|Photo credit: Dina Regine|
|Photo credit: Sam Henriques|
|Photo credit: Carie Ofori|
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Michelle Malone’s Acoustic Winter
Michelle Malone’s Acoustic Winter is just what the doctor ordered for dark and cold days without being at all prescriptive. Instead of being that boisterous friend who insists you brighten up and ditch your winter blues – you know the kind that drags you out to vapid parties and when that fails, douses you in the glare of a sun lamp and puts on a loud Salsa station - Acoustic Winter is the friend who curls up beside you in the dark. Each song, from the soaring “Home” to the ethereal “Mirror Ball,” exudes warmth and wisdom while conveying an intimate knowledge of life’s deepest loves and losses. Like echoing harmonics, these central themes resonate throughout the record, providing Acoustic Winter with a mesmerizing continuity of mood - the rare kind achieved by records like Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks and Ray LaMontagne’s Till The Sun Turns Black. Acoustic Winter is Malone’s most stripped down recording to date and it reveals a songwriter and a musician at the top of her game. However, it is Acoustic Winter’s sheer vulnerability that stands out as truly breathtaking.
Malone started making music early, singing in her hometown church at age four and soon after that, started sneaking into her brother’s closet to borrow his coveted guitar. After many sibling battles waged, Michelle Malone finally got her own guitar and she hasn’t been without one since. Her guitar chops, her trademark voice, and her songwriting craft have won her critical acclaim and numerous awards over the years including: best album (Atlanta magazine), 2 time best acoustic guitarist (Creative Loafing, IAC), and 5 time female vocalist of the year (Creative Loafing), Best Blues Guitarist (IAC.com). Malone has played every state in the Union and toured all over the world but she calls Atlanta home.
"Equal parts badass guitar slinger and sweet songstress, with masterful lyrical introspection - sublime to raucous.
- GUITAR WORLD
"Raucous and jubilant - somewhere between Lucinda Williams and Shelby Lynne comes Malone alternating between soulful ballads and rowdy, riffy blasters."
- ROLLING STONE
Malone describes Acoustic Winter as a record she just “had to get out of [her] system.” This past fall the songwriter found herself meditating on losses and heartaches, her own and those that loved ones had endured during the year. Autumn, a time when Michelle typically finds herself getting “down and dark,” was the perfect season for this introspective record to bloom. Initially, it began as a series of acoustic demos for a possible EP – just Michelle and band mate, Ben Holst, tinkering around at Southern Tracks, one of Atlanta’s most storied and historic studios. When Michelle tracked the vocals and guitars on those first few tracks she had no idea they were going to be the final ones released on a record. Hearing some piano parts, she hunted and pecked around until they sounded right – figuring she would get a real pianist to re-record them later. When that opportunity finally came, Michelle decided mostly in favor of her original parts. She realized that their simplicity complemented the songs and that anything else would offset the stark beauty of her novice playing. Producer Gerry Hansen worked with Michelle to craft the sparse and delicate production that perfectly supports the songs rather than overpowering them. It sounds like Michelle’s playing her 1966 Gibson J45 right across from you, the sound as warm and resonant as in a living room performance. Her soulful voice is at turns ringing and hushed, as if this intimate performance were just for you.
Acoustic Winter features Michelle’s first instrumental track, “A Walk in The Woods,” an intricate guitar piece with classical and folk elements. It pays homage to acoustic guitar greats like Bert Jansch and Lindsey Buckingham all the while still sounding distinctly original. Michelle’s Taylor 12 String, a gift from a fan, is also featured prominently on Acoustic Winter. Michelle says that whenever she plays it, she’s reminded of the kindness of people, of how good we can be to each other, and that she pours this awareness into the music. In other words, she plays from the heart. She also plays like a pro, achieving a sound as clean as Jimmy Page on “Over the Hills and Far Away” and David Gilmour on “Wish You Were Here.” Acoustic Winter is a treat for guitar aficionados.
Acoustic Winter is set for release on February 4th, right in the middle of what is often the coldest stretch of winter. This is an appropriate release date for an album that epitomizes the best things about our most difficult seasons. They are a time for drawing in what we hold most dear and letting go of everything else. This album provides the soundtrack for such times and offers the listener companionship in and of itself.
