Michelle Malone delivers the fierce spirit that gets you through the darkest stretches of night, pulling you up out of bed into dawn’s first pulsing glow. Seated at a vivid green kitchen table, black coffee steaming in your mug, Malone plays for you on a beat up acoustic guitar, her voice ringing clear and rich over the mellowed strings. You know you’ve come home and you know this time, you never want to leave.
“raucous and jubilant – somewhere between Lucinda Williams and Shelby Lynne comes Malone alternating between soulful ballads and rowdy, riffy blasters.”
- ROLLING STONE
The songs on Malone’s 11th studio album, Day 2, were written at her own green kitchen table, coffee mug in hand, every morning for nearly a year. She even wrote them on an old Alvarez acoustic guitar that never gets played out on gigs, that never even leaves the house. The intimacy of this writing ritual provided the setting for Malone to venture into a songwriter’s most vulnerable territory, the shadowy recesses of envy, regrets, and straight up admissions of failure. Now here’s Malone’s hat trick, in realizing “it’s too damn bad I can’t be anyone but myself,” she redeems every false move, every false start, every horrible, no good very bad day. Even better, she makes it sound like the best wild night out you’ve ever had and then pushes it further, breaking right on through into Day 2.
“When there’s nothing left to hold on to, got to break down to break through,” she croons in “Day 2,” the album’s title track. Day 2, the record, is the soundtrack of a woman’s heart finally cracking open, open so wide that any light hidden by the sutures of past heartbreaks finally shines through and illuminates the present. Grammy Nominee Shawn Mullins, producer of Day 2 and long time friend of Malone, struck the perfect balance of grit and gossamer, making the record sound simultaneously raucous and ethereal.
Shawn took note of Malone’s connection to Day 2’s material right away saying, “One of the first things I noticed about Michelle in the studio, is how deep she goes into ‘the zone,’ as some folks call it…Most good guitar players, even, find it uncomfortable and sometimes take a while before they find their groove, so to speak. But with Michelle, you just sit back, open your ears, and hold on!”
Malone’s fluency of expression and her finely honed musicianship are something of a family legacy. Her mother, Karyn Malone, was a professional singer in Atlanta and when she went on tour in the summers, Malone and her brother would come along for the ride. Malone remembers splashing in the pool and drinking Shirley Temples bar side while her mother killed it in the lounge, singing the hits, night after night. Malone’s own mother numbers among her most compelling musical influences right along Bonnie Raitt, Linda Rondstadt, Mavis Staples and Billie Holliday.
Malone started early, singing in her hometown church at age four and soon after that, started sneaking into her brother’s closet to borrow his contraband guitar. After much blood shed and sibling battles waged, Michelle Malone finally got her own guitar and she hasn’t been without one since. Her mastery of the guitar, 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 for the past few years she’s called a tiny town in rural Alabama home. Living in a place reminiscent of Andy Griffith’s Mayberry, where neighbors literally showed up on her doorstep with freshly baked pies, Malone spent her down time from touring on her porch swing watching the world go by. This quiet place and slowed down pace allowed her the breathing room to write her most exposed and compelling songs to date.
Day 2 is an eclectic roots record with its feet firmly planted in the Southern Americana and blues traditions, and its head in the lyrical sphere of luminaries like Patti Smith, Nashville era Bob Dylan, and Lucinda Williams. Day 2 was crafted with the guidance of producer Shawn Mullins and the support of an exceptional crew of musicians including Coproducer, Enginner and drummer Gerry Hansen (Shawn Mullins, Chuck Leavell, Randall Bramblett), Keyboardist Chuck Leavell (The Rolling Stones, Allman Brothers, John Mayer), Keyboardist Randall Bramblett (Greg Allman, Steve Winwood, Widespread Panic), Bassist Tom Ryan (Shawn Mullins, Randall Bramblett), Bassist Phil Skipper (Tinsley Ellis, Drag the River, Delta Moon), and Marty Kearns on B3 (Shawn Mullins, Delta Moon, Band De Soleil). Day 2 will be released on October 5th to coincide with CD Release barnburners, BBQ’s, and top-notch luaus.
20+ YEARS IN A NUTSHELL
Malone was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, by her mother and grandmother, both professional singers. She first began performing at age four in a church choir, and later learned to play saxophone, guitar, and drums, which she played in her first band at age twelve.
As an teenager, Malone began to write songs. While studying voice at Agnes Scott College, she began performing professionally in and around Atlanta. She left school upon receiving a recording contract from Clive Davis at Arista Records, for whom she recorded the album Relentless with her band Drag the River, produced by Lenny Kaye of the Patti Smith Group. She would later sign with Walter Yetnikoff’s label Velvel Records. In 1999, Malone returned to her independent roots and her own label, SBS Records, originally established in 1987 as Aluminum Jane Records and later renamed in 1992. She continues to write, record and tour furiously and passionately.
Malone has won numerous awards including Best Female Vocalist and Best Acoustic Guitarist (Creative Loafing), Album of the Year (Atlanta Magazin