Melville is a Guelph, Ontario multi-instrumentalist (guitars, banjo, pedal
steel, bass, mandolin), composer, and producer. A veteran of the Canadian
alternative/roots music scene, he is well-known for his work with the likes of Rheostatics, the
Skydiggers, the Greivous Angels, Pat Temple and the High Lonsome Players.
When he's not producing, recording, or writing, he also can be heard
playing in Dave Clark's (Rheostatics) free-style freakout jazz ensemble
the Woodchoppers’ Association, or twangin' it up with Guelph's premier
rural route swingsters the Hoofbeats. His two solo albums
(Niagara, DROG 1995; Not Really A Bluegrass Album, DROG 1998) have been
well-received by campus radio and played on various national radio shows
(CBC). A third solo album is due out in early in 2002. He can also be
heard on scores of recordings (Cowboy Junkies, Thirteen Engines,
Rheostatics, The Waltons, Bird Sisters, Black Cabbage, Dissemblers,
Barenaked Ladies, Bourbon Tabernacle Choir, Kyp Harness, Adam Faux, Kim
Stockwood...), and seen as a guest performer with the Nick Craine Big
Band, Barzin, Kate Richmond, Tannis Slimmon, and
Composing and recording an album’s worth of music for
an album can be both time consuming and expensive for individual artists.
As a consequence, long periods of time can elapse before new material
reaches the public.
DROG theme albums were designed as a catalyst to encourage the creation
of new work, and to provide
an interim showcase for songwriting, music composition, and performance
art. Coincidentally, it turned out that participation in the projects also
increased communication and cooperation between artists not normally
working together, and allowed the artists to compare their work to that of
their peers when challenged with the same set of
In order to construct a “theme” album, a general invitation went out to
artists to write and record a single song on the chosen topic by the given
deadline. Inclusion was on a
first-come, first-served basis, and there were no qualitative judgements
made (provided the content conformed to a universal standard of human
rights) of submitted material.
The results show how each participant rose to the challenge and, though it is
by no means a complete picture of our community, each theme album is an
excellent representative snapshot of the talent, and skill that can be
found therein at that particular moment in time.
The songs themselves are timeless.
These albums have been fun to make, and have been extremely successful and
popular with participants, critics, and fans alike. They demonstrate a
tremendous diversity of ideas and style. The high overall quality of the
production and music, all done quickly on a shoestring budget, is a
positive reflection of the creative and technical abilities of the
different artists who have contributed songs over the
The majority of the production work for these albums has been donated, and the
hundreds of songwriters, instrumentalists, poets, artists, recording
engineers, and others who have worked on the “theme” songs have generously
contributed their time and creative energy. All of the proceeds from the
albums are donated to various
benevolent organizations, including Doctors Without Borders, the
International Red Cross, the Developing Countries Farm Radio Network, and
others. Some of the money has helped to buy instruments for some young
musicians in Burmese refugee camps in Thailand. One of their songs can be
heard on the Music For Peace album. >
The artists retain all of the copyright to their songs.
Truck Songs (1996)
The first of the theme albums, and still a favourite. (recently featured in a special
on trucking on CBC television’s the National.
Music for Peace (1999)
A benefit project with proceeds going to Doctors Without
Borders and the Red Cross International relief program. This double album
was recorded during the NATO war in Yugoslavia, and completed on the same
day the bombing of Serbia stopped.
Food Songs (1999)
24 songs about food on a single CD. This project culminated
in a gala concert at Guelph's River Run Centre at which all the
contributors performed their song. The centrepiece of the show featured an
exploding haggis, and included a gigantic feast in which both performers
and audience participated heartily.
Work Songs (2001)
A benefit CD for the Developing Countries Farm Radio Network
and Doctors Without Borders. Recorded through October to November 2000,
this collection of 59 songs (on 3 CDs) was released in early 2001.