Black Music Matters Festival

Ken Mellons

Where Forever Begins – 1995 (Epic)

Reviewed by Brian Wahlert

CDs by Ken Mellons

Ken Mellons claims George Jones, Vern Gosdin, John Anderson, and especially Keith Whitley as heroes, and their influences definitely appear. Unfortunately, he never comes off as much more than an imitator. On the clever "He'll Never Be a Lawyer," for instance, he sounds like John Anderson, and in fact both Anderson and Jones sing a few words at the end of the song. On "Stranger in Your Eyes," Mellons evokes Whitley, who would have been right at home with such a beautiful, regretful ballad. Mellons has the Jones growl down pat on "Don't Make Me Have to Come in There," and for some reason Hank Jr. comes to mind when he sings "Memory Remover. " He seems to be imitating himself, too, because fully half of the album is comprised of silly wordplay songs in the vein of "Jukebox Junkie," his only top-10 hit. Mellons has a rich baritone, but he needs to learn how to use it by synthesizing his influences into a style of his own.