Posted by Mike Regenstreif September 8, 2012
Time and work constraints meant not spending much time at the festival on Thursday night. But I did get over to see the concert by Missy Burgess, who is among my favorite Ottawa-based performers.
Missy, accompanied by Todd Snelgrove, a fine and versatile lead guitarist, was playing on that smaller side stage I referred to and, sure enough, the audience gathered there were the folk festival veterans like me. There were lots of people I knew or recognized from past festivals and concerts. Despite the overpowering sound bleed from indie-rocker Matt Mays on the main stage, Missy did a fine show highlighted by original songs like Don’t Go to Cincinnati and some great covers including Keith Glass‘ Let There Be Peace, Tom Waits‘ Time and Charlie Chaplin‘s classic standard, Smile, on which she picked out a bit of lead guitar.
Check out Missy at the Ottawa Folk Festival: Thursday, September 6, 7pm, PSAC Stage
Missy is new to me. I admit that I hadn’t heard of her before seeing her on the list of Folk Fest performers. She has the kind of voice I could listen to for a week. I’m very happy to have discovered her, and hope you have the same good fortune.
Kevin McGowan (Ottawa Citizen Blog, September 5th, 2012
Mike Regenstreif’s Review of Play Me Sweet
I heard Ottawa-based singer and songwriter Missy Burgess for the first time about four years ago when she slipped me a copy of Lemon Pie, her second album. I liked it a lot gave it a nice – albeit brief – review in the Montreal Gazette.
As someone who turned to performing, and, particularly to recording as a fairly mature artist, you can hear the weight of experience Missy brings to her strong original material and to the interpretive voice she brings to standards and the gems from other writers she chooses to cover. Although her voice sounds like neither, she reminds me of Penny Lang and Rosalie Sorrels in that regard.
As good as Lemon Pie was, Play Me Sweet is a big step forward for Missy and I suspect producer-guitarist Keith Glass – of Prairie Oyster – has a lot to do with it. His superb musicianship is all over the CD, he co-wrote four of the songs with Missy, and contributed another two songs of his own. In addition to the co-writes with Keith – one of which Chris White also had a hand in – Missy also wrote two of the tracks herself and there are three more excellent covers.
At the top of my list of favourite tracks is Missy’s “Don’t Go to Cincinnati,” sung from the perspective of a woman whose man divides his time with her and with another woman in Cincinnati. The minor key arrangement is reminiscent of Brechtian cabaret songs filtered through Tom Waits. Speaking of Waits, Missy’s world-weary version of his “Time,” is one of the best interpretations of that great song I’ve heard.
Other favourites include Keith’s “Sundown Blues,” a classic country break-up song; Missy and Keith’s “Play Me Sweet,” whose portrait of a sad man on a train builds slowly and poetically over three verses; and a sweet version of “Smile,” the inspiring buck-up standard composed by silent film star Charlie Chaplin.
Although I’ve just mentioned a few of the songs, the quality of the material, Missy’s singing, and Keith’s spot-on arrangements, turn each of the 11 songs on Play Me Sweet to gold.
Reviews and Quotes for Lemon Pie
MISSY BURGESS, Lemon Pie (Missy Burgess Music) “Burgess’s warm voice blends beautifully with Vince Halfhide’s virtuoso guitar playing in a set that combines strains of blues, including a fine version of Robert Johnson’s Come On In My Kitchen, folk and a bit of jazz.” ***1/2
Mike Regenstreif (Montreal Gazette, Jan. 10th, 2008)
“It’s that “Edith Piaf” feel in the “moody” songs and that balsy bluesy feel that grabs me —– great listening Missy”. Penny Lang
“Ottawa’s Missy Burgess is as credible a blues interpreter as she is a singer/songwriter.
Here Burgess covers Robert Johnson’s suggestive “Come On In My Kitchen”, catches the moodiness of Jann Arden’s “It Looks Like Rain”, and delivers a rich, bittersweet take on her own lovelorn “Blue Sweater”. Front and centre, right where they belong, are Burgess’ direct, smoky vocals, sometimes reminiscent of her old pal Penny Lang’s.” Pat Langston (Ottawa Citizen, Jan. 12/08)
Reviews and Quotes for Pour Me a Song
<<< Just click on it!!
“One of the highlights of the evening was listening to YOUR CD which you so thoughtfully had Rushed to him for the evening. It was sensational: we absolutely loved it. Congratulations!!!!!!!!!!! We would like to order 2 dozen (yes, 24 !) copies of it to pass along your ultimate talent and listening rapture to our friends and family.”
Dian and John Bell
“Hi Missy: I just wanted to express again my thanks for your compelling and joyous performance at the Healing Garden concert yesterday. It was a pleasure to meet you, and on hearing the full CD since I can tell you that I love it too! It’s going to be in the player often…” Anonymous
“I have to say thanks so much. Conn and I are both in love with your cd…it is very much our type of evening music. We went home lastnight, I couldn’t even wait til we got there, I had to put it on in the truck for Conn to hear…. We had dinner, put a log in the fireplace, turned the lights down and just relaxed to your cd….it was amazing. Devin even said “mommy come over I wanna dance with you by the fire….” It was so sweet. I think I only listened to it a total of six times yesterday and it’s one of the few cd’s that I like all songs on….no hitting the forward button…..It’s Great!!! Thanks girl….you’ve done an outstanding job yet again!!”
Brenda Noseworthy, Newfoundland
I had a chance to listen to your cd and thoroughly enjoyed it…. I was impressed with the whole presentation- Nice arrangements with harmonious and cohesive guitar work- Nice songwriting; I liked your rendition of Wish upon a Star with your brother……. and also liked your song about your deceased friend. nice choice of words….I also liked the overall resonance and at times melancholy nature of your voice…..Nice variety of songs Professional cd presentation with lyric sleeve…….looks great
Congratulations Missy on what I am sure was a lot of hard work, dedication and heartfelt passion.”
I have just listened for the 5th time to your new CD “Pour me a Song”. Wow! I am compelled to write to tell you how I have enjoyed this new CD. It is an eclectic arrangement of songs that keeps you coming back to listen again and again. Your voice is as unique as your songs. It is very apparent that you deeply feel your music when you are performing. Congratulations and what a wonderful and charitable idea to donate the proceeds to a healing garden as it fits right in with the feel of your music.
When is your next CD?”
Michele, (a new fan)
An excerpt from
It was a beautiful November Sunday in the hills. The Lovely One and I went for a hike near the village of Wakefield. We didn’t mean to end up in the village, but that is where the trail that we were hiking on took us. Pictured is the train station in Wakefield.
On the main street was a cafe called Le Hibou (French for The Owl). The original Cafe Le Hibou was a famous Canadian landmark where many Canadian folksingers of the 1970′s were started. We poked our heads into the cafe. The entire place is decorated in retro tables and chairs.
What immediately caught my attention, was a singer songwriter sitting in a well lighted window, with an incredibly authentic voice, crooning the blues as well as other favourites while strumming a big Gibson guitar. The sound was captivating. Just by chance the local newspaper was there and immediately posted an online bit.
The singer songwriter’s name was Missy Burgess. She was an incarnation of a female Tom Waits. It is rare that I get “grabbed” by a sound. We looked around the cafe and stepped back out to continue our hike. Instead of doing just that, we went back into Le Hibou, sat by the fire and ordered hot chocolate, while enjoying Missy singing her songs.
I bought one of her CD’s and it is eminently listenable. She not only croons a good ballad, but she has the soul of a blues singer.