I told someone yesterday that Rod Melancon has a voice like a good cup of coffee. They thought I was crazy, but to me it’s clear as can be. REALLY good coffee is complex with layers of flavor. You detect something and then notice some else, at various turns unusual and familiar. When the first track from Melancon’s new record, My Family Name queued up in my headphones I heard flavors of Johnny Paycheck. Then it’s Dale Watson. Then it was George Strait. Then it was Waylon Payne. All layered together into something comforting, edgy and familiar. There are many great Americana acts out there making music these days, but there are very few singers with a great voice. Rod Melancon has a great voice.
My Family Name is soaked in Melancon’s Louisiana roots. The zydeco accordion is always lingering in the background giving you a sense of place. The stories are about down and out fellows with titles like “South Louisian”, “Angola Blues” and “Louisiana Nights”. It’s a great branding exercise, and I mean that as a compliment. You come away from this record knowing who Rod Melancon is and what he is about. He’s not trying to tag every base in the Americana universe. He’s singing about the world of his family. The people he grew up with in a style that is defined by it’s limits. That’s music wisdom that’s rare in a young artist.
It would be unfair to cite the beautiful sound of My Family Name without crediting the producers, Chad Watson and Richard Barron. The mix of voice and instruments plays directly into the stark stories that we’re hearing. It’s a first rate job by all involved.