Melody Walker describes her music as "Americali," meaning that it draws influences not only from Americana, but from rock, blues, Afrobeat, and many other influences. Gold Rush Goddess is Melody Walker's debut album, but it oozes experience and polish. From the song order, to the cover art, Melody Walker has produced a timeless album that draws influences from different genres without being alienating.
The title track transports you to a great Americana aesthetic that becomes the base for the rest of the album. It sets up a very dedicated production style that isn't overproduced; rather the tracks come off as organic and true to Walker's nature. The title track also showcases the beautiful lilt in Walker's voice. Considering that she did the backing vocals, Walker has created music that fits her voice perfectly. Walker's vocals match the hope in songs like "Stars Align" and the anguish in songs like "Get Back."
Lyrically the songs have a timeless feel, almost a throwback to a former generation. Even singing about working two jobs in "Do What You Love Blues" or making your own decisions in "Get Back" could have been sung 50 years ago and still been pertinent to any generation. Even though "Black Grace" is accentuated by great instrumental backing, it surprisingly doesn't have a lot of lyrics, but that lack of lyrics isn't a problem. It instead emphasizes the concept of planets and the sky beautifully. Its simplicity is its strength.
When I originally listened to "Family Band" I pictured a great bluegrass band, with Jacob Groopman's voice channeling his Blue Ridge Mountain background. The song had the right balance between verses, giving the listener the opportunity to appreciate each banjo pluck or guitar strum. To match the almost choral sound of "Family Band," I appreciated the a cappella opening of "Do What You Love Blues." The tempo of that song changes immediately but maintains the call-and-response. The guitar solo in the track was also wonderful.
While Walker can do upbeat songs, I thought "Stars Align" was a great showcase of her full voice. Her father should be proud of this rendition of the song that he wrote. She channeled the spirit of the song as if it was her own. The track is one of the more simplistic in arrangement, but equally as moving as the other tracks. Similarly, "Not Today" has vocal prowess. When the song pauses before Walker sings, "Looks like the world's not gonna end at all," it leaves you on the edge of your toes, fully invested in what Walker has to say. Nearing the end of the album, “Martinez” was an interesting shift of pace. The jingles were a creative choice of percussion and the lyrics helped it stand out from the rest of the album.