"ANGELO M. MADE OUR JAWS DROP When He Sat Down & Blistered the Frets...." - Acoustic Live - Richard Cuccaro
"A GIFTED MUSICIAN with incredible dexterity... After his POWERFUL PERFORMANCE, many people were asking where and when they could see him again." - Blues News - Kalamazoo Blues Festival Review by Tim Richards
"A REAL CROWD PLEASER! Angelo M. went immediately to our 'Bring Back for a Return Visit' list." Grady Ormsby - Booking Manager DownEast Folk Arts Society."
BIOGRAPHY: After a mill bankruptcy that cost him his pension, Angelo M. (short for Melasecca) made the unlikely transition from steelworker to touring artist and hasn’t looked back. He’s a multi-award winning songwriter and master fingerstyle & slide guitarist with a blues bent in the vein of Chris Smither and Keb Mo. After two successful self released albums and having his music featured in a PBS TV Series, this roots enriched folk artist got Nashville's attention... and in 2012 released his label debut, "From Steel to Strings”. Featuring16 original tracks that showcase Angelo and all his assets the album is getting rave rewiews and airplay in the US and abroad. "...This record is a triumph in the Roots, Blues and Americana categories". - C. Bret Campbell _Middle Tennessee.
He's a humble blue collar man from a Pennsylvania steel town, but there’s nothing understated about the talent of this bluesy virtuoso fingerstyle player and award winning songwriter(Gold/1st Place Winner Mid-Atlantic Song Contest, 3rd Place Billboard World Song Contest n more). Armed with a six string, Dobro & harp, he’s down and dirty, no holds barred – an authentic link in the American Roots chain as a singer, player and songwriter. With influences including Jorma Kaukonen, Ry Cooder, Chet Atkins, Duane Allman and Leo Kottke, reviews hail Angelo M. a “Brilliant Guitarist” with an “Excellent Voice” and call his performance “Powerful”.
More than once selected as the only solo act for a main stage performance Angelo M. is a favorite at festivals. He's received a standing ovation at the Johnstown (PA) Folk Fest, was deemed “One of the Highlights” at the Kalamazoo (MI) Blues Festival and was selected from over five hundred artists to perform at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival (NY) Emerging Artist Showcase. Also a hit at more intimate style Listening Room venues…Angelo M.’s been honored with standing ovations while on tour around the country including: Artichoke Music in Portland( OR), Tidewater Friends of Folk Concert Series (VA), Down East Folk Arts Society (NC), The Hard Luck Café (NY) and more. Though, Angelo M. typically performs as a solo artist; he's also available with his band, The Angelo M. Trio. In 2012 The Angelo M. Trio received a very warm welcome in the Big Apple being called back to do an encore at NYC's River to River Festival part of Pastures of Plenty a Woody Guthrie Tribute featuring some of the Country's best performing songwriters. Along with Angelo on acoustic guitars, the Trio features the sought after Oz Christ on drums and the versatile Shawn Gallagher on bass and backing vocals; both musician's perform on Angelo's latest release "From Steel to Strings".
- Gold Winner Mid-Atlantic Song Contest - 1st Place in Blues: 2011
- Billboard World Song Contest Winner- " 3rd place Blues Category selected from thousands of entries: 2010
- Mid-Atlantic Song Contest Mary Cliff 3rd place Overall -All Genres: 2011
- Billboard World Song Contest x 2 Honorable Mentions: 2010
- Billboard World Song Contest - Honorable Mention: 2007
- Mountain Stage NewSong Contest Finalist -1500 entries: 2006
- Falcon Ridge Emerging Artist Showcase (selected from over 500 entries)09
- Premiere Showcase Artist FAR West Conference 08
- Two Time Tricentric Showcase Artist Northeastern Regional Folk Alliance Conference - 09 & 08
- 2012 Film Placement "Lost" - Indie Feature currently in production.
- National PBS TV Series, Roadtrip Nation 09/10 Season
- National PBS TV Series, Roadtrip Nation 06/07 Season
- PBS Ch 39's New Magazine, Tempo - Features story on Angelo M.
- APD: AAA/Americana "From Steel to Strings" #11 for July & August 2012
- APD: Top Albums All Genres "From Steel to Strings" #48 for July & August 2012 ( also reached #1 in early July).
