Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

April 27, 2015

Heather Maloney

Academy of Music, Northampton, MA
April 24, 2015
by Eric Sutter

Signature Sounds' singer-songwriter Heather Maloney shared her CD release party for "Making Me Break" with a warm receptive audience at Northampton's Academy of Music. The concert was staged for those who love without boundaries. Suitcase Junket lone star Matt Lorenz from Amherst opened with " Earth Apple" and other songs from his CD "Make Time." His unique, to say the least, one-man band music incorporated junkyard guitar, suitcase bass drum, silverware, cook pot, and throat whistling.

Heather Maloney merged folk, pop and indie rock soul in an image invoking style that initially set the tone for the intimate "Nightstand Drawer." Her adventurous folk included a beautifully voiced "Oh Hope, My Tired Friend." Her Joni Mitchell cover of "Woodstock" registered high on the audience list of favorites, offering an honest calming effect.

Each number clearly told a  story. [I am made of] "Dirt and Stardust" was a rambling song about coping with life. "Daddy's Dreams and Mother's Heart" made for especially thought provoking lyrics. The lyrics of nearly all of the evening's songs veered close to poetry, with Maloney's musicianship becoming more and more refined as the concert progressed. "No Short Cuts" called for audience participation to set the hand-clap rhythm for flow of melody to this story song. "Flutter" seemed to float off somewhere new, vocally, with a dance among the stars in a bright ray. Maloney's voice swooped and dove through the air to catch the shine. "Involuntary" offered a personal story from a wife's perspective about a war's effect on her husband. "Otherwise" rocked freedom close to the edge with acoustic guitar, banjo, and harmonies. The passionate love song "Linger Longer" had Maloney center stage in her red dress on electric guitar. This was pure sonic beauty.

The lovely "Turn Yourself Around" closely connected the audience with the singer at the close. Like most concerts, an encore is never a surprise. Maloney, along with Chris Freemen Harrison, offered a powerful "Wrecking Ball" followed by a smooth "Roadside Lily."