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The Melungeons

Formed: 2006

Genre: blues, heavy rock, rock

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With a local music career pushing 30 years, the perpetually embalmed Rus Harper is decomposing into something of a renaissance period with his latest act, the Melungeons. Deformed, debauched, bastard spawn of Leadbelly, the Gun Club, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, and Nick Cave, the band is a virtual who’s who of usual local suspects (bassist Brad Deaton, drummer Kevin Trotter, guitarist Bill Irwin, and Doug Hemphill on harmonica). The Melungeons’ debut disc, Blackwater Swamp, offers 14 tracks of gutbucket blues and eerie Americana; it’s an odd twist for Harper, whose earlier acts seemed to privilege aural destruction over melody.

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