- FolkDJ Top Songs List #4 -Sept 09
- FolkDJ Top Album List Steelwork #23 - Sept 09
- River City Folk w/ Host Tom May (syndicated radio - NPR & XM Satellite) hour long interview & performance show (2 appearances)
- Live Performance Philadelphia's WXPN - The Folk Show w/ Host Gene Shay (2 appearances)
PARTIAL FESTIVALS & NOTABLE PERFORMANCES LIST:
- Musikfest - Bethlehem (PA)
- Mountain Folk & Roots Fest - Gettysburg (PA)
- BrewFest Manheim (PA)
-2012 & previous:
- NYC River To River Festival (NY) - Received Encore
(part of Pastures of Plenty a Woody Guthrie Tribute featuring some of the Country's Best Songwriters)
- Kalamazoo Blues Festival - Main Stage - Kalamazoo (MI) Reviews called performance "Powerful" "One of the Highlights"
- Johnstown Folk Fest - Johnstown (PA) Received STANDING OVATION!
- Americana & Roots Festival - Smithfield (VA)
- Gypsy Moon Blues Fest - EastPete, (PA)
- Atlanta Blues & Music Festival - Main Stage - Atlanta (GA)
- Midpoint Music Festival - Cincinnati (OH)
- Blue & Brews at Mounthope Estate - Manheim (PA)
- Americana Music Festival - Dewey Beach (DE)
- Chameleon Blues Fest - Main Stage - Lancaster (PA)
- American Music Fest- Harrisburg (PA)
- European Debut Limerick (Ireland) Dolan's Warehouse
- Artichoke Music - Portland (OR) Premiere Listening Room - STANDING OVATION!
- Tidewater Friends of Folk Concert Series-Virginia Beach (VA) -STANDING OVATION
- Folk Music Society of Huntington’s Hard Luck Café - Huntington (NY) - STANDING OVATION!
- DownEast Folk & Arts Society Annual Concert Series - New Bern & Beaufort (NC) - STANDING OVATIONS!
- World Cafe Live Upstairs/ Philadelphia, PA & Wilmington (DE)
-Gene Shay Presents! - At the Pslam Salon - Philadelphia
Vocals, virtuoso finger-style & slide Guitarist, 6 & 12 string guitars, Dobro, slide guitar, mandolin, harmonica
- From Steel to Strings (2012)
Label Debut, Creative and Dreams Music Newtork, Nashville, TN
- STEELWORK - (2009) Self Release
All Music & Lyrics by Angelo M. except Come And Go Blues by Gregg Allman - out of print
- FAR FROM HOME - (2005) Self Release
All Music & Lyrics by Angelo M. - out of print
Live - Angelo M. - Room to Move
LIVE Got What I Expected
LIVE I Went Fishin'
All That Running LIVE On Air River City Folk
Thirty Years Live At The Salon In Philly
Never Be The Same
Every Kind Of Blues
Angelo M’s “From Steel to Strings” is Hot
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"This record is a triumph in the roots, blues, and americana categorys." ..."Angelo M has explod..."This record is a triumph in the roots, blues, and americana categorys."
..."Angelo M has exploded on the Americana scene. Laid back like Croce or Taylor, down in the blues with Sumlin and Clapton, and tickling the strings a’la Bruce Cockburn..."
"A little bit of Prine and Goodman come out to play (not literally) in Stop Blamin’ Me and Thirty Years. From cracking jokes and making light to getting serious and deep, Angelo M’s songwriting is top notch. And his musicianship? Ah, well, if fingers normally had wings, I might understand, but they don’t and, well… wow! He plays slow and sweet, digs in and makes a guitar hurt, and dances with the fleetness of a hummingbird on songs like Running Late."
(click link for full article).
Bret Campbell, Middle Tennessee Music
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..."His success is long-awaited, and his music is unapologetically brilliant." (click link/p132 for ......"His success is long-awaited, and his music is unapologetically brilliant." (click link/p132 for full stroy)
"For anyone who has ever dreamed of doing what they love, getting a paycheck for pursuing their passions, or having the freedom to follow their art, Angelo M.’s(Melasecca) music will strike a chord. With accessible lyrics and music that’s been fine-tuned to perfection, Angelo’s blue-collar experiences transform his songs into authentic accounts of who he is as a hardworking American man and musician." by Nicole Patterson (click link go to page 132 for full article)
Like Molten Steel, Angelo M.'s "From Steel to Strings" is Hot!
