Straight, No Chaser

Bill Mallonee (appearing with his wife Muriah Rose) will be the first singer-songwriter in the new Center of Excellence in Faith and Health, Wednesday March 23rd.

I heard Bill at Eddie’s Attic in Decatur, Georgia a few months ago and was simply blown away by the powerful, almost painful integrity of the music. I didn’t know then that he was so frequently–and surprisingly– welcomed at seminaries helping to illuminate what the arts have to do with practicing faith. He’ll be in Memphis after a wild schedule that takes him through a number of performance venues, but also to Union, Princeton and Wesley Seminaries.

If you haven’t heard of him, well, go his website and download his latest WPA album and see if it doesn’t light up some places in your spirit you didn’t know were there.

And in the meantime, read over the lyrics to “straight, no chaser”–the tune on his WPA album that made a fan out of me. (

We’re sponsoring this with John Kilzer and his Theology and Arts program of Memphis Theological Seminary. The Center of Excellence only holds 95 people as a music venue, so email Ruthie Hayes to protect your seat

$10 suggested donation.

Straight, No Chaser – music/lyrics: bill mallonee

Trails that led to the mountain top
too late to turn back, too late to late to stop

Friends all left with logs in their eyes

Clapped their hands at my demise

And that’s how the righteous apply

the justice of God with a cold clear eye

Ain’t no one in here without a taint

In every sinner there lies the perfect saint


Lay down your sorrows…

They’ll still be there tomorrow…

For you to pick up again

Lay down your fears and doubts…

Give of your heart from the inside out

And all those sad mistakes?

They’ll still be there…when you awake


A million knocks on unopened doors

A million questions there’s no answers for

Usually the last to know the score

Got these splinters in my knuckles

Sun going down and the city arises…

Shake of the dust and the compromises

Down here kid, you know it never really ends

You gotta learn to dream in color again

(repeat chorus)

I swam the river way past the shallows

I found a thousand dreams there…hangin’ on the gallows

And the shadows they cast on the tender blades of Spring

Gave me…this song to sing

So, sing of the kisses…sing of the failures

Sing of the grief, kid…straight, no chaser

Sing of all that’s poisioned your well

Sing of all you had to sell

(repeat chorus)

– Posted on the journey

About garygunderson

Professor, Faith and the Health of the Public, Wake Forest University School of Divinity. NC Certified Beekeeper Author, Leading Causes of Life, Deeply Woven Roots, Boundary Leaders, Religion and the Heath of the Public, Speak Life and God and the People. God and the People: Prayers for a Newer New Awakening. Secretary Stakeholder Health. Founder, Leading Causes of Life Initiative
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