Last Updated on August 26, 2022
Rod Melancon – Pinkville (Blue Elan Records) 4 out of 5 stars
Release Date: April 5, 2019
Heavily influenced by the Southern Gothic literacy of Larry Brown and Tennessee Williams, Rod Melancon’s new album, ‘Pinkville’, intentional or coincidental ties together with 2017’s exceptional ‘Southern Gothic’. The cover art and title track is not a presage of the album’s theme, nor about Charlie Company and what life was like in the jungles of South Vietnam.
Produced by Adrian Quesada and Will Walden, ‘Pinkville’ was recorded in Austin, Texas. Will, son of musician and Emmy winning composer W.G. “Snuffy” Walden, played guitar on ‘Southern Gothic’ (“Different Man”). With ‘Pinkville’, his talents expand to co-writes on five songs and adding electric guitar, keys and percussion.
A teaser campaign started last year in mid-August with a snippet of the video, “Westgate” that included a neon green Trans-Am. The full single was released on September 14, 2018. It was in 1977 that the T-Top Trans-Am, with its iconic “Screaming Chicken” decal on the hood became one of the hottest selling cars of the year after the success of Burt Reynold’s ‘Smokey and the Bandit’. Rod Melancon is on to something big. The “Laissez les bons temps rouler” continued when three days later Melancon’s “Wanna Go for a Ride” from 2014’s ‘Parish Lines’ was featured in a national Toyota commercial. Pontiac, you’re next.
Now based in Austin, mad talking man Rod Melancon will never be too far from his roots, the Parish lines of South Louisiana. ‘Pinkville’ conjures up the Drive-by Truckers’ ‘Southern Rock Opera’ with Rod’s spoken-word narrative in the album opener and title track, “Up until I was about 10 years old my family owned a crawfish pond outside of Gueydan, Louisiana. That’s deep down in Vermillion Parish. Not too far from the Mermentau River.”
Melancon pays tribute to the great “Bebop Kid”, Freddy Fender with “Corpus Christi Carwash” and to one of rock ‘n’ roll’s most beloved and respected musicians, Tom Petty with “The Heartbreakers” where Rod sings “Skinny little white boy standing on the corner / Way deep down in the swamps of Florida / He got long blonde hair and a big wide grin / Says there ain’t no use hangin round again”.
The first thing that stands out about Rod Melancon is undoubtedly his voice. His cover of Tom Waits’ “Goin’ Out West” and Bruce Springsteen’s “57 Channels (And Nothin’ On)” flat out rock.
‘Pinkville’ is perfect from start to finish and will be on many year-end Top 10 lists.