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"After only being released to radio a week ago, Angelo is getting a great response with four songs b..."After only being released to radio a week ago, Angelo is getting a great response with four songs being charted in the Blues Charts and 12 songs being charted in the Americana radio charts" (click link to read full article)
A Music Career Forged by Life
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The saying about the silver lining in the cloud could describe Angelo M’s pathway to his music caree...The saying about the silver lining in the cloud could describe Angelo M’s pathway to his music career to a “T”. He’s a singer and song writer who performs on guitar,mandolin, Dobro and harp. He’s also a stellar example of one who makes lemonade from lemons and creates a thriving second career later in life.Today he’s a respected Lancaster-area blues musician with a loyal local and national following and has found his niche in this second career. The transition from steelworker to musician wasn’t an easy one, but starting another career later in life is something many people can identify with. They also identify with his folksy songs that feature a slice of Americana.... (click link above to read full article)
Angelo M. Made Our Jaws Drop...
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"Angelo M. made our jaws drop when he sat down and blistered the frets." "...After I picked my jaw u..."Angelo M. made our jaws drop when he sat down and blistered the frets." "...After I picked my jaw up off the floor, I asked him, "Does Jorma Kaukonen know about you?"
Richard Cuccaro - Acoustic Live FEATURE ARTICLE BELOW
"Plan B" is Working
by Richard Cuccaro
Local Steelworker Tells Bankrupt
Steel Mill "Take This Job And Shove It." Has His Own Stimulus Package
The above fake news subhead is a brief digression. We ask that the reader (figuratively) return with us to our hotel room at the Hudson Valley Resort in Kerhonkson, New York, the new home of the Northeast Folk Alliance Conference, mid-November, last fall. It was 1:30am, and we were in the middle of our Friday night/Saturday morning guerilla showcases. Eight acts down, six more to go, a total of fourteen 15-minute sets, then another fourteen the next night. Meanwhile, all around us, perhaps 30 or more other showcase sets in other rooms were taking place, all vying for the attention of presenters, venue operators and media people. After the eighth set, the room cleared out and no one new came in to see our next performer. This one was someone new to me, and had come highly recommended by slide wizard Pat Wictor, so I was curious. I was also feeling awkward with no support showing from anyone. Apparently, most of the talent-seekers were as ignorant as I was. A tall, trim gray-haired man stepped into the room and introduced himself: "Angelo M." Uh-oh… that's right… no last name. I had previously wondered: Prince wannabe? The artist "formerly known as…?" Angelo pulled his guitar from its case and sat down to play. As soon as the first notes cascaded from his instrument, I felt a rush of mixed emotions, both awe and further embarrassment. Nobody was here to see perhaps the best NERFA blues guitar discovery this side of Beaucoup Blue (I can't wait to see that double bill. Add Toby Walker and make it a triple so we can all die happy). Elements of Doc Watson, Chet Atkins and Gary Davis were flying at me like bullets. He started singing "Far From Home," his voice a pleasing burr. Picture a younger Clint Eastwood able to carry a tune. (I like to imagine a young git picker getting up in his face and Angelo replying, "Do you feel lucky today? Well, do ya, punk?" … actually, he's much too laid-back for that.) After his fifteen minute set --a mind-altering mix of boogie woogie and twang -- I asked him, "Does Jorma Kaukonen know about you?" I figured he'd make a perfect teacher/disciple for Jorma's instructional Fur Peace Ranch. I found out that Angelo's last name was Melasecca and that he had walked away from a steel mill jobafter 30 years to pursue his musical dream. At 50-plus years old, he was a rookie on the folk circuit. Case closed. This was definitely a story worth telling. His first album, a beauty, briefly reviewed in our December issue, is called Far From Home. I began telling everyone that I could buttonhole at the conference about this "new" phenomenon. Apparently others had the same idea. As word spread, his appearance in the Tricentric showcase was packed. We took home his CD and a demo disc with some live radio tracks. One live track, "All That Runnin" recreated the showcase experience. The DJ's ecstatic response to Angelo's fingers flying over the frets mirrored our own. We waited until our April issue to coincide with the release of some new music from Angelo. His second album Steelwork is releasing in June and on April 7th a few select tracks will be available to purchase as mp3 files .We've gotten to hear a half-dozen tracks, and they're brilliant.
