JD Malone and The Experts
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JD Malone and The Experts

Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, United States | INDIE

Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, United States | INDIE
Band Americana Rock

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"the only problem they may find is how to follow an album that sets the bar so high"

Tired of albums that are produced to the nth degree, leaving a collection of songs that have had all the fun sucked out of them? Well let me introduce you to the debut full length release Avalon, from JD Malone & The Experts, where the vibe is simply a joy to behold. Steeped in the music of the likes of Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, or Creedence Clearwater Revival (actually tracks from both outfits appear at some point across this double disc release), JD and his aptly named Experts serve up prime time rock in a manner that is genuine, heartfelt, at times raucous and at others melancholy, but in the end always utterly captivating. Like the Heartbreakers, the frontman's name may precede the band's, however also like Tom and his minstrels this is a group effort where the compelling electric guitar work of Avery Coffee, the roaming bass work of Jim Miades, or the precise percussion of Tommy Geddes and multiple instrumentations, including 12 string, lap and pedal steel, high string acoustic and baritone guitar, mandolin and dobro from Tom Hampton, are every bit as captivating and vital as JD's acoustic guitar and rich vocals.

Across the thirteen songs that make up the album proper, varied highlights roll out thick and fast, with the insanely catchy "Silver From", a stonking version of CCR's "Fortunate Son" and "She Likes" illustrating the album's serious rock credentials, while the more Americana feel of "Avalon", "Ballad Of Mr. Barbo" and "Emerald Lake" offer a far more considered approach, giving this collection of songs a mature and refined air. Vocally Malone has the authority and range to sound confidently comfortable in either setting, with his tone sitting somewhere between Steve Earle, a more tuneful Petty and on the odd occasion a less pretentious Michael Stipe. His voice remains impressive throughout, however when JD teams up to form beautiful little vocal harmonies with Hampton the results really are quite wonderful. Over and above that, the expertly crafted guitar interplay between Malone's acoustic, and Hampton and Coffee's electric guitars raises these songs to another level through interesting, yet sympathetic arrangements.

Not content with thirteen excellent tracks, the CD also adds a radio edit of "Just Like New" and four "live in the studio" cuts in the shape of the aforementioned "Silver From" and "She Likes", along with non-album track "I Think It Was Monday" and a Petty cover "I Should Have Known It". All four of these live cuts also show up on the bonus seven track DVD that accompanies Avalon, which running at nearly forty minutes is almost worth the price of this album on its own! If the vibe of the CD is a joy, then to watch this five piece interact live in the studio is inspirational. In fact the extra half star needed to make Avalon a no brainer five out of five album is earned for this excellent disc which I just can't stop watching. Malone marshals his troops into giving a simply sublime run through of the four songs already mentioned, as well as album tracks "Just Like New", "Black Yodel" and "Still Love You" and as before all three benefit from the enormous amount of fun that the band are visibly having with the songs.

JD and his Experts have previously released an EP together, but considering that Avalon is their debut full length CD the results are actually quite startling and the only problem they may find is how to follow an album that sets the bar so high and put quite simply, is the best release I've heard in this genre for quite some time.

- Sea Of Tranquility


"equally at place at a dive bar in New Jersey or playing The Grand Ole Opry in Nashville"

Available at record stores LAST Tuesday, we will take a listen to a debut that reminds us of a young Steve Earle, Tom Petty and John Mellencamp; let’s give JD Malone & The Experts: Avalon a spin.

JD Malone & The Experts remind me of that band you stumble across one Saturday night at your local bar that get the crowd jumping by mining a rich catalog of Americana roots, rock n roll with one notable difference; these guys are actually good. Front man Malone is very much a Springsteen/Kid Rock hybrid playing country music with a little bit of soul and an appropriate dash of attitude. On “Just Like New” he is equally at place at a dive bar in New Jersey or playing The Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. With the title track “Avalon” Malone’s strength as a storyteller comes through as the impassioned old soul in his voice is coming through taking us on a journey asking Avalon, “You can save me from myself and all my sorrow”

While Malone’s strong vocals are the clear leader of this bands sound, the musicianship is stellar as part of the aptly named “The Experts” appeal is their obvious musical chemistry. Despite being their first album as a band, it sounds like these players have been together for a very long time.

