to hearing violin for the first time. To our delight, one by one the wolves started howling along! It was awesome. I love thinking about that moment because we were all brought together in a big, beautiful chorus with one song. It felt so free and awe-inspiring to be there in that moment. "Wolf Song" is a tribute to that moment of connection through song and freedom of expression.
Roughstock: What kind of a vibe were you going for on this song when you recorded it? Do you think you ended up with a song that sounds like you expected it to sound? If so, how so, and if not, what's different about it?
Melody: I enjoyed recording this song. I captured the overall vibe that I wanted to. I used a big, sweeping choral part in the chorus to represent the wolves howling along. I also placed a violin solo in the song, using the same violin I played for the wolves at Mission: Wolf. I hope it will give people a sense of expression and connection with the music and lyrics.
Roughstock: How does "Wolf Song" fit into the overall vibe and themes of your music in general?
Melody: I was happy to make “Wolf Song” the title track for this album because I like to call the people surrounding me my “Wolf Pack.” I consider anyone who has enjoyed or graciously supported my music to be a part of my Wolf Pack. It seemed fitting to make “Wolf Song” be a feature of my first full-length record.
Roughstock: Was this a music-first or a lyrics-first song for you? Which way do you tend to write in general, music or lyrics first?
Melody: I actually write both ways. There are times that the lyrics or music will come first, however I wrote "Wolf Song" with lyrics and music in mind at the same time.
Roughstock: Tell us about your new album, "Wolf Song." How did it come together? What are two other "must listen" songs for listeners to check out, and why do you think they are stand-out tracks?
Melody: I’m excited to be releasing my first full-length album. It’s hard for me to pick two songs that are “must listen” tracks simply because I feel that all the tracks have the potential to reach different people for different reasons. I think it’s impossible to say which songs will mean the most to each individual. My hope is that people will be able to connect with several of the songs throughout the album. I am pleased with how the nature sounds on several of the tracks bring a cohesive element to the record, and I think that element will be enjoyable for listeners.
Roughstock: To borrow a word that you just used, you have a cohesion to your sound that is so organic and natural. How did you settle upon the Melody Duncan "sound"? For the Roughstock readers who are just meeting you for the first time now, how do you describe your music to people who haven't heard it before?
Melody: I didn’t consciously settle on a particular sound. Honestly, I don’t know how to describe the overall sound of my original music. I’ve been told it’s a mix of several genres such as: indie, Americana, bluegrass, and rock. I personally like to listen to many different styles and artists, that combination has influenced me over the years.
Roughstock: How have you been connecting with fans during the pandemic?
Melody: I’ve been playing livestream shows on Tuesday nights. They’ve been a lot of fun. It’s a good way to keep up with the Wolf Pack and share music together. I also have a podcast that I produce twice a month called “The Head and Tail."
Roughstock: What's up next for you?
Melody: I’m already excited about writing more music for another album. I also look forward to being able to play shows again when it’s safe to do so. I hope to keep spreading messages of light and love, and encouraging people to connect with our higher power - through both music and word.