Angelo was born in 1955 and grew up in Philadelphia, the youngest child in his family. There was a 12-year gap between him and the next youngest brother. Both parents loved music. His father played the harmonica, and at 90 years old, still does. Although none of Angelo's brothers got the impulse to play an instrument, they did, however, listen to a lot of music. Early on, he got an earful -- pop music from radio and his parents record collection -- and his brothers' inclination for 50's rock and roll. When he was around 6 years old, Angelo began asking for a guitar. He had fallen in love with the sound of Duane Eddy and would mimic the twangy sound with his voice. It took his parents a while to get the idea that the "naow, naow" sounds were the root of something serious. They bought him his first guitar when he was 8 years old. Although he wanted an electric, they bought him an acoustic. He acknowledges that it was the right move. There was lots to learn before tackling rock 'n roll. His first teacher gave lessons in students' homes. He came to the house for about two years and, using the Mel Bay method, taught a lot of theory, while pointing out where Angelo should place his fingers. There were no demonstrations, though. The teacher was actually a sax player! In the long run, it didn't matter. The theory and basics would form a bedrock for everything that came later. He'd listen to Chet Atkins and think, in amazement, that there was a lot more going on there than what he was getting in songs like "Camptown Races" and "Little Brown Jug." He started to ad-lib in places and the teacher would tug on the reins, saying, "Slow down. We'll get to that that later." For Angelo, "later" came a lot sooner. There was a friend in the neighborhood who was also getting lessons and he and Angelo got together to jam. Another neighborhood friend was learning drums, and the three of them began playing together. By now, Angelo had his electric and had begun rocking out. In the third grade, they were called on to perform in school assemblies. Then, before he was 10 years old, the boys got their first real "gig." A girl who was a classmate hired them for her birthday party. Angelo recalls that they didn't know
more than 3 or 4 rock songs, which they played over and over. If you can imagine two or three hours
of that surf classic, "Wipe Out," plus a couple of other songs, you'll get the idea. No matter… for those
kids, it was a big success. The three boys' parents noticed that they were sounding better and better, and bought "fake books" full of standard pop hits for them to learn. The idea was to then get them playing for tips on weekends at the VFW hall for an adult audience. They played material like polkas and songs like
"Spanish Eyes" for the older audience and went home with $50 to split between them. That's a whole lot of soda and popsicles. The boys were in hog heaven. Angelo recalls some distractions, such as an infatuation with skateboarding, and after a couple of banged-up body parts, he decided that he'd better protect his musical toolkit. Playing guitar was pleasure number one.It was the early 60's and the sounds of the British invasion overtook 50's rock. As with everyone else coming of age back then, The Beatles changed everything and the Rolling Stones followed immediately after.
Every band wanted to play their hits and typically, that's what they did.
The Four Sunns
The Four Sunns at a gig in front of a firehouse. Angelo is second from the right on acoustic guitar.
Angelo's musical direction followed a standard path in the early years. His fairly typical musical journey
continued through high school and, after joining a couple of different bands, he settled in with three other friends, calling themselves The Four Sunns. Two guitars, a keyboard player and a drummer. Angelo shared the rhythm guitar parts and took care of the lead guitar runs. This would prove to be a long relationship -- the men are still friends today. Like a lot of bands, even during high school, they found a lot of work. There were beach-bar gigs , class reunions, and …weddings. Again, along with the other band members, Angelo was called upon to play music for an older set. "All the songs you hear a wedding band do," he states. Again, it was "Spanish Eyes" and the never-to-be-forgotten "Night Train" [It was also a burlesque standard. I can still hear the thumping bass line and three-thud end-line
beat and envision a stripper sliding the bra strap off her shoulder.] There were the old pop standards and slow-dance numbers from singers like Eddy Arnold and Dean Martin. The old Italian standby, "Santa Lucia" offered Angelo a chance to play two-note chords to simulate the mandolin. They'd do the rock covers for the younger set in the latter part of the evening. Although, in playing the old standards, there was a residual feeling of "selling out," for the sake of making a buck, Angelo still had fun, seeing the older folks having a great time dancing to their music.
