Melissa Swingle earned her outsider status early. She comes originally from Mississippi by way of the Ivory Coast, where, as she puts it, “I gained the knowledge that I would never really fit in wherever I go.” This is good news for us, as Melissa’s search for meaning has led her to write and sing marvelous songs of American life, tour the country, and record and perform with three bands. The first of these, Trailer Bride, made five records. Three more albums were issued by Swingle’s subsequent band, The Moaners. Through it all Melissa has toured the country, performing with Neko Case, The Mountain Goats, The Drive-By Truckers and Jesco White, The Dancing Outlaw. Such is her commitment to Southern expression that Swingle drove fourteen hours straight from a gig at Tipitina’s in New Orleans to be the last act to ever play Sleazefest in Chapel Hill. Meantime, her songs have appeared in movies and radio.
Now there’s Melissa and the Swinglers, comprised of Trailer Bride veteran Tim Barnes, bassist Marty Johnson and Wheez Von Claw on drums. No doubt they’ll produce more of Swingle’s unique lilting Southern Gothic gems, and, if we’re lucky, more of her musical saw.