AUK’s Chain Gang: Scotty Melton’s “Me and the Devil”

Scotty Melton promo shot 2021

Linking to Justin Townes Earle’s ‘Harlem River Blues’ is Earle’s collaborator, friend, and roommate, singer-songwriter Scotty Melton and his song ‘Me and the Devil.’ The two met in the ’90s in the men’s toilets at the club Down Home in Johnson City, Tennessee. The two laughed at scrawled graffiti on the wall about Earle’s father, Steve Earle. I bet the comments on the ladies’ room walls were even better!

Earle called Melton “the guy who taught me to write songs.” Together they wrote, 50-50, according to Melton, ‘Rogers Park’ (from Earle’s ‘Harlem River Blues’), and ‘Turn Out My Lights,’ ‘Lonesome and You,’ and ‘Far Away in Another Town’ (from Earle’s ‘The Good Life’). Melton recorded his own versions of ‘Far Away in Another Town’ on his 2014 album ‘Rearview.’ Creativity wasn’t the only thing the two men had in common: they both struggled with addiction for many years. Melton’s songs lack pretension and are rigorously honest and unflinching depictions of life and psychological landscapes. No wonder he and Earle got along like a house on fire.

The eastern Tennessee native tours regularly like a modern troubadour and is frequently seen on the club circuit throughout the U.S. There are few official clips of Melton on YouTube, so further exploration on his ReverbNation and Facebook pages is well worth it.

About Kimberly Bright 21 Articles
Freelance writer specializing in music and art, British, Canadian, and American music and cultural history, flyover states, session musicians, overlooked and unsung artists. Author of 'Chris Spedding: Reluctant Guitar Hero.'

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