I am a PROPONENT of Rob Aldridge, and his wonderful band from Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Rob Aldridge is the lead singer, guitarist, Rob Malone is lead guitar and back up vocalist, but he took lead vocals on at least one, maybe two songs. Kevin Reed is on drums and Stone Anderson, is bassist and back up vocals. Together they are magical.
Last night at The Listening Room of Mobile I had the great pleasure of listening to our friends Rob Aldridge and The Proponents!
It was a full band in a small room but these guys are true professionals who knew how to soften the sound to an appropriate level and it was appreciated. All four are seasoned and skilled on their instruments. Three of the four are vocalists in addition to being instrumentalists.
What a great bunch of guys. I have seen a vast number of bands over the years and I must say sometimes a band is a perfect match of skills and personality…while other times it is all wrong. A person’s disposition makes all the difference in how they present themselves on the stage…I could immediately tell this group of young men mesh well. They all seem to be comfortable in their own skin, which makes them a pleasure to see and hear.
Another important component of the dynamic is how they speak to the audience. There is a certain amount of speaking done through music but the banter between songs can make or break a performance. Rob Aldridge (the lead singer), was born to be on the stage. It is like you are sitting in his living room and he is having a heart-to-heart conversation with you.
At one point, he shouted, ”Hey who out there is married or ever has been married”…(of course almost the entire audience raised their hands). He responded by saying, “Yea, I’m married too!” Then he used a slightly negative phrase to describe marriage. Everyone laughed and I knew exactly what he was talking about. When you live with someone there is a lot of adjusting to be done and compromising too. It is not always roses and lollipops. Anyone who says it is…is not being honest.
(I know marriage CAN be quite lovely…but it can also blow your mind in the most difficult of times)…I have lived marriage twice and I find it to be sometimes like climbing a mountain without gear, without a helmet and with no training. It should only be attempted if you are very brave or perhaps a little crazy. I will not be taking a third time at bat.
Rob does not sugar-coat things…he tells it just like it is…I respect that. I particularly liked a song titled “Shit Show”….have you ever been in a relationship that could be described like that in certain moments of time? I certainly have and because of that the song is relatable to me. If a song speaks to you and you understand what it is saying; that song has done its job.
This song says, “She takes her time when she has an axe to grind.” “I need a cocktail to make something of this hell you call home.” Sometimes a song just has to be honest…there are those days when your spouse is bent out of shape and you catch a lot of arrows they sling your way and I am not talking about cupid’s bow and arrows of love…
The other Rob in the band, Rob Malone is one of the best I have seen on lead electric guitar. When he starts tearing through the strings he seems to “zone out” and enter another galaxy. I tried to read the pure ecstasy on his face when I looked intently at him for an entire song and I felt like he took me with him inside his head and that song was one wild journey. I knew of him when he was in a band called Fiddleworms that my son worked with and wrote a couple of songs or co-wrote them( when he lived in Muscle Shoals). He also was in a band everyone is familiar with called Drive By Truckers. Rob Malone is well known by musicians everywhere and when he picks up his guitar, a hush falls on the room, no one wants to miss a minute of that.
This band deserves to have hit songs, they deserve to be revered by all music lovers. I hope they get what they deserve. I just feel great pride that I got to hear them in an intimate setting where I heard every word and every note of every song they played.
Look them up robaldridgemusic.com or just google rob aldridge and the proponents.
Buy their music…you can thank me later.
Thank you Rob, Rob, Kevin and Stone (Rob Aldridge and the Proponents),you are great!
Thank you Jim Pennington and The Listening Room of Mobile for the privilege of hearing them.