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about

“Superb…beautiful…brilliant…” ~ Steve Ruff/DownTheLineZine

~ DOLOROSA ~
You have here 12 songs plus 4 bonus tracks. Full band. Over an hour. (And that’s not counting the 4 bonus tracks.) Definitely an “Autumn record.” Dolorosa is a “big” record for me. I think it’s album number 57. (Honest.)
The SongStoryMusicMeaningReality is an absolute obsession for me.
“She”(the album) is reflective, melancholic, but sober, sturdy & strong. An Autumnal venture, to be sure.
The album is over an hour long.
Lots to listen to and think about. A lot to digest, folks.
I know we live in an attention challenged culture. But, I’ve got some brilliant fans who still listen to music as if it mattered.
I am always been deeply appreciative of your attentive ear to the music & lyrics.
I won’t let you down. Promise.
Maybe it’s my way of saying “Kilroy was here.” Painted on a crumbling vacant church’s steeple.
Good luck.

“As simple as it sounds, it’s still true: You get comfortable being who you are…and you make peace with who you aren’t.” ~ bill mallonee
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
This album draws it’s bearings & inspirations in equal parts from 2 points of reference. One is the vernacular meaning of the word “dolorosa” & the other is from the Via Dolorosa.
1. do·lo·ro·so [ˌdɒləˈrəʊsəʊ]
adv. & adj. Music
~ In a mournful or plaintive manner. Used chiefly as a direction.
~ Music performed in a sorrowful manner
[Italian: dolorous]

2.The Via Dolorosa (Latin,”Way of Grief”, “Way of Sorrows”, “Way of Suffering” or simply “Painful Way”) is a street, in two parts, within the Old City of Jerusalem, held to be the path that Jesus walked, carrying his cross, on the way to his crucifixion.

“They say in heaven you’ll get your real name carved into a precious stone
Drifting through all these cities of ruin on your way back home…”
~ from “Cities of Ruin” by Bill Mallonee

1. “The Neck Was Worn Clean”
First thing I noticed was her “finish.” It was worn clean off the neck, non-existent in most places. An indicator of a well-played & well-loved guitar. The wearing was even up and down the neck. Rhythm playing & more solo oriented gestures given equal weight. Again, a sign of a well-versed player. The fella who sold it to me said his father owned it and played the guitar quite well. Thus, a great “find” became an even greater honor.
The year? 1947. A Gibson ES-125. It originally belonged to Mr. Shepherd who started the world famous Chick Piano in Athens, Ga. back in the day. His son, Van, was kind enough to sell it to me a few months back. It has been a treasure of inspiration.
I used it all over “Dolorosa.”

(Yes, I leaned heavily on my beloved George Harrison Rickenbaker, as well. They were good friends, the Gibson ES-125 & the Ric. But the germination of all the songs started on the Gibson ES.
I let the strings go dull, “thuddy,” dusty & heavy.
The sound & feel tapped into, well…a spirit that carried the day here…
You’ll “see.”)

2. “And Our Hearts Nodded”
You write a different song at 50 than you do at 25. I like to think you write a better one. When the illusions & lame promises of rock & roll wear off one starts the untidy (often sad) ritual of unpacking one’s own baggage and seeing if you really have anything to say.
And if you’re lucky?
Well, you’re likely to find that the prophets & troubadours of old and the wizened voices of the past had most of it right all along. All those “voices” that have always linger around the periphery of your spirit for a long time. Not hip, per se. Not “current.”
Just “true.”
It’s a “voice,” often collective and unified. with those old prophets and troubadours. Their words, their “prayers, their way of delivering. their “take” on things.
It’s one helluva chorus to give ear to.
One best heed.

It does beg a question:
How did those prophets, poets and troubadours “know?”
How did they give nomenclature to the truths that cascade in rivers with us?
How were they able to enshrine those same truths we so often close our ears to. Pain, suffering deprivation, mortality.
Why were they able to listen to the voices on the highways within and those on the highways they trod?
Here’s the kicker: They did it without propaganda and manipulation. They did it without "Elmer Gantry-ing" it.
They just said what needed to be said…and our hearts nodded.

That’s some of the feel and spirit, I’ve always struggled to make plain in my work. It’s what I’m drawn to into works of others.
And it feels like it’s born health fruit here on “Dolorosa.”

