"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
released 10 January 2013
Bill Mallonee: acoustic & electric guitars, vocals, bass, drums, harmonicas piano.
Muriah Rose: accordion
released January 10, 2013
Bill Mallonee: acoustic & electric guitars, vocals, Bass, druns, Harmonicas Piano.
Muriah Rose: accordion
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