Lee Mellor
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Lee Mellor

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"Montreal Gazette Reviews, September 13 2007"

"This promising debut from a Montreal based singer-songwriter includes in-your-face country-rockers and twangy, detail-rich story-telling songs. 3 1/2" - Mike Regenstreif, The Montreal Gazette - The Montreal Gazette

"Lee Mellor "Ghost Town Heart" Review - October 9, 2007"


Lee Mellor is an artist born in Chester, an industrial city in north-western England. The continuous strench of the nearby garbage dump and the continuous rainy weather caused the chronically ill Mellor to flee from Chester. The Mellor family emigrated to Canada in the 1980s. They established themselves near Toronto in the agricultural area of Bowmanville, ON. Very soon he started writing short stories and he devoured kilos of books. At thirteen he discovered rock music; the writing of stories increased, but in such a short style that they became texts for songs. After high school, he went to film school where he dove into poetry, folk and country music. He wrote a number of songs, receiving such good reactions that he left the film school for Montreal. He planned to spend as much money, work and time as possible on his debut, in order to get a perfect start to his career. He is now 25 and his debut has just been published. He is now already called the most underrated songwriter and his songs have been compared by the Canadian Press with the work of Timothy Findlay (who we could call the Canadian Hugo Claus) and his singing with Steve Earle and Dylan.
Since I know little of Canadian literature, I cannot confirm the first statement, but I do know something about music and I can therefore confirm the second claim. The music press in Canada is extremely enthusiastic about this CD. From the first notes of the opening song “Liberty Street” you know immediately that it is good. The song has such an engaging line of melody that with some radio exposure it could easily become a “hit”- just wonderful. “The Greatest Killer” (sic) is just as good, more American than the previous one, but this song is also very strong and the comparisons with Steve Earle are clear after you have heard it. “In a Small Town”|(sic) is more like Dylan but is nevertheless a real alt-country song with a beautiful steel guitar. “Nowhere, Manitoba” is, as far as the mood is concerned, somewhat like the “Devil Went to Georgia” by Charlie Daniels, complete with fiddle solo. One of the most beautiful songs of this excellent debut is the quiet “Girl on the Highway” with a beautiful dobro and a mysterious mood called up by the backing female vocals with wisps of Indian songs somewhere in the distance. A masterly song in which the songwriter Mellor sparkles pure poetry. Also songs such as “Bar Mirror” and “Blow My Heart Out of the Window” (sic) have strong Dylan influences the lyrics are at top level. Those beautiful lyrics by Mellor with love, but also war, belief, past and death. Well-proven subject matter, but still current.
Right now, Lee Mellor is touring intensively to promote his debut and is receiving good positive reactions in the press. He has already started on his second album entitled “Desperation.” A major Canadian newspaper announced in heavy lettering “This is one Canadian artist who is going far.” I can fully support that. In a few years this boy will be standing among the very greatest.


