Jazz Club

Mel Melton & the Wicked Mojos feat. John Dee Holman (blues, Nola style music)

Mel Melton & the Wicked Mojos feat. John Dee Holman (blues, Nola style music)

When: Sat, Sep 16
7:00 pm - 10:00 pm, $16.50



Purchase Tickets for 7PM Show
Purchase Tickets for 9PM Show


Roy “Mel” Melton knows how to cook onstage and off. Nicknamed  “The Zydeco Chef” by former band mate and friend C.J. Chenier, and “Cookie Boy“ by Sonny Landreth, another old band partner, Mel has been enjoying the success of two careers for three decades: one as a musician and the other as a professional chef and culinary consultant. According to Melton, “The food and music of Acadiana have always been inseparable for me.”

A North Carolina native from Gastonia, Mel went to Lafayette, Louisiana in the summer of 1969 to visit a college friend and play a little music before going back to UNC. He changed his plans when he fell in love with the rich culture and physical beauty of southwest Louisiana. He moved to
Lafayette and began playing in a band he co-founded with Sonny Landreth, the Lafayette slide guitar-playing superstar. He recorded on Sonny’s first record, Blues Attack, in 1978, featuring C.J. Chenier on saxophone and Buckwheat Zydeco on the Hammond organ.

To help support his musical career, Mel took a series of jobs and eventually discovered a new talent and another part of the Cajun lifestyle: Louisiana cooking. Over the next fifteen years, he honed his musical and cooking skills, eventually becoming a well-known Cajun chef. At the same time, he was becoming known as a singer and a harmonica player who created a Zydeco style of playing that has earned him the reputation as the world’s number one Zydeco harmonica player. In addition to playing with Sonny, he was frequently on stage with the King of Zydeco, Clifton Chenier, and spent a year touring with the internationally known “Cajun Rocker”, Zachary Richard.

In 1982, Sonny and Mel formed the band Bayou Rhythm, and eventually added C.J. Chenier to the lineup. The band recorded Way Down in Louisiana in 1985. A song on that record “Congo Square, “ was co-written by Sonny and Mel and has since been recorded by The Neville Brothers, John Mayall, Tom Principato and several other artists. Bayou Rhythm toured heavily and headlined national shows and also opened for legendary musicians including Ray Charles, B.B. King, Dr. John, The Neville Brothers, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Dave Edmunds, and The Fabulous Thunderbirds.

One of the special attractions of a Bayou Rhythm concert came about at the American Music Festival in 1986, when Mel was challenged to a gumbo cook off with Rockin ‘Dopsie. The event was so successful thatMel began to cook at more of the bands gigs. Anyone lucky enough to have been at one of the shows remembers the pleasure of smelling and eating Mel’s food while listening to the spicy-as-Tabasco Bayou Rhythm.

In 1986, Melton left the band to pursue a full time chef career in Chicago. In the first month there, as chef at Capers, he won the prestigious Grand Prize at the Rolls Royce/Krug Champagne Invitational Chef Competition. The restaurant was named one of the top ten new Chicago
restaurants of 1987. He frequently did cooking demonstrations and appeared on various Chicago radio and television programs. He was also a featured chef at the Chicago Jazz Festival, The American Cancer Society Christmas Gala, and Mardi Gras at the Limelight Club.

Melton moved back home to North Carolina in 1989, where he continued showcasing his cooking skills at numerous events and cooking schools and by opening several restaurants including Carolina Brewery, and worked as the Executive Chef at the R. David Thomas Center at the Duke University Fuqua School of Business.  In 1995, he formed his current band, Mel Melton & the Wicked Mojos, and in 1998 recorded his first CD, Swampslinger, for New Moon Music, a Chapel Hill-based blues label. The CD was named one of the top ten blues CD of the year by The Washington Post. He followed that up with Mojo Dream in 2000, on the Nashville-based Nightfly label, and it was awarded “Zydeco record of the year” by Real Blues Magazine. He also authored his first cookbook, Cookie Boy, the Authentic Cajun Recipes of MelMelton, published by Kartobi Press of Farmington, New Mexico.

And now he has released Papa Mojo’s Roadhousehis third CD with his band, featuring guest appearances by Sonny Landreth and Trisha Yearwood’s excellent guitarist Johnny Garcia, on Louisiana Red Hot Records. The CD covers the scale of “Louisiana Dance Hall Music, “with rowdy Zydeco and Cajun tunes, swamp bop, juke joint blues and New Orleans funk. There’s even a special “Lagniappe” at the end from Mel and his thirteen-year-old daughter, Laurel. Esteemed music journalist, Philip Van Vleck (BillboardDirty LinenMetro), said in Triangle Live: “It’s the best record he’s ever released because he just keeps getting better instead of older. His vocal work has never been more forceful, or polished, and his harmonica playing is simply unfailingly brilliant.”

Mel describes the band’s sound and his songs as “Mojo Music”.  “It’s like the food. Down in Louisiana everyone cooks, and they like to stir it up their own way. “As far as cooking, Mel’s working on a new cookbook and doing as many cooking events as his schedule allows. He’s also just completed a TV pilot for a cooking/music show, which will feature Mel at his best both as a chef and a musician. As he states, “When people leave one of our shows I want them to feel like they’ve been down in the swamp at a big party and they’ve had a great time. That’s what it’s all about.”

In 2007, Mel opened the restaurant, Papa Mojo’s Roadhouse in Greenwood Commons Shopping Center in south Durham, NC. Melton has focused his attention on bringing in first class original musical talent and is fast becoming a stopping off point for many acts on tour through the south eastern states. The food at Papa Mojo’s Roadhouse has been recognized as being the place to get authentic Cajun food outside of Louisiana. Sadly, Papa Mojo’s Roadhouse closed in the summer of 2014 but Mel is still spreading his love of Louisiana, its music, and its culture through his live shows, and catering.

Mel Melton w/John Dee Holeman – Chapel Hill Boogie – May 17, 2013

Please Note:

Age Limit

Beyú Caffé is an all ages venue.

Seating Policy

  • Seating is on a priority basis, with patrons who have purchased tickets in advance being given preference. Walk in patrons will be seated as soon as possible; we will make every effort to accommodate requests, however specific tables are not guaranteed.
  • Seating for the first show begins one hour before the first set. Seating for the second show begins 15 minutes before the second set.
  • We can hold reserved tables for up to 15 minutes after the reservation time. After 15 minutes, we will have to release the reserved table, unless we are notified by phone that you want to change your reservation time.
  • Please be aware that parties of more than 9 will be subject to a party minimum of $25 per person for jazz events. This amount will be in addition to, rather than including, the ticket price for the evening, and all applicable taxes and gratuity.


  • Tickets are sold online, over the phone (919) 683-1058 or in person at the café.
  • ALL SALES ARE FINAL & NON REFUNDABLE, unless the venue cancels the performance due to natural disaster or other unforeseeable circumstance.

Tour Groups

  • There are no discounts on tickets no matter the group size
  • Beyú Caffé does have dinner/show packages available for 12 or more with set menus to facilitate your evening. Contact the café manager Malachi Kosanovich directly for more information at malachi@beyucaffe.com

Dress Code

  • There is no official dress code, however the atmosphere is best suited for dress business casual

For Our Disabled Patrons

  • Performance area is accessible and on street level
  • Restrooms are located on the main floor and easily accessible.
  • If you are in a wheelchair please call the café so we can hold specific space to accommodate the you.