Michael*#39;s Music Blog February 2014 (link)
Access Atlanta concert review January 2014 (link)
Atlanta Music Guide December 2013 (link)
Bay Reprter July 2013 (link)
Baltimore Out Loud June 2013 (link)
The Alternate Root June 2013 (link)
After Ellen.com May 2013 (link)
The Red & Black April 2013 (link)
Access Atlanta April 2013 (link)
Atlanta Music Guide April 2013 (link)
Go Upstate March 2013 (link)
AL.com February 2013 (link)
Georgia Music Mag February 2013 (link)
Atlanta Music Guide October 2012 (link)
Rustzine October 2012 (link)
Guitar World September 2012 (link)
AL.com (Bon Iver cites Michelle) September 2012 (link)
Guitar World September 2011 (link)
The Daily Times July 2011 (link)
Knoxville News March 2011 (link)
Twangville best of 2009 December 2009 (jpg image)
About.com November 2009 (link)
Citizen Times November 2009 (link)
Curve Magazine November 2009 (DPF)
Rock and Theology October 2009 (link)
Hippo Press October 2009 (PDF)
Examiner.com October 2009 (link)
PopMatters July 2009 (PDF)
Metromix Atlanta June 2009 (PDF)
Twangville March/April 2009 (PDF)
Atlanta Journal Constitution April 2009 (PDF)
Atlanta Music Guide April 2009 (PDF)
Blurt April 2009 (PDF)
Daily News (McKeesport PA) April 2009 (PDF)
Omaha Blues Society April 2009 (PDF)
Pacific Street Blues April 2009 (PDF)
Performing Songwriter March 2009 (PDF)
Philadelphia Gay News 7 April 2009 (PDF)
Providence Journal 9 April 2009 (PDF)
Advocate.com April 2009 (PDF)
Indy Week April 2009 (PDF)
Paste 3 April 2009 (PDF)
Billboard April 2009 (PDF)
DLN 6 April 2009 (PDF)
Edge April 2009 (PDF)
Metromix Greenville April 2009 (PDF)
NoDepression.com April 2009 (Video interview)
Sovo 27 March 2009 (PDF)
"on Acoustic Winter, Malone creates gorgeous, gentle, personal songs that showcase her pristine vocal qualities and depth"
- Atlanta Music Guide
"Equal parts badass guitar slinger and sweet songstress, with masterful lyrical introspection - sublime to raucous."
- Guitar World
"The kind of singer and songwriter who can jolt things into overdrive."
- New York Times
"raucous and jubilant - somewhere between Lucinda Williams and Shelby Lynne comes Malone alternating between soulful ballads and rowdy, riffy blasters."
- Rolling Stone
"*4 out of 5 Bunnies*... on this loose and blues-stoked new album, Malone churns up those Southern roots with the vigor of Lucinda Williams while embracing her inner Keith Richards."
"The soul of a bluesman, the heart of a folk singer, and the guts of a rock and roll star all wrapped up in one fiery bad ass”
- Nashville Rage
"From the bluesy growling on Chicken Lickin Boogie to the sweet crooning of Shine, Michelle Malone shows remarkable range on her new record. And Wasted On You is a breakout hit waiting to happen."
- Michael Dunaway, Paste Magazine
"Equal parts badass guitar slinger and sweet songstress, Michelle Malone artfully balances her penchant for ripping it through the roof with masterful lyrical introspection and vocals that range from sublime to raucous. Day 2 is the kind of album you can listen to over and over again…and I did!"
- Laura Whitmire, Guitar World
"When Michelle first called me about producing her new record, I didn't even have to think about it. For more than twenty years she's been one of my favorite singer/songwriters and guitar players. And one of my favorite people. I would be honored!"
- Shawn Mullin
“Malone’s blazing blend of slide and amped up country twang is equal parts ZZ Top and Willie Nelson, and her band fits on a huge stage at a European blues festival just as well as they do at a rundown honky tonk in Texas.”
