For most casual fans of music, the forty-five minutes that a band spends on the stage is all they can see. However, when the guitar cases are closed and the venue’s floor is littered with empty beer cans and trash, most bands load their gear into the van and return back to their normal lives.
Mother Church Pew’s Off The Stage is a series that celebrates artists’ paths to where they are and the things they do behind the scenes to stay there.
Virginia bluegrass-leaning alt-country outfit Melodime, who recently released a barn-burning new single, “Little Thing Called Love”, is currently finishing up a summer tour that ends at The Basement in Nashville on September 16th, and they are ready to head home to record some new tunes—but music and sweaty post-show hugs aren’t the only thing that keep this band going.
“We have a charity called Now I Play Along Too that we started with the release of our album, Where The Sinners & The Saints Collide—we give instruments and provide lessons and instruction to kids who wouldn’t be able to afford those things normally,” says frontman Brad Rhodes. “We donated 100% of the profits from that record to the cause.”
The inspiration behind their philanthropy originates with brothers and bandmates Sam and Tyler Duis. “Our great-grandfather and his four brothers immigrated here from Ireland, and they were dirt poor,” explains Sam. “An anonymous person gave them instruments, and they learned how to play, and earned money for their family. We wanted to provide those kinds of opportunities to others.”
Currently their outreach extends to Northern Virginia, Florida, and Haiti. “The chance to serve Haiti fell in our laps at the very beginning,” says Brad. “One of our friends built an orphanage there after the earthquakes and there were about 20 kids who lived there. They were being educated and fed, but there were no extracurricular activities for them; the director was hoping to add music to their program, and they reached out to us after we started the charity.”
The band has been to Haiti several times to deliver instruments and meet the children; Brad and bandmate Jon Wiley recently returned from the orphanage after assisting with a two week-long music camp. “It was hard, but it went so well,” Brad recalls. “They have such rhythmic culture, and it was so neat to see how good they’ve gotten at playing. Some of them can sit behind a drum set and do better than some professional drummers I know!” he adds with a laugh. “We taught classes on rhythm and notation, instrument lessons, and at the end of the week there was a recital. It was amazing.”
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Purchase show tickets: http://www.melodime.com/tour
Find out more about Now I Play Along Too: http://nowiplayalongtoo.org