Rod Melancon | photo by Emily DeHart for WXPN
Free At Noon Flashback: Rod Melancon Makes His Philadelphia Debut at World Cafe Live
Rod Melancon opened XPN’s Free at Noon double-header performing before, J.D. Simo. He sang tunes from his newest album, Pinkville, which was released in early April. With a name like Pinkville, you might think Melancon’s music verged on country pop, but that is far from the case.
Pinkville is not the kind of country, blues you can kick back and mindlessly listen to. Each song tells a story, and never a pretty one. Melancon opened his performance with title-track, a song that’s more like a story put to music than a song in the traditional sense of the word. Through the lyrics, Rod Melancon explains a scene that he repeatedly passed driving to his family’s crawfish pond in Gueydan, Louisiana. Every time they drove, he saw a man pacing in front of a faded grey house wearing nothing but long johns and a pair of combat boots. One day he worked up the courage, and his dad explains that the man was a Vietnam Vet that was scared by his experiences. He says, “His boots were on American soil, but his mind was far off in the burning villages of Pinkville.”
The song lays the groundwork for the tone of the rest of the album and performance. Rod Melancon makes music for the downtrodden southern everyman and has the raspy, gritty voice necessary to do so. On stage, he also played songs like “The Heartbreakers” an ode to one of his idols, Tom Petty, and “Rehabilitation,” a song about “when you have a little too much fun for too long and have to spend some time away.”
As a Louisiana native, he admitted it was his first time in Philadelphia. Audience members screamed “get a cheesesteak” to which he replied something along the lines of “well, where do you think we’re going after this?”
After his potential first Philly cheesesteak experience, Melancon will be performing tonight at The Locks at Sona at 8 pm. Visit the WXPN Concert Calendar for more details.