AMBER WAVES (Download or CD format)

by Bill Mallonee

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about

Amber Waves is album #50 for me. The songs keep coming. The words and experiences deepen and the next thing I know there's a record dying to be recorded. The trick is to not over-think it. Over thinking anything is the recipe for musical grandiosity. Steer clear.
Still, we're all living in similar skin. Our themes and stories through generations, whether rich or poor, are not dissimilar. Those are the veins I try to tap as a writer when me game is on.

#50. That's a lot of writing, recording and touring. i have worked hard at it. I have plied my trade, so to speak. The "vocation" has opened up worlds, both with & without. I've lived on the road the better part of 22 years. That proximity to the lives of folks all over the US and abroad is why I love the American people, aspects of the "American Experience," and Americana music.

When it comes to this country's musical heritage, I have realized for years now as a writer that one stands on the shoulder's of giants. It is a grand view.

Some of the early albums were released on major/minor labels. But most of them (post-label & label resources) have been simple, independent labors of love, released under-the-radar to a cult of fans who never seem to give up on me. It is humbling. I call that "Grace."
With a shot of oblivion. Shaken, not stirred.

There's strong thematics of grief & hope on this one. Death & loss have been a something to attend to for many years in my life. The passing of parents, the loss of friends. "All the good ones leave the party way too soon," I sing on "Into God Knows What."
This record is about the last word Love gets in the face of deaths (little & large) and grieving.
Other themes:
This record is sometimes about the "failed experiment" of democracy. It is about a joy manifesting in our spirits from time to time, often for no explicable reason. A joy born of something closely resembling a child's naivete. And that "thing" that is born is vital, enduring. It'll flies in the face of reality's harshness & cruelty.

It is about idols that lay claim to our hearts. We were made for better things. It is about a widening chasm between the surfeited, well-to-do who often turn a deaf ear to those who are downtrodden & "kept out of the game." It is about the confusion in our hearts and the weariness in out spirits.

It is about courageously living with incongruities of faith & life where once "definitives" and certitudes once held the day. It is about leaning on each others shoulders, bearing each other's burdens as a way to incarnate a shaky faith.

And finally: It is about "betting the farm" on a Love that is beyond imagining, even beyond our wildest hopes. These days Hope & Imagination drift upon a tempest-sea where the battle to become truly human is played out. And on many (most?) days our courage to hope and imagine are often felt to be drowning.

I close:
Maybe all good art starts and ends in the wounded-ness of our own spirits. I've written for 20 years, album after album, just to "heal" myself. Nothing more than that.
If "Amber Waves" has a "message" it is that our pasts (national and personal) are full of grieving, full of mistakes. We have not "seen" nor valued each other rightly. Our national conscience is stricken with a certain wounded-ness. And although our personal & national "pasts" have been shameful, it is quite often that those very same lives are marked by acts remarkably tender and heroic. Our "histories" are full of examples of faith & courage & compassion. We "work it out," as they say.
Love (again) has the last "say." It's all here on Amber.

We live in an era, full of "static."
Love, if not lost all together, is often hard to find, hard to keep, hard to sense and experience.
Amber Waves is part of my journey to sense and affirm that that Love is alive and well. It's an anthem of garage-y, noisy, lush, reflective, jangle-y, transparent, grieving songs
...all straining at affirming the struggle.
Thanks for letting me tell you what it looks like.

But mostly? It's just passionate, heartland rock & roll.

Remember: Don't "over-think it, kids."

peace,
Bill Mallonee
November 2012

credits

released 24 November 2012

Bill Mallonee: vocals, electric & acoustic guitars, high string guitars, harmonicas, mellotron, synth
Jake Bradley: bass guitar, electric guitars
Bert Shoaff; bass on "Break in the Clouds"
Kevin Heuer: drums
Nathan Wall: electric piano

song & string arrangements: mallonee/rose

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about

Bill Mallonee Santa Fe, New Mexico

Bill Mallonee is an Athens, Ga. Americana artist with 50 plus albums, spanning a 20 year career. He was voted by Paste Music Magazine #65 in their prestigious "Top 100 Living Songwriters" poll. He fronted the band Vigilantes of Love from 1991-2001. Mallonee (pronounced "Mal-o-knee") has worked with other great artists such as Buddy Miller, Emmylou Harris, and Peter Buck from REM. ... more

