Listening to the albums of Victor Mecyssne (pronounced muh-sess-nee), you'd never guess this guitarist, singer, and songwriter was from Nashville. His stylings have been described by some well-respected critics as unclassifiable, but the reality is, he plays all forms of American vernacular or indigenous music -- everything from blues-based jazz and ragtime to jazz-flavored country and Western swing. Some critics have compared Mecyssne to Lyle Lovett, Leon Redbone, and Tom Waits. Mecyssne simply describes his music as Southern.
Mecyssne's father operated a store where jukebox operators could load up on 45-rpm recordings, so as a youngster he had access to a lot of good music, everything from the Top 40 hits of the day to country, jazz, blues, and pioneer '60s rock & roll. Like a lot of young kids, Mecyssne took piano lessons and grew tired of it by the time he was in junior high school. Mecyssne counts among his influences well-known names in both the blues and jazz genres: Count Basie and Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong, but also Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson, and Professor Longhair (aka Henry Roland Byrd). Yet he also cites the great American slice-of-life photographers Robert Frank and Elliot Erwitt as influences on his music, too. In a biography accompanying his Sweetfish Records release Hush Money, Mecyssne says: "Four great musical forms were born and bred in the South -- blues, jazz, country, and rock & roll. While all these forms are now global, their genesis, physically and spiritually, was in the American South. Throw 'em in a pot, turn it up on high, and stir it all together."
He spent much of the 1990s playing in and around Nashville and touring the South and Midwest with his group, the Ragtops. But the reality of the studio scene in Nashville prevented Mecyssne from getting out on the road too much with his bandmates, most of whom were in-demand studio musicians in Nashville. By the early '90s, he'd been playing guitar for years, but he didn't develop as a songwriter until 1993, when he returned to Nashville after some time away and found his muse. Not surprisingly, his original songs stem from his above-named musical heroes. His albums include Personal Mercury (1995), Hush Money (1998), and Skinnybones (2001), with Hush Money being the most easily available. In 2004, Mecyssne changed his last name to Anthony. The singer/songwriter, photographer, musician, and actor moved to British Columbia, Canada, in 2007 from Tennessee's Cumberland County. He continues to develop new audiences and perform in British Columbia.