From the moment a single acoustic guitar run heralds the arrival of at least for a little while, you just know that you're in safe hands. Bill Mallonee's new album, Lands and Peoples, continues where last year's Winnowing left off.
Languid, poignant, insightful, life-affirming and provocative, Mallonee's latest collection of 12 self-penned songs is pitch perfect. He and Mariah Rose play everything on songs that are arranged to reveal their depth and beauty.
He has a wonderful turn of phrase that takes the listener into the heart of the human condition without them really realising it until they're in so deep they have no option but to face it.
Faith seems to be hanging by a thread as Mallonee surveys a world overrun by the madness of greed and misfortune. But faith is hanging in there, woven into each track, a faith that is not afraid to name its opposite as a lived experience, a faith that looks reality full in the face and all-but asks 'is that the worst you've got?'
This is not a gospel album and yet it's full of God; he leaks out of the playing and the vocal, sits alongside you as you listen and whispers 'are you hearing this?'
I've said it before,but it bears repeating: Mallonee has hit a rich vein of form that stretches back over his last four albums - not that he was a slouch before this, you understand! These songs are the work of a mature master at the height of his powers. He deserves a huge audience, gathered in small numbers in a myriad intimate gatherings across the land, so we can soak up the wisdom and ask questions...
Oh that we could get him to Britain...
You check it out and buy it here. Go on, treat yourselves, you'll not be disappointed.