Dear readers, fans, friends & the just plain curious: I’m pretty old-school as an artist. I’ve written, recorded and released over 65 albums in 25 years…I know, I know. It’s more like a neurosis than a profession. So be it. As a kid, I always loved it when favorite artists would “hold forth” a bit on the ideas, concepts and inspirations behind the album they’d made. And so, over the years, I’ve attempted to do just that with my own works. Some such “ramblings” are posted here, but most of them accompany my albums that are all at: Bill Mallonee Music
These liner notes are from the recently released Christmas-themed download record, “Where the Love Light Gleams.” The album, of 11 original songs, “wrestles” with the implications of the ” ancient truths” of this hallowed season…
What I Really Wanna Say Is…
by: bill mallonee
People ask me about Jesus sometimes: “How do you know? How do you know He’s real? How do you know He’s really there?”
Most of the answers we give people seem to border on something like an intellectual insult or some form of academic pontificating from some higher moral ground. I’ve learned to discount those responses, even when i find myself resorting to them…
“Well,” I say, “I think we all have a kind of faith. Child-like faith seems to be most commended in the Bible. For me, Faith tries to see & grasp the big picture; it doesn’t lose itself in hair-splitting theological details. And, since we’re more than just intellect, I think it means leaning to that side of our spirits that recognize things like joy, even emptiness and such things like yearning within ourselves.”
“Sure, sure,” they say, “but how do you know?”
“Well, it’s something like a discovery. But, one that’s ongoing; One you could never fully exhaust. Something very much akin to meeting a new and interesting person. You learn to know someone by sharing what’s under your skin…and by listening in return.
You talk to Him.
Just like a Friend.
Ask Him to reveal His heart to you.
Ask Him the hard questions like: “Why is the world is such a broken place?”
Ask Him: “Why are we so broken within ourselves?”
And, why you’re at it, ask Him why everything & everyone hurts.
And then,as I said, you have to learn to listen.
But, it’s “listening” in a different way.
Me? I think this is how Jesus “shows up.”
Christmas. Most of mankind’s grandest hopes are wrapped up in flesh & blood of Him who they call Jesus, the Savior of the world. He came at a time when the ancient world was starving for love. Caste systems were inviolable and military might “made right.”
Into that world appears Christ. With a Sermon on some Mountain guaranteed to blow your mind.
People tend to forget just how “disowned” he was. Right off the top. We forget that He was disowned by the authorities both political & religious. God “scandalizes” us by deciding to “appear” among the meek, the lowly, the poor, the marginalized. He “scandalizes” our sensibilities still to this day.
As a kid I knew at an early age all the joys and expectations of the Advent & Christmas narratives (whether they are history or memories nuanced with touches of zealous imagination); They somehow seeped into this small child’s imagination and have been inspiring him ever since.
Jesus. The Mystery we are compelled to love.
It often happens that the people who are supposed to “represent” Him here do the worst and bloodiest damage throughout mankind’s dismal history, I have all sympathy with those for feel they must “turn away” from such representations of Christ, the man of Peace.
Christ seems to “take us where we’re at.”
I’m convinced He’s more concerned about each of us ‘learning His heart.” And then trying to live it out, however stumbling we may be in our “first steps.” We begin, by accepting our acceptance. We begin by recognizing our deep need and broken-ness. An empty cup he seems to be all-too-ready to fill.
But, yes: You learn to listen in a different sort of way. For He will speak.
Then the simple exchanges of just talking to Him daily & listening become a way of transformation from within and into the world in which we live. We get use to our own skin.
And then, by God’s Grace, we learn to love the spirits of our fellow travelers. Our brothers & sisters.
Even our enemies…
The world is starving for such manifestations of that Love.
That’s some of what these songs are about….
Merry, Holy, Happy Christmas…and Joy & courage on your journey,
I have this very old nondescript nylon string Spanish guitar. It figured deeply and beautifully in the writing of these songs. (I paid maybe $60 at a pawn shop in Athens, Ga years ago.) It has a neck on it like a baseball bat. Meaning it’s just so THICK and unwieldy to grasp that there are just some chords I can’t play on it.
You have to wrestle the hell out of it to make music on it.
Call it a friendly “skirmish.”
BUT, it is without a doubt, a oddly inspiring instrument. I have used it on numerous recordings. The guitar possesses a wonderful,” throaty” tone. Good guitars are mysterious and this one truly is.
Nope, not much on beauty, but it’s character” bids a closer look.
It’s natural ‘voice,” to my ears anyway, seems to have a sort of acoustic “wisdom” in it. Songwriters live for these sorts of “finds.”
It sounds “authentic,” worn and humble….
Like it came with the “stories” & songs waiting to be un-packed.
Where the Love Light Gleams was released December 18, 2015