Kenny Malone, a prolific Nashville session drummer whose skittering snare rhythms haunted Dolly Parton’s No. 1 nation hit “Jolene” in 1973 and whose cocktail-jazz groove anchored Crystal Gayle’s crossover smash “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue” in 1977, died on Thursday from Covid-19. He was 83.
A flexible and imaginative percussionist, Mr. Malone performed on recordings by scores of nation, people, pop and rock artists, together with John Prine and Charley Pleasure (each of whom additionally died of problems of Covid-19) in addition to Alison Krauss, Man Clark, Kenny Rogers, Ray Charles, Emmylou Harris, Waylon Jennings and Bela Fleck, amongst many others.
His impeccably timed cymbal work and rimshots significantly propelled Dobie Grey’s “Drift Away,” a High 10 pop hit in 1973.
One thing of a mystic, Mr. Malone heard music in all places, and exulted in it. “Music is in all the pieces, not simply the devices we play,” he instructed Trendy Drummer. “The best way that chords, melody and rhythm work collectively mirrors our feelings. All the pieces we hear kinds a visible picture or an perspective of a spot, a time or an atmosphere.”
Mr. Malone began taking part in the drums at age 5. “The day I made a decision I wished to be a drummer was the day I heard Dixieland music,” he stated in “Rhythm Makers: The Drumming Legends of Nashville in Their Personal Phrases.” “I feel it was the Firehouse 5 again in, like, 1943. My mother and pa bought me a drum for Christmas. That began all the pieces.”