'Let me live, love and say it well in good sentences'

Michelle Branch and my undying love for Buffy

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When I think back to 2001, I can’t say that any particularly memorable events occurred; having graduated the previous year, I was working in a temporary capacity for a government department in a nearby, again, largely uneventful town. But I do remember there being a certain weekly highlight to my social calendar…the airing of a brand new episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer!

Before the days of RPattz et al, my sister and I would make ourselves comfortable; before settling down to the wit and wisdom of Joss Whedon’s finest example of a foray in to fantasy television drama. The exploits of Buffy, Willow and Spike kept us hooked for the full 43 minutes, with an unbeatable mix of cutting comebacks and comedy capers; from the early days of  high school horror in ‘The Harvest’ and ‘Halloween’, through to the sacrifice and sophistication of ‘Becoming’and ‘Graduation’, the groundbreaking ‘Hush’ and ‘Restless’ concluding with a clever, 360-degree emotional climax in ‘Chosen.’ For all those who may choose to cast doubt, I simply say this; Buffy was highly influential back then, as well as today; it brought us strong feisty females that didn’t need protecting, became the blueprint for future supernatural televised dramas and the show just never ages, a testament to the quality of the scriptwriting.

There was one particular element of the show which I also looked forward to; the live music/guest star performances in The Bronze. It was here that I discovered the vocal talents and songwriting triumphs of Michelle Branch.

Born on July 2nd,1983 Michelle is an American singer-songwriter, who has experimented with pop-rock, acoustic and country sounds; always managing to sound authentic and real. I put this down to her approachable and down to earth demeanour, combined with her earthy and effortless tone. Michelle’s debut album ‘The Spirit Room’ was released in the UK in 2001 and had three hit singles; ‘Everywhere’, ‘All You Wanted’ and ‘Goodbye to You.’ It was the third of which that she performed on Buffy episode ‘Tabula Rasa.’ (See clip below).

Michelle received her first guitar aged fourteen and after teaching herself, she wrote her first song. Realising her talent, her parents financed her first independent album ‘Broken Bracelet.’ Performing gigs in her native Sedona, Arizona; Michelle covered the likes of Sheryl Crow, Jewel and Fleetwood Mac, all of which she has consistently cited as influences on her music. Another of my favourite Michelle tracks is ‘The Game of Love’, which is a collaboration with Santana. This has a great deep southern summertime feel to it and the mutual love of strings is clearly evident.

2003 saw the release of Michelle’s second album ‘Hotel Paper’; this record wasn’t as well received as her debut, which has always been somewhat of a mystery to me. The pop-rock and country influences are still there, the catchy lyrics and addictive melodies are still there; so why the mixed reviews? 2003 saw a bit of an influx of American look-a-like, sound-a-likes with Vanessa Carlton and Stacey Orrico to name but two, but likewise, when did too much of a good thing become a problem?!

For all you Sex And The City fans out there, you will be familiar with Michelle’s track ‘Breathe’ from a certain episode entitled ‘The Catch’ in Season 6, were Carrie is tasked with trying out a flying trapeze in Central Park and she realises that ‘letting go’ is not so scary as long as you have a good safety net, namely your friends.

After recording and performing with longtime friend and backup singer Jessica Harp as The Wreckers, Michelle has now started writing for her third studio album which will be titled ‘Everything Comes and Goes.’ I’ve been waiting for news of a UK tour since 2001…maybe just maybe, 2011 will be the year! The first single from the album,‘Sooner or Later’, was released digitally in 2009 and I’ve included a clip below to give you a taste of what’s surely to come.

You might like to check out her recent collaboration with Timbaland too; this track ‘Getaway’ is available to download now from iTunes.

Hopefully you’ve found a couple of pieces that you like on here; or perhaps a renewed passion for the original vampire-fighting, splintery-tongued Sarah Michelle Gellar? I’ll finish with another of my most memorable live performances from the show, this time coming from Angie Hart with ‘Blue.’ This was featured during ‘Conversations With Dead People’ from Season Seven and was actually written for that particular episode at Whedon’s request. This video was produced by hauntboo at YouTube, so credit where it’s due on this one.

Grrr! Argh!


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