Press Quotes

New York Magazine
"...Melody’s painfully acute observations on modern life--like a Kurt Weill for the Tarantino age."

David Fricke, Rolling Stone
"...supper-club class and fine surrealist humor. One song retells the Creation story with Frank Sinatra as God; another celebrates the liberation of Switzerland. Deeply weird, utterly fab..."


LJM - Esquire Magazine

Kurt Loder, Esquire
"...the music is angular and sardonic in a Kurt Weill mode...but Melody’s lyrical conceptions are original. He dreams of marching on Switzerland and curing the natives of their smug complacency ("Happy nations have no history/Let’s go give ‘em some"). He sings of his weariness with modern reality ("I can’t remember the reason I woke up this morning/Maybe awake is what’s left at the end of a dream"). In "The Dance Lesson," he trains a knowing eye on the eternal spectacle of a young man and woman falling head over heels in love, for reasons they’re unlikely to fully comprehend: ‘Blame it on the moon/Blame it on the mystery/Blame it on the mom and dad who wrote your sordid history.’

"Melody is hardly a run-of-the-mill romantic ("What the called love, let’s call lingerie," he croons), but he does place faith in the transcendent powers of art and imagination, wondering, at one point, "If dreamers felt at home/Would there be a sky to roam/Would there be a tale to tell?" ...this debut effort has literary depth and a warm, inventive sound that should keep all ears cocked for a follow-up."

Robert Wilonsky, New Times Los Angeles
"...[it’s] about the songs from start to finish: Little Jack’s 1991 debut On the Blank Generation is a remarkable record that paid homage to Randy Newman ("A Waltz in Springfield, Missouri"), cast Frank Sinatra as a benevolent God surveying his big-band America ("Happily Ever After"), retooled Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony as a swingin’ affair, called for the occupation of a self-satisfied Switzerland, and blamed everything else on the moon and your mom.

"The 1994 follow-up World of Fireworks was just as marvelous, filled with literate song-poems about bastard moons and Shetland ponies to the moon...there’s genuine genius underneath this musical madness."

San Francisco Weekly
"...tangos, tarantellas, rumbas, polkas, and waltzes arranged with popish, wry wit and keen observations...Melody’s sweet, sultry voice flutters over tinkling ivories and intoxicating accordions...a neo-Weimar cabaret from Denton, Texas, that finds co-dependency and the L.A. riots appropriate subject matter..."

"...he spins tales of pillaging Switzerland (seemingly rankled by the cuckoo clocks and cheese), circuses from hell and a recasting of the Book of Genesis where God is Sinatra and Paradise is "Vic Damone at the Frontier Room and there’s no cover." ...It’s all charming and refreshingly uncynical. Did you say you’re looking for something different?"

Denton Record Chronicle
"...this guy is one great singer...on my charmed life, the new Carpe Diem Records release...the man called Melody is true to his name, lending a range of top-notch vocal performances to each of the 12 songs...Melody’s fine voice makes standout tracks of the albums three gorgeous ballads..."

Dallas Observer
" his uniquely sophisticated, feeling songs there’s a perception so sharp as to be redemptive, recognizing the courage behind managing that wan smile when all you really want to do is burst into tears."

The News, Stuart, Florida
"...Little Jack Melody’s my charmed life...the first real must-hear album of 1997...It’s exceptional...A real alternative to alternative music...His lyrics are short stories-- vivid, clever and filled with characters we recognize...everyday folk dreaming small dreams in a big-dream world...Free of the campiness and ironic approach of retro-music scenesters, Melody’s vocals are sweet, gimmick-free and devoted to his song’s characters. Like all great vocalists he inhabits the meaning of a lyric; there is no straining for emotion here...The album proves Melody to be a writer/performer of no small stature who has produced a body of work that could rank with any of America’s finest songwriters..."

Jeff Tamarkin, Goldmine
"...On the Blank Generation brims with originality and astonishment at every placid turn. Not unlike early Van Dyke Parks-- tossed with a casual croon that’d make Harry Connick Jr. envious...a wonderful craftsman whose songs demand careful, not casual, attention. At once simple and street-ready, these tales of the mundane have been polished till they sparkle. On the Blank Generation is a debut that offers untapped new pleasures with each playing, something that is far from both the mainstream and the accepted alternative."

