CHICKASHA, Okla. (KFOR) – The pictures on their living room wall offer some insight.
Mel Bolton and his wife, Mae help each other fill in the chords of an extensive musical history.
Making a list of stars Mel has worked with over the years, Mae prompts, “Marvin Gaye.”
“Marvin Gaye,” agrees Mel.
“Diana Ross,” she suggests.
“Diana Ross,” he echoes.
“Aretha Franklin,” says Mae.
“Aretha Franklin,” laughs Mel. “She knows them all.”
“Stevie Wonder and Smoky Robinson,” smiles Mae.
Mel learned his first guitar chords from his mother, but by the time he moved to Detroit he was ready to record with Motown Records.
“It worked out for me,” he says. “I practiced all the time.”
He moved with the label to Los Angeles and enjoyed a second career as a session man.
“When somebody knew me and wanted me to play my style of guitar on a certain record they would call me.”
Mae came along later in his life but added her own verses to his song.
She is also an expert quilter in her own right.
Mel noticed her singing at a Juneteenth celebration.
She joined his band but added her own style.
“I can make suggestions,” she smiles, “But he’s going to do it his way regardless.”
The COVID pandemic slowed their musical cooperation in public, but Mel never stopped playing, and Mae never stopped quilting in her own patchwork.
“It’s a mess. She’s a mess,” chuckles Mel, “But I like it.”
Their small house in Chickasha is still an artistic center, a colorful quilt made with cotton strings and steel that sing a tune all their own.
Mel had yet another career in police work serving as police chief at Rose State College and the town of Clayton, Oklahoma.
He and Mae still perform and record together.
For more information on Mel’s music, go to his Facebook page.
For another look at Mae’s quilts, go to her Facebook page.