Bones Malones brings folk to the city

Bones Malones mixes rock, folk, jazz and punk on his latest album Bawl N’ Change. Press photo

Montreal seems like the last place one would look to find original country-folk music, but Bones Malones has been more than happy to break that stereotype with the upcoming release of his third album titled Bawl N’ Change.

Bones Malones mixes rock, folk, jazz and punk on his latest album Bawl N’ Change. Press photo

The local musician’s first album, Barn Recordings, released in 2010, set the stage for his unique sound. Although not as varied musically, his following album Calyptrophone, released in 2011, carried his vibe and soul just as faithfully, despite the shift from the purely country-folk feel from his first album.

Drawing from a colourful palette of musical genres from country-folk to rock, and even a bit of punk and jazz, Malones’ gritty but soothing vocals sing you a story that you’d expect to hear snuggled up around a campfire, or in a comfy log cabin up north. There’s a strange urban familiarity in the lyrics, but the instruments and composition are far from the typical sound we hear from city-savvy artists.

Malones describes himself as musically bipolar, and in a sense, it isn’t entirely inaccurate. His tracks draw from a wide range of style and provide a flavour that is familiar, yet different in many other ways. For this reason it is difficult to draw a comparisons to other artists, leaving Malones as the king of his own genre. His albums carry a style seldom found, performed with passion, skill and careful attention to details.

“Sometimes when you pick up an instrument it starts leading you places. Guitars will make you do certain things, pianos will make you do other things. When I wrote [the song] I had a banjo in my hands, and it just happened that way,” said Malones,when questioned about “Big Blue Lake,” a track from his upcoming album, and the very folksy sounding nature of the track.

In a sense, this response can easily explain the soul the rest of the tracks carry as well. Although this track will be unique in its genre on the album with a sound he describes as  “Appalachia-folky-animal kingdom-ish,” it sets a precedence to the evolution he has gone through since the launch of his first album. One thing that remains unchanged from his first album is Malones’ strong, harsh vocals—a trait that brings a stark contrast to the gentle banjo and harmonica that accompany “Big Blue Lake.”

Many musicians pull their inspiration from artists that came before them, or even those that perform with or around them, but Malones’ approach is every bit as different as the music he puts out.

“An influence for music, to me, could be anything […] The loony bin is an excellent musical influence. So is a police station. So is a shoe on the highway. Things are non-linear, writing a song is like opening some kind of portal,” said Malones.

Bawl N’ Change is being officially released Saturday Nov. 23, and the album launch is happening at Le Cabaret du Mile End with guests Les Deuxluxes. Admission is $5, and you can pick up Bones Malones’ newest album for $10.



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