I vividly remember being a sophomore in college the first time I heard Michelle Malone. She and her band Drag the River had just released “Relentless” and I wore the CD out because I spun it so often. I was convinced that she was bound for stardom and I’d be able to say “I knew her way back when.” Well, 25 years have passed and Malone never took that next leap forward, but she continues making quality music.
“Acoustic Winter” is her 12th album and, while not the best record of her career, makes for a very enjoyable listen. As the title indicates, Malone foregoes her trademark electric guitar on this 12-track platter that includes 10 originals and covers of The Beatles (“Eleanor Rigby”) and The Rolling Stones (“Wild Horses”). Standouts include “Beyond the Mountain,” “Where Is the Love,” “Mirror Ball” and “Counting Stars.” If you like what you hear — and why wouldn’t you? — I’d suggest diving into this underappreciated performer’s back catalog. (Jeffrey Sisk)