It is fitting that Bill Mallonee's 50th album would be released on the same day that one of the worst storms in U.S. history was pummeling its coastline. From sea to shining, churning sea, Mallonee's travels across America for the last few decades have been those of a man seeking to calm the storm of his own thoughts about faith, life, and the human condition.
So it's fitting that he would call the new album Amber Waves, a nod not just to America the beautiful, but also to an America that is divided, contentious, worried about the next four years and beyond.
"We feel a certain powerlessness," says Mallonee, the former frontman for Vigilantes of Love. "We fight to keep cynicism at bay. The times are uncertain, volatile.Trust in our systems and in our leaders (both religious or political) has all but vanished. We are polarized at every turn. Our hearts feel weary, confused, hardening. Every aspect of what we call the American experience, including the experiment called 'democracy,' seems up for grabs. That's some of the levels Amber Waves works on."
Even the liner notes include an unintentional nod to the storm that now hammers the Atlantic shores: "Our hopes imaginations drift upon a tempest-sea where the battle to become truly human is played out. And on many (most?) days, our courage to hope and imagine are often felt to be drowning."
We talked to Mallonee, 57, about the new album, his long career, and what he calls living in with "the incongruities of faith and life."
So, fifty albums! Does it feel like it?
I actually haven't thought about it much. Too much fun making the album, and I had the wildly talented Jake Bradley and Kevin Heuer (both ...