Dallas Times Herald
"...without overstating the case, On the Blank Generation floats like a life raft on a sea of mediocre local releases...a vehicle for adventurous, thoughtful songwriting...bounding from the stunningly beautiful ("A Waltz in Springfield, Missouri") to the pleasantly oddball ("Happily Ever After", "Switzerland"), demanding careful listening."

Dallas Observer
"...Like Randy Newman, Little Jack Melody doesn’t hit anybody over the head with his messages; he’s able to let evocative musical and lyrical phrases do all the work for him much more subtly, and thus more powerfully. It’s not going too far out on a limb to say that these lyrics could stand alone as poetry; certainly they’re charged with a resonating, poetic energy.

"...[he] approaches his music with a strong measure of fun and good humor, but he’s never patronizing. Watch this guy closely; it’s folks like him who are really stretching the bounds of so-called "popular" music."

Ben Ratliff, Request
"...a series of thoughtful bagatelles, some overtly funny, some lonely sounding, all somewhere between the cabaret music of his dreams and very highly developed pop... Melody’s lyrics, which he sings in a light baritone, reflect his literary obsessions: the stark realism of Hubert Selby, Jr. ("Babylon," "A Waltz in Springfield, Missouri"); Jonathan Swift’s extreme satire ("Switzerland," "Lock up your daughters,"); and certainly the Bible (the lovely "Song of Ishmael," a cover of Schiller’s "Ode to Joy" from Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, and a creation myth called "Happily Ever After," in which Frank Sinatra is God, and his first clay people become Bobby Darin and Peggy Lee)...Melody’s an alchemist, as well as a true pop original..."

Los Angeles Reader
" of modern music’s most obscure geniuses: Denton, Texas’s sublime vocalist Little Jack Melody...evokes cabaret music from some impossible place: a postwar Parisian hotspot thriving amid Weimar Germany, say -- an untenable café cut loose in time where Edith Piaf and Randy Newman sip eternal aperitifs with Kurt Weill and Frank Sinatra... words of subtle magnificence conjure up wry scenarios..."

Dallas Observer
"...World of Fireworks is a warm, confident mini-masterpiece. I get the same feeling listening to it as I did upon first hearing Randy Newman’s Sail Away or Tom Waits’ Blue Valentine or Elvis Costello’s This Year’s Model; it’s the feeling that here’s a musician who captures the mood of an era without directly addressing it, who brings to the party such absolute smarts and style, who fuses his literary and musical influences effortlessly."

David Greenberger,
Albany, NY
"...odes, laments, and observations embrace a weary-but-hopeful romantic’s take on oppression and struggle in the working classes. Fueled by a genuine humanity, the sometimes-political content of the lyrics draw more from literature than performance, carrying none of the latter’s often humorless and didactic preaching. These are songs of love and beauty..."

Microsoft MusicCentral
"...crooner/songwriter Melody is closer in spirit to Kurt Weill than Burt Bacharach, mixing sunny tunes with dark fates and social satire...Melody’s melodies transcend mere homage. His velvety, low tenor suggests an enervated Mel Torme with a fatal vein of self-doubt."

Austin Chronicle
"Little Jack Melody’s third release is full of gorgeous musical textures and hidden aural surprises... Ah yes, what a deliciously crazy world it is..."

epulse, the ezine of Pulse! and Classical Pulse! magazines
"For those who have yet to sample the majesty that is LITTLE JACK MELODY & HIS YOUNG TURKS, a world of wonder awaits. Like a young Frank Sinatra battling terminal ennui... ...the novelty factor has been toned down in favor of a more heartfelt approach that heralds the arrival of a serious songwriter...[be] the first on your block to discover The Only Lounge Band That Really Matters."

St. Petersburg Times
"Little Jack Melody is a music an existential Eddie Haskell... ...With a quirky show-biz jazz feel, his band would be at home in purgatory’s Copa Cabana..."







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