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Melaena Cadiz

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The Michigan-bred, Brooklyn-based artist has been bringing small portraits plucked from the American landscape using the language of folk, pop, and country to bring them to beautiful, breathing life.

On her latest album Deep Below Heaven, the songs have a literary quality to them, a notion that embraced in the LP’s title, which comes from a short story written by writer/playwright/actor Sam Shepard.

“Part of the story involves a man in a motorcycle accident,” Cadiz says. “As he falls from his Kawasaki, he has the sense of ‘being deep below heaven. The distance. The wetness of flesh. Metal ripping. People helplessly apart.’ To me, it evoked the idea of us humans swarming the earth with all our love and sadness, our desires and defeats.”

The young singer-songwriter used this jumping off point to create 10 songs that are filled with finely wrought characters that are striving for a better place in the world or, at the very least, a way to quiet the deep ache within their bones. There’s the young person heading for the West Coast to “find what I’ve been looking for” in “Home Town,” the jilted lover looking for answers in “Swinging Low,” and the friends, driving home late one night, and singing Leonard Cohen songs to each other in “Neon Drag.”

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