La Crosse Local | Podcast Interview
September 28, 2022

Melissa sat down with the La Crosse Local to talk about the new album, her writing process, and the lyric book. Be sure to check out La Crosse Local and learn about all the happenings in La Crosse:  https://lacrosselocal.com/

BIO

About Melissa

Somber, understated, and at times darkly humorous, Wisconsin native Melissa Kay McCarthy (not to be confused with Melissa McCarthy, the actress) is a folk/country singer-songwriter known for her detailed lyrical ability. Influenced by the works of Reba McEntire and Lori McKenna, McCarthy weaves her stories over sparse, unassuming instrumentation, often accompanied by a lone acoustic guitar.

For 22 years, McCarthy has been writing and performing music as a form of therapy, releasing two independent albums along the way. Her first official release, “When I’m Gone”, arrived in 2007, featuring a collection of original, home-recorded material. Her follow-up album “Live at Corner Coffee” came out a year later, taped during a performance at Corner Coffee in Minneapolis, MN.

McCarthy began pursuing a career in mental health in 2005, after the suicide of her 22-year old cousin Elliot. Upon completion of her bachelor’s degree in biopsychology, she started working in an inpatient behavioral health unit. She has also worked as a mental health crisis responder and is currently pursuing social work licensure. 

McCarthy was just 22 years old when she left home, mistakenly applying for a job in Craig, Alaska instead of Craig, Arkansas. She lived there for two years before returning to Wisconsin. She has auditioned for American Idol and America’s Got Talent twice, The Voice once, and Nashville Star three times, but never made it past the first round in any show.

Following a period of writer’s block where she stopped booking gigs, McCarthy’s passion for songwriting was renewed after the death of two cousins to accidental overdoses in 2018 and 2019. She began drawing on her music to help navigate through loss and grief.

After a 12-year hiatus, Melissa Kay McCarthy began recording a new studio album in 2021. Hourglass, released in July 2022, is made up of songs she wrote after moving back to her hometown. Drawing inspiration from Mary Gauthier’s work with Songwriting with Soldiers, McCarthy hopes her music can someday be used to help addiction and mental health patients in the same way.

MUSIC

Hourglass

Melissa Kay McCarthy

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Live at Corner Coffee

Melissa Kay McCarthy

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Set List

COVERS

The Bed You Made for Me (Highway 101) 
Bible Song (Lori McKenna | Sara Evans) 
Can't Even Get the Blues (Reba McEntire) 
Country Roads (John Denver) 
Every Little Thing (Carlene Carter) 
Family Feud (Pistol Annies) 
Get High (Brandy Clark) 
Girl Crush (Little Big Town | Lori McKenna)
How Blue (Reba McEntire) 
Jamestown Ferry (Tanya Tucker) 
Jolene (Dolly Parton) 
Lemon Drop (Pistol Annies) 
Maybe it was Memphis (Pam Tillis) 
Passionate Kisses (Lucinda Williams |Mary Chapin Carpenter) 
Please Come to Boston (Various Artists) 
Something More (Sugarland) 
Styrofoam (Ashley McBryde) 
Texas (When I Die) (Tanya Tucker) 
Travelin' Soldier (The Chicks) 
Two More Bottles of Wine (Emmylou Harris | Martina McBride) 
Uber Driver (Faren Rachels) 
Wide Open Spaces (The Chicks)
Who Will Save Your Souls (Jewel)
You Were Meant for Me (Jewel)

ORIGINALS

9th of May 
Anywhere But Here 
Barstool (to Fall Back On) 
Catch and Release
Dance in the Rain 
Elliot 
Emily 
Every Trace of Me 
Forgive Me Father 
Hell 
Hourglass 
How Our Family Grieves 
I Do All My Own Stunts 
You Know Him 
Irish Blood 
Last Hymn 
Miss Diagnosed 
Or Longer 
Painful Place 
Stumbling is No Way to Walk 
Warm Bed 
Why 
Wonder Woman 
You Can Be Trusted

SHOWS

Previous Venues

2nd Moon Coffee Cafe (Minneapolis, MN) 
Acoustic Cafe (Winona, MN) 
Acoustic Cafe (Eau Claire, WI) 
Bloombox House Concerts (Bloomington, IL) 
Blue Heron (Winona, MN) 
Caffeine Cafe (Nashville, TN) 
Canadian Honker (Rochester, MN) 
Caribou Coffee (Minneapolis, MN) 
Charles Allis Art Museum (Milwaukee, WI) 
Corner Coffee (Minneapolis, MN) 
Four Sisters Wine Bar & Tapas Restaurant (La Crosse, WI) 
Grand Hotel Ballroom (La Crosse, WI) 
KVIK Radio (Decorah, IA) 

Limericks (Wausau, WI)  
Malarkey's (Wausau, WI)  
Midwest Music Festival (Winona, MN)  
Mill Pond Market (Eleva, WI)  
Mugshots (WSU - Winona, MN)  
New Moon Cafe (Oshkosh, WI)  
Peaberry's (La Crosse, WI)  
Popcorn Tavern (La Crosse, WI)  
Post Town Winery (Rochester, MN)  
Starbucks (La Crosse, WI)  
Trempealeau Hotel (Trempealeau, WI)  
Wausau Festival of Arts (Wausau, WI

CONTACT