Officially, Melanie Horsnell lists her home as Candelo – one of those little townships speckled on the map on the far south coast of New South Wales. The kind of place we’ve probably all dreamt about running away to where we’d indulge our creative sides and wake up to the sound of the currawongs or bellbirds every morning.
But it’s really just one of the places that colours Trobairitz – an album that pulls together the threads of 20 years of writing and performing. Surprisingly it’s her first of all original material delivered in the one-woman-and-one-guitar format, that Melanie has taken to living rooms and street corners, festival tents and small bars, and theatre stages she’s shared with the likes of Glen Hansard, Jason Mraz, Bernard Fanning, and Sarah Blasko among others.
Melanie Horsnell is the very spirit of Trobairitz. And this may very well be the first Australian record named for the 13th century female troubadours of Occitania – those weird and wonderful borderlands where French, Spanish, and Italian cultures overlap.
These are late night lullabies and buskers dreams. Recorded by ARIA-winning Australian producer, Paul McKercher, ensuring the clarity of the emotions and messages being revealed. They are songs from many times and places: Maybe just a little of that 10-year-old in an oversized Akrubra strumming on Manly Esplanade for tourists’ coins, some of the loneliness of being broke and eating weet-bix and cabbage mixed together as dreams were chased through Europe, loves coming and going, and perhaps even the odd thrill of hearing one of your songs soundtracking a Bonds undies ad. But never less than honest, open, and feeling.
It all fits, it all seems right – even though the idea really only came together early in 2019, as Melanie explains: “It was inspired by a night when my boyfriend played me a Kristofferson record after a long day, wine in hand, and I just stopped what I was doing to hear this voice coming to me with just a guitar, played on vinyl, I listened deeply to the whole record, and thought I’d love to make something like that, it’s how I play live anyway.. And then I was encouraged by going to the Folk Alliance International conference in Montreal in February. I met lots of kindred spirits – and had a glimpse into the fact the world is way bigger than Oz and heaps of people overseas really seek songwriter music straight up, songs stripped to the bare bones. It’s really encouraging to be truly myself on this record.”
Trobairitz is the culmination of a life in song, capturing the very essence of Melanie Horsnell’s music. Whether you’ve been there throughout her many complicated adventures, or you’re a new member of the family, you will appreciate her emotive melodies and powerful lyrics.
“It’s a joy to listen to because for this troubadour there’s nothing to prove, just stories to tell, and the pleasures of sharing them.” – Bernard Zuel
Trobairitz is out now on CD/VINYL and Digital on Good Stem Records/MGM.
Melanie will be touring her new solo album “Trobairitz” to Ireland, Germany and the U.S this September 2019.