3. “Sad Songs Keep The Devil Away” ~ Jay Farrar
I do have a feeling that dogs me. And it probably dictated the path the songs here on Dolorosa took and on the last few albums.
I wrote them as they “showed up,” and as the lyrics pushed to the surface. I edited very little.
Songwriting has something akin to absolution & (perhaps) exorcism to it. At the very least, one is engaged in endeavor od “naming” something heretofore intangible, buried, unknown. Nomenclature.
At it’s best that’s the reason I do it and have done so for 22 years.
Call it an effort to keep the demons at arm’s length and not run to the liquor cabinet so much.
You look at your life. You inventory the things done & things left undone.

4. “The Astronomy of Spirit.”
And then you look up at the expanse of stars. The quiet of the high deserts in New Mexico drives it all home.
Does anyone watch over us?
Does it listen to our cries? Does it respond?
And if you should answer “Yes,” then is it Something/Someone deeply “personal?”
God, I hope so.
I have always so desperately wanted it to be so.

It depresses me that things aren’t as obvious as i’d like them to be.
Like “what’s next?”
In my life, too many people have “left the party too soon.”
I wish they’d check in once in a spell; just to say how they’re doing; tell me how it is there.
It doesn’t seem like a lot to ask.

Me? I’m glad for those for whom “religious questions” are resolved with facile-ness & proof-text ease. There are those who toss out well-meaning answers with a smugness that lacks compassion.
A quote attributed to St. Francis says that “the loudest Gospel you’ll ever preach is the one you preach with your life.“
Implied in that brilliant quote (it seems) is that perceptions about “life” are also the variables that Faith/non-faith work with.
For me faith and doubt have always slept in the same bed for as long as I can remember.

5. “Signs of The Cross & Flirting With Absurdity”
There is so much about Life & Love, Passion & Mystery that says: “Wait: There’s more. No, it’s not up for grabs.”
One of my heroes, Martin Luther, was in some ways was the first “modern man,” (see Eric Erikson’s “Young Man Luther); Luther was always staring down the devil; that ‘entity” that meant him nothing but harm & confusion.
And the tool Luther knew the devil used most effectively against us was that of guilt & despair.

Sure, artists “flirt” with such states of the heart. Often, they flirt & anesthetize themselves at the same time.
And it’s good to get beneath the skin of what our brothers & sisters feel when the world seems a meaningless and a cold void, absent of God. One can’t live “with” or “in” the darkness forever.

And (by God) when you yourself finally sense the weight of such futility & sadness you realize that it’s nothing to dally with either.
You “counter,” you pray, you wrestle & cling to whatever Light & Love & Compassion you can find.

In my experience that Beacon sometimes even shows his Face.
Albums can be Light, Love & Compassion.
Religion…with a 6-string drag.
A debtor to Grace....and more Grace...and...
“Sad songs keep the devil away.”

Dolorosa.

6. “That Same Ancient Disease”
It’s “Faith & Courage that gets ya’ through.” ~ “‘Til I Knew It All By Heart.”
And as to Fear, whether it’s driven by “bad religion” or some deep personal anguish?
Courage again. You do what you can to cast It aside.
Fear and Distrust: Are we not all afflicted with that same ancient disease?
Celebrate your “you-ness,” friends. Celebrate it WITH friends.
Are we not all included in the same Grace & whole-ness a suffering God is waiting to bestow?

The harder edges & vicissitudes of life have led me here.
25 years ago, I arrived as a young, hungry songwriter.
I left as a blessed man.
Somehow it all forces you to your knees, literally and figuratively.
You learn to pray without ceasing.
You learn to walk a way of being thankful.
You learn to "fight the good fight." To stay at your post.
And you start, (however stumbling) to practice Compassion and extend Mercy to all you fellow travelers.
(The poets, prophets and troubadours concur.)

Grace & Mercy & Peace.
The last word.
I’ll bet on those three…forever.

Pax Christi,
bill mallonee
Fall/Winter 2013

“DOLOROSA”
released 12 November 2013
Bill Mallonee: Electric & acoustic guitars, vocals, bass, drums, harp, organ
Muriah Rose: Piano, organ, electric piano, string arrangements

credits

released November 12, 2013

Bill Mallonee: Electric & acoustic guitars, vocals, bass, drums, harp, organ
Muriah Rose: Piano, organ, elecric piano, string arrangements

"Dolorosa" was painstakingly mastered by: Bruce Neher at Disc & Dat, Monument, CO. Cheers, Mr. Neher!