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Track Name: AMBER WAVES (Golden)
AMBER WAVES (Golden)
lyrics/music: bill mallonee

There's a highway washed in brightness with skies of indigo
the desert whispers what she knows
Neruda on the dashboard & the engine's humming true
the rearview held a harvest moon

chorus:
faith is a throw of dice and the sleeping heart is stirred
after ragged sentences you'll get the last word
and it may just be the most golden that we've heard
it may just be the most golden that we've heard

afternoons of red wine with a nod to revelry
the stars came out for you & me
all that remains unanswered and all there's to forget
the best, it hasn't happened yet

there are songs for the beginning and songs made for the end
and songs made for when you begin again
grieving? she rolls in like waves and hardly ever stops
until you learn her lines by heart
Track Name: TO THE NINES
TO THE NINES words/music: bill mallonee

well, the rain & the wind...they are at it again
quarreling lovers...better run for cover
rivers will rise...and to no one's surprise
you're gonna get baptized...one way or another

CHORUS:
honey, you dress up to the 9's
and we'll have us a look around
and the moonlight'll take us
to the farthest edge of town

you gotta trust somebody...so it might as well be me
i surrendered my badge and guns...& the cards up my sleeve
got a lil' too far ahead of myself...and way behind on dues
I ran outta stars...to hitch my wagon to

now you can taste the cup of bitterness and drain the cup of grief
you can find that place where wonders never cease
there's gold in every story...the power & the glory
last words to be employed...

Bill Mallonee: vocals, electric & hi-string guitars, harp
Jake Bradley: bass, guitars
Kevin Heuer: drums
Track Name: ONE KISS AT A TIME
ONE KISS AT A TIME by: bill mallonee

yeah, most of my life
I was just turning the pages
I could never find myself
in the pictures of faces
But people wake from their dreams
and sometimes it is frightening
sometimes it is with a whisper
or bolt of lighting

chorus:
I gotta get to your heart
i wanna feel it shine
and i'm gonna get there
(so, i'm learning to fly)
one kiss at at time

there's not much you can see
when your eyes are shut
not much you can cling to
when your fists won't open up
honey, your heart was a treasure
buried under the sea
and so just for good measure
i asked you for the key

Baby, you bring the paper
and i'll bring the the pen
let's write us a story up
one with a happy ending
yeah, most of my life
i was just turning the pages
now, i'm getting born again
in the finest of places
Track Name: FAITH COMES SOAKED IN GASOLINE
Faith (Comes Soaked in Gasoline) words/music: bill mallonee

Dunno what you heard before you got here
Dunno what you thought you'd see
one thing about faith you can be sure of
It all comes soaked in gasoline
It all comes soaked in gasoline

the foreman's car pulls into Hoover-ville
He's gotta 100 jobs for 1000 men
and 'cause our kids look like skeletons
it won't cost him much of any thing
and gun toting deputy wears a shiny badge
but that kinda justice don't mean a thing
one thing about faith, you can be sure of
It all comes...soaked in gasoline

bridge:
they'll douse the camp at midnight
so you'd better be up and packed
one day something more than fire is gonna fall
when that fella strikes the match

They say the Savior had nowhere to lay his head
and pretty soon neither shall we.
one thing about faith you can be sure:
well, it all comes soaked in gasoline

i dunno what you heard before to got here
dunno what you thought you'd see
one thing about faith, you can be sure of
It all comes...soaked in gasoline
It all comes...soaked in gasoline
Track Name: LONG SINCE GONE
LONG SINCE GONE
words/music: bill mallonee

smoke driftin' from a wood fire
way back in the pines of Carolina...
closing down store...one year more
of coming up short

CHORUS:
hung heads and heavy sighs
winter comin' on
what lil' was left is
long....since....gone

the fields? they're all barren
factory up & moved it overseas
boarded up town
ghosts walkin' the streets

And they all say one thing
back on "the Hil"l
it ain't come back yet
maybe it never will

old ways...old paths
all of 'em drowned...in a sea of progress
history doubles back...to shake hands with you
when you've got nothing to trade on...you've nothing left to lose
Track Name: PILLOW OF STARS
PILLOW OF STARS (Fate & Sad Reversals)
words & music: bill mallonee

pass me paper & pen and a shot to boot
let a dreamer preach a sermon and a fool speak half a heart full
Chorus:
baby, when you love you find out who you are
wherever you lay your head, may there be a pillow of stars
and though fate & sad reversals slow your journey home
you'll get teher 'cause that deal was done a long, long time ago

