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It ain’t nothin’ but a good man feelin’ bad

Lazy Mike Mallon keeps blues alive in Victoria
Lazy Mike Mallon and Annie Mallon stick to the original blues. (Courtesy Mike Mallon)

Blues music is about life. Every facet of existence is revealed by the music – all the pain, struggles and disappointments are mixed in with hope, faith and joy to create an elegant retelling of the human experience.

“Lazy” Mike Mallon has been telling that story for more than 17 years and, for him, the blues never fail to deliver.

“It’s been said that the blues ain’t nothing but a good man feelin’ bad,” said Mallon. “But for me, it’s the simplicity of the music that makes it great. It’s so simple that you have to be a great player to play it right. And when you play it right, well, it lifts you up.”

Mallon, now 65 has been playing the blues since he was a teenager. He explained how he really started getting into the music in the late ’70s and started playing the harmonica and following the old “blues guys”.

“I was still a teenager when I was listening to Johnny Winter, Brian McGee, and others,” said Mallon.

This love of the blues was developing as most of Mallon’s generation were becoming enthralled with the rock sounds of the British invasion and the music of the Rolling Stones.

“Don’t get me wrong, I was into the Rolling Stones too, but remember that when they started they were doing blues, really. Fleetwood Mac was great, but they started with what was essentially Chicago Blues.”

Mallon has passed his love of Blues on to his daughter Annie (who before recently transitioning was billed as Carson) and together they play with Mallon’s band The Rhythm Kings.

“Now we’re Queen Annie and the Rhythm Kings, or Lazy Mike and Queen Annie, and the music is better than ever.”

The style of blues played by Mallon and his group is an early Chicago style, drawing extensively from the traditional music first developed in the deep south of the United States.

“Annie plays a traditional finger-pickin’ style of guitar and she is incredible. I mean, I can play guitar, but she manages to find the soul of the music in a way that very few can,” said Mallon.

Based in Victoria, Mike and Annie Mallon appear regularly, either as a duo or with the Rhythm Kings and Mallon is currently working on a new album. His music has garnered more than a few fans and, in 2023, the group was nominated for the Maple Blues Award.

“We get airplay all over the world,” said Mallon. “I’ve received emails from folks in England, Germany … all over … and it’s great to think that we’re reaching folks all over.

“We still play a lot of the original blues standards, but these days about half of our performances are original songs. But we’ve kept to the original style. It’s what we love.”

“Jimmy Vaughn used to say that there’s two kinds of music… the kind you like and the kind you don’t like,” added Mallon. “We play what we like.”

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