“Raucous and jubilant - somewhere between Lucinda Williams and Shelby Lynne comes Malone alternating between soulful ballads and rowdy, riffy blasters. ”
— ROLLING STONE
“One of the best female vocalists I’ve ever heard - Malone is an extraordinarily gifted and accomplished.”
— CHUCK LEAVELL (Allman Brothers, The Rolling Stones)
“Equal parts guitar slinger and sweet songstress, with masterful lyrical introspection – sublime to raucous. ”
— -GUITAR WORLD
MICHELLE MALONE - SLINGS AND ARROWS BIO
“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?
MICHELLE COMMENTS ABOUT SPECIFIC SONGS
“Just Getting Started” - This was written as a catalyst to inspire me to keep on keeping on, not only in music, but also in my life in general. The driving beat really wakes me up and gets me moving, and I find strength in the lyrics. These days, more than ever, most of us are looking for additional fortification and inspiration, and music is always a great source for that.
“Love Yourself” - This is the last song I wrote for the record - I actually wrote it pretty quickly the night before we cut it. It went down really easily because the music has such a good groove, and I love the message. I'd been thinking about how self esteem is this magical healing thing that makes everyone who has it instantly beautiful and commanding, and I thought how amazing it would be if we could show the same love and respect for others that we so desire for ourselves. It's a very simple concept and a very simple upbeat song. "Until you love yourself, you cant love nobody else!"
“The Flame” -- “This was a co-write with Eliot Bronson and it finds me at my most vulnerable. It was the result of the division that I was going through with my family. At the same time, it opened my heart up more than ever and allowed me to focus not only on my own needs, but also on the realization that we all need to be more respectful of other’s thoughts and feelings, as well. Compassion is something that needs to be demonstrated and shared much more these days.”
“I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” -- “This is, of course, one of Otis Redding’s signature songs, and it was such a great thrill to have sung this live with the late Gregg Allman. The original intention was to have Gregg sing on the album track, but sadly that never came to pass. However, my good friend, the wonderfully talented Shawn Mullins, stepped up the plate, and the version we recorded not only felt as I had envisioned it, but also is so emotionally charged that I literally cried at the end of the take. I was thinking of Gregg and was being spurred on and inspired by Shawn and the band - it was overwhelming. Surprisingly enough, we managed to get it live, all in the first or 2nd take.”
“Boxing Gloves” -- “This song describes my personal journey through some very tough times. It’s about the challenges of trying to connect with others, but also trying to connect with my own emotions and needs. I was saying that I was taking off my boxing gloves and coming out stronger than ever. It’s about my pride in that accomplishment, and the strength and determination that I found as a result of being more vulnerable.”
Michelle Malone - vocals, slide guitars, harmonica, mandolin, acoustic and electric guitars
Doug Kees - electric guitar
Robbie Handley - bass
Christopher Burrows - drums
Trish Land - percussion
Shawn Mullins - vocal (I've Been Loving You)
Peter Stroud - electric guitar (Sugar on My Tongue)
Joey Huffman - keys (Sugar on My Tongue)
Recorded by Jeff Bakos at Bakos Amp Works in Atlanta, GA
Mixed and Mastered by Gerry Hansen at Creekside Studios
Produced by Michelle Malone
Front cover art work by Trish Land, Graphics by Jodi Hersh, Photography by Michael Nichols and Clay Miller
Visit www.MichelleMalone.com for downloads, merchandise and tour info
Malone appeared on the Grateful Dead tribute album, Deadicated (Arista Records) in the Harshed Mellows with Dan Baird (Georgia Satellites) and The Heartbreakers (Tom Petty).
She was featured in a Georgia Tourism TV commercial with Elton John.
The Collectible card game Magic: The Gathering was named in part for her song The Gathering.
Malone sang backing vocals on southern anthems Straight To Hell and Honeysuckle Blue by Drivin' N Cryin' (Island Records), Shawn Mullins Better Days, Tinsley Ellis' Moment of Truth, as well as 5 indigo girls records.
Malone started The Glynnis Corey Tucker scholarship for girls, and has awarded 3 scholarships thus far - The first recipient is now in graduate school, the second recently graduated, and the 3rd will graduate next year.
She has appeared on the Grammy ballot twice - once for Best Americana Album (Debris) and once for Best contemporary blues (Sugarfoot)
MICHELLE MALONE is an American singer, songwriter, guitarist, and producer in the rock, folk, blues, alt-country and pop idioms. She is also the founder of SBS Records.
Malone was born and raised in Atlanta, GA by a musician mother with whom she toured in the summers. She grew up listening to her mother and grandmother sing in the church choir every Sunday when they werent on the road. She dropped out of high school at 16, lived in the streets and developed some nasty habits. After a few brushes with the law, she went back to high school and became the valedictorian. She attended Agnes Scott College with dreams of becoming a doctor, but was offered a record deal with Clive Davis at Arista Records, which looked alot more interesting to her than school.
After several major label releases, Malone is now an independent artist with 14 studio records to date and an impressive resume which includes high profile performances with everyone from Gregg Allman to John Mayer, the Atlanta Symphony to Ellen Degeneres. She has performed in 7 countries, toured as a performer in the Indigo Girls, in the new band led by SugarLand’s Kristian Bush, and in The Black Lillies. Day 2, produced by fellow Atlantan and Grammy nominee Shawn Mullins, spent 12 weeks on the Americana radio charts and received critical success. She has been honored with awards including 2x best albums, 4x best singer, 3x best acoustic guitarist, Best of Georgia Music awards, and 2 Grammy ballot nominations. Her songs have appeared in such films as Bam Bam and Celeste, All Over Me, Shotgun Jesus and television programs including True Blood, Dawson's Creek, Felicity, and Brooklyn South. Malone's songs have been recorded by Indigo Girls (for which she received both gold and platinum records), Antigone Rising, Hannah Thomas and Vistoso Bosses.
