Dear Bill, Friendly Folk Singer
I saw Bill Mallonee play a solo acoustic set at the Neighborhood Theatre last night. There were only about 30 people there. He played a lot of material from his new record Dear Life, as well as a number of songs from his next new record (due out in December) entitled Friendly Fire. His prolificity is truly mind-boggling.
His newer songs seemed to be mostly personal in nature (about his wife, Brenda, and kids) or political. During one song, Mallonee’s guitar started cutting out, prompting him to stop mid-song and say, “Is this a Republican wiring system?!”
Later on, he said, “I don’t care who gets elected, I just want a president who can speak English.” Initially, I thought he was decrying the double-speak these politicians (on both sides) are always spewing, but later it was pointed out to me that he was probably just referring to George W. Bush’s famous malapropisms (e.g. “I heard there’s rumors on the Internets …”).
Oh well, whatever the case, I’m always struck by how articulate and emotive singer/songwriters like Mallonee can be. “A heart on a tether with a vagabond mind,” as Mark Heard sang.
Before the show, I presented Mallonee with a copy of the underground zine I published years ago (Kamikaze), which featured a cover story feature interview with Mallonee from 1994 (the Welcome to Struggleville era). It wasn’t until those words had crossed my lips that it occurred to meâ€””That was 10 years ago!” My, how time flies. All water under the bridge. And Mallonee is still grinding it out on the road, playing his passionate prophetic punk-tinged folk music for the few, the proud faithful fans.
Thanks for stopping in Charlotte, Bill. Godspeed.
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