By Julian Fulton
Francie Moon is the most recent moniker of Northern Jersey’s Melissa Lucciola, a ridiculously tasteful musician with legitimate rock ‘n’ roll prowess. She’s amidst perfecting a signature brand of blues, openly meddling with folk, punk, and soul without ever sounding derivative or predictable.
The songstress first delivered her raw, blues-infused punk to audiences by means of the short-lived but well regarded Melissa & Paul. The garage-rock duo ended their two-year run at the latter end of 2012, but not before releasing a sizeable amount of music and garnering the admiration of basement dwellers throughout the US. It’s during this time that I first discovered Melissa’s work and was instantaneously hooked.
A veteran of self-booked tours, she’s since taken to going it alone, operating as Francie Moon, and just wrapped up a four-month tour across the country with Matt Pless. When asked about the Francie Moon name, she said, “When I toured as Melissa Lucciola, it was very hard to tell people my name without repeating it three or four times.” So, Melissa decided to simplify things. “Plus, I just like the name.”
The multi-instrumentalist plays guitar and drums (sometimes simultaneously) as well as keyboard, bass, mandolin, ukulele, and whatever else she can find and put to work. Those skills helped her lay down all the tracks for her Francie Moon/Melissa Lucciola recordings – pure, unfiltered awesomeness. Her on-the-spot, organic method of recording lends itself graciously to her sound, capturing a vintage DIY aesthetic that many groups (ironically) over-produce the hell out of their music to recreate. She said, “When it comes to recording, I prefer to do it alone since I like to take my time and really let my mind run free with the songs I’m making,” though she also admits that there are obvious downsides to operating solo.
“The biggest struggle I face in trying to tour, record, and perform is doing it all alone… Performing alone is interesting because, while I have the freedom to play whatever songs I’d like and however I would like to play them, I sacrifice the sound of a full band. I’ve learned which songs sound best left alone and which ones sound better with a band. So, I play different songs depending on how I’m performing.”
Nevertheless, Melissa did express a desire for more outside input in order to grow as a songwriter, and more consistent full-band support should another national tour manifest in 2014.
Along with hopes of a full-band tour, Melissa plans on using the new year and her savings to release an EP by way of 7” vinyl. That’s where you come in. Go discover Melissa Lucciola this year. With pure grit, tasteful lyricism, a signature girlish howl, and blues chops that combine the taste of Albert King and the thrash of Neil Young, Melissa Lucciola is a force to be reckoned with. Sleeping at the venue, in a van, on the ground, and traveling with nothing but what you’ve got in your pockets just to do what you love – that makes you the real deal, and Melissa Lucciola is the real deal.