Monday, April 20, 2009
Album Review: Michelle Malone, Debris
Artist: Michelle Malone
Writer: Rick Galusha
In a world where ‘chic rock’ in now its own category; few really do. That’s not to denigrate the artform – but often the bar is lowered to compensate…but then I feel that way about most “rock” records released in this new millennium. With the release of her last album, Debris, Georgia based Michelle Malone has laid down a wall-to-wall rock n’ roll record that defies such petty niche labels as ‘chic rock.’ Malone has a sharp Southern rock flavor more akin to the Black Crowes and Tom Petty than Lynyrd Skynyrd and Molly Hatchet. Malone plays a lyrically rich guitar style under the influences of Rich Robinson and Keith Richards; where biting counter-licks sneak in behind verses and choruses with impressive subtly. Her songwriting shows great texture and depth as she moves from overt rocker, ‘Chattahoochee Boogaloo’ and ‘Feather in a Hurricane’ to the FM friendly sing-a-long, ‘Yesterday’s Make Up.’
This is not a good ‘chic rock’ record: this is an excellent rock n’ roll record in the finest sense…and these are getting to be few and far between.
As an independent artist, Malone’s songwriting will immediately appeal to roots rock fans albeit ‘Debris’ has a fully produced sound that includes Malone’s slide guitar and harmonica playing behind her intelligent lyrics. On the album’s eighth track, Weed & Wine, Malone recalls a time familiar to most baby boomers when she sings, “Remember when we used to sneak out. Remember when we howled at the moon. Radio cracklin’ with, ‘Sweet Melissa,’ on a steamy summer night in June. You always wore that corduroy jacket; and them bell-bottom patched up jeans. Well baby put’em back on and meet me at reservoir by the statelLine. We’ll cause a scene. You bring the weed – I’ll bring the wine. Crawl in the backseat honey and have a real good time.”
On June 3rd Malone brings her tasty blues-base rock sound to Omaha’s Barfly at 114th and Dodge Streets. With nearly twenty road harden years under her belt, and at least twenty albums for sale on her website (www.michellemalone.com), Michelle Malone’s “overnight success” could easily become the surprise gig for the summer of ’09. You’ll be able to hear Malone’s music every Sunday on Pacific Street Blues – yeah, it’s that good.