Grand Ole Echo with Charlie Faye / Matt Ellis / Rod Melancon / Jerry Grass-a Grateful Dead Celebration

Grand Ole Echo


Charlie Faye

On January 1st, 2010, Charlie Faye pulled out of her hometown of Austin, Texas, to embark on a modern bohemian adventure. In 10 months, Charlie made her home in 10 different towns; Tucson, AZ, Los Angeles, CA, Portland, OR, Boulder, CO, Shreveport, LA, Burlington, VT, Milwaukee, WI, Nashville, TN, Asheville, NC, and Woodstock, NY.

When asked why she would chose to tour in this unusual way, Charlie answers: "Ask any musician, on returning from a tour, 'How was Seattle? What was Chicago like? - and they'll tell you: "I don't know, man, we just loaded out of the van and played... and then got back in the van and kept driving."

But Charlie didn't want to just skim the surface. Instead of landing in a city, playing a show, and taking off the next day, Charlie spent a month actually getting to know the people and personality of each place she made her home.

Traveling alone, Charlie put together a new band in each town. Playing and hanging out with musicians in each town gave Charlie a really unique perspective on our national music culture.

Charlie also wrote and recorded a new song with local musicians each month. Her 10-Town-made Travels with Charlie record includes members of Calexico, the Eagles, and Navarro, as well as Tony Gilkyson, Paul Bryan, Ian Moore, Chris Scruggs, Kenny Vaughn, Buddy Spicher, and Malcolm Burn. Each song, when recorded, was allowed to take the form of what naturally happened in that place and time. The result is a record that represents a real cross-section of our national Americana music scene.

Somehow, in addition to all her travels, Charlie has become one of Austin's most recognized music community organizers. A front-page story in the Austin American Statesman outlined Charlie's efforts to save a musicians' enclave of cottages in South Austin. Charlie's history also includes touring as a sideman with Dan Zanes and Greg Garing, as well as playing alongside many others, including Natalie Merchant, Bettysoo, and Will Sexton.

Charlie is currently working on a new record with Will Sexton, Jen Condos, and Jay Bellerose, due out this summer.

Matt Ellis is an award winning singer songwriter from Sydney, Australia. Based in Venice Beach, CA since 2006, Ellis has just released a new double A-Side single, "Candy / Dangers of the Night", the follow up to 2010′s celebrated "Birth, Deaths & Marriages".

Matt's four album releases have taken him across the United States, Canada, Australia, Hong Kong and Mexico, performing at The Sydney Opera House, The Troubadour, Tucson's Rialto Theatre, CBGBs (RIP), The Bitter End, El Mocambo, Hotel Cafe, Spaceland, Pappy & Harriets and The Annandale Hotel sharing the stages with Calexico, J.Tillman, DeVotchKa, Perry Farrell and John Doe to name a few. Tracks have been licensed by ABC TV America, MTV, Qantas and The Food Network and received airplay on over 50 Radio Stations across America, Europe and Australia.

Produced by Ellis and mixed by Craig Schumacher (Neko Case, Calexico, Iron & Wine, M Ward), "Births, Deaths & Marriages" received ISC Awards for numerous tracks and music videos in 2009, 2010 and 2011. The album features eleven Americana/Folk Rock tracks and is arguably his best work to date.

Rod Melancon

As an upcoming singer-songwriter, Rod represents a new breed who are drawing more from Townes Van Zandt and Kris Kristofferson than from the previous generation of more reflective (and at times indulgent) singer-songwriters. He tells his stories from character perspective rather than from the worms-eye view of a tortured poet on the brink of suicide and/or self-inflicted angst. The result is themes that harken back to and echo Johnny Cash's early Sun recordings and Mickey Newbury's focus on characters and story. There are familiar enough melodies which sound newly born and song structure that leans on lyric rather than hook. And beneath it all is the room for great acoustic and electric instrumentation from bluegrass mandolins to big sounding Duane Eddy-like electric guitars.

How does a 22 year-old L.A. transplant from Louisiana find his way to such a rich musical heritage? It's in his family name as Rod would be the first to say. While other American kids were taking in the pleasures of affluent suburbs during the 90's, he was absorbing the Louisiana Bayou and his Cajun heritage and traditional southern manners from his father's family. His mother, a high school theater arts teacher, gave Rod a taste for Tennessee Williams, William Faulkner and Jack Kerouac. From her he learned about dramtics, story and literature. He credits her for teaching him most specifically about symbolism,which he uses elequently in his songs. Like so many before him, he hit the highway after he read On The Road. He came to L.A. to pursue a career in acting but changed his mind three years ago on a Christmas visit to his family home. It was during the holidays that he gave his grandfather a life-changing gift. A Hank Williams disc. When he saw his grandfather's tears as he listened to the timeless music, Rod knew he wanted to write songs that could bring the same feeling to others. Ironically and perhaps not coincidentally, his parents gave him an acoustic guitar that same Christmas. As Rod himself said, 'that was the moment in the movie of my life when I knew what I was called to do.' He came back to L.A. and began to learn guitar and write songs. The songs flowed out of him with a passion he'd never known before. He played them for his friend, actor Chris Thomason (Harper's Island) who assured him he was on to something.

Since that time Rod has worked on refining his performing, writing and vocal skills and has been drawing from influences like Steve Earle, Townes Van Zandt, Waylon Jennings, Jamie Johnson and Justin Townes Earle. Over the last few years he has appeared at Hotel Cafe, The Mint and in L.A.'s Echo Park district.

As times change and mainstream country music continues to go through its ups and downs with its own chronic and bland pop-leaning identity struggle, Rod is finding a strong following in L.A. for real country music through the local Americana scene represented by venues like The Echo which each week hosts a fine country music barbque cleverly called, The Grand Ole Echo.

With the release of this new EP, My Family Name, Rod Melacon, this rootsy Louisiana-fevered singer-songwriter, has established himself as a promising name to watch. It is young artists like this who are the future of timeless American music and what is slowly becoming a resurgence of the early 70's singer-songwriter outlaw movement.
- Terry Roland, No Depression

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