Mel began singing his singing career in the 7th Grade talent show at Robert E. Lee Junior High with his rendition of “This Old House”. He promptly forgot the words and the “MC” kicked him in the butt and the words returned, as if by magic. This creative moment was the beginning of Mel’s songwriting endeavors, as he has been known to make up words for a cover song, if the original lyrics were not available!
As a Junior at E.C. Glass High School, Mel sang “Over the Mountain” with Richard Hawkins and his band The Chasers; composed of Harvey Hamilton, Jimmy Roberson, Tommy Evans, Wayne Blondino, and Ray Barbour . The Chasers Rock & Roll Band, with Mel and Richard as lead singers, was formed and played the Virginia College Circuit and honky tonks in the early 60‘s. Mel later sang with The Dukes and The Hometowners.
Mel’s first songwriting venture produced “Valdosta Woman” in 1979. This was Mel’s first national release on MRC records and it received considerable airplay in the South and provided Mel with the opportunity to appear and perform with country legends Ernest Tubb, John Anderson, and Don Reno. Mel’s lifetime music buddy, Dale Thompson, has performed on all of Mel’s CDs and he provides the music for most of the guitars. Mel also received support from session greats like Gary Green on harmonica, Linwood Campbell, Jeff Duffield, Joel Key and Stan Smith on piano. Buddy Charlton provided steel guitar licks on “Then, Now…Forever”. On Mel’s rendition of “Over the Mountain”, the late sax player, K.E. Fitzgerald is ever-present with his fantastic and memorable sounds.
Mel was honored to be in several articles in 2007. Humana Active Outlook Magazine, a proud sponsor of the Grand Ole Opry, featured Mel in the article,” Turn Your Radio On, the Grand Ole Opry is Playing”, opening with the lyrics of one of Mel’s latest tunes that is included on Ballads, Boogie and Blues, “The Ole Music Circle”. In this song, Mel announces to the world that he wants to sing on the Opry! This dream persists! Ballads, Boogie & Blues is a classic in the making. Listen and enjoy.