Lee Mellor is een Brit die geboren werd in Chester, een industiestad in het noordwesten van Engeland. De voortdurende stank van een nabijgelegen vilbeluik en het aanhoudende regenweer daar, deed de chronisch zieke familie Mellor vluchten uit Chester, ze emigreerden naar Canada eind jaren tachtig. Ze vestigden zich in de omgeving van Toronto, in het grote landbouwgebied van Bowmanville, Ontario. Lee begon al vroeg met het schrijven van kortverhalen en hij verslond boeken per kilo. Op dertienjarige leeftijd ontdekte hij de rockmuziek en het schrijven van verhalen nam nog toe, maar dan zo korte dat het songteksten werden. Na zijn middelbare school ging hij naar de filmschool, waar hij zich stortte op poezie, folk en country muziek. Hij schreef een aantal songs en kreeg hierop zo goede reacties dat hij de filmschool verliet en naar Montreal vertrok. Hij nam zich voor om aan zijn debuut zoveel mogelijk geld, werk en tijd te spenderen zodat het een perfecte start voor zijn carrière kon worden. Hij is nu 25 en zijn debuut is net verschenen en hij wordt nu al de meest onderschatte songschrijver genoemd, zijn teksten worden in de Canadese pers vergeleken met het werk van schrijver Timothy Finlay, zeg maar de Canadese Hugo Claus en zijn zangprestaties met Steve Earle en Dylan. Vermits ik weinig ken van Canadese literatuur, weet ik niet of de eerste bewering klopt, maar van muziek weet ik wel wat en ik kan de tweede vergelijking volledig onderschrijven. De muziekpers in Canada is over deze cd in alle geval laaiend enthousiast. Vanaf de eerste tonen van openingssong "Liberty Street" weet je dadelijk, dit zit goed. De song heeft zo'n meeslepende melodielijn dat dit met wat radioplay gerust een"hit" kan worden, prachtig gewoonweg. "The Greatest Killer" moet er weinig voor onderdoen, meer Americana getint dan de voorganger, maar ook deze song is erg sterk en de vergelijking met Steve Earl is duidelijk na het aanhoren van deze song. "In A Small Town" heeft wat meer van Dylan in zich, maar is toch een echte alt.country song met een mooie steel gitaar. "Nowhere, Monitoba" zit qua sfeer wat rondom "The Devil went to Georgia" van Charlie Daniels, compleet met fiddle solo en al. Een van de mooiste songs op dit uitstekend debuut is het rustige "Girl On The Highway" met een mooie dobro en een mysterieuze sfeer opgeroepen door de backing vocals van vrouwenstemmen met flarden indiaanse gezangen, ergens ver weg. Een meesterlijke song waarin de tekstschrijver Mellor schittert, pure poezie. Ook op songs als "Bar Mirror" en "Blow My Heart Out Of The Window" met sterke Dylan invloeden, is hij tekstueel op topniveau. Die prachtige teksten van Mellor gaan zoals dikwijls, liefde, maar ook oorlog, geloof, verleden en dood. Beproefde onderwerpen dus, die het steeds nog doen. Momenteel toert Lee Mellor intensief om dit debuut te promoten en hij krijgt veel positieve pers. Het voorbereiden van zijn tweede die als titel "Desperation" zal krijgen is nu al begonnen. Een grote Canadese krant blokletterde: This is one Canadian artist which is "going far". Ik durf er zelfs een eed op doen. Deze jongen staat binnen een aantal jaren tussen de hele groten!

- Rootstime

"Ghost Town Heart Review - November 11, 2007"

Lee Mellor is a young Canadian, who sounds like an old Canadian full of life experience. His gift is the ability to write beautiful lines and lovely fitting melodies. Ghost Town Heart appeared here a few months ago and was picked up in Mellor’s home country by students, blue collar workers and folkies. That is not surprising.
It is honest, truthful and cleverly written- very good for a sing along. Mellor is a hard core troubadour
with a heart of country-rock-gold. “Gravedigger Blues” is a drink fest with Johnny Cash, Robert Earl Keen and Steve Earle at, on and under the bar. Sweeping and frightening together in one glass, like the worm in the Mexican tequila. The opener, Liberty Street touches us right from the getgo, stalwart and sturdy, the standard is directly set. After the first half of Ghost Town Heart the pipe is empty, but by this time the statement has been made and Mellor has let us hear that he is a music man that we have to watch out for.
- www.hanx.net

"Montreal Mirror Top Ten Songwriters 2008"

Best of Montreal 2008


1. Leonard Cohen
2. Rufus Wainwright
3. Lee Mellor
4. Patrick Watson
5. Sarah Pearson
6. Pierre-Alain Faucon
7. Celine Dion
8. Maia Davies
9. Pascale Picard
10. Amanda Mabro

Cohen’s our man, again—no surprise that his rare Jazz Fest appearance, coming up this summer, is possibly the most anticipated show of the year. Rufus knocks Sam Roberts out of second place and in fact off the list—Sam, get that new record out and get back in the game. Lee Mellor, a rootsy, rough-hewn raconteur type in the vein of Dylan and Steve Earle, rockets up to third place from ninth. Pat Watson sits pretty at fourth, no shift from a year ago, while Maia Davies drops two slots—shut down by none other than la Celine!


1. United Steel Workers of Montreal
2. No Barbers Required
3. Notre Dame de Grass
4. Lake of Stew
5. Ladies of the Canyon
6. Li’l Andy
7. Katie Moore
8. Rob Lutes
9. Lee Mellor
10. The Unsettlers

No tremendous changes at the top in this category. United Steel Workers maintain the steel-fisted grip on first place and No Barbers maintain their required #2, while the next four winners are only slightly rearranged from last year. Absent last year but ranking in ’08 are Rob Lutes (whose recent album launch boosted his profile), Lee Mellor and the delightfully unsettled Unsettlers.

- Montreal Mirror

"Scene and Heard Review"


Ghost Town Heart

Lee Mellor may only by 25 but he sounds like a seasoned country singer. On Ghost Town Heart, his debut CD, his songs tell dark tales: the disappearance of a Native American girl, a broke war orphan who finds himself in prison, or a small town killer (no, it’s not about a murderer).

