Friday, August 29, 2008



Somewhere between Lucinda Williams and Shelby Lynne comes Michelle Malone alternating between soulful ballads and rowdy, riffy blasters. —ROLLING STONE

Talented folk/blues/rock artist Michelle Malone performs a benefit for Durham's space for homeless/needy assistance, the non-denominational Urban Ministries of Durham. This special, solo acoustic show takes place Friday, September 12, at 7 PM in the Parish Hall of St. Philip’s Episcopal Church, 403 East Main Street, in downtown Durham.

The names of Michelle Malone's albums nearly serve as autobiography: New Experience, Relentless, For You Not For Them, Redemption Dream, Beneath the Devil Moon, Lucky To Be Live, Strange Bird, Hello Out There, Stompin' Ground, and last year's acclaimed Sugarfoot. Certainly each release records Michelle in a place and style that builds upon her past and looks to a bright future. Before writing the revelatory songs that fill those recordings, a musical upbringing serves as testimony that Michelle Malone was born to perform. Her mom, talented pop/gospel vocalist Karyn Folmar Malone, let her tag along to shows and Michelle soaked it up. The Atlanta native considered med school while an undergrad at Agnes Scott College; deciding instead to play music—and pay her dues, sometimes calling the street home as she honed her craft.

The hard work paid off and the singer/songwriter/rock'n'roller/folk'n'blues/guitar great hit Atlanta's favorite live music haunts. With encouragement from close friends Amy Ray and Emily Saliers, the Grammy-winning Indigo Girls (and who would often invite Michelle to share the stage with them, leading some to call her "the third Indigo Girl"), Michelle soon found herself opening and headlining gigs throughout Atlanta and mid-Atlantic bars and clubs. After releasing her solo debut, New Experience, Michelle assembled the band Drag the River and started living the rock life. In the buzz generated by Georgia's many major label signings—B-52s, R.E.M., Indigo Girls, Black Crowes—it was inevitable that some big shot mogul would appear with contract in hand—quite literally. One evening, outside Atlanta's Little Five Points Pub, the limo of legendary J Records/American Idol impresario, then-Arista boss, Clive Davis screeched onto the sidewalk and the hitmaker himself signed the diminutive powerhouse on the spot.

Living a paraphrased line by one of her inspirations, Tina Turner, Michelle never did anything nice and easy. Michelle bit the major label lure and, despite promises broken, indulgences extended and excesses expected, Michelle continued creating solid songs, introspective, energetic and impressive forays into bluesy rock and tasty pop nuggets.

Michelle escaped the star making machinery and released several indie releases (the reflective pop of For You Not For Them, the sassy jazzy A Swingin' Christmas in the Attic, and hard rocking Redemption Dream with Band de Soleil). Major label level interest came again in the form of industry vet Walter Yetnikoff's highly-hyped, yet short-lived, VelVel records. Faring better than others signed to the label, Michelle's pop/rock-oriented Beneath the Devil Moon (featuring one of her most requested songs, My Green Thumb) was released and worked just before the label dissolved. Michelle returned to her independent roots with the rootsy rocker Homegrown.

But that's all last century. This century sees a newly invigorated, content Michelle Malone. Grown up but still growing, Michelle's absorbed the musical heritage of her home in the South. Nicknamed "Moanin' Malone" by blues guitarist Albert King, this talented troubadour channels the greats of Blues and Americana. Mix Bonnie Raitt's best vocals and slide licks with the best catchy pop appeal of Sheryl Crow and you'll get close to Michelle's sound.

Long a fighter for social justice, Michelle puts action into her words. Besides playing benefits and drawing attention to worthy causes, Michelle has traveled to Chiapas, Mexico, to witness the struggle of the Zapatistas; ran the Paris marathon for the Leukemia Society; biked eight weeks with Team Earth Challenge from Georgia to Nevada in protest of nuclear waste dumping at Yucca Mountain.

Michelle's earned critical claim in hundreds of national reviews and dozens of "Best Of" lists. Besides her recent appearance on the Grammy ballot, Michelle's many awards include four-time best album (Atlanta magazine), two-time best acoustic guitarist (Creative Loafing, IAC), and five-time female vocalist of the year (Creative Loafing). She's written, recorded and toured with Kristen Hall (Sugarland), Indigo Girls, John Mayer and Shawn Mullins, and performed with a range of top names—including Marsha Ball, Joan Baez, Jackson Browne, Shawn Colvin, Little Feat, Albert King, Chris Whitley, Johnny Winter and ZZ Top.

Michelle's live show is not to be missed—she can make the biggest venues seem as cozy as a camp fire, and an intimate venue feel like the center of the universe. And Friday evening, September 12, promises an evening full of memorable music, talented guitar and harp, exceptional vocals and entertaining stories culled from tour veteran Michelle Malone.

Refreshments (including beer from Triangle Brewing Company) will also be available. Parking is free and monitored. This is a Strings Attached Production; all profits benefit Urban Ministries of Durham. Advance tickets are on sale now for $15 ($8 for children 6-12; younger childcare available). Checks should be made payable and sent to: Strings Attached Productions PO Box 218 Durham NC 27702. Tickets paid for in advance will be available at the “will call” table at 6:30 PM on the evening of the concert, September 12. Day of show tickets, if available, are $20. Call 682-5708 for more information.


The mission of Urban Ministries of Durham is to provide food, clothing, shelter, and counseling to neighbors in need. Every night, UMD provides emergency shelter for up to 150 persons without homes. Every day it serves 350-400 meals to hungry people. An additional 350-400 persons receive groceries for in-home preparation every month. And UMD’s clothing closet provides clothes to 180-220 each month. Through its vision as a faith-based service organization recognized for excellence in serving the emergency needs of poor people, Urban Ministries of Durham strives to create a welcoming, caring, and compassionate environment that affirms the dignity of its guests, donors, volunteers, and staff. For more information, visit


Formatted press release here:
Event posters: JPG
5.5x8.5 PDF
8.5x11 PDF
11x17 PDF

Urban Ministries of Durham:
Michelle Malone or
Strings Attached/St. Philip's:

Jonah Kendall, Rector, Saint Philip's Episcopal Church
Rebekah Radisch, Strings Attached, St. Philip's Episcopal Church

A Strings Attached Production (ASAP)