Fear – it can grab us by our fingernails and keep us in its vice grips. It can keep us from singing the song, from making the call. It can keep us from buying the motorcycle. Or releasing the album.
Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia duo Mink’s Miracle medicine navigated trepidation and wanderlust before deciding to release their latest sonic roadtrip, Thumbs Up Angel, which came out out in October 2020 on WarHen Records.
Both Melissa Wright and Daniel Zezeski, who met seven years ago in the green room of a Hackensaw Boys show, have deep musical roots. After spending her high school years performing on the regional bluegrass circuit, Wright studied vocal performance at Berklee College of Music in Boston before moving back to West Virginia, where she now teaches guitar, piano, and voice lessons. Furniture maker Zezeski cut his teeth in punk and ska bands as a teenager in Scranton, PA, eventually leaving home to hop trains and ride the rails with his Epiphone Hummingbird guitar in tow.
After years on the highways of the South and Mid-Atlantic, three self-released records, and a recent connection with WarHen Records, the pair found themselves road worn, laid off, and broken down, humbled by the onset of a global pandemic, ongoing political unrest, and uncertainty of life as musicians. They settled in for the summer in their A-frame cabin in the woods of West Virginia, wondering whether their already-recorded album, Thumbs Up Angel, had a valid place in the current landscape.
Turns out that for these two, wondering is best accomplished while wandering. They took to the seats of their rumbling motorcycles, spinning through the trees of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the haunting battlefields of Antietam and Gettysburg to ruminate on their role as writers, creators, and musicians.
“Ultimately, it’s not our job to decide whether or not our music is important,” says Wright. “It’s our job as writers to make music and put as much of ourselves into our art as humanly possible. It’s out for others to enjoy, and to hopefully inspire others to create their own works of art. That’s what’s important now.”
Mink charged ahead with their release of a collection of songs that reflects back, looks forward, and recognizes the occasional value of getting sidetracked.
Support from fans in an early pre-order campaign helped to drive home the production of Thumbs Up Angel, their most collaborative album to date. Those who preordered have their names in the liner notes of the album alongside the musicians and artists who contributed to this effort: Pat Brier (drums), Matt Schimelfenig (bass, mixing and engineering), Lucy Cochran (fiddle), Rob Evans (mastering), Kelley Wills (artwork and design), and Rich Tarbell (photography).
Today Glide is excited to premiere the video for “At The Fair,” a clear standout on the new album. Filmed at the duo’s house in West Virginia, the song carries an uptempo urgency that brings to mind the early work of Broken Social Scene if they took more of an Americana folk-rock approach. Mellisa Wright sings with an airy confidence that balances vulnerability and rock and roll edge. Daniel Zezeski takes a subtle but impactful approach to harmonizing, chiming in at the song’s most dramatic, urgent moments. Though the song features mostly acoustic guitars and drums, there is something infectious and rocking about it that makes you think it would be a real scorcher in the live setting…if we ever get to enjoy that again. Though many of us are sick of bedroom live streams by now, the song captures the home life during the pandemic in a way that grabs your attention.
Melissa Wright describes the process behind the video:
“‘At The Fair’ was filmed at our house in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. We wanted to give our fans a little pandemic style ‘day in the life’ video of what it’s like here in the woods in West Virginia. Reading, chopping wood, playing music, riding motorcycles, and hanging out with our cats.”
Photo credit: Rich Tarbell