Angelo got married young, right out of high school. He worked a couple of jobs before getting an offer, at
18 years old, to make a solid paycheck and find security at the Lukens Steel Mill in Coatesville, PA, about 30 miles west ofPhiladelphia. Music, for all the members of the band, was not considered as a life path. Angelo and the others settled down and had jobs and started families. For the next 30 years, he'd put on work clothes and a hard hat and report to the mill. In the early years it meant working a "swing shift"… usually this means 7am to 3pm one week, 3 to 11 the next week, then 11pm to 7am the week after that. Then repeat the cycle again. On the title track of his his upcoming CD, "Steelwork," he sings. "It was dirty and hot in the summertime, in the winter it was dirty and cold." [This author spent 4 post-graduate (art degree) years in a steel mill and can attest to its truth.] Luckily, Angelo had mechanical skills. He was an electrical technician and saw all parts of the plant. but was mainly employed in the melt shop. After receiving special training in a new form of automated technology, he mainly worked the "day shift." There were dangers in the mill and he remembers accidents claiming more than a few lives. He can tell some hair-raising stories. The music, though, still drifted in the background. Every so often, the Four Sunns would get a call and work a wedding gig. They never lost touch.
The Fingerstyle Awakening
For the 30 years as a millworker, Angelo never put his guitar aside. It was there in the evenings (ordays when he worked nights). He'd play instead of watching TV and play while he watched TV. Weekends during the warmer months, he'd get together with friends and jam on the deck out back. There was one special friend, Ed Davis, from West Virginia, who changed everything. Angelo recalls, "He played guitar like I never heard anybody play before. It was one of the biggest door openings of my life. To hear someone make so much happen with one acoustic instrument… This guy made everything sound like it was a three-piece guitar trio. He also played clarinet, saxophone, piano, oboe… anything." Angelo had studied some classical guitar and had incorporated a few licks for a different affect on some songs, trying in addition, once in a while, for that "Chet Atkins" effect. Ed showed Angelo that there was more to fingerstyle guitar than he ever imagined, how fingerstyle guitar could be arranged in "original and imaginative ways "not even meant for guitar." Their musical tastes coincided in every area. They'd get together to play for years, "at all hours of the night." Angelo decided that the acoustic guitar was what he craved to use to make music, and sworeoff the electric with its reverb and distortion boosters for many years (only some recent prodding from musicians looking for a fill-in player would pull him away from the acoustic).
Out Into the World
In the early 1990's, he took his music off the back deck and began looking around at clubs with open mics. At one of them, he met Roger Paisley, a kindred spirit who liked to play the same music. They'd eventually play gigs together, but Angelo had to make the first move. He scouted the towns around, but nothing too close to home, putting his name as a fill-in in at clubs, in case a musician couldn't make it. A few weeks later, on a Saturday afternoon, he got "the call." Could he come in that evening? He tried to get his buddy to accompany him, but Roger just wasn't ready. A very nervous Angelo strapped on his guitar in a small club in front of a group of around 6-8 enthusiastic listeners. Angelo said (not in these exact words) that if anyone he knew came through the door into the club, he'd need a change of underwear. The gig went very well and was the precursor to many more. He got more offers to play, in a variety of formations. Some were as a duo, with Roger and some were with other players, as a trio. On a few occasions (he was now in demand with certain drummers), he strapped on the electric and did gigs in a few small "power trio" rock groups. On the acoustic side, one club owner picked two other musicians (who Angelo knew, but hadn't played with) and said, "You three would make an awesome combination. I'm going to book you!" For a few gigs, Angelo played guitar, Dobro and mandolin (he taught himself). They did bluegrass versions of rock 'n roll songs and were "big" around St. Paddy's Day, he said. At first, not having a name, they let the club owner decide, and he called them "The Three Stooges." Very unfunny, that lasted one gig. A couple of decades beyond twenty-something, for one week, they went with "The Viagratones," then settled for "Boys with Wrinkles" (nobody says folk music has to be humorless).
