First Listen: Michelle Malone's 'Stronger Than You Think'

Michelle Malone knows how to exceed expectations and her latest effort, Stronger Than You Think, is no exception.

Kicking butt right off the bat with the bluesy “Stomping Ground,” this talented artist lays it down from beat one, with excellent and varied guitar work.

Sweet acoustic cuts like “I Got An Angel,” with it’s delicate acoustic riff and a slinky vocal, and the sadly beautiful “Ramona” are undeniably gorgeous and heartfelt.

But it’s the rockin’ rebel that really suits Malone. Songs like “Keep My Head Up,” “When I Grow Up,” and “I Don’t Want to Know” express just the right amount of grit and defiance.

Malone clearly knows how ROCK! Overwhelmingly infused with empowerment and positive messaging, Stronger Than You Think is an anthem for confidently standing ground and moving forward. You go girl!

Check out this video for “When I Grow Up” and you’ll see what I mean!After being an Arista artist and making a record for them produced by Patti Smith guitarist, Lenny Kaye, Malone became a pioneer of the indie movement. She started her own record label, SBS Records, in 1992 and began making her way down an independent musician’s rocky road. She’s now fortified with experience, having already released 13 studio recordings, played 1000’s of shows around the globe, and had songs used in TV shows like True Blood and Dawson’s Creek. For the last year, she’s been a part of the touring band of Kristian Bush, singer for Country supergroup, SugarLand. In between, she’s duetted with Gregg Allman, been backed by keyboard legend, Chuck Leavell and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and played everywhere they allow music.Her new record, though, Stronger Than You Think, stands apart from these impressive accomplishments. It has to do with looking around at her friends and contemporaries these past few years and seeing the toll that life can take. Hard times often make for great art, and this new record by Malone is no exception. She made this unforgettable album for her friends, her fans and anyone else who’s struggling or suffering. That’s many of us, and we won’t soon forget this music.“I didn’t plan for so many of the songs to be about people overcoming obstacles. It happened organically. Part of my inspiration had to do with several friends who have been fighting cancer and other illnesses. Then there are people whose parents are aging and dealing with Alzheimer’s, so the songs are for the caretakers, too. These songs are my attempt to inspire folks dealing with difficulties. I want to empower them to continue to put one foot in front of the other, to keep on keeping on through their obstacles, whatever they are. I want them to know that they’re stronger than they even know.”This is the 3rd record that Malone has made with producer / drummer Gerry Hansen (Chuck Leavell, Shawn Mullins, Randall Bramblett), and their mind-melding is obvious in the groove. A few of Malone’s other high profile Atlanta friends who dropped by to lend their backing vocals are Amy Ray (Indigo Girls) on “I Don’t Want To Know,” co-written with Malone, and Kristian Bush (Sugarland) on “When I Grown Up,” also co-written with Malone.Check out her upcoming tour dates with the Indigo Girls:
7/17 Minneapolis, MN Weesner Amphitheatre Zoo
7/18 Eau Claire, WI Eaux Claires Festival
7/19 Madison, WI Capitol Theatre
7/21 Chicago, IL Vic Theatre
7/23 New York, NY City Winery
7/24 Englewood, NJ Bergen Performing Arts Center
7/25 Westhampton, NY Westhampton Beach PAC
7/26 Camden, NJ (Philly) XPoNential Music Festival in Wiggins Park
7/28 Vienna, VA Filene Center @ Wolf Trap
7/29 Selbyville, DE Freeman Stage Find out more at

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Laura B. Whitmore

Laura B. Whitmore is a music industry marketing veteran, music journalist and editor, writing for, Guitar World, and others. She has interviewed hundreds of musicians and hosts the She Rocks Podcast. As the founder of the Women’s International Music Network, she advocates for women in the music industry and produces the annual She Rocks Awards. She is the Senior Vice President of Marketing for Positive Grid, making the world safe for guitar exploration everywhere! A guitarist and singer/songwriter, Laura is currently co-writing an album of pop songs that empower and energize girls.