FOREST FULL OF WOLVES
by Bill Mallonee & The Big Sky Ramblers
"Every song, every note, every lyric & word sung, should shine with authenticity of the heart." ~ Bill Mallonee
Bill Mallonee here. The above quote has been my guiding light.
As a nationally recognized Americana singer/songwriter, recording and performing artist I have had the privilege to write, record & release 77 albums over a 25 year period. I've probably written close to 1,500 songs over that period...and the songs keep coming, unabated. That's what this collection of new songs is all about...
OUR CURRENT PROJECT & IMMEDIATE GOALS:
FOREST FULL OF WOLVES will be album #77 for me.
It will likely have 10-14 songs on it. Maybe more.
It's a very lyric & guitar heavy record; a very passionate Americana rock record. Some early mixes are up at:
Forest Full of Wolves (new songs/early mixes)
The project will involve the recording, mixing, mastering, art work development and replication of the songs in digital and CD formats. Pretty straight forward work.
This new collection of 30plus songs this feels timely & inspired.
I will be posting new mixes frequently, so you can hear "where it's all going." I think that's part of what makes the two previous Kickstarter outings ('The Rags of Absence' & 'Audible Sigh Deluxe Vinyl Edition') a great community to share with!
So, please, feel free to write me here with any questions.
We are in this together!
FOREST FULL OF WOLVES will have expanded art work (just like The Rags of Absence); (We are blessed to have the art work for "Forest Full of Wolves" to be done by renowned artist & sing/songwriter, Chris Taylor!) An album should be a piece of great art on many levels; Not only should it's songs, recording & delivery be excellent, an album's art work & packaging should be top shelf, as well.
HOW I GOT HERE:
Emerging from the indie world of Athens, Ga. in 1992 with my band Vigilantes of Love, we made big waves on the national scene via a series of critically acclaimed albums (Killing Floor, Welcome To Struggleville and Blister Soul);.
With the release of the Americana gem, "Audible Sigh" in 1999, the band's heavy touring & incendiary live shows galvanized a growing Americana fan base here and in the UK. Produced by Buddy Miller and showcasing the band's two-guitar, bass and drums anthems and filigreed with performances by Emmylou harris, Phil Maderia, Julie Miller and Brady Blade, the album was Top 5 in the UK UNCUT charts in 2000.
However, with the ever-changing dynamics of the music industry, it was still more advantageous to return to a more independent status in 2001. Since that time I've issued over 60 solo albums.
I'm a blessed man. A lucky man.
I have a sweetheart for a wife. (Muriah Rose is deeply talented songwriter herself!);
I love this life....and I am grateful to God for His gifts to me,
Best job a fella could have!
My work is up for your audio-perusal at: www.billmalloneemusic.bandcamp.com It's all streaming so have a listen to any of the previous albums posted there.
(Tell you what: If you're among the 'uninitiated" to my work, message me here and I'll send you a free download or two of my albums.)
I usually have anywhere from 25-50 songs ready to go for each album I make. And "Forest Full of Wolves" is no exception. I've have, what I believe to be, a great group of songs (30plus in all) for this recording. I want them to be recorded, mixed and mastered in the best possible way.
That's why I make many rough mixes available to you, so you'll know and hear "where it's all going." I know of no other artist who does this as regularly as I do. Again: Please feel free to drop in for a listen to early mixes as we progress at: FOREST FULL OF WOLVES (early mixes)
Almost all of my work (except for an 8 year span, 1992-2000 when my previous band, Vigilantes of Love, was signed to a major record label), has been done on independent labels or self-released. I am well-acquainted with the benefits and the drawbacks of being recording & performing singer/songwriter, which leads me to the next topic...
A TEACHER CALLED "EXPERIENCE:"
What have I learned through all these years of writing, playing, touring & recording, over the years?
You learn to appreciate the hallowed-ness & beauty of Life and the people God surrounds you with. The road becomes a teacher.
The folks you met are very much like yourself.
Good folks. Salt of the earth with good hearts...with their stories to tell. You learn to listen...
Listen with all of your heart. That's where a good song begins.
I learned, and have come to believe, that good music (like all good art) should be about liberation of spirit; It should be suffused with grace, realness & authenticity.
In my own past experiences, I found that the industry superstructure that much of today's music is "vended" through, was stifling, often producing mediocrity. My heart & spirit wanted something more for the music & lyrics and themes that were taking shape inside of me at the rate of 50plus songs a year.
And while I'm grateful for the previous experience of once being a "signed" artist, there's something FAR more cool and FAR more satisfying about being an indie artist.
It has to do with creativity, following one's muse and building a substantive body of work I'm proud of.