Security Down the Tubes
Toward the end of his time at the mill, Bethlehem Steel bought Lukens, then, soon afterward, in late 2002, went bankrupt and was bought out by another company. The mill didn't close, but the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. (PBGC) a protective government agency took possession of the pension plan and would paycurrent pensioners, but to those not reaching the 30 years, would only release a small portion of its value when the men reached Social Security age. The many years of accrual value was essentially lost. Many men were only weeks away from qualifying for their pension, but nowhere near retirement age. Angelo was five months away. Some men have already passed away, their money unused. Angelo clocked out for the last time in mid 2003. Others continued working, bitterly, never to reach a retirement with a comfortable financial foundation. Many are still there today.
Somebody to Lean
On Angelo had been getting encouragement to go beyond playing covers and write his own music from his friends and family. When it became more obvious that the pension was going bye-bye, he began to pay closer attention to writing his own songs.When he decided to leave the mill, no one was more supportive than Angelo's wife, Jody. Previously divorced, he met Jody at the 1999 Philadelphia Folk Festival. When his future at the mill looked bleak, the two of them hit the highway and did some exploring. As he describes it: "We started checking out different music scenes 'far from home' and on a
kind of 'now-or-never feeling' / 'what-do-I-have-to-lose-at-this-point' trip, we traveled across the country and I wrote.
That began to make it all feel possible and lifted some of the heaviness of the loss. This is when I began to make a shift from doing mostly covers to where I am now able to do a full show -- 1 1/2 hours -- of originals." After hearing this description, the meaning of the "Far From Home" lyrics really sink in:
Now I'm high on a hill
with the ocean below
Just need to see what I already know
After a while I may find my way home
But I don't really think / that my soul wants to go.
One can see the mill worker fade and the full-time musician come into focus.For giving him the strength to make the transformation, Angelo says of Jody: "without her I may not have believed it was possible… Now she comes and helps with my shows, manages, books and, as some musician friends say, she's
my handler. Jody's being such a partner to me in all of this makes it really special."
Albums and Airplay
If he was going to get serious about a career in music, Angelo needed some "product." He'd begun writing and made Far From Home which he referred to as a 9-song demo, but which I took to be his first album. Comprised of completely original material, it got airplay in Europe even before it got local airplay. Then its sound spread across the United States, in 40 states, at over 130 radio stations. Two songs were picked up and used as background music by the PBS show"Roadtrip Nation." One of those two tracks was the biographical "Thirty years." Above a tight, muscular dobro lick, Angelo sings, about spending (almost) 30 years in the mill, I was doin' all right, doin' it all wrong, I was doin' it all, thirty years too long…
If it's not too late, gonna play my song… Why did I wait thirty years too long. Blake Hodges, the music supervisor for the series states, "Thirty Years" is actually one of my favorite songs on the Roadtrip Nation soundtrack … When I hear a song that I know I could listen to cruisin' down I-40 in a big green RV, I know it's the right song for RTN."Given that the series is about people who have reached a crossroad in their lives and take to the road, looking for who they are and what they want, the song is even more appropriate than just a song to cruise along with.Angelo has reached his own crossroad. He is indeed very fortunate that he had the tools and experience to undertake an alternate plan. He's gone back to the mill from time to time, as an instructor in the technical area that he was trained in, and has seen first-hand, the bitterness of the men who stayed, whose pensions -- what they worked years for -- were lost. And though his was lost also, shrugging off rancor, Angelo has struck out on his own. In the title track of his new album he sings, "I don't do that kind of steelwork any more."
Although his tour schedule doesn't show anything in our area at the moment, we hope that changes soon.
Plan B" is working.
A Gifted Musician with Incredible Dexterity
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"A gifted musician with incredible dexterity on finger-picking guitar, slide Dobro and mandolin... ..."A gifted musician with incredible dexterity on finger-picking guitar, slide Dobro and mandolin... After his POWERFUL PERFORMANCE, many people were asking where and when they could see him again."
One of the Highlights was Angelo M.
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..."The bandshell took the form of a back porch with guitar pickers and blues shouters. One of the h......"The bandshell took the form of a back porch with guitar pickers and blues shouters. One of the highlights was Angelo M ..."
