The mystery that is the music of the Louisiana bayou country has found few new artists who can honestly be regarded as champions of this unique American art form. There is a long ancestry of artists however, from the state itself, who have brought the music to the fore, like the funky country blues of Tony Joe White and the Cajun celebration of Doug Kershaw. Other than Lead Belly, few other artists have emerged from the swampy terrain of South Louisiana to national success.
But today, singer-songwriter Rod Melancon is finding an audience and building a legacy based on his quarter century of life inside the parish lines of his hometown. His second full-album release, PARISH LINES, adds a new twist to Rod Melancon’s growing musical reputation. He still has an Americana base, but, with PARISH LINES, Melancon moves through country to a harder, alternative rock sound.
Raised just a stone’s throw from Angola State Prison, home to Lead Belly and the setting of the book and film Dead Man Walking, Melancon absorbed the swamps and bayous of his childhood. With a classic American appearance that could easily find him cast as Elvis or James Dean in a biopic, Melancon traveled to Los Angeles intending to become a professional actor.
But a chance encounter with his grandfather and Hank Williams would steer his life in an unexpected direction. When he returned to Louisiana from Los Angeles for the Christmas holiday, Melancon saw his grandfather’s tears as he listened to a Hank Williams record Melancon had given him. Those tears touched young Melancon to his core. He knew then that he wanted to touch people through music, the way the Hank Williams once did.