With Forest Full of Wolves, I have a set list of about 30 brand new songs to choose. You good folks here have made that possible in the past.
And, like my quote above states, I intend to make every song, every note, every lyric & word sung, shine with an authenticity of the heart. ~ Bill Mallonee
PRODUCER & ENGINEERING CREDENTIALS:
My many years of experience in all aspects of studio work (be it engineering, recording, performing or mixing) stand me in good stead when it comes to handling the demands of making an album. One of the best aspects of living in "the digital age" is the ability to obtain studio grade recording gear. I've spent the last 7 years building a home studio and out-fitting it with the gear I need to make the records I want to make. (Many "Thanks" to Mojave Audio for a recent endorsement that allowed me to acquire two of their incredible microphones.)
As they say out here in the Southwest: "This isn't my first rodeo." I've worked with producers like Buddy Miller (Emmylou Harris, Robert Plant, Solomon Burke), John Keane (REM, Widespread Panic, B-52's), Mark Heard (Sam Phillips, T-Bone Burnett), Tom Lewis (Drive-by-Truckers) and Jim Scott (Tom Petty, Johnny Cash, STP); Their philosophies have impacted the way I "hear" music and the way it should be recorded
SOME BASIC LIFE & SONG PHILOSOPHY
One should write with an ear connected to the heart...and keep your eyes wide open. Me? I write almost constantly.
Songs, essays, poetry.
My work, again, is based on the notion that we are all "living in the same skin." Therefore the questions (and the answers) are applicable to all.
A good song should tell the truth and resonate because "we're all made of similar stuff."
A good song can be like a "good friend." A good song is the perfect "marriage" of lyric & music. You immerse yourself in this wondrous, beautiful but fractured thing called Life...and report it. "Live" & on the scene, you know?
A good writer develops a "nomenclature" that resonates with many. That's where I "try to go" with my work.
Being a song-writer?
"It's good work, if you can get it," I say.
My mother instilled in me, a love of words & of language. Words have the power to inspire, reveal, & challenge the deepest parts of our hearts. My father, a semi-pro jazz drummer, instilled in me a love for well-arranged "live" music: he waxed eloquently about it's organicity and power.
That's probably why I love the Americana genre.
Americana music has all the "Big" themes we all wrestle with as humans: Love, Loss, Regret, Mortality, Grief, Poverty, Injustice, Broken-ness, Sin & Redemption and (eventually, by the Grace of God) "wholeness."
...it's all there, big as life.
So, there are really only 3 reference points I have as a songwriter:
1st: Life is a hallowed thing. We all live in the same skin.
2nd: We are all on this journey called "Life" together.
3rd: That means that songs, if they show us some of that essence, can be sacred. The stories they tell, the words employed & the sounds they use to do so should be honest, "real" and believable.
You strive for that "authenticity of the heart."
I love guitars. Mostly old ones.
The one's with soul and a story locked inside them.
I love writing the songs that "show up" when grab a guitar.
Whether it's an all-out rocker or a more elegant indie-folk type song, in the end it's all about truth & passion intermingling.
If you've read this far? Thank You!
I know there's lots of artists "out there" competing for your support and I'm sure they're good ones.
But, I hope you'll consider helping me with this project.
I passionately believe it's going to be a great record.
I also sincerely believe that you're goodwill is in capable hands.
Check out the "rewards," and think about it.
I don't think you'll be disappointed. I think this collection of songs are some of my strongest yet. I'd be grateful and honored to have you on board, folks. I'm extremely excited about the album, it's sonic quality and of course, it's themes.
(Please feel free to drop by for a listen to any of my back catalogue at: www.BillMalloneeMusic.bandcamp.com, if you're so inclined.)
Grace, Peace & Joy on the Journey, friends,
~ Bill Mallonee
Risks and challenges
RISKS & CHALLENGES:
"FOREST FULL OF WOLVES" will be the 12th album that I will have written, recorded, engineered, mixed & produced from my studio.
Obstacles in the studio usually come in two areas. Adequate gear and knowledge of how good gear is to be used is essential in the capturing of a body of songs. (A recent endorsement from Mojave Audio has allowed me to purchase a couple of incredible world class microphones!) Much of this was due to the two previous successful Kickstarter projects.)
The other obstacle involves more artistic sensibilities. Questions like: "What does this song need?" "Is it compelling?" "Do the themes and lyrics stand forth clearly?" "Does the sonic overlay, the instrumentation and arrangement lend itself to a great song?"
As a songwriter with a longstanding history of making strong albums and an increasing knowledge of the engineering side of the equation, I feel quite competent in being able to deal with these issues and bring a good song into being. I hope you'll consider partnering with us on this project!
Gratitude & Thanks,
- (44 days)