There is an audacity rides along side artistic growth. It involves taking risks, speeding up the ride and hitting the accelerator to see how fast and how much madness your engine can handle. After his 2010 debut, My Family Name, L.A. based singer-songwriter, Rod Melancon, a 25 year-old, Louisiana native, confidently staked out his musical heritage firmly on the road previously walked by Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings. With Parish Lines he has followed up with a fiery brand of Louisiana rockabilly that has the amps turned up to 11 and enough raucous energy to make even the most sedate soul long for the ambience of a roadhouse. Over the last four years, he allowed the fire and smoke flow through the music as he’s warmed to a dirtier bluesy rock sound and allowed himself to explore stories that drip with the gothic sensibilities of his homeland, of his Louisiana, Parish lines. He’s following the harder rock side of Steve Earle from the Copperhead Road period and draws on the starkness of Springsteen’s Nebraska and Ghost of Tom Joad for a framework while telling stories that explore the darker shadows of the human spirit.
It is Brian Whelan, Dwight Yoakam’s wunderind mulit-instrumentalist who raises the stakes to a hard, risky sound that fuses Memphis and Nashville with Chicago blues and L.A alt-rock. It’s a lean, raw-to-the-bone and swampy sound, more developed and filled out than the artist we’ve heard in times past. Most telling are the two re-makes, his Nashville produced single, “Mad Talking Man” and the worthy-of-a-Cash classic, “South Lousian.” Both songs are grounded in that guitar crunch and grind that allows Melancon to belt out his lyrics with so much passion & conviction and always with just twist of irony coming from each phrase.
The song, “Different Man,” demonstrates the effects over a decade of war has had on a generation today in post-9/11 America. it’s still the same story heard during and after every war, like his former song, “Reggie,” the narrative is from the perspective of an observer of a veteran home from Afghanistan. The passion and rage in his voice is matched by slow burn and build of the production.
“Feathers” brings the volume down on a talking-blues styled observation of one moment in life and a dream