"Little Births"​/​The Dolorosa Demos

by Bill Mallonee



"Superb...beautiful...brilliant..." ~ Steve Ruff/DownTheLineZine

"Little Births"/The "Dolorosa" demos. Why? Because they sound 4 track great! Visceral & Immediate. Because there's often "magic" in the first few takes of new songs. (Sure, you can "gussy it up" with production later, but ask any writer: Sometimes the first few takes are a "never-to-be-recovered" variable.) Everything starts "small." I just went back and listened to these renderings, and the transparent quality is really nice. Passionate. Good takes. Grand moments.
So, we had 'em mastered by our friend, Bruce Neher at Disc & Dat.

Liner notes:
First thing I noticed was the "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 & more solo oriented gestures given equal weight. Again, a sign of a well-versed played. The fella who sold it to me said his father owned it and played the guitar quite well. Thus, an honor.
The year? 1947. A Gibson ES-125.
I used it all over Dolorosa.
I let the strings go dull and heavy.
The sound & feel tapped into, well...you'll see.

"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


released January 24, 2014

all songs by: Bill Mallonee
Bill Mallonee: guitars, vocals, harps, bass
Mastering & Edits: Bruce Neher at "Disc & Dat"



all rights reserved


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.
... more

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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
SMILE BY NUMBERS words & music: bill mallonee

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

and the sunlight here paints her thin veneer
of eternity...o'er everything
So, i smile by numbers and slumber in my bed
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 was all ya' ever wanted
Now, you're starting to wonder if the house ain't haunted

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 moving through these rooms...way too fast
Track Name: 'TILL I KNEW IT ALL BY HEART (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?

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

'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
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 the heart? she is a shooting star
wanderin' 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 other's 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: DOLOROSA
DOLOROSA 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 there on the dance floor

there's a certain way....the light behaves
on that 1st new day of Spring
"Promise" is a seed...you plant with deeper needs
and see what the harvest brings

now, my journey was harsh & my path was stern
with every song that i wrote, every word that i spoke
color me invisible
was it something you chose? I dunno, i suppose
or was it something that chose ya'?

i made me a world with wood and steel strings
Oh, those many things you will learn!
Hand to the plow & smile all the while
even when their backs are turned

you always my bright...travelin' light
though that was never widely known
you were kind enough, i think, to buy me a drink
...and wait 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 mirror~ball moon
oh, to sing till your last breath

closing time's too soon...to chase away the blues
& lovers want their story told
their hearts made alive...by some scratchy 45s
from a jukebox spinning gold