"M. worked in a Pennsylvania steel mill before quitting in 2003 to do music full time. His song ``Thirty Years,'' with its hushed, quiet desperation, explained why he quit. He worked 30 years in the mill -- ``that's half my life,'' M repeated like a mantra. Thanks to his fluid, ornate guitar picking and the recent purchase of two songs by the PBS series ``Road Trip Nation,'' the only steel he'll be handling now will be the slide on his strings."
Live He Floored Us
"I knew Angelo was good from the CD, but Live he floored us. What a tremendous talent!"
Thirty Years is Actually One of My Favorite Songs on the RTN Soundtrack
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"Thirty Years is actually one of my favorite songs on the Roadtrip Nation soundtrack this year. Road..."Thirty Years is actually one of my favorite songs on the Roadtrip Nation soundtrack this year. Roadtrip Nation is not just a TV Show, but a movement with an entire life-on-the-road, forward thinking, grassroots culture behind it... The reason Angelo M.'s song Thirty Years is not only in our PBS series, but in the RTN soundtrack as well is because of how well it fits into that culture. When I hear a song that I know I could listen to cruisin' down I-40 in a big green rv, I know it's the right song for RTN. "
Angelo M. Levels the Playing Field!
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"Whether it's his 'delta' slide guitar workings or his 'steel worker' 'blue collar' blues, the color..."Whether it's his 'delta' slide guitar workings or his 'steel worker' 'blue collar' blues, the color or where you got 'em doesn't matter....Angelo M. plays the blues from the heart." "Armed with his dobro, Angelo M. levels the playing field!"
Very Good Guitar Playing, Beautiful Voice & Great Songs!
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****4 STARS " Very good guitar playing, beautiful voice and great songs! I really enjoy listening to...****4 STARS " Very good guitar playing, beautiful voice and great songs! I really enjoy listening to this CD. Angelo M.'s guitar playing is very good and he also has a beautiful voice. My favorite cut is "Thirty Years". Well, he's got a hit in this one. I am sure that my listeners will love that song. It has great radio appeal!"
He Breathes Hurricanes Through a Harmonica, Plays the Devil Out of His Guitar
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"His performances have evolved into multitasking enterprises; he breathes hurricanes through a harmo..."His performances have evolved into multitasking enterprises; he breathes hurricanes through a harmonica, plays the devil out of his guitar, kicks a tambourine propped against his chair and sings when it's convenient." ...
'Lost' Produces Goose Bumps - Brilliant Guitarist - Excellent Voice
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"Brilliant Guitarist" "Excellent Voice" "Lost, produces goose bumps with a brilliant slide an..."Brilliant Guitarist" "Excellent Voice"
"Lost, produces goose bumps with a brilliant slide and acoustic guitar,
this song all alone justifies the purchase of the album."
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Last time Fly chatted with singer/songwriter Angelo Melasecca in late 1995, he was busy frequenting ...Last time Fly chatted with singer/songwriter Angelo Melasecca in late 1995, he was busy frequenting the region as one half of the acoustic duo Angelo & Paisley. Shortly following, Rodger Paisley respectfully bid his songwriting partner and the music world tender adieu to tend to other obligations. And since then, Melasecca’s story has become so potent with irony and metaphor you’d think it wasn’t true …
Rewinding a bit: For three decades, Melasecca sweated out a blue-collar life only Springsteen could appreciate. “I was working for a steel company with the aspect of the 30-year pension that was so luring,” the raspy-voiced singer recalls. “That was why I stayed there.”
But just last year, a sinister twist of fate reduced Melasecca’s decades of resolute manual labor to a mere crapshoot. “I got 29-and-a-half years in,” he laments, “and the company went bankrupt – the government seized the pension fund, and all that was taken away, taken off the table.
“I had a choice,” he shrugs. “I could stay, I didn’t have to leave … I either had to start all over again or do what I wanted to do.”
For the moment his stars had misaligned. But with a sudden clairvoyance, Melasecca resolved the obvious: “I wanted to do other stuff and I wanted to play music … so I left.” And his stars resultantly followed suit, snapping back together in elastic procession.
So in mid 2003, Melasecca hung up his hard hat for good and padded away from the labor industry. He didn’t go far, though. The 40-plus-year music hobbyist decided to stick with the medium he knew best: steel.
