Mink’s Miracle Medicine began in 2013 to explore the potential of sonic minimalism in country music. What could happen if each song was reduced to its purest form?: A telecaster guitar, weeping plucking and gliding over harmony, a simple three-piece drum kit crooning alongside, and above it, a singular powerful voice.
The idea birthed reality. Melissa Wright and Daniel Zezeski played their first show together to a packed show in a comic book shop. Since then, they have gone on to play all over the United States, indulging their deep-seated fascination with freight trains and cross-country road trips. Citing influence from artists like Patsy Cline, Hank Williams, Neil Young, and The Beatles, their sound is raw, earthy and smells like a long and winding road that weaves around an undeniable longing, calling to mind early Tom Petty and shades of Patti Smith.
Individually and together, the pair have connected and collaborated with musicians around Washington D.C. for more than a decade. After graduating high school in the rural suburbs of the District, Melissa attended Berklee College of Music where she studied vocal performance, specializing in jazz, gospel, and other American roots music styles. She has performed with bluegrass legends Alison Krauss, Sierra Hull, and Ralph Stanley, as well as serving as an alternate on singer-songwriter Ben Folds’ Boston Symphony Hall Tour. After completing her degree, she moved back to Virginia to play upright bass in the up-and-coming traditional jazz group The Bumper Jacksons. Melissa continues to honor the local musical tradition by presenting a series of tributes to the great Patsy Cline, most recently collaborating with Jess Eliot Myhre of the Bumper Jacksons, Letitia VanSant, and Karen Collins to put on a tribute to Patsy Cline hosted by the Institute of Musical Traditions.
Foregoing the conservatory method, Daniel Zezeski got his start with punk and ska bands in his early teens. Donning a green mohawk, Daniel frequented a music venue owned by his uncle in Scranton, PA, and received a musical education one can only get from standing in the wings of a show, where one can truly see, feel, and breathe with the music and the audience. When he came of age, he ran away from home to hop freight trains, seeing the American landscape in the same way he saw music in his youth: fearlessly up close. On these trips, he carried an Epiphone Hummingbird guitar and began to write. The Hummingbird was destroyed in an accident that left him wheelchair bound for months, during which he learned to fingerpick like Leo Kottke and solidified his musical prowess. He has performed on stage with Lake, The Dangerous Ponies, Chamomile and Whiskey, and The Menzingers. His song “Casey” is featured on The Menzinger’s Epitaph Records release “On The Impossible Past”.
Mink’s Miracle Medicine continue to write, record, travel, and perform together, ultimately on a quest of true connection between musician and audience, to deliver the listener truth and beauty in its most pure, honest, distilled form.
Photographer: Kelley Wills, Brainflower Designs