Americana Highways presents this video premiere of Michelle Malone’s song “Not Who I Used To Be” from her forthcoming album 1977 (BFD/the Orchard) due to be released on April 22nd. 1977 was recorded at Bakos Amp Works in Atlanta; engineered and mixed by Jeff Bakos; and produced byMichelle Malone.
“Not Who I Used To Be” is Michelle Malone on vocals, guitar, and harmonica; Doug Kees on guitar; Gerry Hansen on drums; Trish Land on percussion; Matt Stallard on bass; Neal Wauchope on keys; and Eliot Bronson on backing vocals. The song waswritten by Michelle Malone and Elliot Bronson.
The video was directed by Paul Warner, and appears just beneath this chat we had with Michelle Malone.
Americana Highways: What was the recording session like for this song? Any stories in particular about recording this song?
Michelle Malone: I’ve come to realize i’ve changed so much in recent years, and I feel that it’s likely that everyone has to some degree. A lot of the songs on this album were written as therapy to comfort myself, and I figure if they make me feel better, then they’ll be good healing medicine for everyone.
Recording in GA and supporting locally is incredibly important to me – there are amazingly talented musicians here who are cut from the same cloth as I am, and we get the Georgia sound. It’s connected to the clay and the pines and our musical roots.
We recorded live in the studio to get an organic honest take. i would sit on the couch and show them the song, and we would figure it out on acoustic guitars while the drummer would listen or tap sticks on the couch. Parts would start to gel, and we would do a take – work out a few kinks in the arrangement, and the basic track would magically appear – when it works, it’s exhilarating! Not who I used to be went down in about 2 or 3 takes, which helps keep it fresh and in the moment. I don’t send the songs in advance to the musicians so no one knows them- not even me, really- at that point, they’re basically sketches. I like to work in the moment and let the songs tell me what they want. It’s my job to pay attention and give them what they need, especially since I’m producing the record.
“Not Who I Used To Be” feels like a great song to drive to…it’s warm, contemplative, inviting and dreamy.
AH: “Not Who I Used to Be” is a very poignant song. Can you give us some more background on that track in particular?
MM: I wrote it with Eliot Bronson who is a singer songwriter here in Atlanta – he also sang backing vocals on it. I really enjoy writing with him- we wrote a few together that appeared on my last record, as well. We seem to have similar sensibilities and classic 70’s singer songwriter influences. So he sometimes comes over to the house for a hang and a song. We knocked this one out pretty quickly, probably because we had both been going through some difficulties in our lives. I remember I had been doing some hard touring in recent years, and i was pretty emotionally and physically beat up from it all. I generally felt that I was not the same person, because I was just so spent. This was Feb 2020…before things really got nuts!
AH: What do you do in your down time lately for soul restoration?
MM: I’ve been reading a lot, listening to 70’s music and walking in the woods. I also have a few side projects that I created that take up a lot of what was down time – i like to stay busy. My holiday band is the Hot Toddies, and my new project is Canyonland – we play the songs of 70s laurel canyon. I have only recently learned the joy of playing in a cover band – it makes me so happy!
AH: Can you give the readers some record recommendations of albums that you’re really into lately?
MM: I’ve been listening to everything from Linda Ronstadt Simple Dreams and Prisoner in Disguise to Led Zeppelin 2 and 3, Neil Young Comes A Time and Harvest, Jackson Browne Late for the Sky and Running on Empty to Fleetwood Mac Rumours. I looked to music for comfort in the past few years – well, probably my whole life – but when life started to get really stressful, I returned to my roots which took me back to a time when life was simple and safe. So when I started writing for this record, my music came out in this acoustic based, warm and inviting singer songwriter vein, which is a big reason why I called it 1977.
AH: What acts have you enjoyed touring with the most?
MM: They’re all great! how do you choose between Gregg Allman, the Indigo Girls or any of the other talented kind folks who work so hard at their craft and make so many happy?! I just love playing music anywhere anytime. Its my passion, my joy, and my therapy. I am more grateful now for all my musical cohorts and opportunities than I have ever been, and that the work just keeps rolling in!
Thanks for chatting with us Michelle! Enjoy this combination of electric rock on a mid-tempo foundation and reflective lyrics courtesy of Michelle Malone. You can feel the reminiscent throwback to the late ’70s all the way down to your bones. Are any of us who we used to be?
Pre-order here: https://orcd.co/michellemalone1977