RENDERINGS (A WPA vols​.​1​-​4 Retrospective)

by Bill Mallonee

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about

"A LIL' HISTORY HERE" or "HOW TO FINd TO YOUR VOICE."

"The WPA series was born out of situations both external & internal. Life, in its ideal, is lived by compass points & co-ordinates. Having something to navigate towards is a blessing, I suppose, we too often take for granted.

After the dissolution of my marriage and the "disowning" of my work by a certain cross-section of previous fans, I found I was without label, manager, booking agent or any of the resources that i had to make records & tour with. I had labored long & hard for over 10 years, writing, recording & touring. Now it was all in shambles. There is no doubt life is "hard." For artists there are "never any guarantees" about how things will fall out. These things happen daily in the world, i am under no illusion.
Still, the overwhelming sense of dis-ownership was heart-breaking. Call it a "run of bad luck, " but the litany of betrayals both personal & professional over a 10 year period, seemed upon recounting, staggering.

There is also such a thing as disgust with one's own self.

Sometimes you make songs just to keep the dark away. That was one of the impetuses behind this approaching song-writing differently. With no one to aid, help or abet the fleshing out of new work, it was to become a more solitary venture.
In this foreign land of self-doubt & self-hate the Works (in) Progress Administration EPs were "born." i have always written a great deal and these EPS emerged about every 3-4 months. A limited, unwieldy Zoom H-4 4-track recording device became a path out of the sad terrain.
I slowly learned the recording devices limitations and it's strengths.
Suddenly (and almost effortlessly) a new world opened up. I now had the chance to write & record secondary & tertiary guitar parts, weaving them harmonically and responsively with one another. For hours on end i would play parts over & over (driving Muriah crazy, I'm sure!) until some new aspect, some new musical statement was realized.

Lyrically, I wanted aspects of vulnerability to be hallmark in these songs, even if that was just in the instruments alone. As songs were fleshed out and more parts added, i began to realize more & more, about what sort of melody lines should be allowed to "speak" in a song, what weight to give to vocal phrases. things like this opened a whole new world of just "what" makes a song a wonderful thing.
these initial ideas grew, took shape, emerged and finally were recorded as well as i knew how back then as I learned the machine's strengths. music became a joyous thing a again, something fresh & beckoning; something new to be discovered. Eventually such guitar "discoveries" would up on very large plains indeed, in the national releases of "The Power & The Glory" & "Amber Waves."
(Maybe God "loses" nothing in our lives?)

Call it all a grand-ly "small" experiment. It goes without saying that the themes of grief, all-too-human-humanity and (finally) Hope surfaced here. Whether it was through beat-up old Spanish guitars, or 50 year old arch-tops that one had to wrestle into submission or raw Neil Young "Harvest" era electrics, I was becoming free inside and more confident with each WPA offering. Call it artistic growth. and deeper trusting of one's intuitive senses.

"Renderings" is by no means the totality of musical landscapes that I was traversing, locked away in a small room with guitars & coffee. But these tracks from Volumes 1-4 do represent some of the mile-markers that i crossed as i tried to regain my soul's footing. In the end, something happened. I was able to breathe air once again. Air that was fresh & clean...and full of new possibilities.

I hope you enjoy the excursion as much as i did.
~ bill mallonee
credits
released 10 January 2013
Bill Mallonee: acoustic & electric guitars, vocals, bass, drums, harmonicas piano.
Muriah Rose: accordion

credits

released January 10, 2013

Bill Mallonee: acoustic & electric guitars, vocals, Bass, druns, Harmonicas Piano.
Muriah Rose: accordion

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license

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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: BOTTOMING OUT
Bottoming Out
lyrics/music: bill mallonee

Guitar player country band
too long watin' for the ship top come in
the ship to come in
Record man said he liked our sound
pulled some dust from a bag and he bought us another round
he bought us another round

Chorus:
Religion's neither here nor there
when you'r stuck in the middle of the thin air
it's too much hunger and not enough cash
it's always the cheap stuff that takes us down fast
always the cheap stuff that takes us down fast
and nothing is turning you about?
yeah, you're bottoming out...

i remember the bad & the dust
5 sets a night and you do what you must
You do what you must
look at those ruins you hide among
yeah your lips keep moving
you don't understand the tongue
you don't understand the tongue

Chorus

Make 'em believe it was love at first sight
Make 'em believe they had the time of their lives
and grace? Could there ever be enough
for the hollow places you can't fill up
you fill up or touch

Chorus

from Works (in) Progress Administration Vol. 1, released 01 October 2008

tags
Addiction, Americana country-alt country-alt. indie folk folk-rock indie-folk rock Santa Fe
license
all rights reserved
Track Name: FOR ONE REASON OR ANOTHER
FOR ONE REASON OR ANOTHER words/music: Bill Mallonee
1.
took the tears took the yearning
took the spaces in between
the ones all August and golden
took the Spirit at his word
you might say sight unseen

and i thought:"hey when we drown
we'll all down as one..."
but that was jut me wishing in the sun
and when thinking trumped the feeling
And the cards all fell to you
I knew this time i was wrong
i knew this time i was wrong

2.
I was loyal...i was true
i was pretty fond of you
at your feet my treasures i would lay
here's your heartache and transparency
vermillion and blue
but you never met my gaze

and i thought:"hey when we drown
we'll all down as one..."
but that was jut me wishing in the sun
and when thinking trumped the feeling
And the cards all fell to you
I knew this time i was wrong
i knew this time i was wrong

Oh, the sad decay of paper
and the books we put away
but once they were our mother
my soul is still august an gold
and the mystery still pervades
for one reason or another
Track Name: PLOWSHARES INTO SWORDS (free download)
PLOWSHARES INTO SWORDS.... by Bill Mallonee

now, the drums they are a pounding and the sabers they are rattlin'
flags are running up the pole
alotta prayers are getting prayed...horn sections havin' their say.
alotta noise to be made...
when they beat plowshares into swords
when they beat plowshares into swords

they're splitting into factions and those knee-jerk reactions
generals sitting round getting bored
how does a single drop of blood turn into a flood?
i guess black magic happens...
when they beat plowshares into swords
when they beat plowshares into swords

You can't estimate the costs; no getting back what got lost
ain't no point in really keep score
nothing new upon the table since Cain took out Abel
repercussions they just happen
when they beat plowshares into swords
when they beat plowshares into swords

Now babe the sky is blue and i'd love to dream a dream with you
forever and a day i would adore
seems like there's always one man whose got some kind of other plans
Ya' keep in step and they march you off to war.

now we're waiting for the shoe to drop and they're smiling for their photo-op
but it's the boxes on the runway that tell the score
and the drums keep on a poundin'
peace she's always drowning
alotta shit it just happens when
when they beat plowshares into swords
when they beat plowshares into swords

...and the tears fall like rain
and there's no medicine for such pain
and darkness wins again
when they beat plowshares into swords
when they beat plowshares into swords