Village Concerts & Riverviews Artspace Present
Michelle Malone in Concert
Sunday, April 7th, 2019
Rosel H. Schewel Theatre
Doors Open: 2PM | Begins: 2:30PM
Tickets: $15 in advance or $17 at the door.
“Raucous and jubilant - Malone alternates between soulful ballads and rowdy, riffy blasters.” Rolling Stone
"Malone emerges, not as an ingenue, but as the definition of the Atlanta rock sound--Southern, blues-touched, guitar-driven, but still about the song." No Depression
Compared to most musical artists in the Americana genre, Malone seems like a pair of distressed blue jeans amidst a sea of pantsuits. Unlike the surplus of self-professed rootsy rebels, one listen to this woman from Georgia and you know you’re hearing the real thing. Credit Michelle Malone with doing things her own way for the better part of the past three decades, and defying expectations in the process.
She’s had her share of success, courtesy of some 15 studio albums, her own independent SBS Records label, numerous top flight film and TV soundtracks, kudos from the critics and collaborations with a remarkable roster of amazing artists, among them, the late Gregg Allman, Ellen DeGeneres, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, John Mayer, Blackberry Smoke, Indigo Girls, Shawn Mullins, Brandi Carlile, to name a few. Chuck Leavell, the master keyboardist who has backed both the the Rolling Stones and the Allman Brothers, cited her as “One of the best female vocalists I’ve ever heard.” It’s little wonder that Guitar World hailed Malone as “Equal parts guitar slinger and sweet songstress, with masterful lyrical introspection – sublime to raucous.”
Still Malone is not content to simply acknowledge her accomplishments.
A singer, songwriter, guitarist and producer whose music is informed by blues, roadhouse rock & roll and Georgia soul, Malone’s stunning and stirring new album Slings and Arrows (Due March 2nd on her SBS Records) pushes the parameters even further. It’s upbeat, defiant, and jubilant, flush with the raw energy and emotion that’s always been a part of her signature sound all while nudging her deeper into some personal new territory. These songs speak to desire and disappointment, optimism and awareness, all with a driving and fiery conviction.
“The past year seemed to alternate between darkness and light,” Malone reflects. “It’s kind of been the arc of my life in general, but even more so over the past year. In a very real sense, this album is a microcosm of issues that I’ve encountered, and in writing this record, it became a kind of therapy. It helped change my perspective, and I suspect that there are messages here that can offer affirmation to others as well.”
Slings and Arrows looks at a myriad of scenarios from the perspective of the characters that populate these songs. It’s through their hardships that Malone draws parallels with situations she’s encountered in recent years with friends, family, and fans. In that way, Malone offers both a connection and a catalyst for dealing with these universal difficulties.
Slings and Arrows is more than mere meditation or rumination. Malone, an Atlanta native, describes it as a “Georgia record,” due to the fact that the musicians, studios, and even those responsible for the visual art are all Georgians. ”I take a lot of pride in Georgia and the importance that Georgia music has played not only in my music but also in American music in general,” she says. “Georgians such as Little Richard, James Brown, Ray Charles all laid the ground work. Without them, we would never have had Elvis, the Beatles, the Stones - there would be no rock and roll. I made a conscious effort to capture some of these Georgia roots on this record.”
As the New York Times once pointed out, Malone is "The kind of singer and songwriter who can jolt things into overdrive." That’s best evidenced by the fact that the record was recorded live in the studio. It took all of five days to get the songs on tape. “I aim for authenticity,” Malone insists. “I don’t know how to do it any other way. I’m at my best when I’m just being me.”
Produced by Malone herself, recorded by Jeff Bakos and mixed and mastered by Gerry Hansen, Slings and Arrows finds her handling vocals, brandishing electric and acoustic guitars (including her signature slide guitar), harp, and mandolin, with additional support from guitarist Doug Kees (Peter Searcy, Johnny Hyde Quartet), bassist Robby Handley (Lera Lynn, Larkin Poe), drummer Chris Burroughs (Lizz Wright, Chris Duarte) percussionist Trish Land, and special guests Shawn Mullins who sings a duet with Malone, Peter Stroud (Sheryl Crow, Stevie Nicks) who plays additional guitar on a song and Joey Huffman (Georgia Satellites, Hank Williams jr) who played keys on a song.
Malone slyly adds half jokingly and half seriously, “These Slings and Arrows have the power to defeat your blues, move your shoes and put you back together, too!” Who doesn’t want that?