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Conversations from the Four Rivers Region

Darrell Scott introduces Kenny Malone to Murray

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Last night one of the greatest songwriters in American music graced the stage at Lovett auditorium and what a night of music it was. Darrell Scott has written songs that have become top sellers in the country music market over the years but no one delivers them better than he does himself.

Kenny MaloneWith the lights low and the crowd gathered intimately around, Scott described the setting as “… it’s like being in the living room, only bigger.”

With all of the tricks used in popular music these days to make artists sound appealing to the masses, the crowd was treated to what the art of the song truly is about… emotion, touch, feel and sound. Scott at times took the sound to a whisper while still holding every ear eager to every note. At times his fingers barely moved, his notes on his guitar almost silently delivering the smooth roll from the strings while still exuding amazing prowess from the tones ringing the room. Then, that rich, deep, soulful voice would take you into the song, into the picture, into the setting so deeply that you felt transformed into the relationship he was painting with the tune at hand.

With the ring of a well-crafted song still floating through the room Scott introduced us to his friend. A man that has established the most demanded percussive rhythm to acoustic music known these days. In acoustic music it is hard for a percussionist to become part of the picture without a feeling left of separation. To embed yourself as an equal to the acoustic instrument while still laying the rhythm down is quite a challenge. To steal the show without changing the song… well, please meet Kenny Malone.

This is what the likes of Bela Fleck, Alison Krauss, New grass Revival, Jerry Douglas, Doc Watson, John Prine and so many more have come to love about Kenny Malone. Kenny not only holds the basic rhythm line steady and strong but he also layers above that rhythm a melody that adds to the song without overpowering it. When the standard round of changing leads works their way from guitar to mandolin to fiddle or beyond the percussion is often too powerful to just meld in. Kenny Malone just closes his eyes, smoothly wanders his head in time with the music and delivers an equal lead that can steal the show without the volume that drummers are accustomed to sharing.

Darrell Scott introduced Kenny Malone to the city of Murray last night and those that were present likely will never forget his name.

Here is a little video from YouTube where Kenny is flanked by Mark Schatz. Schatz is well known for his steady rhythm on the bass and earthy percussion so he provides rhythm via the “hambone” while Kenny takes off on a… well, a trash can. Enjoy!

Written by John McMillen

February 20, 2011 at 10:59 am

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