Getting Free…by bill mallonee

A good day. Some new songs show up & just thinking about how all this shakes down for “Mother-Lode.” (It’s July 2020. We’re stuck in the midst of Covid-19 overdrive with a science denying president.)
Mother~Lode. That’s the working title for the new album now being written. I’m about 50 song ideas into the demo-ing process.);
Me?
These days, I tend to bury my records the very same day they’re born;
I’m always “braced’ for that news from the nursery. You get use to it.
“It’s a girl! Sounds great! Man, those songs! Love the cover!
Alas, so sorry ‘she’ didn’t live, Mr. Mallonee.”
“Thank you, nurse, ” I say.

In my “better moments?”
I’m deeply blessed to have a wonderful (a stalwart!) handful of folks who have allowed my work a continued place in their lives; That’s huge given the amount of work I’ve released. All my dark moments, especially the ones that whisper “futility,” go back into the next songs; Or at least such moments sharpen the lenses of my ragged soul to see and thank God for all I’ve been blessed with.(I wouldn’t have life any other way except for wishing whatever these current health issues (still somewhat mysterious) would be healed.)

A side bar?
I spent a year reading almost every single old-school jazz artist’s life story.And you know what?Deprivation and a fair degree of Obscurity were part of the “formula.” Made ’em what they were. Their passion and heroism and talent was beyond belief.
I get that…
I tend to distrust the whole pop (indie or otherwise) marketing dynamic of “how” an artist “breaks big” anyway. I’m just not mesmerized by it anymore;
As if there’s some “silver bullet” that exist that if you play the game right, you “win.”
“a Silver bullet?” I really don’t think there is one.
There’s just “the real,” “pretty-close-to-it,” and the fake.

I grew up heavily immersed in rock and roll from about age 12 onward, as a drummer first; It was later that I turned to guitar. Songs started coming at a startling rate, about 75 a year.
My mother was a port. She impressed upon me the magic and perfection of words & language well used.
Words became my tether to the world within and the world without, as well. This was all happening when I was was sorting out teh claims of biblical Christianity. I had no interest in a being a preacher with a guitar for God or any such notion. I still don’t.
There’s two kinds of truth.
I suspect we’re all privy to both of them. And perhaps Volition is part of it.
There’s a truth that fits with reality and there’s truth that one might have to “stretch the muscle of faith a bit” to embace or be embraced by.

I had no interest in “breaking big.” I wanted to write things that would tell me who I was;
Things that would give me faith; Faith in God, faith in myself, faith in humanity…and put a smile on my face. That was some 30 years ago.still pretty much the same methodology I’ve employed across 80 plus albums over 30 years.

(I follow nothing anymore in the music world. Too much energy waste. I just do my thing)

But I remember the 90’s thru the first decade of the 2000s;
All the buzz & filigree that got tricked out in the press on emerging bands in the name of NextBigThing; We were touring then & living in a van much for many years, (from Killing Floor 1992 thru Perfumed Letter 2004) just trying to attract the attention of the “inner circles” & “shakers and movers” of the record biz… to no avail.The whole thing, the ambition, the grasping, the manipulation just started to feel like 90% of it might just be pretentious nonsense.

That hunch alone made it easy (easy for me anyway) to retreat from “scene-ster-ism” shortly after Audible Sigh came out. That fine recording, Roof of the Sky, and Perfumed Letter felt like perfect records. No shame in any song.
Again, nothing happened.One may get sad over such outcomes, but one gets use to it after a spell.

But I learned something during that time:
I learned to turn the deaf ear to whatever responses we garnered or whatever neglect we met;
I was so ecstatic about the music I was making…
And then I realized that that was all that ever counted. Indeed, it was the only reason I ever picked up a guitar in the first place.
Just to create something that would make me smile.Everything else? Pretty much an illusion.That’s when you’re “free.”

I tell young artists frequently: Find YOUR voice (not someone else’s);
Get good, keep working, get better;
Please have something to say;
And have fun, for God’s sake.
And make us believe in things like “Love at first sight.”
Make us bet the farm on a better world where lions lie down with the lambs.
Where the balances are evened out…
Make us believe.
If you’re not embarking on that sober, serious, beautiful, riotously fun enterprise, then why are you doing it?

So, yeah. I keep writing, trying to dig a little deeper each time; I keep exploring the guitar. melody, recording new material, playing; Maybe, I’m even getting better.

In the end? When you realize that you don’t need an “inner circle’s” permission, or even that perhaps the audience left a long time ago, or you can tune out some of the cultural static?
Well it’s then that you can start to hear your own voice. Really hear it.
Put any & all experiences in the life you’re living into the songs, into the art you’re rendering.
What you’re making is likely something unique & lasting.

And then? Well, then you’re free.
You may be dirt-broke, but heck that’s a big club, you know?
But, you’re free.
And honest to God?
There may be nothing better.

bill mallonee July 2020

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