GHOST WALTZ / WPA 15

by Bill Mallonee/WPA

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about

LINER NOTES ON GHOST WALTZ/WPA 15.

The "characters" on Ghost Waltz/WPA 15 are mostly the forgotten. The confused, the losers, the dreamers, the thieves, the found, the lost...and the salt of the earth. They come to you here as ex-boxers, dust bowl drifters, dogged believers, compassionate skeptics, ramshackle loners, wise fools, whiskey drinkers, braggarts, fearful, love smitten dancers & charlatans.
I count myself all of the above.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
And they are all hallowed, graced, bathed in light.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Me? More or less a folk-singer who has wasted his life exploring in word & song what it means to try & be human, holy, & sinful...
Sometimes a believer in Love, always a debtor to Grace.
I am one who has made a "career" out of resting in the moments as they go past.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
My credo tends to be this:

Love your life. Love your brothers & sisters here. Be merciful to yourself and all you meet. And: If every moment is hallowed & unrepeatable, then embrace each one. Desire them like the gold out of a Ft. Knox vault. Drink them in like a shot at "last call." Stumbling & dazzled, yearn for them like some Helen of Troy. Enjoy the mystery. Seek their hallowed-ness.

And, if need arises: Stare down the devil.

After years of waiting for some magical "ship to come in," s'all I know...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
One of the things Muriah & I noticed when we moved to Northern New Mexico was the quality of light. The light here is breath-taking, stunningly vibrant. There is a mystical "living-ness" within it. At times it seems to emanate from the very earth it touches. Earth & Sky become lovers. There's a reason why so many visual artists spend a lifetime out here trying to capture it's purity & immediacy. Everything here, the land, the sky, yes, even the people will tell that they are always being reborn. Here is a place away from stress, anxiety and over-crowded-ness where words fail (and should.)
For me, it has been a place where one can open himself up to a spirit that is in motion, alive and breathing. I started to write more than ever. And you know, I've always written a lot.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
On occasion, this just a folk singer gets to make a rock record with his friends once in a blue moon. I released album #50 last November. I'm a "lifer."
I'm usually unable to take the work, in it's fullness, on the road these days. Lack of resources & connections make it hard to keep a full band employed.
I tour as a troubadour & as a "freak." My generous wife, Muriah, picks up the lose ends & makes sense out of them. I just write & write, tour & tour, ramp up and do it again and again...A veritable rinse & repeat artist.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I do this for almost no one. My fans may be small in number, but they are HUGE of heart. I count myself lucky & blessed. I am "Hipster-Stunted" and "commercially non-viable."

Guilty as charged.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
They say if you do what you love you'll never work a day in your life.
I'll say that's true. What the hell happened when I learned my first chords at the ripe old age of 31?
Something like a dam burst. A fortress crumbled.
Some world of pain, joy, confusion, doubt, elation & darkness emerged the day I learned 3 chords on a guitar. From then on "it" sought a nomenclature.
I wrote to "save myself." I've never written with a particular audience in mind.
Freak.

What I've given myself to for some 22 years, and a bunch of albums, may not be "work" per se. It has been work, perhaps, but not "toil."
It has been, to my mind, a sort of excavation. An unearthing, if you will. Songs have become a type of anthropology. A way of dusting off a "find," of holding a possible treasure up to the light and wondering what it is you've discovered.
And of asking if it has any value or not.
It has been a journey into a deep mine of discovery of word, sound and songs. And it has been (Thank God) a way to access my own spirit.
I'm glad when the "discoveries" resonate with a few who see themselves in the same dark mine.
Perhaps, we recognize each others grime-y faces.
I suspect I will never "return" to the surface.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
America. What in God's good Name is it any more?
A good idea gone bad?
I wondered as a youth about this America. Wanted to be part of it; this something big and wild and real. Wanted to see that it was authentic. This thing that called forth the heroic in everyone.

To hell with it's wars.To hell with it's misplaced faith in power, & re-tooled colonialism & unbridled greed. Something or someone stole the dream from us.

We show up in the 2000-teens afraid, parched, weary, dead and dying. feeling powerless.
We need Spirit.
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As a youth, I immersed myself in media that held forth some iconic depiction of the the "American Experience." Usually it was derived from the Old West.. Whether it was cowboy short stories, or Hollywood stereotypes in shows like Gunsmoke, The Ponderosa, Sky-King, Bonanza, or dozens of John Wayne movies, I was always struck by this fact: A person could believe in themselves. He could be a hero, great or small; Could be a kind captain; one of his own destiny; Could be a person of integrity, championing justice, equality, fairness & compassion...and maybe even get the girl in the end.
Did these people ever exist in "real life?"
And if so, do these people still exist?
I can tell you unequivocally: Indeed, they do. I meet them by the scores on every tour through out this great land. I meet some of them everyday.
There is one inside your own skin right now.

