Melanie Devaney anticipates Park City performance
Ryan Summerlin July 25, 2014
Americana and folk singer Melanie Devaney wasn’t originally interested in becoming a musician.
She did play classical piano and participated in the school choir as a child, but her main passion was writing.
"In college I studied creative writing and the main area I worked in was short stories and fiction," Devaney said during a telephone interview with The Park Record from Big Bear, California. "I planned to take a year off before going to graduate school for my Master of Fine Arts in writing."
Things changed when she didn’t get accepted into graduate school.
"That was heartbreaking," Devaney said. "So I just found myself in different situations after not getting into graduate school where I needed to express myself and I had a guitar. That’s when my background in music and creative writing kind of came together after that."
Park City will have the opportunity to hear Devaney’s craft when she performs at Miners Park during the 45th annual Park City Kimball Arts Festival on Saturday, Aug. 2.
Devaney is scheduled to kick off the day at 11 a.m. (For full schedule see story titled "Park City Kimball Arts Festival music schedule")
The singer plans to play songs from her three albums, including her full-length, "Single Subject Notebook," which was released in March.
"I have written some new songs since the album came out, but a majority of the set will be songs from the albums and I like to throw in a cover or two so people can sing along to," said Devaney, who cited the Beatles, Kris Kristofferson, Dolly Parton and Don McLean as some of her influences.
The notion to work in the folk and folk-rock style was influenced by Devaney’s upbringing.
"Although I live in Los Angeles now, I am from a small town in Iowa originally," she said. "I’m rooted in that folk, and organic, mentality.
"Also, being a soloist, it’s a little harder to be a metal or rocker without a whole band," Devaney said laughing. "I’ve seen it done at the Hollywood Farmer’s Market and it doesn’t go over well."
Over the years, Devaney has worked to tighten up her songwriting.
"I think I actually reined in that sense of vulnerability that goes into a song," she said. "I think the interesting with this new album is that many people will make the assumption that all the songs are written from my point of view."
In reality, Devaney sometimes tries to draw off my background in creative writing and create characters.
"For example there were few celebrity stories that came out when I was writing songs for the album and some of those were inspired by events in Hollywood," Devaney said. "Then I’ll see a character in a movie and think about what it would be like to wear their hat for a few days. So I wouldn’t say I’m always a confessional storyteller, because I don’t think I’m always that interesting."
Regardless, Devaney is looking forward to playing the "Single Subject Notebook" tunes, because she had a great experience making the album.
That was due to her producer Jamie Candiloro, who has worked with Ryan Adams and Lisa Germano.
"The biggest difference from the other two albums is that I was very selective and worked with a producer who has worked with some major artists, and his background in the industry was very strong," Devaney said. "I also think that having the other two albums under my belt allowed me to put more direction into the new one."
The finished product, Devaney said, was a great collaboration between Jamie and herself.
"We established early on that we wanted to create a moody feel to the album," she said. "Yes, there are a lot of rocking and energetic songs on the album, but the overall sound was pretty strict, pretty simple.
The two harkened back to some of the records from the 1970s, especially from two female singers and songwriters — Carole King, Carly Simon.
"Jamie brought in the ability to do that and my songwriting, which has kicked up a notch or two as far as the quality and commercial viability, was better," Devaney said. "It was such a pleasure to finish this album and I’m already looking forward to making a new one.
"I’m always writing new songs and can’t wait to put something new out, whether they are on an extended play or just some singles before the end of the year," she said.
Melanie Devaney will perform at Miners Park during the Park City Kimball Arts Festival on Saturday, Aug. 1, at 11 a.m. The show is free with arts festival admission. For more information about the arts festival, visit www.kimballartcenter.org . For more information about Melanie Devaney, visit www.melaniedevaney.com.