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Melissa Gilstrap

”Melissa Gilstrap wears many hats when it comes to music. Composer, lyricist, record producer, vocalist, you can list them all. What amazes me is that she excels at each one. I have had the good fortune to collaborate with Melissa in writing songs that appear on my two latest CDs as well as on recordings by other artists. The lyrics she created for these songs are astonishing in their originality, with subject matter that is far from ordinary. She has recently contributed her talents to a recording project with the late, great guitarist, composer, Tom Giacabetti. Melissa acted as producer of this CD as well as lyricist, vocalist and even as guitarist on one of her original instrumental compositions. I could go on and on , but suggest rather that you check her out for yourself.” - LARRY McKENNA, tenor saxophonist and composer

Called “a brilliant songwriter” by WRTI 90.1 FM Philadelphia Jazz Host Jeff Duperon, Melissa Gilstrap is a multi-talented lyricist with a passion for music and art. Her most recent work as a lyricist is showcased in the late guitarist Tom Giacabetti’s September 2016 CD release that she produced, “Tender Heart: Songs Of Tom Giacabetti And Melissa Gilstrap.” Six songs with her words are premiered by the outstanding vocalists Denise King, Joanna Pascale, Sharon Sable and Paul Jost. Her songs are earning praise:

“Gilstrap's lyrics hover somewhere between wistful jazz standards and cultured language, the latter reflecting her interest in poets like Emily Dickinson, Rilke, and T.S. Eliot. Her words are artfully tailored to the music, and her sensitive use of vowel sounds (almost a lost art) allows the singers to achieve fluency and full vocal sonority. The flowing quality of the words and music gives the songs a feeling of familiarity like a jazz standard rather than sounding like a new piece that one must stretch to appreciate.” –Victor L. Schermer,

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