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about

Bill Mallonee

Bill Mallonee is an Americana artist w/ 75 plus albums over a 25 year career. Voted by Paste Music Magazine #65 in their "Top 100 Living Songwriters" poll. He was the
founding member of Vigilantes of Love. He has worked with Mark Heard, Buddy Miller, Emmylou Harris, & Peter Buck from REM.
His most recent work, "The Rags of Absence" released in Jan. 2017.
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Track Name: ONLY ONE THING EVER DOES
ONLY ONE THING EVER DOES words/music: bill mallonee
yer always in the dark about how it'll fall out
but, right now? it don't look so good
there's doctrines & texts that people spout
so, i guess it ends like it should

it was drums & guitars and a stack of wax
they say the spirit hovered over creation
in a dusty & cold cinder block basement
I forged my own salvation

CHORUS:
when you're betting farms & placing your faith
seeking your sign from above
a million things could happen they say
but only one thing ever does

there's a few truths and there's many a lie
you sort through on your way
so much heartache & beauty they hypnotize
from cradle to the grave

there are paupers & poets; shakers & movers
but baby, that's just the thin veneer
wear it all down to where rubber meets the road
and we're all just travelin' with "fear."
(sits in) the passenger side of a beautiful ride
it's your Joy he's aiming to steal
keep your eyes on the road...heart in the stars
and don't let him get behind the wheel

(An unused alt verse.)
living in skin was the damnedest thing
i smiled by numbers all the time
it got easier...to live with the doubts
and step over that line
Track Name: THE GHOST BENEATH THE LONESOME VIEW
THE LONESOME VIEW words/music: bill mallonee

1. Ghosts 'tween the towers...of radio relay
small town am...along the interstate
there's a storm outside...and one inside, too
it's the ghosts beneath that lonesome view

2. It's the sweat and strain...born of the curse
an old tweed amp...oil-can reverb
never turning back but never breakin' through
it's the ghosts beneath that lonesome view

3.keep a little back...try to save some heart
It's all fools gold...around these parts
when the high desert...is bathed in blue moon
It's the ghosts beneath that lonesome view

4. pull the fader down...pour the whiskey out
you try & believe...in all you doubt
if the stones should speak...if the stars should shout
if the gardens bloom...after the drought

5. she may seem cruel...she may seem unkind
maybe love....was just a little blind
but, if she bestows a kiss...well, i won't refuse
It's the ghosts beneath that lonesome
beneath that lonesome
beneath that lonesome view
Track Name: SMILE BY NUMBERS
SMILE BY NUMBERS words & music: bill mallonee

the light she plays....and the shadow is cast
jump the next thing....that is going past
you get use to the cold...and how the wind cuts
and the sound of every door...that keeps slamming shut

chorus:
and the sunlight here paints her thin veneer
of eternity o'er everything
so, i smile by numbers and slumber in my bed
i tie a hangman's knot inside my head

it did not transpire...or happen over night
sea changes rarely...occur in the light
faith & trust, well it was all ya' ever wanted
and you start to wonder if the house is haunted

well, the eyes say it all...so best to keep 'em shut
words are just air...so don't say much
jump the next thing...that's going past
we're all passing through this room...way too fast
Track Name: TILL I KNEW IT ALL BY HEART (The Geography of Fear)
TILL I KNEW IT ALL BY HEART words/music: bill mallonee

it's too late to talk about it
time to put that one to bed
can't it wait a few hours
for the clear light of day?

spread the maps out on the table
study them by the fire light
throwing shadows on the bare walls
like a film in black & white

chorus:
i learned the night skies when i came here
i pinned my hope on every star
i was taught the geography of fear early on
...till i knew it all by heart

those figures move in certain rhythms
they move in cadences of grace
they move so lost & so lonely
barely filling up the space

'cause the hangman? he's always ready
to help you straighten up your tie
tip your hat if you should meet him
and by all means: spit in his eye

some say Love's the final answer
some say that jury still deliberates
you navigate...by sextant & by compass
by Courage & by Faith

un-used verse:
there are maps within your spirit
we keep on a parchment rolled up tight
you'll need a heart that's a-blazing
if you care to read them right
Track Name: STEADY NOW, STEADY NOW, STEADY NOW
STEADY NOW, STEADY NOW, STEADY NOW
words/music: bill mallonee
1. one more bartender fill up this cup
after this one, well, we'll settle up
i'm opening up heaven & closing up shop
steady now, steady now, steady now