Me? These days?
Simplify. Simplify & discard.
Cast o'er the side all the sham & false that one is seduced by and told to build a life upon.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Whenever I go for walks in the sun-drenched arroyo (a bone-dry steep-sided river bed), I am constantly impressed by the fact that everything, stony cliff, rutted canyon, pine, sage, rock, sky and clouds "look" new. "God-crafted" & New born.
Vital...and full of secrets, awash with stories. Those moments always feel like a "gift."

I hope that something of that Spirit and Light permeates "Ghost Waltz."
and THANK YOU for letting my work have a place in your life. I count such a vocation as an honor.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Still there? Bravo if you are!
I'm lucky: I get to "send you off" now.
Let's "christen" this album.

I wish for you joy as you listen.
I wish for you Joy & Courage for the sobering work of living here and in the "now."
And Joy & Courage on the journey you'll continue to make today, tomorrow, & forever.
Bring such hope to others. Bring it to the "saints" & to the "sinners."
(There are so many ghosts.)

Life? She claims all you have.
Wounded we came into the dance...and wounded we leave.
It's the biggest of clubs
But, for God's sake:
Be a light. For yourself and for others.
Because the "ghosts" need it.
Because, you & I need it.

The longer I live, the more I'm sure that these journeys we make are hallowed ones. Hallowed, Graced & bathed in Light.
pax,
bill mallonee

credits

released February 22, 2013

Bill Mallonee: songs, acoustic guitars, vocals, accordion, harmonica, keyboard bassoons & orchestral harp. Drums on Long Good-Bye
Muriah Rose: Piano, Electric Piano

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about

Bill Mallonee

Bill Mallonee is an Athens, Ga. Americana artist w/ 70 plus albums, spanning a 20 year career. 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 has worked with other great artists such as Buddy Miller, Emmylou Harris, and Peter Buck from REM. ... more

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Track Name: GHOST WALTZ
~ GHOST WALTZ ~
WORDS/MUSIC: BILL MALLONEE

WELL, THE LAMPS BURN LOW IN THE ROADHOUSE
THE DANCERS DRIFT OFF TWO AT A TIME
BLUE MOON ON THE SNOW & THE WIND? SHE’S MOANING LOW
YOU’D SWEAR YOU THINK SHE’S CRYIN’

I MAY HAVE COME HERE, COME HERE BY ACCIDENT
I MAY HAVE COME HERE, COME HERE BY DESIGN
COULD I TROUBLE YOU GIRL FOR ONE MORE TWIRL ON THE FLOOR?
IF YOU’D BE SO KIND
CHORUS:
I WILL RAISE A GLASS TO YOU SWEETHEART
AND TO EVERYTHING WE EVER WON OR LOST
I WILL HOLD YOU CLOSE & STAMMER A TOAST
AND STEP TO THIS GHOST WALTZ

I HAVE SEEN MANY A GHOST ON THIS DANCE FLOOR
ALL LOCKED IN EACH OTHERS EYES
& THEY WALTZ TO A TUNE...IN A STAR-LIT ROOM
TO HOLD BACK THE NIGHT
Track Name: STEERING WHEEL
STEERING WHEEL Music/lyrics: bill mallonee

The 4 corners play of light upon the earth
and the sky is as new as a birth
Circle back to try and get you feel
the world is as big & as round as a steering wheel

could have been a call you answered one fateful day
or maybe not, but you showed up here anyway
you got to the table just in time to deal
& the world is as big & round as a steering wheel

It was a card game with rules hard to understand
and ain’t it just like God to disguise his hand
and every face but his seemed made of steel
& the world is as big & round as a steering wheel

(Bridge)
flippin’ through an old dashboard radio
but the song of love never showed
a tuned out world’s gone numb and sad
you’ll just have to write your own

4 corners play of light upon your face
you're a heart of wonder all wrapped up in lace
excuse me babe, while I have a taste
rocking in your arms just outside Santa fe

two hearts are like snake eyes when cast
upon a table where all flags fly at half-mast
your treasure, well it’s one I’ll never steal.
& the world is as big & round as a steering wheel
Track Name: FIGHT SONG
FIGHT SONG
words/music: Bill Mallonee
Well they all said....said it couldn’t be done
me? Well, I proved ‘em...I proved ‘em all wrong
against all the odds...in this stacked up world
the sharks in pinstripes...with their pin-up girls

Chorus:
Oh, Mister, I’m a wonder
meet Lightening. Now meet Thunder
and when it’s all done...it’s just flashbulbs & champagne
there ain’t nothing I couldn’t hurt
with some good gloves & footwork
'cept these ghosts...living in my brain

I did it with style... I did it with finesse
you just tighten the gloves, kid...& let ‘em do the rest
ya’ learn to get in quick...don’t let your guard drop
You harden your stomach...and you harden your heart

yeah, I stunned ‘em in New York...I wowed ‘em in Reno...
Met this girl in Havana... and I took her to Rio
to play for this crowd...surrounding this ring
all hungry for blood...so that’s what I bring.
Track Name: TRADED COLORADO/4am
TRADED COLORADO
words/music: bill mallonee

Every stranger is a brother....trains slam into one another
the snow and ice make one long run for the river

all the things that once burned brightly...you hold them a little more lightly
gettin' by these days...on whatever delivers
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Tomorrow's n'er a question...at today's intersection
where regret and history...embrace & shake hands

they exchange their pleasantries...well, that's just how it is with old friends
who remember to remind you just where you stand
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
chorus:
If i could see your face
and walk the streets of Nazareth
to get that Julian sense "that all shall be most well."