- Toronto Music Examiner


"JD Malone & The Experts are no lame-ass cover band butchering Proud Mary."

"On their new album, Avalon, JD Malone and his band, aptly named “The Experts”, are not out to invent something, but they sure go a long way towards perfecting it, as only experts do. Stylistically, the band’s music is the sort that you might hear at a backwoods VFW Hall on a Saturday night, drawing on the radio-friendly catalogues of classic American roots-rockers like CCR. Except JD Malone & The Experts are no lame-ass cover band butchering Proud Mary.

They are a rock-solid band with a dynamic leader, singer and songwriter in JD Malone (imagine, say, Bruce Springsteen & The E-Street Band if they played country music), and their songs, as instantly recognizable as they may seem, are all Malone originals (with the exception of excellent covers of Fogerty’s Fortunate Son on the CD and Tom Petty’s I Should Have Known It on the bonus live in-studio DVD). While JD Malone is clearly in charge, much of Avalon’s appeal comes from the remarkable chemistry of the band, including Malone (vocals, acoustic guitar), Avery Coffee (electric guitars, bg vocals), Tom Hampton (pedal and lap steel, 12-string, acoustic, resonator & electric guitars, bg vocals), Jim Miades (bass), Tommy Geddes (drums), and the extraordinary guest vocals of Jayda Hampton (especially on the beautifully wrenching Black Yodel).

They sound like they’ve been preparing for this moment all their lives, listening to the Everly Brothers, CCR, BoDeans, Allman Brothers, Tom Petty, et al, and crafting songs and a sound that their heroes would be proud of. The band is both tight (well-rehearsed but not rigid) and loose (spontaneous-sounding, not sloppy), placing equal emphasis on vocal and instrumental prowess with a good dose of twang. (Contemporary like-minded acts might include Old 97’s, Blue Rodeo, Band of Heathens, and Girls Guns & Glory.) And, they seem to be having fun doing what they are doing (probably the only thing they really share with that VFW Hall cover band), which comes out loud and clear in the music and is nicely chronicled in the live in-studio DVD included in this package.

The songs are easily accessible, catchy and hook-filled to immediately win listeners, while offering emotional depth that keeps listeners interested. On an album complete with highlights, the first three tracks (Silver From, Still Love You, and Leave Us Alone) and the sixth track, Just Like New, are highly infectious stand-outs perfect for the upcoming Summer season, as you’ll want to cruise down the road with the windows down singing at the top of your lungs as if you were discovering (yep) Proud Mary for the first time on your car radio." - Radio Free Americana


"Drawing on the classic alt-country, blue-collar bar stool hymns and no-frills roadhouse rock"

JD Malone & The Experts - Drawing on the classic alt-country, blue-collar bar stool hymns and no-frills roadhouse rock from the likes of John Fogerty, Bruce Springsteen (Tunnel of Love era), John Mellencamp and Tom Petty, this Philly-based band serves up a hearty, meat-and-potatoes musical stew // Release: Avalon (July 14, ItsAboutMusic) // Sounds like: sturdy rock riffs mingle with a dusty twang while the rhythm section rumbles like a well-tuned hemi on a flat, open stretch...the Vermont-raised Malone sounds more like he spent countless nights at some sweaty Georgia juke joint...Grammy-winning engineer Phil Nicolo and producer Dean Sciarra capture the gritty, shot-and-a-smoke basics while letting the Experts add both subtle shadings and a potent kick // What we like: "Sweet Evil Things" is a haunting ballad with Malone's vocals revealing regret and anguish while guitarist Avery Coffee adds bluesy flourishes..."Leave Us Alone" has a bold Mellencamp streak, mandolin and lap steel merging with a chorus of hook-filled harmonies...
- DirectCurrentMusic.com


Discography

"Avalon" released 7/12/11 ItsAboutMusic.com
In the first week since its release ir has been added at 65 radio staions and is #14 on the Americana chart and cracked the FMQB chart at #178.