Sliding up and down the neck of a seasoned steel guitar has long paralleled his livelihood, but he never would have considered it a career substitute. Given the circumstances, though, why not? Some could call it a mid-life crisis. Maybe Melasecca would too. But when the reset button is pushed that far into the game of life, what better to do than follow one’s heart?
So far, it seems like a good decision. Approaching his 50th birthday, Melasecca’s at the top of his musical game and gaining momentum.
“I’ve had a fantastic year and a half or so,” Melasecca gushes. “It’s just been great.”
Drawing on influences from the likes of Chet Atkins, Ry Cooder and Leo Kottke, Melasecca blends his slide-style acoustic playing with timeless pastorals for the common man, wielding a rustic, organic, Appalachian-esque brand of finger-picked Americana. “I learned to play mandolin, I play dobro – I just got sucked into that world so much,” he says. “I’m trying to get some of that electric stuff out of my system … but I still keep going back to that acoustic thing.”
It need not be said that 30 years of physical labor has its way of seeping into Melasecca’s music. But the gorgeous irony of it all is that the job that once hindered him from pursuing music full-time has now become his muse, a bottomless reservoir of lyrical metaphors.
The past year has been abuzz with activity. In addition to self-producing and self-releasing his first solo album, Far From Home (which includes a song featured on the soundtrack for “Unclaym’d Heart,” a claymation film in 2004’s 48 Hour Film Project), Melasecca toured the West Coast and appeared on the Strand-Capitol stage in “Showtime at the Apollo on Tour,” which impressed the producers of the televised version so much that they offered him a slot on a 2005 episode to be broadcasted from New York City’s legendary Apollo Theater.
“They liked what I did very much,” he beams. “I was sort of blown away by that … I mean, how many people get to say they played the Apollo Theater?” Certainly not many 50-year-old retired steel workers, that’s for sure.
Melasecca will be pushing just as hard in the upcoming year, booking more tours and pickin’ away his characteristic steel riffs.
For booking, information and music downloads, set the browser to Melasecca’s website at www.angelom.com.
Standard 30, 45, 60, 90 minutes
SOLO: Angelo is a great fit at festivals (including both Folk & Blues Fest) as well as, listening rooms and he tailors his set accordingly. Angelo M. can fill the headliner bill with all original material; though, he likes to throw in a few select covers arranged with a fingerprint all his own. During his performances Angelo M. plays 6 & 12 String guitar, Dobro and harmonica. You can expect to hear an acoustic mix of award winning songs presented by a seasoned performer and master fingerstyle & slide guitarist with a witty sense of humor.
FESTIVAL REVIEWS call Angelo M.'s performance "Powerful" & "One of the Highlights"; he received a standing ovation at the Johnstown FolkFest and on more than one occasion was the only solo act selected to perform main stage at band dominated Blues Festivals, and with good reason.... At one Blues Fest sandwiched in the lineup between The Nighthawks and the headliner Shemekia Copeland and her band, Angelo had the audience calling for an encore... quite the feat for an acoustic soloist in that circumstance. Angelo has also received standing ovations at listening rooms around the country including: Artichoke Music - Portland(0R),Tidewater Friends of Folk Series (VA), Down East Folk Arts Society Series (NC), The Hard Luck Cafe (NY) and more.
WORKSHOPS: Angelo is available to participate in festival workshops such as fingerstyle or slide guitar and songwriting(he's a multi-award winning songwriter w/ honors from Billboard's World Song Contest, The Mountain Stage NewSong Contest & The Mid-Atlantic Song Contest).
BAND/TRIO: Though Angelo M. most often performs as a solo; he's also available with his band, The Angelo M. Trio. In 2012 The Angelo M. Trio was called to do an encore at NYC's River to River Festival part of Pastures of Plenty /Woody Guthrie Tribute featuring some of the Country's best performing songwriters. The Trio also received rave reviews from both patrons and presenters at the Mount Hope Estate Blues Festival in 2012. Along with Angelo on acoustic guitars the Trio features sought after drummer, Oz Christ and the versatile Shawn Gallagher lending backing vocals and some amazing bass lines; both musician's perform on Angelo's latest release "From Steel to Strings".
NOTE: All live tracks on EPK are Angelo Solo; All Studio Tracks are The Angelo M. Trio w/ exception of "That Train" which is Angelo Solo.