This Canadian singer’s gravely voice has that perfect country twang and he sounds much older and seasoned than his years. His lyrics may be melancholy and gothic but the music is up-tempo with the odd ballad thrown in. There is some great guitar and violin-playing going on and Trish Robb's back up vocals nicely complement his rougher vocals.

It’s really no surprise that with such depth and emotion in his lyrics, the readers of Montreal's Mirror voted Mellor among the top ten singer/songwriters. This is a crisp, polished CD so if you’re into the alt-country scene, you’ll really enjoy it.

– Anna Stitski - Anna Stinski

"Ghost Town Heart Review - October 25"

(Translated from Dutch)

"More and more Canada is becoming a true El Dorado for Americana lovers hungry for new nuggets of gold. A while ago we got to experience it once again, when we were rummaging about online and found Ghost Town Heart, the debut album of the just 25-year-old Lee Mellor. Near the end of the 80s Mellor, a Briton, moved to Bowmanville, Ontario with his parents because of his health. On his first-born he now proves himself to be a very interesting newcomer, and in more ways than one.
Musically, he can best be compared to guys like Steve Earle, Stephen Simmon, Kevin Deal, Chris Knight, and Fred Eaglesmith, whom he shares his wonderful gritty voice with. However, his lyrics are what most separate him from his colleagues. The almost literary quality of them is striking, to say the least, especially considering Mellor's age.
The good man uses images his better-known and older colleagues didn't get around to, sometimes not even after a career spanning decades. Also, the choice of subjects is definitely unusual. The clever The Greatest Killer in a Small Town is, surprisingly enough, about a train; Gravedigger Blues, a song that is slightly reminiscent of the late Johnny Cash, gives the local gravedigger a chance to pour his heart out; Nowhere, Manitoba deals with the death of the young Indian Anna Muskagee who ran away from home; Ain't no Whiskey is a twangy account of the problems of prohibition; Jessie Hynes paints a picture of the troubles of a "truck stop whore" picking up her customers in church; and finally, the tool from Big Rusty Hammer seals the fate of animals caught in barbed wire.
Very intriguing material from a guy we will definitely hear more of.

Source: ctrlaltcountry.be
Writer: Benny Metten
Date: October 25, 2007
- Benny Metten

"Ghost Town Heart Review - October 29, 2007"

Lee Mellor is a first class story teller who writes words that immediately come to life.
Even if you just read them, they sound like music. Mellor crafts wonderful melodic lines,
performing them with a group of accompanists that do exactly what the number needs.

With Ghost Town Heart (independent), this 25 year old Canadian made a record that no roots
lover can get away from. Mellor, who was born in England and at a young age emigrated with his
parents to Canada stood firm that his debut would bring about a perfect record.
Really an impossible goal but for Petes’ sakes, he did it. There is really nothing at all
to criticize about this record. Like I said, Mellor writes golden verses, which show in the
song title “The Greatest Killer In A Small Town.” The CD title comes from the number
“Tumbleweed”: she rolls through my ghost town heart like tumbleweed.

Mellor sings deep out of his throat and at the same time nasally; still every word
comes out rich and clear.

Call him a Bill Morrissey with self assertion or a Bill Curry (Red Star Brigade)
with suppleness.

This CD is varied too thanks to the elaborate instrumentation. Big Rusty Hammer starts with
a surging organ and ends with passionate singing that reminds us of Dan Stuart of Green On Red.

In Blow My Heart Out Of The Night it’s beautiful harmonica and in the country tune Ain’t No
Whiskey a piano and a pedal steel with a tuba also making an appearance at the end. Jesse Hynes is the
kind of honky tonk that Jesse Dayton has his strength in. And then there are still the strings.

Gravedigger Blues sounds a bit like Fleetwood Mac (don’t be surprised) and Girl On The Highway like
10CC (ditto) mixed with an Indian song.

A - One Record!

( John Gjaltema) 5/5
- Alt Country Netherlands

"Ghost Town Heart Review - Scene Magazine - Nov 22, 2007"

Lee Mellor
Ghost Town Heart

How does a kid born in England, raised in Bowmanville
and currently hailing from Montreal sound like he’s
from somewhere in Northern Alberta or even Northern
Alabama? More to the point, how does a 25-year-old kid
craft the finest alt-country album of the year?
Questions, questions to be sure but remarkably apt
ones. Ghost Town Heart, Lee Mellor’s debut sounds as
assured as any recent Blue Rodeo disc with the added
plus of Mellor’s Steve Earle rasp punching these songs
home. And the songs themselves are memorable, from the
swaying stomp of the opening Liberty Street, through
the atmospheric Girl On The Highway to the honky-tonk
lament of Ain't No Whiskey. Whatever side of country
Mellor decides to claim as his by the time of his
tenth album, Ghost Town Heart is proof that the
journey there will be a rewarding one.

