Rod Melancon

Rod Melancon looks a little bit like a '50s throwback -- a combination of James Dean, Johnny Cash, and Elvis Presley -- and the Louisiana native does have some echoes of classic country and early rock & roll. He's also a thoroughly modern singer/songwriter, one who is as well-versed in swamp rock as he is in outlaw poets. This is evident on the string of independent albums he released in the 2010s, starting with 2012's My Family Name.

Melancon originally intended to pursue a career as an actor, moving to Los Angeles in early adulthood. When he visited Louisiana for a holiday visit, he reconnected with music, and when he returned to L.A. he began writing songs. He self-released an eponymous album in 2009, but his official 2012 debut, My Family Name, was recorded with L.A. studio pros. Melancon toured the Southern California Americana circuit. He went to Nashville to cut an EP called Mad Talkin' Man with producer Dave Cobb and Jamey Johnson's band in 2013. Melancon followed this in 2014 with Parish Lines, an album recorded with producer Brian Whelan. The pair collaborated again on 2016's EP LA 14, which was a teaser for the 2017 full-length Southern Gothic. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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