Bean Pickers Union
Gig Seeker Pro

Bean Pickers Union

Band Americana Rock


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Potlatch in Performer Magazine"

The Bean Pickers Union — Potlach

Mastered by Michael Quinn at Moontower Studio

Gazing upon the distressed, ipsum-colored photograph of a withered barn on the cover of Potlach, we can already feel the lament in the roots/Americana songwriting of The Bean Pickers Union frontman Chuck Melchin. Highlighted in the opening track, “Photograph,” the song tells the tale of a town whose river has run dry, livestock has passed on, and fields of grain have dried and blown away. “This broken land, it used to be a town,” is the simple yet poignant chorus lamenting that which was once prosperous.

Driven by a Neil Young-influenced aesthetic of simple, powerful songs with lyrics of social and political import, Melchin sings in a husky baritone while his bandmates support his songs with tact and vigor. “Warrior,” which showcases a persistent, driving snare rhythm, and the subtle mandolin work on “Promise” are wonderful examples of The Bean Pickers’ fleshed out instrumentation. But even better is the rollicking, rockabilly electric guitar work of special guest Bob Metzger (known for work with Leonard Cohen) on “I’m So Sorry,” one of the album’s highlights.

Despite a pervading theme of melancholy, songs like “Home” and “Waltz No. 1” are sweet, positive and romantic. “Waltz No. 1” feels a tad underdeveloped, though, especially considering its short length. It would be wonderful to hear the guitar theme expanded into a full band instrumental.

Staying true to their roots, the members of The Bean Pickers Union have crafted a thoroughly enjoyable, expertly performed album of songs. While Melchin could stand to take more risks as a songwriter, the album succeeds most in being consistent. (Miles of Music)

-Michael Oliveri

- Performer Magazine

"Bean Pickers Union - Potlatch"

Potlatch - A feast among Native American groups, during which great quantities of food and goods are given to the guests in order to gain prestige for the host.

I’ll be honest, I had to look that up. Normally I don’t bother looking up album titles I don’t understand, but I’ve also had one hell of a time spelling this particular one correctly and was hoping that by learning the definition I would also get the spelling down pat.

The Boston-based Bean Pickers Union is Paul Gallo (drums, vocals), Gary Goodlow (guitar), Richard O'Connell (bass, vocals) and Chuck Melchin (guitar, mandolin, vocals). Potlatch is their offer to us, and from the moment I saw the dilapidated barn on the cover of the cd, I knew what I wanted from this album. I wanted bitter stories of the death of the American dream, I wanted tales of murder, drinking and bitterness. By the time I got to the halfway point of the album and heard “Independence Day”, with Chuck dropping the lyrics, “it was a small block 327,”* I was completely won over. “Photograph” and “Warrior” had already gotten my attention, but that line sealed the deal. This album was on the fast-track to the ninebullets Essential Listening list, and I figured that if the album played out the way it had started, it was gonna be one of my favorite albums I had heard this year. (It is)

Twangville has a review of the cd where they say, “If music is at its finest when it paints a picture, then this album is the rural equivalent of a Hopper painting.” That’s a really good description. The songs really remind of the kind of stuff Chris Knight does. Distinct stories carried by simple but equally powerful musical arrangements. For a debut these guys have set one hell of a bar for themselves…I can’t wait to hear what they do next.

*If you are wondering why the reference to an engine would seal the deal for me it’s pretty simple. My next car will be a 67 Camaro and I want one with the legendary small block 327.


"Review by"

Potlatch, The Bean Pickers Union (self-released)
If music is at its finest when it paints a picture, then this album is the aural equivalent of a Hopper painting. From the haunting “Photograph” to the edgy beat of “Warrior” to the reflective folk of “Home”, songwriter Chuck Melchin skillfully explores the back roads of Americana. Potlatch is a remarkable achievement, the kind of album that you want to put on in your car and keep driving until the record is through.


"Review of Photograph"

Story songs can be real iffy. I find them to be pretty difficult most of the time, with the music and the tale not jiving as one. Chuck Melchin of the Bean Pickers Union has found a nice melding with Photograph.

This dark and murky number tells a dark and murky tale of destruction and loss. The eerie, octave piano melody lays the framework for the story, as it lies on top of tremolo drenched rhythm guitar. Melchin is in great voice; confident, yet frail. Photograph falls in line with many story songs by the likes of the Band or Neil Young; sparse and disconcerting, yet familiar. Overall, this a well-crafted song that beautifully melds words and music to bring it's story across.

-- Yeti
- One Song Review

"Americana-UK review of Potlatch"

Hands up those outside of North America who know what a ‘potlatch’ is? Not many I’d wager. Fact is this record is something of a potlatch. The actual derivation of the word comes from a Native American custom of throwing a party and giving away or destroying your most valuable possessions in an ostentatious show of superior wealth. What The Bean Pickers Union do here is to treat us to a masterclass of Americana music, a perfect ten tracks long, each one an exemplar of the genre. And to share what they have produced with the rest of us is certainly a potlatch (even if you do have to buy the cd).

In what has become something of a trend of late The Bean Pickers Union are in fact one guy (Chuck Melchin) and a bunch of mates. Melchin writes, produces, sings and plays guitar. The hired hands do drums, bass, piano and other guitary stuff (most notably Eric Lichter). What with most of the workload falling to one guy its his ‘voice’, both metaphorical and literal, that comes to the fore. That voice is mostly reminiscent of Willy Vlautin and his mates with occasional flashes of Neil Young’s mates and the odd hint of a bunch of mates down Laurel Canyon way. Thus ensues dark, growling melancholia, jaunty acousticisms, some picking and a strumming, some organ driven gothic and a bit of ‘tortured artist with guitar’. What more does one need in their Americana?

Date review added: Monday, September 03, 2007
Reviewer: Paul Villers
Reviewers Rating: 8 out of 10



The new full length CD, a ten song offering titled "Potlatch", is available on iTunes, CDBaby, Miles of Music and of course at shows.

A four song demo / EP - "Steel Rails and Fence Posts" was recorded with producer Roger Lavallee at Tremolo Lounge Studios in 2005.



The Bean Pickers Union formed in 2005 after long time Trousers songwriter Chuck Melchin decided to embark on a new project that would embrace his love of Americana music.

Chuck was recently nominated for Best Solo Performer in the Worcester Magazine Turtle Boy Music Awards, and the Bean Pickers Union was nominated for Best Roots Act in the same poll.