Welcome to the utterly deluded world of Melvin G Fromm Jr, the singer-songwriter who, for the last 15 years or so, has quietly been beavering away at the coalface of country-lounge music. Hailing from the town of Gap in Pennsylvania, since 1999 Fromm’s fertile mind has been responsible for more than 270 finished and recorded songs: all of which are, at the very least, a little off-kilter and some of which are hideously brilliant.
When listening to the wild song stylings of Melvin G Fromm Jr I am immediately reminded of two of my favourite bad singers – Nicholas Gilio and W L Horning, both of who have featured on this blog before. Often, as was also true of both Gilio and Horning, Melvin has employed modern-day song-poem outfits and session singers to add a bit of spit and polish to his tunes. Again like both Wesley and Nick, Melvin also occasionally takes his own turn behind the microphone – with spectacularly inept results.
“A lot of people always ask me how did I get started in music,” says Melvin on one of his many internet pages. “Well I sat down and wrote a song about my then girlfriend, now wife, and sent it with other songs I wrote to overseas radio on CD just to see what would happen. I had a Canada DJ named Carmen Kilburn like my music and we became good friends & he really helped me in my music in a big way. Carmen past away (sic) in 2006 but he will always have a special place in my heart for all he did for me as he told me I should start my own record label for my own music.”
That Canadian DJ has a lot to answer for – although don’t get the idea that he was the Kenny Everett of the Canucks: Carmen Kilburn, who actually departed from this earth in June 2005, only became a volunteer DJ on community radio after retiring from a lifetime working in law. Discover for yourself what Mr Kilburn saw in our Mel by listening to the two tracks I’ve included here: Bowled a Strike and Ouch, Love Struck Me (are you sensing a theme here?)
Inspired by his international success, Melvin formed the four-piece band Fromm's Country Music to create what his official press release describes as ‘an exciting, diverse sound which appeals to lifelong country fans as well as bright eyed newcomers. With plenty of contemporary pop sensibilities and a strong inflection of Christian values, Fromm's Country Music fits comfortably into fan's minds and hearts’.The band has issued four albums along with many, many download-only tracks.
More recently Melvin has attempted to branch out into the song-poem field on his own, offering would be hit songwriters the chance to have their poems enhanced by a Melvin G Fromm tune. I’m guessing his latest business venture proved unsuccessful: at the time of writing Mel’s website www.frommscustomsongs.com is in hibernation.
All of Mel’s tracks can be purchased from www.productiontrax.com and a whole bunch are available via CDBaby and iTunes. Go have a listen…you’ll find some perfectly ordinary country songs performed by various members of Fromm’s Country Music as well as many. Many examples of Melvin at his best (or worst).