- Guitar World
Michelle Malone¹s gritty, bluesy guitar playing, introspective and thoughtful lyrics and soulful vocals make her a superstar in every sense of the word.
- Mike Breen, Cincinnati City Beat
"Debris, Malone’s slide-guitar-punctuated collection of reckless youth, stalkers and one-night stands is raw Americana, a fist-in-the-face retort to the Stones’ Some Girls, 30 years on."
- The Hippo Press
"Debris" is simply an excellent piece of work.
- Metromix Atlanta
"'Debris' is an instant classic."
"this is an excellent rock n’ roll record in the finest sense! Malone has a sharp Southern rock flavor akin to the Black Crowes and Tom Petty. She plays a lyrically rich guitar style under the influence of Keith Richards; Her songwriting shows great texture and depth. Michelle Malone’s “overnight success” could easily become the surprise gig for the summer of ’09. yea, it's THAT good."
- Omaha Blues Society
"A proper American cocktail that'’s best drunk straight up."
Whether moanin' at midnight and howlin' at the delta moon, or serving up a steamy blend of Tom Pettyesque twang-pop and Creedence Clearwater choogle, Malone's the sexiest, most swaggering-est gal rocker on the goddam planet right now.
- Blurt Magazine
"'Debris' from her sharply etched 10th album of the same name. Think Bonnie Raitt bedding down with Keith Richards. OK, maybe you shouldn't."
"Michelle Malone's badass pipes and guitar shine on new album."
- Metromix Greenville
"The first four songs on Moanin' Michelle Malone's new CD, Debris, are the four best blues songs you'll hear this year. It is, quite possibly, the best four-song combination ever put together in a blues album. If someone teaches a Modern Blues 101 class, that person should start with these four songs."
- Atlanta Music Guide
"Slinging a slide guitar that roars, Michelle Malone is a crackling live wire [with the] ability to crank out ballsy blues-rock barnburners and smooth, soulful roots pop with equal panache and passion."
- Indy Weekly
"Debris is like sing-along, foot-tapping, booty-shaking therapy."
- Southern Voice
"Michelle Malone is among the flashiest, most impressive slide guitar soloists working in contemporary blues, often fortifying her vocals with slashing lines, inventive twists and surprising backing."
- Nashville City Paper
"Malone bursts forth like she's got something to prove. She's mastered all the tools of the trade: hook-laden songwriting, a no-nonsense voice with powerful range, tough and tender guitar, and a memorable presentation. She's destined for greatness. A refreshing surprise of an album."
- Eric Thom, Blues Revue Magazine
"Malone's riveting wail and sizzling slide guitar blend sass and defiance with an authoritative presence exuding a spunk all her own."
- Performing Songwriter
"The kind of singer and songwriter who can jolt things into overdrive."
- New York Times
"Why Michelle Malone hasnt knocked the likes of Sheryl Crow and Bonnie Raitt off of their roots-rock and blues pedestals blows the mind. Malone's authentic interpretation of good old Southern rock and hard-edge blues should have her rubbing shoulders with the Allman Brothers and Buddy Guys of the world. Sugarfoot and Stompin' Ground, are rousing and relentless toe-tapping beauties deserving of a boatload of attention."
- The Village Voice
"Sugarfoot is as raw, magnificent, dirty and low down as anything you'll ever want to hear in blues music - our blues-breaker CD for the week"
- Dan "Elwood" Akroyd, House of Blues Radio Hour
"Raucous and sinewy guitar leads - sensual, raspy vocals - Malone has become a master at mixing blues and Americana"
- Guitar Player
"4 out of 5 Bunnies... on this loose and blues-stoked new album, the rough-and-tumble Malone embraces her inner Keith Richards while churning up those Southern roots with the vigor of Lucinda Williams."
- Playboy Magazine
"A troubadour with grit and enough accessibility to warrant widespread acceptance."
- Billboard Magazine
"An exceptional voice capable of smoking langour and howling catharsis."
- The Washington Post
"Sugarfoot'll take you down to the crossroads and send you back dazed, disheveled and half-naked."