Michelle Malone was part of the Atlanta music scene that evolved from the Indigo Girls’ success, enjoying national attention for the music of Shawn Mullins, Tinsley Ellis, and Drivin N Cryin, with her band at the time, Drag the River. The confluence of blues-tinged Southern music at the time made for an exciting music scene, that was later replaced by the still-dominant hiphop scene. Atlanta is a weird place filled with temporary residents who are not from the area, but it is also a collection of neighborhoods with their own identities and people who are part of the arts culture and give different places their distinct vibes. It is from the latter community that Michelle 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.
When Malone decided to record her most recent album, Day 2, she called upon her long-time friend, Shawn Mullins, to produce. Mullins and Malone collaborated to include their friends in the project, including Gerry Hansen (as co-producer), Phil Skipper, Tom Ryan, Trish Land, Chuck Leavell, Marty Kearns, Glen Matullo, and Randall Bramblett. Pretty much everyone who has ever been in the Atlanta roots scene has played with one or more of these stellar musicians. Malone knew her songs and vision were in excellent hands, and sought out their ideas and guidance in the recording process.
Currently, Day 2 is available in limited release directly from Malone’s website. She has released music within the spectrum of independent to labels and back again, finding the “new normal” DIY allows the artist to retain creative control. Michelle Malone plays regularly, both solo and with her band. If you get a chance to see her, you should try to catch a show in each setting, as the songs adapt to the venue, and bring fresh sounds with each format–more Southern than bluesy this time around. Malone is a player and songwriter that should be as recognizable to roots music fans as Bonnie Raitt is to blues rock fans.
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- Michelle Malone Day 2 currently only available for purchase via her website. National release expected mid-2013.
- Indigo Girls “I Don’t Wanna Know” selected from Strange Fire because it is co-written with Michelle.
- Shawn Mullins produced Malone’s current album.
- Callaghan also on Cayamo 2013, as well as another album produced by Mullins.
- Drivin N Cryin “Honeysuckle Blue” from Mystery Road chosen because Malone’s vocals are distinctly essential in this song.
- Sea Level chosen because of Chuck Leavell, the keyboard player most known for his stint in the early 1970’s with the Allman Brothers Band, who also played on Malone’s album. Sea Level, from C. Leavell, was his mid-late 1970’s band that garnered Southern recognition, but not national attention.
- Linda Ronstadt was Malone’s gateway to the music of Little Feat, Hank Williams, The Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly, Neil Young, and more.
- Little Feat quintessential Southern fusion band, defying genre and beloved to many.
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