It's not that the singer/guitarist wasn't pleased with the acoustic folk/pop of 2001's well-received, if relatively low-key, Hello Out There, but Malone felt that having an outside producer at the helm failed to capture her essence. "I was tired of taking control of every aspect of my career, so I was happy to hand the production of that album over. I thought [the record] was beautiful, but didn't honestly feel it represented who I am. It's an aspect of my personality but it wasn't a very happy record. I was feeling a little sheepish and just licking my wounds. This one is not so singer/songwriter-ish. It's more of a celebration of feeling comfortable with who I am and where I am in life."
Currently, she's reveling in a friendly and liberating "fuck you" attitude, allowing her to eliminate commercial considerations from her music. "It's not going to get on the radio because radio sucks. Unless you have a million dollars, they won't play you anyway."
With the basic tracks recorded live in the studio, the disc crackles with a swampy, Southern-rock groove, reminiscent of Delaney & Bonnie, the Faces and early-'70s Stones. "In my favorite songs, I can hear mistakes. When you start thinking too much about [production] and overdubbing too much, it takes away from the overall vibe and energy. You start sucking the life out of the sound and lose the human element. That's the problem I have with a lot of modern pop music."
There's plenty of energy coursing through Ground's blood. "Flagpole," the album's most socially charged rocker, was ignited by Malone's frustration with world politics. "That just spilled out. I get to a point where there is so much boiling in my veins about what's going on in the world, and I feel so helpless. I didn't plan to write it, I just couldn't not write it." Even ballads such as "Cypress Inn," "Camera" and "Moanin' Coat" radiate a tense expectation -- like a lion before feeding time.
On her first release for Amy Ray's Daemon label since the Band De Soleil days nearly a decade ago, Malone has relinquished some of her fiercely indie attitude for this album. "The independent thing is hard enough, but when you do everything yourself -- between touring, writing and recording -- there just aren't enough hours in the day to do it all. I don't have the time or inclination to call up radio stations, newspapers or record stores. ... I own this record but have licensed it to Daemon for a few years, which seems like a happy medium. ... I've known Amy since I was 19, so I feel safe there."
Although Malone often tours solo, the tough rocking band -- appropriately and humorously dubbed the Low Down Georgia Revue -- heard on Stompin' Ground frees her from the limiting singer/songwriter niche. "We call it Chattahoochee swamp rock; cranked up and stripped down. The older I've gotten, the more I've been able to embrace my Southern-ness. My whole family is from here and we're just damn Southern," she says, laughing.
Ultimately that realization liberated Malone from satisfying anyone else's preconceptions, enabling her to create the loosest and most straightforward music of her career. "I was able to be honest yet not so damn serious. It's not as introspective and a lot more fun. And I just want to have fun again."
ooooohhhh, I'm so excited!! I can't wait to see them together!
come on man you know you got a bromance. you probably still rock that OutKast…
Yes, 14 is the correct answer. I'll pass your info along to the group's manager,…