Players – Artist Spotlight

StonewallWho: Stonewall
What: Old school power trio with a metal edge
Sounds like: Stone Temple Pilots, Mountain and Metallica

Stonewall presents an energetic hybrid of metal and melody.  Live, they are one of the hardest rocking outfits around.  For many years, the were quite literally the band to beat, as several “battle of the bands” contestants left in their musical dust could well attest.

Last year, the Vermont band released its first full-length album, “What If?”   It was definitely worth the wait, drawing comparisons to the blues-rock fusion of early Led Zeppelin and the post-millennial angst of Alice in Chains.  Lead guitarist Josh Parker handles the vocals with a moaning baritone, which hovers just above a growl.  Drummer Ryan Young and six-string bassist Philip Chiu provide a brawny rhythm section

If they’re reminiscent of anyone, it’s bands whose heyday came long before anyone in the band was born.  The James Gang, Mountain and Three Man Army – the youngsters in Stonewall may not know these relics by name, but be assured their spirit lives in their music.

“What If?” was several years in the making, but Stonewall reportedly has new songs in the works.  Hopefully, a follow-up won’t take so long.

Upcoming gigs:

Friday, Oct. 2 – Imperial Lounge, Claremont
Friday, Oct. 16 – Blue Shamrock, Lowell, Mass.
Saturday, Oct. 17 – Paingivers Ball, Claremont Moose Lodge
Saturday, Nov. 7 2009 – Shenanigans, White River Junction
Thursday, Nov. 19 – Landmark College, Putney, Vermont
Friday, Dec. 4 – Imperial Lounge, Claremont

Beyond – Worth driving out of town

MichelleMaloneCapitol Center for the Arts
44 South Main Street
Concord, NH

Distance: 59 miles
Why: Michelle Malone opening for the Indigo Girls
When: Sunday, October 4, 7:30 PM
Tickets: $12.50-$42.50

How did someone this good stay under the radar for so long? That’s what comes to mind while listening to Debris, Malone’s slide-guitar punctuated collection of reckless youth, stalkers and one-night stands. It’s raw Americana, a fist in the face retort to the Stones’ Some Girls, 30 years on.

The Atlanta, Georgia native has a blues grrrl trifecta going – a howl at the moon voice, harmonica chops and a knack for coaxing killer licks from a vintage Supro Dual Tone guitar (Link Wray’s axe of choice).  With smart songs containing lines like, “the Tennessee river’s just a block away/I could jump in at anytime,” you feel her pain.  Playing live, she stays front and center, backed by just a bass player and a drummer.

Since 1988, Malone’s made 10 solo albums, and worked with some industry heavyweights.  Clive Davis signed her first band, Drag the River, to Arista in 1990, and Walter Yentikoff had her under contract for a time.

She must have learned her lesson – now she runs her own label.