BY JEN DE LA OSA
Singer-songwriter-guitarist Michelle Malone just released her 16th album, “1977,” via SBS Records and distributed by BFD / The Orchard. Malone will perform at the Opelika Songwriters Festival on Oct. 15.
Based in Atlanta, Malone has built herself an award-winning career as a songwriter, road warrior and modern-day guitar hero. Her music is ingrained in the sounds of the South, mixing the rebellious stomp of roadhouse rock ‘n’ roll with the raw grit of blues, the holy-rolling rasp of gospel, the slow-motion swagger of country-soul and the organic warmth of folk music. Malone’s new album, “1977,” is an organic, stripped-down album. Inspired by artists like Neil Young, Linda Ronstadt, Jackson Browne and Fleetwood Mac, “1977” tones down the amplified bombast of her previous albums, focusing instead on a reflective mix of acoustic guitar, timeless melodies and unforced arrangements.
The New York Times hailed her as “the kind of singer and songwriter who can jolt things into overdrive,” while Rolling Stone praised her “soulful ballads and rowdy, riffy blasters.”
Malone had already spent decades on the road by the time she began writing “1977,” regularly playing more than 200 shows a year. Along the way, she turned a number of heroes into genuine fans, from music industry legend Clive Davis (who personally signed Malone to her major-label record deal with Arista, years before she launched her own label and kickstarted her journey as a do-it-yourself independent) to collaborators like Gregg Allman, Shawn Mullins and the Indigo Girls.