We play a raw mix of rock, country, folk and blues. In the main we call our music "Rawhide Rock" because it's fresh skinned, still dripping blood, hasn't been processed to fit any certain form. We've got songs high-peaked and treacherous as the Rockies, low and craggy as the Grand Canyon, lonely and hunted as the Badlands, others gentle rolling as a spring pasture in first bloom. A varried terrain, no doubt, but sure and firm as a calloused hand that maps this world, this life.
The Border Band is a four-piece group consisting of rhythm guitar, bass, drums and lead guitar. Melvin Litton, yours truly, captains the band, plays rhythm guitar and writes and sings most of the songs. I began performing over a quarter of a century ago in the cold regions of Canada and have since played in the northeast, down through Nashville, Austin, up to Colorado and back to Kansas where I started out and will likely remain. My major influences are Leadbelly, Jimmy Rogers, Bob Dylan and The Band, while the juices of a hundred others flavor my music, not to mention the wind and rain, sun, moon and stars, and the devil himself if that's what it takes to make a song. But I mainly rely on the better angels of my nature to see me through, and two fine men that have been with me for over five years now: Roger Holden and Dave Melody. They've helped forge the sound and are a great part of what makes the music click.
Roger Holden, "The Razor," is a wizard on the lead guitar. Besides his own keen talent, he draws inspiration from Hendrix, Santana, Stevie Ray Vaughn and BB King among others. He's played in a dozen bands covering every idiom from Classic Rock, Punk, Ska, Surf, Tex-Mex, Country, Folk and Blues. Nimble and fast, that's why we call him the razor" -- because he plays so fast and clean, he slice it to the bone!
Dave "Youngblood" Melody plays drums, but he does a helluva lot more than keep time and proves in the act why the drums are a musical intrument not to be denied. He can tap out rhythm soft as a feathered heartbeat or boom like thunder rolling down off the mountains across the plains in a crash of cymbals and toms that can chasm the earth then fade in a patter of raindrops dimpling the dust. Dave's the youngest member of the band, but he's no greenhorn. He's hit the skins for over 20 years, played in metal bands, marching bands and a whole hodge-podge of rock, yet he can make the brushes whisper to a cowboy lament so as to charm a heart tough as old boot leather.
We've had a slew of fine bass players: Vitamin B, Chubby Smith, Johnny Dancer, Doc Nelson, Kid Gribble. For one reason or another none of 'em stuck. Again faced with a hole in our sound, Dave suggested his good friend, Rob Popp (pronounced "Pope"). Problem was, Rob played lead guitar; but Dave said, "We can mold 'im." Well, convincing a leadman to play bass is rather like asking a gunfighter to lay aside his six-gun for a shotgun. But Rob was willin'. He picked up a big black Fender-American-jazz bass and in a few short months he's put his signature on our sound. He's got an innate sense of rhythm and goes deep in a song to find the heart. We call him "The Pope" -- he ain't infallible, but damn solid and the center holds. Plus he looks the part: big, strong, able, and sports a devilish grin. With "The Pope" aboard we aim to ride the Border van and play hither, thither, and yon.
That's our band, our music, as far as words can tell. But words merely depict the shadow of a thing; to know the true sense and shape you must experience it yourself. So give our songs a listen and see what you think.