Indie folk duo, Mink’s Miracle Medicine
Traditional folk and indie rock clash for control of Mink’s Miracle Medicine, an eclectic duo known for their striking melodies and honest lyrics. Based out of Harpers Ferry, the band is no stranger to the local music scene, having previously released one well-received album. Anticipation for their sophomore album, Pyramid Theories, is growing as they recently completed the album ahead of its Oct. 5 release date.
The band consists of two members: Melissa Wright, who handles vocals, guitar and keys while Danny Zezeski keeps rhythm on the drums and provides vocals. Both Wright and Zezeski contribute to the duo’s songwriting. Graffiti spoke with the band about their upcoming album, the origin of their rather unique name and what inspires the band both lyrically and musically.
“I was at a craft fair somewhere in North Carolina a few years back,” said Wright, delving into the origin of the band’s unique name. “I got this weird little sign that has a horse pulling a covered wagon and on the side is painted Mink’s Miracle Medicine.” The sign inspired Wright, “I thought it would be a cool name to go under, playing off the old-timey traveling salesman thing.” Wright added, “plus, I like the alliteration.”
The band formed nearly five years ago and while West Virginia-based now, both members are not originally from the state. “Danny is originally from Scranton, Pennsylvania,” explained Wright, “and I am originally from Hillsboro, Virginia.” Despite their origins, the two eventually met and formed the band in 2013, playing their current hometown of Harpers Ferry for a while before branching out to tour the US.
The recording process for Pyramid Theories fit perfectly with the band’s often unique vibe. “We recorded this record in the Poconos, in our friend Matt Schimelfenig’s studio,” said Wright, who also explained that Matt played bass on the album. “We have always ended up recording there in the winter time and this time was particularly icy. There were icicles hanging off the barn that were two and three feet long.” Despite the weather, the band loved the atmosphere provided by the intimate studio. “The house and studio are magical,” praised Wright. “We love recording there.”
Wright explained that, “the album is a mesh of older songs that we’ve been playing together for a long time and some brand-new ones written between now and the release of our album House of Candles last year.” Wright explained the writing process, “I went on a bit of a writing sprint, waking up early every day and challenging myself to write a song a day. Sometimes it worked, other times, no, but at least there’s some good ideas down.”
The band draws their inspiration from a variety of performers, while creating music that is entirely their own. “I like to pick and choose different principles from different people,” explained Wright. “Like, you can’t beat a lyric from John Prine or Bob Dylan, and the way Billie Holiday hangs on her words and sings more like a poet.” In the end, it comes down to looking at music as a form of identifying yourself. “I love to think about music the way Victor Wooten does or Neil Young does – like a language, like an expression, like a daily practice to get to know yourself more. The DC DIY punk scene has shaped how I feel about making this my life, turning it into a way of living but also a purpose.”
Mink’s Miracle Medicine has merchandise available on their website www.minksmiraclemedicine.com and is active on both Instagram and Facebook. On Oct. 25 the band has a show in Shepherdstown with John R. Miller and The Engine Lights as well as a few shows planned in Chicago, Atlanta, New York and Virginia.
Richard Allen is a freelance writer for various publications. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at facebook.com/richardallenwrites