There are few epithets in the annals of music journalism more overused than "Dylanesque." Say it out loud and just try to suppress visions of denim, harmonica racks and a line of nasal-toned knockoffs stretching from Donovan to Ryan Adams and back again.
Bill Mallonee has often provoked the "Dylanesque" moniker, too. But he's one of a handful of writers that live up to—and occasionally transcend—the idea. The Virgina-born, Athens-groomed artist started in the Bard of Hibbing's mold, writing trenchant confessional and narrative-driven songs in the late '80s for his band, The Vigilantes of Love, incorporating elements of British Invasion and punk into his intense, probing lyricism. Paste Magazine pegged Mallonee at number 65 in their "100 Greatest Living Songwriters" issue, and his solo output in the last few years does little to contradict them.
Live, few performers can get as lost in a performance as Mallonee, who sweats and hollers and cajoles with tightly shut eyes, often holding his pick-hand up, straight as an exclamation point, before dropping to one knee and back again like a rock 'n' roll Jackie Chan. Highly recommended for fans of rambling, revelatory songcraft.
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