Colin Meloy

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Colin Meloy
Colin Meloy performing with the The Decemberists in Atlanta, Georgia
Background information
Birth name Colin Patrick Henry Meloy
Born (1974-10-05) October 5, 1974 (age 40)
Helena, Montana, United States
Genres Indie rock, indie folk, folk rock, progressive rock, baroque pop, alternative country
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter, guitarist
Instruments Vocals, guitar, bouzouki, percussion, harmonica, keyboards
Years active 1990–present
Labels Kill Rock Stars
Associated acts The Decemberists, Tarkio, Happy Cactus
Notable instruments

Gibson J-200 Montana Gold Custom

Martin 000-17S

Gretsch 6120 Nashville
Colin Meloy in Brussels (2006)

Colin Patrick Henry Meloy (born October 5, 1974) is the lead singer and songwriter for the Portland, Oregon, indie folk rock band The Decemberists. In addition to vocals, he performs with an acoustic guitar, 12-string acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bouzouki, harmonica and percussion.

Early life and education[edit]

Meloy was born in Helena, Montana.[1][2] His sister is Maile Meloy, an author often published in The New Yorker.

Meloy attended the University of Oregon in Eugene for two years, studying English and Theatre, before returning to Montana and enrolling in the creative writing program at the University of Montana in Missoula. He graduated in 1998.[3]

Musical career[edit]

While in high school, Meloy was in the band Happy Cactus, and when in college, in Missoula, he was the lead singer and songwriter for Tarkio. Both were indie/folk/alternative country bands. Soon after graduation, Meloy left Tarkio and moved to Portland. There he found, to his disappointment, that he pretty much had to start again, "going to open mics, ... sometimes with no one else in the room save the bartender. ...However, when I was in that position, with nobody to appeal to or scare away, I thought, ‘I might as well do whatever I want to do,’ Meloy said [in 2009]. 'And that created a new thing.'"[3]

In Portland, he met future bandmates Jenny Conlee and Nate Query.

In 2005, he went on his first solo tour to support the self-released six-song EP, Colin Meloy Sings Morrissey, consisting of six Morrissey covers. Only 1000 copies of the album were made and they were sold only on this tour. Meloy did a second solo tour in January 2006, playing with Laura Veirs and Amy Annelle. On this tour, he sold an EP featuring covers of British folk artist Shirley Collins. 2006 tour performances were recorded for a live release.

Meloy contributed an online bonus track for Lavender Diamond on their Imagine Our Love album. He performed a solo version of "Oh No."

Meloy began another solo tour in April 2008. This coincided with the release of his debut solo album, Colin Meloy Sings Live!, on the Kill Rock Stars label. Singer-songwriter Laura Gibson was the supporting act for the full tour. As with previous EPs, Meloy sold an EP only available on this run: Colin Meloy Sings Sam Cooke, a collection of five Sam Cooke songs, arranged and performed by Meloy, with Laura Gibson singing harmonies.

Personal life[edit]

On February 24, 2006, Carson Ellis, Meloy's wife, gave birth to a son, Henry "Hank" Meloy. Ellis shares her birthday with Meloy, and is a graphic artist for the Decemberists.[4] In about 2010, Meloy revealed that Hank has high functioning autism.[5] On March 14, 2013 Ellis gave birth to Milo Cannonball Meloy.[6]

Meloy's sister is Maile Meloy a writer and his aunt is Ellen Meloy who is also a writer.

Solo discography[edit]

In 2003 Meloy contributed vocals to the track "The Lady From Reims" on Reclinerland's The Ideal Home Music Library. Meloy contributed vocals on the tracks "Cemetery Row" and "Twilight Distillery" on The Minus 5's 2006 Yep Roc release. Meloy also covered the Elliott Smith song "Clementine" for a compilation of Portland, Oregon artists to support a children's charity. In mid-2006, he contributed the track, "Lazy Little Ada" on the Kill Rock Stars compilation, The Sound the Hare Heard. In 2007, Meloy lent his voice to an episode of Lil' Bush. He has appeared with Charlie Salas-Humara in the music video for "A Pillar of Salt" by The Thermals (2:16).

Other work[edit]

In 2004, Meloy wrote a 100-page book on The Replacements' third album, Let It Be, released as part of the 33⅓ series.[7]

Meloy made his debut as a children's writer with Wildwood illustrated by wife, Carson Ellis. He kicked off the book tour as the keynote of the AJC Decatur Book Festival on September 2, 2011.[8] The second novel in the series is Under Wildwood, published in 2012, and the third book in the series Wildwood Imperium was released in 2014.


  1. ^ "Colin Meloy". Montana Kids. Montana Office of Tourism. Retrieved September 5, 2011. 
  2. ^ Monger, James Christopher. "Biography: Colin Meloy". Allmusic. Retrieved September 6, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b Schweber, Nate, "The Making of Meloy", The Montanan, Winter, 2009. Retrieved 2011-04-08.
  4. ^ "Biography". Carson Ellis. Retrieved 2013-11-02. 
  5. ^ "The Decemberists - Meloy Opens Up About Autistic Son". 
  6. ^ "Twitter / colinmeloy: Accord has been reached". Retrieved 2013-11-02. 
  7. ^ "Bloomsbury Publishing: Let It Be". Bloomsbury Publishing: Let It Be. Retrieved July 26, 2013. 
  8. ^ "AJC Decatur Book Festival". AJC Decatur Book Festival. Retrieved June 21, 2011. 

External links[edit]