Saturday, January 20, 2018

#315 : Michelle Malone - Slings & Arrows

2018 –SBS Records
Release Date : March 02, 2018

By Phillip Smith; Jan 20, 2018

Three decades after recording her first album New Experience in 1988, Georgia songstress/guitarist Michelle Malone is releasing her fifteenth studio album, Slings & Arrows.  This bodacious record, smothered in southern rock and hard-edged blues, is loaded with lyrics so sharp, they cut to the bone.  I’m captivated right from the start.  With Malone on vocals, guitars, harmonica, and mandolin, her band consists of Doug Kees on electric guitar, bassist Robby Handley (Larkin Poe), drummer Christopher Burroughs, and percussionist Trish Land.  The album contains nine original songs and a fascinating cover of Otis Redding’s “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” which was performed as a duet with Shawn Mullins.          

I happily soak up the wonderful Sixties soul doused over “Sugar on My Tongue”.  Malone’s vocals are smooth as glass, and take on a Motown persona, while the band is holding court in a Memphis Stax fashion.  It sounds great.  The foot-stomping, hill country blues of “Beast’s Boogie” cradles me in its dancing hypnotic rhythm.  Malone tops this favorite with a big juicy scoop of harmonica and a delicious side of slide.  I love how “Civil War” begins so delicately and magnificently evolves into a full-fledge southern rock head-banger.  A feeling of melancholy washes over as Malone beautifully sings from the bottom of a broken heart in “The Flame”.  It’s an amazing song indeed.  In fact, the whole album is plumb terrific.

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