2. there are no rules at least none i could post
wandering lost, still, i'm luckier than most
and when love showed her face? Ah! well, now there's a toast!
steady now, steady now, steady now

3. i don't know if i've known you or if i ever did
there were all these voices shouting & i was just a kid
and you had a way of keeping yourself hid
steady now, steady now, steady now

4. there were fixes & moments when i thought it was done
an old chapter finished and a brand new one begun
but nothing last forever...well, mostly not very long
steady now, steady now, steady now

5. there was yearning inside till i thought i would burst
did my prayers just careen through the cold universe
no voice, no calling and no burning bush
steady now, steady now, steady now

6. they say all that you sow is all that you'll reap
and i'm sorry for the promises i failed to keep
i'm gonna ask you to catch me...and then i'm gonna leap...
steady now, steady now, steady now
Track Name: DOLOROSA (Heartbreak on the Jukebox)
DOLOROSA (HEARTBREAK ON THE JUKEBOX)
words & music bill mallonee

the sound of heartbreak....from an old jukebox
hardly anything sadder that i know
perfume collides...with a scratchy 45
out on the dance floor

there's a certain way....the light behaves
on that new born-day of Spring
"Promise" is a seed...you plant with deeper needs
and see what the harvest brings

chorus:
now my journey got harsh...my path it got stern
with every song that i wrote, every word that i spoke till i became invisible
Was it something you chose? i dunno, I suppose
Or was it something that chose ya?
Dolorosa

i made me a world with wood and steel strings
Oh, the many things i learned
hand to the plow & smile all the while
even when their backs are turned

you know you always...my sweet travelin' light
though that was never widely known
you were kind enough...to buy me a drink
...for the oblivion

oh, to hold forth...with a twinkle in the eye
and shine like those stars out west
oh, to play yer tunes...under mirrorball moon
oh, to sing till my last breath
Track Name: HERE COMES THE FLOOD
HERE COMES THE FLOOD words/music: bill mallonee
there's a rumor going round
that the end is nigh
seems like i've heard that sorta talk
most of my life

one thing i never could
completely understand
how anyone could rejoice
in the death of a man

chorus:
here comes the flood
here comes the flood
say "goodbye"....to all that you love

progress is a wheel of steel
and it's grins behind closed doors
on the rack of cruel history
has perished many a soul
it's the sacrament of the greedy
it's the bread & wine of the rich
it is money in a vault dressed up
in flags and rhetoric

earth, it is a-shakin'
sky she falls away
confusion is the order
the order of the day
rain, it falls in sheets
sweeping you from me
and our tears they now mingle
with the salt of the sea

chorus:
here comes the flood....
here comes the flood
say "goodbye"....to all that you love

now, death & destruction
well, it's always been the rage
and out of our hearts
it spills all over the page
fear makes you a thief
and a thief is gonna steal
to cover himself
from the darkness that he feels
Track Name: RIO GRANDE
RIO GRANDE words/music: bill mallonee
well, this old moonlight has been my friend
as long as i can remember when
was either poverty or a drug lord's gun
Mother Mary, watch o'er your son

keep a book of my mother's favorite poems
she wrote 'em out longhand as i was going
and i'm not sure but i'm willing to bet
she said a Rosary for my every step

Now, i'm not one to boast.
tequila make me...like a ghost
so i might swim, so i might stand
on the other side of the Rio Grande

now, there's a border frozen in my mind
i've visited there a million times
dreams are devils or your best friends
100 roads north, but only one way in

i once a had a dream of Liberty
she stood in a harbor & beckoned me
and the river's deep and wide they say
only man's fear & greed get in the way
Track Name: CLOSER TO HOME
CLOSER TO HOME words/music: bill mallonee
Looking for you out on the highways
looking for you on those dusty back roads
in every face of a beat down race
to bring me closer to home

looking for you in a pawn shop guitar
or inside a pedal steel's moan
in that 6-string drag through and old tweed amp
to bring me closer to home

whatever hope you pull from these sad rituals
remember to try and forget
if you make a deal with the devil from time to time
well, always hedge your bet

searching for you out in the desert
that is where i heard you roam
inside everything that can't be measured
to bring me closer to home
to bring me closer to home
to bring me closer to home
Track Name: CITIES OF RUIN (ON YOUR WAY BACK HOME)
(DRIFTING THROUGH THOSE) CITIES OF RUIN
words & music by bill mallonee

