Michelle Malone is a proud Georgia singer/songwriter and guitar slinger who is stirred up about things on her upcoming release, Slings and Arrows, and she is right up front about it. Since she is so good at what she does, you’re pretty much guaranteed to enjoy it while you are listening and think about it when it’s done. There are some tough subjects here, but despite whatever hardships may have inspired most of these songs, Malone’s spirit shines through.
“The past year seemed to alternate between darkness and light,” Malone reflects in the press release. “It’s kind of been the arc of my life in general, but even more so over the past year. In a very real sense, this album is a microcosm of issues that I’ve encountered, and in writing this record, it became a kind of therapy. It helped change my perspective, and I suspect that there are messages here that can offer affirmation to others as well.”
Delving into the songs,”Just Getting Started” is a driving motivational number while “Love Yourself,” is a rocker with the message that “You can’t love nobody until you love yourself,” and we need forgiveness and unification, even on a national level.
Next is “Sugar On My Tongue,” a love song with a soul groove. It’s followed by “Beast’s Boogie,” about a musician who has passed on. It is a raucous boogie with a touching story.
Then comes a cover, and what a cover! It’s a duet with fellow Georgian Shawn Mullins on the perennial classic “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long.” The mesh of Malone’s and Mullen’s voices is simply perfect and this song alone is worth the cost of the album.
“Fox and the Hound” is an exciting rocker with some amazing slide guitar from Malone, reminding us in case we somehow forgot that she is a master of that, too.
“Civil War” is a brittle song about abuse and fighting back. Malone does not flinch from the subject, here or in “Matador,” another song of betrayal and hurt.
Then comes”The Flame” a soaring ballad about losing everything but hope, while “Boxing Gloves” is a triumphant song about finding strength after terrible blows.
With the music Malone has created with fellow Georgia musicians, she has made is album tough and truthful yet upbeat, driving and energetic, This one is something special and highly recommended.