Rod Melancon brings his southern roots to bear in each of his outings, but with his new EP LA 14, he expands those parameters into new terrain without sacrificing any of the homespun authenticity he’s mined since early on. In the space of a mere five songs, he plows through a variety of terrain, from arched roots rockers to the slow sprawl of tattered ballads. Producer Brian Whelan, onetime utility player for Dwight Yoakam, adds the necessary embellishments, even creating a jarring sonic setting for the surprisinglychaotic “Lights of Carencro.” Considering this is only his third effort overall, Melancon has assembled a mighty impressive resume, one that LA 14 expands upon, albeit in limited doses. Previously cited comparisons to Guy Clark, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard and Townes Van Zandt seem appropriate once again, but given the assertive stance of “Perry, the twangy “A Man Like Me Shouldn’t Own a Gun” and the mellow steel guitar sway of “By Her Side,” Melancon isn’t necessarily constricted by comparisons when it comes to getting his music noicied. Darker musings — thoughts about addiction, misplaced loyalty and coping with tragedy — underpin these songs, but that’s all the more reason why they effectively crawl beneath the skin. Melancon’s made his mark, and one can only hope that his perseverance continues to pay off.