It should come as no surprise that, after a slew of releases on her own SBS Records imprint, Chattahoochee chanteuse Michelle Malone released last year's Stompin' Ground through Daemon Records. Daemon, after all, is owned and operated by Malone's college buddy, cheerleader and homegirl, Amy Ray. It was Ray and fellow Indigo Girl Emily Saliers who first encouraged this singer and six-string slinger to follow her muse. Malone debuted her passionate playing and gritty Georgia blues with her first album in 1988. She then fronted Drag the River (no relation to the Fort Collins outfit) and Band de Soleil before settling back into her independent groove, releasing several albums under her own name on her own label. Moanin' Malone's latest showcases her powerful voice -- reminiscent of Janis Joplin, as well as latter-day Pearls such as Susan Tedeschi, early Bonnie Raitt and Melissa Etheridge -- and her adequate if uninspiring songwriting. "Flagpole" and the banjo-peppered "Honeysuckle Lullaby" are definite standouts in an otherwise lackluster collection. Guest appearances by Ray and Saliers don't do much to spice up the mix, but the record still impresses as a refreshingly unpolished entry in the "rockin' women of blues" category. Catch Malone as she stomps into Colorado for a string of intimate club dates.
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