We've traded gold of Colorado
for the cold change of Chicago
were the tweed blues & green bullets weave their spell
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
And it's all gathered in bouquets...the scent of roses holding sway
I have never known a love like you my love!

A whistle stop ahead of gloom...a Bible and a motel room
just one more kiss and that should be enough
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
there's is moonlight like a blade....there are stones to be rolled away
there is but one last say...forever and for all

and you may walk home alone...pondering what you've been shown
after that...there's just the final curtain call
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Just who do you think you are...with that beat up old guitar?
wishing upon stars with a heart broke 100 times?

honey, i don't mind a bit....baby, if it's a suit that fits
you learn to stand tall whether rain or shine
Track Name: LEAVE IT TO ME
LEAVE IT TO ME words/music: bill mallonee
yeah, leave it to me
to make it less than easy
heart on the sleeve
leave it to me
sometimes you wander far from home
to come into your own
just to bring that treasure trove
yeah, leave it to me.

chorus:
You navigate the stormy seas
to find your port of entry
leave it to me...yeah leave it to me

yeah leave it to me
to draw a line in the sand
and live in "no-man's-land"
yeah, leave it to me
for all the crash & burn
ya' live & learn
even when their backs are turned
leave it to me

yeah, leave it to me
to run the ship around
hey, don't cha wanna stick around?
leave it to me
you find your home at last
and make peace with your past
fly your flags at half-mast
leave it to me
Track Name: JUST BETWEEN ME & GOD
JUST BETWEEN ME & GOD words/music:bill mallonee
you know, i don't think i ever saw him sweat
no matter what was breathin down his neck
when th'dusters came rippin' cross the land
he just dug his will & 2 feet into the sand

CHORUS:
Standing tall in the bright light of day
on a piece of earth they can't ever take away
when the drought came in like a thief to rob
You said "well, that one's just between me & God
That one's just between me & God.

well the feds said the Indians couldn't stay
time for the plow to have it's say
Well me? i never really saw it quite that way
wasn't long till the land dried up & blew away

there are heroes that you'll see at picture shows
and most them you'll meet or know
but me, well i am luckier than most
all of my heroes live pretty close
Track Name: THE LONG GOOD~BYE
LONG GOOD BYE words/music: bill mallonee

All i remember is that it was easy...easiest thing i ever done
i'd pick you up and the songs...they'd just come

had all these tapes spinning in my head ...far too hard to ignore
but cha always helped me ...string it through one day more

chorus:
Still there's one thing about which
i'll more than likely be confused:
Did you choose this.....or did it choose you?

you were the only the doctor i could rely on ...the only prayer i ever prayed
the only Savior i could count on...to save

a 1000 songs, a million shows
to many, "yeah, kid, that one shoulda gone gold"
after the party died
you were all i could hold

bridge:
Thanks for letting me hold you ......more than real, real tight
i hope you will forgive me dear...for keeping you up late at night

life is cruel and a mystery
you gotta find you a reason to believe
like the ace tucked inside
your sleeve

All i remember is that it was hard
hardest thing i ever done
I'd picked you up...and the songs?
they'd just come...
they'd just come...
yeah, they'd just come...
yeah, they'd just come...
Track Name: FIGHT ADVICES (alt. demo & 1st take)
FIGHT SONG words/music: Bill Mallonee
Well they all said....said it couldn’t be done
me? Well, I proved ‘em...I proved ‘em all wrong
against all the odds...in this stacked up world
the sharks in pinstripes...with their pin-up girls

Chorus:
Yes, Mister, I’m a wonder
meet lightening. Now meet thunder
and when it’s done...it’s just flashbulbs & champagne
there ain’t nothing I couldn’t hurt
with some good gloves and footwork
'cept these ghosts...livin’ in my brain

I did it with style... I did it with finesse
you just tighten the gloves, kid...& let ‘em do the rest
ya’ learn to get in quick...don’t let your guard drop
harden you stomach...harden your heart

yeah, I stunned ‘em in New York...I wowed ‘em in Reno...
Met this girl in Havana...yeah, and I took her to Rio
to play to this crowd...surrounding this ring
all hungry for blood...so that’s what I bring.