Michelle Malone Pulls Out the Slings and Arrows

Atlanta-raised roots-rocker Michelle Malone keeps celebrating her home state’s vast and varied musical legacy with new album Slings and Arrows.

It’s easy and rewarding to get caught up in Texas music, from great country artists to the 13th Floor Elevators, or to celebrate anyone from the West Coast in tune with what all happened in Bakersfield and Laurel Canyon. Since her ’90s stint with Drag the River, Malone has pointed back to Georgia’s musical history, from roots music traditions to the Peach State’s impact on the development of rock ‘n’ roll and soul. By culling from a wide range of past influences, Malone always manages to create music that’s consistent with her reputation without sounding like a rehash of the last big singer-songwriter craze. More importantly, she gives us Georgia folks reminders that our state’s musical history maintains a nearly unmatched place in the development of modern American culture.

Slings and Arrows celebrates the Southern roots of country and blues music (see “Beast’s Boogie”) and rocking soul classics, going as far as to cover Otis Redding’s “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” with the “Lullaby” guy, Shawn Mullins. Thematically, Malone sings songs of protest (“Just Getting Started”) and self-love (the aptly-titled “Love Yourself”). The album builds on the work of guitar heroes and rural roots legends while calling the disenfranchised to action – how rock ‘n’ roll, circa 1968, is that?

As clichéd as this may sound, Malone has to be seen rocking the free world live to fully appreciate her music. I first saw her as one of several artists at Alex Cooley’s life celebration back in 2016 and have been a fan since. For your own conversion experience, check out her March 21 set at the Rookery in Macon or her CD release show at Eddie’s Attic on March 24.