Melinda Joy
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Melinda Joy

Austin, Texas, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2015

Austin, Texas, United States
Established on Jan, 2015
Band Rock Indie




"Melinda Joy - Beautiful Illusions"

Press for Beautiful Illusions (2020)

Melinda Joy, “Beautiful Illusions.” A bassist and singer-songwriter who moved to Austin from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, Joy made her first album in 15 years at Tomorrow Studios with engineer Jason Mabry and a band that included guitarist Michael Walker, percussionists Mich Schreiber and Wiley Koepp, and multi-instrumentalist JT Martin.

- Peter Blackstock, Austin-American Statesman /, June 26, 2020: - Austin-American Statesman

"Santa Fe Reporter - May 2007"

Hurricane Katrina was a lovely mess that changed the DNA of New Orleans. The diaspora of its musicians to the neighboring state of Texas was remarkable and not without benefit. MJ Baby and The Last Word is such a band that made the trek. Since their arrival in Austin, singer Melinda Rothouse and guitarist Matthew DeOrazio have refined their bluesy, roots rock sound, which has created a buzz on some of Austin's most notable stages. Rothouse's sultry pipes paired with DeOrazio's howling guitar have made MJ Baby a powerful live act. The group is venturing west for a brief tour with singer-songwriter Melissa Mullins, whose trio Melissa on the Rocks will open the show. Coincidentally, the rhythm section for Mullins' band happens to be Rothouse and DeOrazio. The two bands' music keeps getting hotter and makes the beer go down easier. (GG) - Gabe Gomez

" - June 2006"

M.J. Baby & the Last Word pour their heart and soul into every song! This cd is a must have for every blues/rock fan...The song, "Cold Town," is an amazing blend of vocals and harmony which fully exude a phenomenal blues sound! WOW! This one takes the listener to another place. I was imagining myself sitting at a cafe in New Orleans sipping a cool drink. - Georgia Moncrief

" - February 2006"

Featured several times on these pages, MJ Baby And The Last Word ...have moved on from New Orleans and exude a sound that is very New Orleans and very jazzy blues... - RadioMike

"The Village Idiot (North Carolina Entertainment Paper) - November 2005"

M.J. Baby & The Last Word brings soulful roots-rock with more jazz appeal than most "rock" bands today can truthfully dish out. M.J. Baby & the Last Word's latest release, Unbound, kicks off with a powerful punch with "Shades of Brown," one of the album's more rock-oriented tracks, rich with doses of funk. The second track, "Insomnia" has an island groove highlighted by a jazzy guitar and haunting vocals, while the sixth number, "Cold Town," is satiated in the Blues. One of my favorite M.J. Baby tunes is the last number, "Gratitude," with its simple beauty, a steady marching beat and more melody from Rothouse's vocals. Unbound's twelve emotional-charged tracks will leave listeners with a lasting impression... - Kristi Singer

"WHRV Radio 89.5, Norfolk, VA - June 2005"

Wild Album! - Paul Shugrue - "Out of the Box"

" - May 2006"

You have a riveting, dynamic sound! - Paul Freeman

" - 2005"

Killer, Very Original - Man, MJ and Matt rock. This is great work done with the highest production values. Very very fresh sounding arrangements and killer guitar tones. Way to go MJ Baby!!! - GuitarLuver

" - 2004"

Unlike anything else!
The music is totally unique and the vocals are amazing! 'Unbound' conveys so many different moods and feelings across a truly memorable collection of songs. - London fan

" - 2004"

Haunting - the music stays with you!
This CD is AWESOME. The melodies and the blending of styles is extraordinary. MJ's voice is haunting - it really stays with you. - Fan Review


Melinda's newest album, Beautiful Illusions (2020), reflects upon both the joys and the depths she's navigated over the past decade and a half. Some of them had been percolating since her time in New Orleans and the aftermath of Katrina, while others are very fresh, with themes touching touch on love and loss, spirituality, pilgrimage, and the often-painful path to awakening. Soulful, jazzy, and lush, her sound has been described as "southern gothic." 

Beautiful Illusions was recorded and mixed at Tomorrow Studio with Engineer/Producer Jason Mabry, and produced by Melinda Joy. It features Michael Walker on guitar and backing vocals, Mich Schreiber on drums/percussion and backing vocals, Wiley Koepp on drums and percussion, Jason Mabry on guitar, and JT Martin on keyboard, flute, EWI, and backing vocals. The album was mastered by Nick Landis in Austin, Texas. 