Malone also makes time for philanthropic endeavors such as fundraising/running for Team In Training/The Leukemia Society, and cycling with Team Earth Challenge from Atlanta to Yucca Mountain, NV in protest of the nuclear waste dumping. In 2012 she started a college scholarship fund for girls in need. In 2015, Michelle partnered with Moe's Music Matters national campaign to help support music in schools.
Malone has performed for TedX Peachtree, been honored with a Signature guitar slide modeled and named after her by Rocky Mountain Slides, was the keynote speaker at a SoCal high school graduation, and in 2014 was the rhythm guitarist and mandolin player for Kristian Bush of Sugarland. Michelle's latest recording, Stronger Than You Think, was released in 2015. She is currently writing and performing for her sanity
Malone appeared on the Grateful Dead tribute album Deadicated (Arista Records,1991).
She was featured in a Georgia Tourism TV commercial with Elton John (1994).
The Collectible card game Magic: The Gathering was named in part for her song The Gathering (1990)
STRONGER THAN YOU THINK 2016
Compared to most musical artists in the Americana genre, Michelle 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 Dixie and you know you’re hearing the real thing. Her new album, Stronger Than You Think, is her strongest effort yet. Malone’s unforced, soulful voice and slide guitar playing take the blues and turn them into supremely-hooky roots rock songs that will make you wanna trash a juke joint and hi-five yourself after crying in your beer!
Malone comes by her independence and eclecticism naturally. “I started singing in church when I was about 4,” says the Atlanta-born Malone, “And my mom, a single parent, supported the family by singing in clubs and bars, doing everything from the hits of the day to jazz and blues standards. So I grew up being exposed to all kinds of music.”
After being an Arista artist and making a record for them produced by Patti Smith guitarist, Lenny Kaye, Malone became a pioneer of the indie movement. She started her own record label, SBS Records, in 1992 and began making her way down an independent musician’s rocky road. She’s now fortified with experience, having already released 13 studio recordings, played 1000’s of shows around the globe, and had songs used in TV shows like True Blood and Dawson’s Creek. For the last year, she’s been a part of the touring band of Kristian Bush, singer for Country supergroup, SugarLand. In between, she’s duetted with Gregg Allman, been backed by keyboard legend, Chuck Leavell and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and played everywhere they allow music. In short, Malone has paid her dues.
Her new record, though, Stronger Than You Think, stands apart from these impressive accomplishments. It has to do with looking around at her friends and contemporaries these past few years and seeing the toll that life can take. Hard times often make for great art, and this new record by Malone is no exception. She made this unforgettable album for her friends, her fans and anyone else who’s struggling or suffering. That’s many of us, and we won’t soon forget this music.
“I didn’t plan for so many of the songs to be about people overcoming obstacles. It happened organically. Part of my inspiration had to do with several friends who have been fighting cancer and other illnesses. Then there are people whose parents are aging and dealing with Alzheimer’s, so the songs are for the caretakers, too. These songs are my attempt to inspire folks dealing with difficulties. I want to empower them to continue to put one foot in front of the other, to keep on keeping on through their obstacles, whatever they are. I want them to know that they’re stronger than they even know.”
God knows, musically, Malone did her job perfectly. Everyone who hears ‘Stronger’ will be delighted. Take the disc’s kickoff kickass tune, Stomping Ground, which Malone calls one of her “favorites.” It’s got an insistent rocking beat, courtesy of drummer and co-producer Gerry Hansen, the right amount of lonesome harmonica and a chorus that just won’t quit. Also, it’s so damn universal. The narrator returns to a place where she use to live, where wonderfully-illicit coming of age acts went down, and it’s changed, flattened, wrecked. Malone’s heart hangs heavy as she sings about a magical spot from adolescence that’s empty-except for memories, but the slamming beat and her defiant voice keep it from being anything but maudlin.
As a self-professed Keith Richards fan, it’s kinda kismet that another satisfying track, My Favorite T-shirt, graces this punchy record. The song, of course, isn’t any more about the T-shirt than Wild Horses is about being a cowboy. It’s an excuse for Malone to let loose with a first-rate rant about an emotionally abusive relationship. As honest as most Americana singers are veiled, this tune uses that T shirt to confess why she stayed. It’s so open and honest, it’ll put you in mind of Chrissie Hynde, another great female truth-teller. Musically, however, it’s all Malone.
This is the 3rd record that Malone has made with producer / drummer Gerry Hansen (Chuck Leavell, Shawn Mullins, Randall Bramblett), and their mind-melding is obvious in the groove. A few of Malone’s other high profile Atlanta friends who dropped by to lend their backing vocals are Amy Ray (Indigo Girls) on I Dont Want To Know, co-written with Malone, and Kristian Bush (Sugarland) on When I Grown Up, also co-written with Malone.
So before she starts touring, what are her final thoughts about her new record? “I write for myself first, because I need to believe in what I’m singing. I wouldn’t aim it at any demographic, even if I knew how. I just write what moves me. I believe if the songs resonate with me, they’ll connect with other folks and bring them joy and strength, as well.”