Rod Melancon, born and raised in South Louisiana is a natural singer-songwriter in the tradition of Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard and Bruce Springsteen. At 24, he has written a series of songs that reflect the life and culture of his roots in a similar way to Cash’s early work in Memphis or Springsteen’s in Jersey. Listen for yourself and you’ll hear the roots of Hank Williams, the storytelling of Townes Van Zandt, the observations of Kris Kristofferson, the rock of early Steve Earle, the country of Dwight Yoakam, the narrative of Dave Alvin, all mixed with a bit of the swagger of a young Elvis. He’s the real deal and sounds very traditional in this contemporary world but in a very authentic and genuine way. It’s not prefab and manufactured. It is what it is and it comes through loud and clear. Mark Skaar had an opportunity to talk with Melancon last month about his newest album “Southern Gothic” and more in this exclusive interview.