Dear Life,   Year: 2004 | Run Time: 47:35

©2004 Fundamental Records, licensed by Meat Market Records. All songs by Bill Mallonee, published by CyBrenJoJosh ©2004, administered by BMI.

Track List

    1. After All This Dust Settles Down [3:10] YouTube
    2. Where the Light Does Fall [4:14]
    3. Ready and Red-Eyed [2:55]
    4. Carol Merrill [3:50]
    5. High and Lonesome [3:42] YouTube
    6. Who Will You Love? [3:51] YouTube
    7. The Kidz on Drugz (or Life) [5:42]
    8. Chameleon Me (Pin My Hope) [3:51]
    9. I Will Never Be Normal (After This) [5:31] YouTube
    10. I Will Miss You Girl [5:01]
    11. Songwriter (Numb) [5:48]

    Did you know?

    Dear Life, was originally to be titled Pin My Hope. Those who pre-ordered the CD received a five-song EP titled Dear Outtakes. This EP was released as a digital download in both mp3 and aiff formats.

    Quotes from Bill Mallonee

    Apr 20, 2004: Ok... it's almost done... John Keane (R.E.M., Widespread Panic, Cowboy Junkies, Uncle Tupelo, etc.) just started into the mixing mode.... Pedal steel abounds on about four tracks, so he started mixing those first... I laid down the last drum track (on "Punk Rocks' Dead") and guitar parts last night on "Ready and Red-eyed"... Jake finished a section on "No Longer Bound" and "Punk Rock's Dead"... and voila... it's finished... looks like it's gonna be about 22 songs. Plus the four-song EP... a good crop this year... thanks for the good seeds, folks! Tim will probably be emailing folks about the project since a two CD set was NOT in the original plan and puts us past budget a bit....but not much.... Besides, we're pretty good stewards with "good faith handshakes and heartaches"... which might be a good name for the record... I've done the sequence... and it looks like 11 songs on each CD... each over 45 minutes. It goes to a lot of different places... when John gets mixes together, we'll post a few MP3's.... I'm pretty much squirming with anticipation on this one...

    May 4, 2004: We may be in the "shopping for a deal mode" after I hear the final mixes... it truly feels at this point like a nice ride... and it feels like it "deserves" (if I can be so egotistical to use such a word) a wider audience... Fact: Usually artists are hamstrung, demonized and penalized for low soundscans in their previous outings. No exception here, in my experience... Oh, never mind the often unseen variables that fumbling (albeit well-meaning) labels and slack(er) distributors lend to the outcome. It's still seems that it's always the artist/band at the end of ragged food chain. (end tirade) Still, we hope for good things on this one... and (since God is bigger than all of it) we remain... indefatigably undeterred.

    May 13, 2004: Our need to release a record that critics, radio and media can "get their brains around" (pathetic phrase) is what is driving this decision to NOT release a double CD... but a solid single one, Dear Life,. Basically we came to this conclusion: "We need a record folks can figure out and appreciate. That means a record that is more concise and manageable." NOT one that's hard to digest or one that could be perceived as self-indulgent. (It could be dangerous to open oneself to that... not that I give all that much of a rat's derriere about what any critic thinks... but I'll play along one more time. Summershine and Perfumed Letter, btw, were short 44 minute pop-rides—PERFECT!) What to say? Blame it on the shortened attention span that a culture of sound-bytes and rapid fire video images has spawned. Blame it on the 20 minute commute. Blame it on the fact that most records are based on that one killer song... and the rest is forgettable. But whatever the reason, or combinations of them, it seems wise to release Dear Life, as a single CD. And so, welcome if you will, Dear Life. She'll be the one I'm the most proud of to date. Let me explain why it think it's of my "best." I divide my work into two categories; the pop stuff and the Americana stuff. No, they're not hard and fast categories. But of all the "Americana stuff," this new one (I think) is the "best." And by "best," I mean the one that is the most naked/poetic, brutal and beautiful... tones and lyrics all dovetail and blend and reinforce each other. In some ways Dear Life, was a record for me that was an attempt to affirm love and hope and joy when I had lost faith in those things and even tested those "ideas" beyond human measure. And that's all the Cliff's Notes I can give you. That's what I mean by best... all the filters are down. Of course soon you'll be the judge.

    Jul 23, 2004: Dear Life is about maturation, about growth... about new but old sounds... it's about yearning... regret and stuff like that... about still small places that Audible Sigh couldn't quite get to... and there's even more coming... I bet it will interface with a number of experiences of the heart you can't quite put into words... and it's not a "downer" record.

    Jul 26, 2004: But THESE songs... and yes, they ARE sad ones... (except for Perfumed Letter and Summershine which still solo but were written FOR a band) These Dear Life songs were "concieved" in a more "austere" context... I can't afford a band anymore... I tell folks it's the audiological version of "downsizing." (Maybe one day, I can get famous and afford one! lol!) But, when I came to grips with that obstacle, I wrote a different kind of song... So Dear Life is more one guy writing on a guitar; taking stock, bleeding where need be... and using less "noisy" embellishment... (Although I personally think the pedal steels, fiddles, harmonicas and acoustic guitars are as lush, elegant and lyrical as anything I've done!)... Also with a less is more approach, the lyrics get the chance to step out... which is what I'm going for...

    Nov 11, 2006: Dear Life and Friendly Fire were the solo records that tried to look at life squarely, soberly, astutely... God bless Jake Bradley for lending his immense talents to roundin' it out.... Those two albums were truly fan-driven enterprises... point of their origin was right here on [the vol-list]! Here come songs about drug addiction, post-trumatic stress, optimistic reminiscing, mature reflections (see: "Punk Rock's Dead")... a mixture for folk/county/folk rock mixed with (hopefully) smart-clever-love-pop songs... that was the idea. Again: no marketing, no real tours of being able to open for bigger bands on a consistent basis... the doom-writing was already on the wall before they came out... more depression.


    Bill Mallonee: acoustic and electric guitars, vocals, harmonica, percussion, banjo

    Jake Bradley: acoustic and electric guitars, electric bass, double bass, accordion

    John Keane: pedal steel, acoustic and electric guitars, bgv's

    David Claassen: fiddle

    Jon Radford: drums, percussion

    Brandon Reynolds: keyboards, piano

    Patrick Ferguson: drums on "Carol Merrill"

    Produced by Bill Mallonee, John Keane and Jake Bradley. Recorded at John Keane Studios, Studio B, Athens, GA in April of 2004. Engineered by Chris Byron. Mixed and mastered by John Keane. Photography: Magnus Aronson. Design: Piksl Design (

    Liner Notes

    Gracious "Thanks!" to: Brenda, Joshua, and Joseph Mallonee, Vigilantes of Love, Tim White, Wildwood Agency, John and Jo Keane, the good folks at Paste Magazine, Mr. John Mark Johnson (JJ), Bob Harris and BBC 2, Buddy and Julie Miller, Fr. Jack McDowell, Jeff Grantham, Roy Hendee, Jason Horst... and of course, to anyone on both sides of the pond who ever showed up.

    And Even More "Thanks!" to the grassroots fan base for kindness, goodwill... and for "chippin' in." God bless each of you.

    Open all night:

    "In Thy Light, we see light"






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