I watched a true WARRIOR last night at The Listening Room of Mobile
As I sat at a front table with all the “cool kids” (Julie, Suzanne, Jeff, Cathy and Christie), I felt proud to be in such company, proud to be included and excited to see Michelle Malone. I saw her only once before; it was last year when she played The Listening Room with her band. She was exciting, energetic and she had the whole room hopping…we all wanted to boogey!
The moment she spoke, it was apparent she was not well. She explained that she recently did a stint on the Southern Rock Cruise and it left her with this Flu-like condition. She said the whole ship was like a long tube of virus infection, latching on to all who dared to breathe. I could not only hear it in her voice, I could see it in her eyes. It was obvious she felt pretty rotten.
Michelle was a warrior last night. She took as deep a breath as her body would allow and she began her show. Her mind was steady working to select the songs that she was able to reach with her range so limited by this virus she has.
She was wonderful! At one point she said, “I apologize to anyone here who is seeing me for the first time…this is not my norm…I am operating at about 60% at best, forgive me!”
No forgiveness was needed. This extremely talented, courageous person played her guitar like it was on fire! Also Michelle is one of the best with the slide..it is a featured treat in all of her shows. If you have heard slide on a guitar before…you just think you’ve heard it…check out Michelle Malone’s slide…she makes that guitar scream out for mercy in a very melodic way! I love the sounds she gets from that slide scooting down the strings of her guitar. She also plays harmonica and on several songs she used a stomp drum to keep the rhythm alive.
Accompanying her was Doug Kees. He played the electric guitar and you could certainly see he has that thing mastered. He is tall, good looking and seems like the most docile, kind guy ever. I could tell he was coughing a little too. It did not slow him down.
Michelle told us that from Thanksgiving through Christmas they play shows of nothing but Christmas songs and it appears Christmas follows them everywhere. They had played in New Orleans the night before and ended up in a Christmas store there, shopping around a bit. Now they stand in The Listening Room of Mobile and Doug is next to a lighted Christmas wreath (she took his picture with that wreath, right there on the stage.
When she began the show, she said her first song is autobiographical…at least 90% based on true events, right now she can’t really remember which parts are the true ones or untrue ones.
She has been a musician her whole life…she learned Linda Ronstadt songs as a child, while perched on a stool in a bar; drinking a Shirley Temple. (I envisioned a cute little girl on a barstool singing “When Will I Be Loved”…one of my favorites by Linda Ronstadt.)
Michelle said she and her mom “grew up together”. Her mom was also a talented musician….they had some rocky times in their relationship but today they are best friends. Her mother dived deep into the church and became immersed in it….but Michelle felt like it was not for her, and she had to keep on moving. She sang her song commemorating their relationship “Preacher’s Daughter.”
She said, for her a song is about how it makes you feel. I don’t disagree with that. To me that is the purpose of every song…to make you feel; whether it be happy, sad, funny or wild…if it touches you, it has done its job.
Through her sickness, she entertained us flawlessly and with great courage. She went on to sing songs about such things as “ready to surrender”, “grace of your heart”, “keep doing what ya doing”, “coffee and cigarettes”, “weed and wine”…she even threw in a Beatles song “Eleanor Rigby” …it was one of the best renditions of that song I have heard…and I have heard it many times over the years.
One of her songs that always touches me personally is “Love Yourself”, (it was requested by Christie Carter Stone). The words are “You can’t love nobody if you don’t love yourself!” No truer words were spoken…it took me a lifetime to understand ...“until you love yourself, you can’t love nobody else.”
Think about the message….”until you love yourself…you can’t love nobody else!”
Musicians stay busier than any other professional I have seen. They work at their craft whether they feel great or sick as a dog. “The show must go on!” They don’t have the luxury of calling in sick. People have paid to see them and the musician must find a way to push through, rain or shine, sick or well.
There was no better example than Michelle Malone’s show last night. Warrior was the only word I could find to appropriately define what she was at The Listening Room of Mobile.
I bow to her courage and her strength. We collectively appreciated her hard work and tenacity to push through her pain to entertain us.
Michelle Malone, you may say you were only at about 60% and you may apologize for your show not being what it should have been…but I would like to say on your sickest day you entertain better than many on their best. Your show was outstanding! Witnessed by the standing ovation and roaring applause you earned!.
Bless you, you little preacher’s daughter…you were wonderful!
Thank you so much Jim Pennington and The Listening Room of Mobile for brining such talent.
Thank you Michelle Malone and Doug Kees for a wonderful show.
Special thanks to the Warrior inside Michelle that saved the evening…it was great!
Check out Michelle Malone, buy her music, you will be glad you did!
Go To: michellemalone.com
Music Mom MICHELLE MALONE AND ME!