What cha said with your eyes was more than you wanted to speak
my, my how we use our stammerin' tongues to steady stumblin' feet

I dunno why i rock this way or why i roll with such and art
i dunno why i speak these words to break my own heart
Track Name: IT WAS ALWAYS AUTUMN IN MY HEART (But I Could Not Tell You Why)
It Was Always Autumn In My Heart (But I Could Not Tell You Why)
words & music: Bill Mallonee
     
There's this simple space that lies between
the thing you said and the thing you really mean
And I was hoping maybe God would show his face

but i don't know what he would look like
or would i recognize her
there's so much we'd have to talk about
ah, but would i find the words?

chorus:
it was summer for a spell till the whole thing went to hell 
and really, why should anybody be surprised?
it's always autumn in my heart but i could not tell you why

that book was heavy from the start
it was more than a i could hold
and me? well, my eyes caught your heart
and a glimpse into your soul

oh, to find the brush to render
what our tongues can  barely speak
oh, to find some room to talk in 
where our eyes can truly meet

a 6 string drag through an old tweed amp
healing spirits and breaking camp
and the high desert kiss, of my girl

and God's face is peaking 'round the door
in that high & lonesome tremolo
and in Louis Armstrong's "What A Wonderful World"

Bill Mallonee: electric & high string guitars, vocals
Jake Bradley: Bass guitar
Kevin Heuer: drums
Track Name: ONCE YOUR HEART GETS BROKEN (It Just Keeps On Breaking) FREE Download!/Today Only!
ONCE YOU HEART GETS BROKEN (IT JUST KEEPS ON BREAKING)
words/music: bill mallonee 

It came as a whisper...yeah, it came in the night 
just as you were driving...past the neon lights 
and it was last call...surely that’s enough said 
all that once was given...turned from green to red 

CHORUS: 
One thing they don’t tell you...but, there is no mistakin’ 
once your heart gets broken, kid...it just keeps on breaking 

Another one down...3rd one this week 
reporters speculate...about toxicity 
And it was said that he trafficked...with magic potions 
Aren't we’re filling our holes? aren't we picking our poisons? 

CHORUS: 
One thing they don’t tell you...cause we're good at fakin' 
once your heart gets broken, kid 
it just keeps on breaking...it just keeps on breaking 

All the simple truths...that take you by surprise 
they come into sharp relief...in a certain slant of light 
time to drop you bags...time to pick up your key 
don’t worry tipping the bellboy...you won’t need your things 

CHORUS: 
One thing they don’t tell you...till after you’re shaken 
once your heart gets broken... 
it just keeps on breaking... 
it just keeps on breaking

Bill Mallonee: electric guitars, vocals, mellotron 
Jake Bradley: bass guitar, electric guitar 
Kevin Heuer: drums
Track Name: YEAH, YEAH, YEAH (I Got Faith Like a Butterfly's Wings)
YEAH, YEAH, YEAH (FAITH LIKE A BUTTERFLY'S WINGS) 
words/music: bill mallonee 

I can tell you're not sure if you wanna go 
and really that's most understandable 
there's whole a lot involved in where you place your bet 
and all these reports? They're a little suspect 

taking a stab at matters of the heart 
shooting in the proverbial dark 
you gotta a prayer like the breath of a little baby 
i wish i knew how you felt about me 

chorus: 
yeah, yeah, yeah...not much i can bring 
yeah, yeah, yeah...i got faith like a butterfly's wing 
yeah, yeah, yeah...there's a world beneath your skin 
For God's sake try to be your own best friend 
yeah, yeah, yeah... 

the autumn branches have been stripped bare 
your breath it freezes & hangs in the air 
the wind it howls over bleak terrain 
if you make it back kid, well, you're never the same 

searching for a secret on this path 
always a little elusive just outta grasp 
but the stones on the way have been worn smooth 
so maybe that'll be some comfort to you

