Not many people, if anyone, can say they played on the Grand Ole Opry and performed on television with Chet Atkins before they were in high school. But Jimmy Melton can. He’s not exactly a household name among Music Row writers, but Melton, who was playing banjo at bluegrass festivals throughout the South and performing with the likes of such legends as Bill Monroe and Earl Scruggs while other kids were smoking their first cigarettes and learning to drive, has a pretty impressive track record. Today Melton is a staff writer with Universal Music Publishing Group, with cuts by Blake Shelton (“When Somebody Knows You That Well”), Trace Adkins (“Marry for Money”), Dierks Bentley, Craig Morgan and other modern country stars, while also being able to boast cuts by such members of the old guard as George Jones, Hank Williams, Jr., and Mark Chesnutt, as well as perennial favorite Reba McEntire. American Songwriter caught up with Melton by phone from his farm in West Tennessee, in the area where he was raised and still calls home today. You started out as a professional bluegrass musician when you were just a boy, and continued to tour for many years as a teenager. How does that bluegrass background and influence help, or maybe hinder, you when you’re trying to honor a publishing agreement and write hits for Music Row. I never really thought about it...I have a lot of influences musically that I draw from. Personally, my tastes run from the traditional hard country and the ‘70s singer/songwriters like Jim Croce and James Taylor. So I guess that's where I tend to go naturally, musically, as a writer. As far as publishing goes, if I sit down and think... Sign In to Keep Reading
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