Rating: A-

- Bob Klanac

- Scene Magazine

"Ghost Town Review - Exclaim Magazine - February 28, 2008"

Lee Mellor
Ghost Town Heart
By Kerry Doole

Being born in England and raised in suburbia in Bowmanville, ON may not be the usual background for an authentic-sounding country troubadour. Now based in Montreal, Mellor has defied the odds with this gritty and convincing debut release. It has already earned kudos in European magazines, and word is spreading here. There’s a literary feel to his lyrics, with the songs etching colourful portraits of truck stop hookers (“Jessie Hynes”), native runaways (“Nowhere, Manitoba”) and deprived drinkers (“Ain’t No Whiskey). His more personal portraits work equally well, with “Tumbleweed” being a standout song. Fleshing out Mellor’s often-bleak narratives is a skilled supporting cast of players and backing vocalist Trish Robb. Pedal steel, violin, cello, keyboards and occasional horns are all employed judiciously, never diverting the focus from Mellor’s voice and songs. His twang sounds just a little forced on “Ain’t No Whiskey,” but that’s a minor blemish on a disc that should appeal to Fred Eaglesmith and Steve Earle fans. In his liner notes, Mellor points out that these songs were written over a six-year period. It’ll certainly be interesting to see what this promising young talent comes up with next. (Independent)
- Exclaim Magazine

"Great weekend for music in Durham"

There is a brilliant song shining in my head. It’s by a young country folk songwriter from Bowmanville, a chap called Lee Mellor.
The song is Tumbleweed. He draws the title of his disc Ghost Heart Town from its lyrics. I draw more.
Whose company would I sit Mellor among... John K. Sampson of the Weakerthans, Corb Lund, Stan Rogers, Lightfoot maybe.
Here is an example of his words... it explains itself.
“Song, In the steeples, and song marching in the spring parade/ in the laughter of children along the palisades/ Through the window, rippling the curtains, floating in/ Smells of yucca and grass, sweet azalea on the wind.”
He sings of his hometown and his adopted one of Montreal; Liberty Street and the St. Lawrence river, gravediggers and whiskey, highways and killers, the stuff of South Ontario Gothic literature from the likes of the late Timothy Findlay. All played by a band of mudhounds that would make Blue Rodeo green.
“Now I got me a room with a five year view/ Of the St. Lawrence River shining like a necklace/ Sunlight gold and silver/ down a collarbone of hill.”
Mellor sets his own gold and silver standard for anyone who hangs words on a string. Y’all have two opportunities to hear and hang on his words this weekend. He is playing as part of CamFest aka the Clarington Arts and Music Festival taking place this Saturday at the Visual Arts Centre on Simpson. Peter Katz, whose own disc More Nights features the daintily-plucked I Do and includes Luke Doucet on the guest list, is on the bill along with Liam Titcomb, the impeccably-voxed Trish Robb (who accompanied Mellor on his album), the Stables and while not the godfather at least the fave uncle of Cancon folk rock, mister Murray McLauchlan. His label True North is issuing a double CD retrospective of his works in October. The festival is free and there is parking at the Bowmanville Zoo. All details at www.camfest.ca.
Or you could can catch Lee with Trish Robb and Jeff Leech at the Velvet Elvis Saturday night. It’s a tough call as the Underground Operations showcase at The Dungeon with Protest The Hero and I Hate Sally should be kickax and Cold Sweat with their A Foot In Cold Water vibes is in at Chicago’s.
Busy day and night.

William McGuirk is a freelance writer and longtime Oshawa resident. He can be contacted at wmacg@yahoo.com. - Oshawa this Week


Ghost Town Heart (2007) includes the songs:

Liberty Street (has radio play)
The Greatest Killer in a Small Town (has radio play)
Nowhere, Manitoba (has radio play)
Gravedigger Blues (has radio play)
Girl on the Highway (has radio play)
Ain't No Whiskey (has radio play)
St. Lawrence River
Bar Mirror (has radio play)
Big Rusty Hammer (has radio play)
Tumbleweed (has radio play)
Jessie Hynes (has radio play)
Blow My Heart Out of the Night (has radio play)



A Native American girl flees dejection and alcoholism on the rez only to disappear along the highways of rural Manitoba. Desperate for cash, a war orphan turns to bank robbery and finds himself mercilessly holed up in prison. These tales could easily be found in the pages of literary fiction, or captured on the celluloid of indie cinema. In reality, they are songs.

