Slings & Arrows
Michelle Malone has been a force of nature in the Atlanta and southeastern music scenes since her first recordings back in 1988. Briefly signed to Arista Records with her band Drag The River in the early ’90s, she has recorded and shared stages with everyone from the Indigo Girls to Elton John, and is equally facile in acoustic music to raunchy blues, so it’s no surprise that her newest, Slings & Arrows is a rousing call to arms, as timely as the news, but steeped in traditional sounds.
Opening with “Just Getting Started”, which Malone quotes Martin Luther King, Jr over a low-down, ZZ Top-ish guitar part (from long-time Atlanta musician Doug Kees), and it starts the 10 cut CD off like a scalded cat. “Love Yourself” follows, which uses Michelle Obama’s “when they go low, we go high” as a motto for those marginalized people out of the limelight, trying each day to get by. It’s a fierce one-two punch to rally the troops, and one sorely needed in these times.
But it’s not all marching music from Malone, as “Sugar On My Tongue” shows with its Stax funk pedigree, with Malone’s sultry voice complementing Peter Stroud (Sheryl Crow’s long-time guitarist) on a cut that oozes with erotic tension. Her version of the Otis Redding classic “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long”, with Shawn Mullins helping out vocally shows that Malone is equally adept going from rock to soul to blues, sounding at home in each.
The record boasts “This album was created in Georgia by Georgia musicians”. It’s telling that Michelle Malone hasn’t forsaken our fair city for the bright lights of Nashville or L.A., but as someone that has been listening to her music and watching her incendiary live shows for over 30 years, I gotta say thanks Michelle. You keep going high, how about?