Bill Mallonee: acoustic & electric guitars, vocals
Jake Bradley: bass guitar, bass pedals
Kevin Heuer: drum, xylophone
Track Name: BREAK IN THE CLOUDS
BREAK IN THE CLOUDS words & music: bill mallonee

For God's sake man, just look there as the city sleeps
she's all tangled up in her dirty dream sheets
and the storms? Well, they're all spent now
Here is your dusty pearl.
she's such a lonely girl
here is another world...and a break in the clouds

I couldn't find my name on your guest list once again
but the door-man of life just opens up and lets me in
to your room where your tweed is sweet and loud
she is a shiny girl
kind of a solid state girl
here's is your other world...and a break in the clouds

now what i found about the truth is she usually don't get heard
and what i think about Love is she always gets the last word on the streets of this God-forsaken town
that is a shiny pearl
she's such a pretty girl
ah, yeah in this God-forsaken town
she's such a lonely girl
kinda of a dusty pearl
here is your other world....and break in the clouds
Track Name: WHAT YOU TAKE & WHAT YOU LEAVE BEHIND
WHAT YOU TAKE (AND WHAT YOU LEAVE BEHIND)
words & music: Bill Mallonee

Between the clear as day and the wonderfully oblique 
'tween the dross in your veins and the treasure you still seek 
the span of years that reaches here to the skies 
what you take and what you leave behind 

between what you've seen and what your lips can tell 
between the stuff if the holy and the hard sell 
it occurs to you it was all gentle on your mind 
what you take and what you leave behind 

between the counterfeit & the mother of all pearls 
just beneath the skin of this tired old weary world  
honey, that kiss of yours that opened up my eyes 
what you take and what you leave behind
                            
Bill Mallonee: electric 6 & electric high string guitars, vocals, harmonica
Jake Bradley: bass guitar
Kevin Heuer: drums
Track Name: WALKING DISASTER (Pale Light of The New Dark Age)
WALKING DISASTER words & music: bill mallonee
there's a sad song for every heart broken
there's a name for every fool in the book
there's a sermon for every occasion
there's a love song for every soul shook

chorus:
On the fault line of walking disasters
well, that's the place fallen angels still fly
and the river of love...well, it still rolls on
long time after the well...has run dry

if you stand and you make your confession
in a suit of old clothes that you stole
offering some vain protestations
wearing some cheap cologne

when the poor you'd hoped who keep silent
show up on your front door stage
and the tent cities bath in the halogen glow
of the pale light of the new dark age
Track Name: INTO GOD KNOWS WHAT (Rejoinder)
INTO GOD KNOWS WHAT
words & music: bill mallonee

take the edge off of the dark days
blunt doubts cruel knife blade
steal the sting out of the grave
at that last shovelful of earth
I swear I've never heard a louder curse
than before they put those digging those away

Chorus:
Let me go down easy...when the box gets shut
Let me go down easy...into God knows what

well, you know i read the book and i heard the angels sing
heard a few sermons on the road from "A" to "B."
you vanished into thin air swept out of this room
all the good ones leave the party way too soon

now, i won't need the drink and i won't miss the pills
But, if i could take your locket picture with me? Now, there's a cure for what ills
so i'm heading for the neon with this girl who caught my eye
and her smile means more at midnight though i could not tell you why
Track Name: YEAH, YEAH, YEAH, (Faith Like A Butterfly's Wings) FREE BONUS TRACK. alt. mix.
YEAH, YEAH, YEAH
(FAITH LIKE A BUTTERFLY'S WINGS)
words/music: bill mallonee

I can tell you're not sure if you wanna go
and really that's most understandable
there's a whole lot involved in where you place your bet
and all these reports seem a lil' suspect

taking a stab at matters of the heart
shooting in the proverbial dark
you gotta a prayer like the breath of a little baby
i wish i knew how you felt about me

chorus:
yeah, yeah, yeah...not much i can bring
yeah, yeah, yeah...i got faith like a butterfly's wing
yeah, yeah, yeah...there's a world beneath your skin
For God's sake try to be your own best friend
yeah, yeah, yeah...

the autumn branches have been stripped bare
your breath it freezes & hangs in the air
the wind it howls over bleak terrain
if you make it back kid, well, you're never the same

searching for a secret on this path
always a little elusive just outta grasp
but the stones on the way have been worn smooth
so maybe that'll be some comfort to you