Introducing Lee Mellor…
twenty-five years old and slowly garnering attention as one of Canada’s most underrated songwriters. In 2008 he was voted third best singer-songwriter in Montreal just behind Leonard Cohen and Rufus Wainwright. His words have been compared to the celebrated Canadian author Timothy Findlay, his songwriting and delivery to such greats as Steve Earle, Dylan and Stan Rogers. He has been praised by Canadian country legends Prairie Oyster while his debut album Ghost Town Heart (2007) has been called “brilliant”, “detail-rich” and “in your face.”
Born in England’s industrial north-west, Mellor’s first impressions of the world were smoke-stacks, rain and the stench from the local animal incinerator. By the late eighties the Mellor family left the smoggy Merseyside to settle half an hour east of Toronto in the subdivisions and farmland of Bowmanville, Ontario. Discovering rock music at the age of thirteen Mellor immediately began to write songs, and by graduation began to delve into poetry, folk and country music. Encouraged by the reaction to his music, he moved to Montreal were he spent the next two years cutting his teeth. Seeing the potential to catapult onto the global stage, Mellor swore to expend as much money and effort as necessary to craft the perfect debut album.
In August of 2007 his task was complete. Released independently, Ghost Town Heart met with warm critical and popular reception particularly among students, blue-collar workers and folkies. No stranger to live performance, Mellor has played numerous music festivals including Canadian Music Week and Summerfolk and has been interviewed on Sun TV, CBC Radio and various newspaper publications in Montreal and south-western Ontario. He is also garnering press attention and radio play in England, Ireland, Belgium, The Netherlands and Texas. In the words of CBC radio’s Jacquie Czernin, Lee Mellor is one Canadian artist who is “going far!”

Notable quotes about Mellor and his work:

"...how does a 25-year-old kid craft the finest alt-country album of the year?" - Bob Klanac, Scene Magazine

"...the stuff of South Ontario Gothic literature from the likes of the late Timothy Findlay. All played by a band of mudhounds that would make Blue Rodeo green...Mellor sets his own gold and silver standard for anyone who hangs words on a string." - Will McGuirk, Oshawa This Week

“Mellor has defied the odds with this gritty and convincing debut release…word is spreading here…” – Kerry Doole, Exclaim Magazine

"Lee Mellor returns the lyric to music, the crafted phrase, the arresting image, a cool shift to the language, in songs that dance with the road, the dust, the tumult of living. This is a fine sound and a songwriter to be sought out and listened to." - Trevor Ferguson, Award Winning Novelist and Playwright

"This promising debut from a Montreal based singer-songwriter includes in-your-face country-rockers and twangy, detail-rich story-telling songs." - Mike Regenstreif, The Montreal Gazette

"masterful...Mellor sparkles pure poetry...in a few years this boy will be standing among the very greatest" - Rootstime

“…a first class story teller who writes words that immediately come to life. Even if you just read them, they sound like music. … Mellor writes golden verses” – John Gjaltema,
Alt Country Netherlands

"...one of Canada’s most interesting roots/country singer-songwriters" - Rock N Reel (UK)

"That (Mellor's "Gravedigger Blues") was a great song!" - Russell deCarle, Juno award winning lead singer/bassist of Prairie Oyster.

"a staple in Montreal’s bluegrass scene...Mellor has strived to redefine the genre by employing themes and images from the past and relating them to issues of the present." - Greg Hoekstra, Soulshine Magazine

"You are going far!" - Jacquie Czernin on CBC radio Breakaway

"Lee Mellor and The Mudhounds and the United Steel Workers of Montreal, two of the most recognizable bands in the city’s bluegrass scene..." Julia Gerke, The Suburban

"...a great concoction..." Lorraine Carpenter, Montreal Mirror

"I love it!" Gerry Goodfriend, CKUT

"A tremendously talented young songwriter" - Mitch Melnick, Team 990 Radio.

"...a really great, well-written album!" Steve Meyers, Radio Free Montreal

"...honest, truthful and cleverly written...Mellor is a hard core troubadour with a heart of country-rock-gold." - www.hanx.net