Her first album, Unbound (2004) was recorded in New Orleans with a previous band, M.J. Baby & The Last Word. calls the CD "a must-have for every blues/rock fan," saying "M.J. Baby & The Last Word pour their heart and soul into every song," while music journalist Kristi Singer observes "M.J. Baby & The Last Word brings soulful roots-rock with more jazz appeal than most 'rock' bands today can truthfully dish out." Fans at CD Baby describe M.J.'s voice as "haunting" and give the album high praise for "great work done with the highest production values."

Unbound features Melinda Rothouse on vocals/bass guitar, Matthew DeOrazio on guitar/drums/harmonium, Eddie Ecker on drums/piano, and David Loayza on percussion. The CD traverses a wide emotional range, from the uncanny "Insomnia," slow blues "Cold Town," and introspective "The Grand Scheme" to hard-edged grooves like "Shades of Brown" and "Never Go Back."Many of the songs describe a kind of wanderlust: being on the road, observing the terrain that's passing by. It's also about breaking out, cutting loose from the past and beginning anew. Unbound was recorded and mixed in New Orleans at Word of Mouth studio with renowned engineer/producer Tim Stambaugh.



Sensual. Intuitive. Mystical. Melinda Joy is a lush, jazzy singer-songwriter/bass player whose songs interweave poetic lyrics with bass and melody lines that draw from a wide range of genres. Soulful and groove-driven, her sound has been described as "Southern Gothic," with comparisons to Lana del Rey, PJ Harvey, and Norah Jones.

She currently performs both as a duo with guitarist Jason Hendrix, as well as with a full band (drums, rhythm guitar and/or keyboard). The acoustic duo format is perfect for happy hour slots and more intimate venues, while the full band is great for larger clubs, parties and events. We can play up to three sets, with a combination of original music and a few covers. Melinda also collaborates and performs regularly with Austin-based songwriters 

Son of Cormack 


Randy Langford

Melinda recorded and released her debut CD, Unbound, in New Orleans during the summer of 2004, and toured extensively with her previous band, M.J. Baby & The Last Word. Her newest album, Beautiful Illusions (2020), released in the midst of the pandemic, features songs that reflect upon both the joys and the depths she's navigated over the years. Some have been percolating since her time in New Orleans and the aftermath of Katrina, while others touch on love and loss, spirituality, pilgrimage, and the often-painful path to awakening. 

Singing and making music is a calling. She was a shy and introspective kid, yet her desire to sing was so strong that when she began performing in elementary school, her legs would shake and her face would turn bright red from nervousness. But something drove her to continue. She's come a long way as a musician and performer since then, from training as a classical singer to writing and playing her own original music.

In addition to her musical endeavors, Melinda holds a Ph.D. in psychology / creativity studies. Professionally, she works as a creativity, career and leadership coach, consultant, facilitator and educator, helping individuals and organizations tap into their innate creativity for greater insight, collaboration, and innovation, allowing them to bring their creative dreams and visions to life. 

She is also a longtime mindfulness practitioner, a photographer, and she leads workshops and retreats on mindfulness and creativity, both in the U.S. and internationally. She is also the host and creator of the podcast Syncreate: Empowering Creativity, which explores the intersections between creativity, psychology, and creativity and expands the boundaries of what it means to be creative with guests working in a wide range of fields and media. 

Performance Highlights:
2023 Music on the Trail with Son of Cormack, sponsored by The Trail Conservancy, Austin, TX
2023 Summer Residency with Randy Langford at Knomad Bar, Austin, TX 
2023 Presentation & Performance “Songwriters & Storytellers,” Story Parlor, Asheville, NC
2022 Oregon Creativity Conference, "Creativity in Songwriting: A Process Talk and Performance," Ashland, OR
2019 Jung Society of Austin, "The Call to Create," Presentation & Performance
2016 Melinda Joy & The Beautiful Illusion residency at Sahara Lounge, Austin, TX
2014 Green-Eyed Cat Unofficial SXSW Showcase @ Uncorked, Austin, TX
2013 Green-Eyed Cat Residency at The Butterfly Bar @ The Vortex Theater, Austin, TX
2010 Chasca Rocky Horror Revue Central Texas Tour
2010 Austin Jams @ Austin Java - Unofficial SXSW Showcase, Austin, TX
2009 Art Actualized Showcase, Austin, TX
2007 Hyperactive Music Festival, Albuquerque, NM
2007 "Invasion of the GoGirls," Austin, TX
2007 Folk Alliance Conference (GoGirls Showcase), Memphis, TN
2006 GoGirls Music Fest, Austin, TX
2006 Cutting Edge Music Conference Showcase, New Orleans, LA

Band Members