At its core, the Subdudes’ character sound is Tommy Malone’s sophisticated acoustic guitar blended with John Magnie’s keyboards, their soulful vocalizing, and Steve Amadee’s stripped-to-the-bone percussion. At times Malone’s playing is so impressive it could inspire a reverse revolution back to the early days of rock and roll when an electric guitar and a real amp were a dream and reality was a contact mic slapped on a flat top and wired through the family phonograph.
Magnie and Malone’s collaboration, “Known To Touch Me,” exemplifies perfectly how the easily identified elements work together for a result that exists only in combination. With Tim Cook sliding smoothly into the place of late founding member Johnny Ray Allen as bassist and songwriter, a string of a dozen or so live and studio albums continues with a successful hybrid of both.
The band usually ends shows by taking acoustic instruments into the crowd and performing family style. Recording live around a couple of large-diaphragm condenser mics and using Malone’s ’79 Martin HD-28 and a Magnie family Gibson J-45 of similar vintage, the band recreates the intimacy of those sets, conveying exactly why their followers are so passionately loyal.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s February ’17 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.