hit the highway at daybreak
roll out early for to San Antone
every thing is up for grabs
and you're the last to know

chorus #1
and yer heart? she is a shooting star
wanderin' out there on it's own
drifting through those cities of ruin
on your way back home

call it a rite of passage
call it something strong & true
all those Appalachian deep sighs
with the sunlight sifting through

chorus #2
they say in Heaven you'll get your real name
carved into a precious stone
drifting through those cities of ruin
on your way back home

may your steps be full of wonder
may the neon light your path
may you have some tears to share
when others dreams collapse

chorus #3:
and the desert? she'll hold your secrets
when your thoughts are all dust blown
drifting through the cities of ruin
on your way back home

hit the highway at midnight
another time zone to get through
a song drifting o'er the canyon
and the stars they hang like jewels

chorus #4:
and the heart is like shooting like a star
always blazing through the cold
burning through those cities of ruin
on your way back home
Track Name: (I HEAR YOU'RE A FRIEND OF) THE WESTERN WIND
FRIEND OF THE WESTERN WIND music/lyrics: bill mallonee
there's got to be some comfort left in this old "left you out" world
there's gotta be a place for you on the string of pearls
it'll make you wear your thickest skin to keep the bullets at bay
but underneath your heart is oh, so gold waiting to shine like the new day

chorus:
yeah, i hear your a friend of the western wind
blowing all through the holes in your soul
you don't know where she's been; ah, but then again
she is taking you to where you wanna go
taking you to where you wanna go

i wrote this song on an old guitar under the influence of a million stars
i was praying in the spirit, at least doing my best
in a rhinestone jacket over a suede vest

Autumn has a way of scattering leaves of your life all around...clearing the tree
athering her dark clouds; she's such a stormy girl
there's gotta be a place for you on the string of pearls
Track Name: I SAW THE END OF THE MATTER
I SAW THE END OF THE MATTER words/music: bill mallonee

i saw the end of the matter
it was just like i thought it would be
a long hall of mirrors
reflecting dimly
and questions? they hung in the air
like outlaws from a tree
i saw the end of the matter
it was just like i thought it would be

i saw the end of the matter
it was more than i had hoped
call it the perfect punchline
to a perfect joke
you were the beacon in the lighthouse
but i was n'er good at swimming seas
i saw the end of the matter
it was just like i thought it would be

i saw the end of the matter
it was just like a walk downtown
i'd lost my hope just like most folks
strugglin' not to drown
mind you now, it was just a glimpse
or maybe it was a dream
i saw the end of the matter
it was just like i thought it would be

now truth? she had long since fled
might say she sought a higher ground
and justice? she'd long been dead
simply nowhere to be found
so much to say & no one to hear it
Baby, it's just like old times, you see?
i saw the end of the matter
it was just like i thought it would be

now, people talk in riddles
and people speak in sums
people speak in digits
and people speak in tongues
but a picture's worth 1000 words
so let me draw it out for thee
i saw the end of the matter
it was just like i thought it would be
Track Name: Bonus track: (I SAW) THE END OF THE MATTER (no master)
I SAW THE END OF THE MATTER words/music: bill mallonee

i saw the end of the matter
it was just like i thought it would be
a long hall of mirrors
reflecting dimly
and questions? they hung in the air
like outlaws from a tree
i saw the end of the matter
it was just like i thought it would be

i saw the end of the matter
it was more than i had hoped
call it the perfect punchline
to a perfect joke
you were the beacon in the lighthouse
but i was n'er good at swimming seas
i saw the end of the matter
it was just like i thought it would be

i saw the end of the matter
it was just like a walk downtown
i'd lost my hope just like most folks
strugglin' not to drown
mind you now, it was just a glimpse
or maybe it was a dream
i saw the end of the matter
it was just like i thought it would be

now truth? she had long since fled
might say she sought a higher ground
and justice? she'd long been dead
simply nowhere to be found
so much to say & no one to hear it
Baby, it's just like old times, you see?
i saw the end of the matter
it was just like i thought it would be

now, people talk in riddles
and people speak in sums
people speak in digits
and people speak in tongues
but a picture's worth 1000 words
so let me draw it out for thee
i saw the end of the matter
it was just like i thought it would be