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Bio

When JD Malone and The Experts entered Philadelphia’s famous Studio 4 to record their first full-length album, Avalon, they knew exactly what they wanted. The Philadelphia-based roots rockers wanted to record a studio album that would capture the grit, excitement and warmth of their live performances. They also wanted an album that would sound well-produced but organic. And they got their wish. With its classic yet timeless sound, Avalon captures the energy and vitality that has made JD Malone & the Experts’ live appearances such a hot attraction on the roots rock circuit.

Malone co-produced Avalon with Dean Sciarra, president of the Philadelphia-based indie label ItsAboutMusic.com, and Grammy winner Phil Nicolo who is among Philly’s most respected producers. Nicolo has worked with everyone from Santana and Bob Dylan to Aerosmith and Taj Mahal and he clearly understood what Malone’s band needed.

“The band sounds really good live,” Malone explains, “and we knew Phil would be able to make Avalon reflect our live sound. He has a reputation for recording bands and making them come alive in the studio."

Avalon, a two-disc set consisting of a generous 79-minute audio CD that includes 5 bonus tracks that are not available for download, and a 37-minute bonus DVD which documents the band in studio rehearsals, not only shows Malone to be an expressive, charismatic vocalist but a prolific, insightful songwriter whose heartfelt material really captures the essence of what roots rock is all about.

Malone brings a long list of influences to the table, including Tom Petty, Dylan, Springsteen, Steve Earle and Mellencamp. Malone loves classic country (the iconic Hank Williams, Sr. is one of his inspirations), and on “She Likes,” one also hears echoes of great Chicago blues. But ultimately, JD Malone doesn’t sound like anyone else. Except for the roaring remake of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s 1960s classic “Fortunate Son,” Malone wrote everything on Disc 1 himself. The bonus DVD, meanwhile, finds Malone and friends putting their spin on Tom Petty’s “I Should Have Known It."

Malone’s poignant “Emmit Meets a Demon” is about the tragic, racially motivated killing of Emmit Till, a 14-year-old African-American youth in Mississippi in 1954. But most of the songs on Avalon were inspired by events, people, places and friends in Malone’s own life. While “Ballad of Mr. Barbo” fondly remembers a dog who was accidentally shot by a hunter in Malone’s home state of Vermont, “Black Yodel” was inspired by Malone’s struggle with cynicism in the past and his desire to not give into thatcynicism. “She Likes” is an ode to Malone’s wife, and “Sweet Evil Things” underscores Malone’s realization that what is good to you isn’t necessarily good for you.

“‘Sweet Evil Things’ is about the things in life that you shouldn’t do, but you do them anyway,” Malone notes. “It could be something as simple as eating an ice cream sundae, drinking too much coffee or drinking too much beer. We’re all human beings, and we’re all trying to feel good; we want to feel good as much as possible, and sometimes, people make bad choices when they’re trying to feel good. Things that make us feel good can be bad for us if we overindulge. Most of these songs are a reflection of my own life, but hopefully, the listener can connect with them and relate them to their own lives and their own experiences.”

Malone has been savoring the pleasures of roots rock for many years, although he didn’t always do it in Philadelphia. Born and raised in Bennington, Vermont, Malone spent six years in the Navy after graduating from high school before moving to Philly. Malone became a fixture on the Philly scene and in 1993 formed the pop-rock band Steamroller Picnic which enjoyed an enthusiastic regional following, recorded an independently released album titled Grow in 2002. Malone and singer Gerry McWilliams then formed the duo Malone & McWilliams, and two albums followed: Malone & McWilliams’ Greatest Hits in 2005 and Los Angeles in 2006. Malone formed JD Malone & the Experts in 2009 uniting Malone with guitarists Tom Hampton and Avery Coffee, bassist Jim Miades and drummer Tommy Geddes.

Philadelphia has very high standards when it comes to music; everyone from Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes to John Coltrane to Todd Rundgren to Will Smith made their mark in Philly, whose musical audiences can be as demanding as the city’s sports fans. But winning over Philadelphia’s notoriously tough audiences was a challenge that JD and company were more than well-prepared for. Their live performances have earned them a reputation for going that extra mile on stage, and when the time came for them to record their first full-length album, they knew they had a lot to live up to.

“We wanted to take the energy and excitement the band had developed and try to grab that energy on this album,” Malone asserts. “Music is a strange, beautiful and powerful thing, and I’m really hap