Strike the Match

by Billy Wylder

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about

“A spiritual cousin to Paul Simon’s Graceland” –Seven Days

From the front-lines at Standing Rock to the archaic streets of Jerusalem, the Sahel Desert to Carnegie Hall, music has been the source of strength for Billy Wylder. The band features Avi Salloway (Bombino/Hey Mama/Avi & Celia) joined by an inspired cast of singular artists who have performed across five continents including concerts at the Coachella Music & Arts Festival, Newport Folk Festival, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Montreal Jazz Fest, Carnegie Hall, and Lincoln Center. From 2013-16, Salloway toured the globe with Bombino, the Tuareg guitar hero from Niger, Africa. While on the journey and since returning, Salloway wrote the collection included on the band's new album Strike the Match (Sand & Gold Records).

Salloway has been bringing these songs to life with the Wylder Family, a group of dear friends and musical kindred spirits. In between shows, the band spent ten days recording at Eyeland Studio in the Columbus Theatre, home of The Low Anthem. The music weaves together American folk and rock with sensibilities from the Sahara Desert: think Andrew Bird meets Ali Farka Toure, Pete Seeger and Talking Heads. Strike the Match expands on American musical traditions, building a bridge to their African roots and coloring the songs with experimental art-rock textures: gilded string lines, synthesizers, and angular guitars. Mother Earth is at its center, surrounded by stories of love, conflict, change and dreams.

Salloway shares, “This album is a reflection of the world we’ve been born into, one filled with supernatural beauty and incomprehensible struggle. My social and environmental activism work has taken me to territories that have been colonized and occupied in the Middle East, North and West Africa, the South Pacific and Standing Rock, here at home. I have experienced the creative spirit rise up in the face of darkness and adversity and it is the most life-affirming feeling I have witnessed. This record has become the artifact at the intersection of these moving events in my life.”

On Strike the Match, Billy Wylder grapples with some of the most pressing questions of our time. How can we reorient ourselves to nature as a source of strength for resistance to the forces that seek to destroy and profit from it? How can we use music to move beyond capitalism and nationalism to a global society for the benefit of the earth and all living beings? How can we reconcile our painful history with hope and optimism for the future? The album calls the listener to engage with these questions and illuminates the path towards participating in the creation of a more just and sustainable world.

The band is named after Salloway’s grandmother, Wilma “Billie” Hotaling.” She was a prolific painter, author, musician, and educator. Billie wrote Count the Stars Through the Cracks, a harrowing historical fiction novel about a young brother and sister’s escape from the Antebellum South along the Underground Railroad. Billie’s writing was raw and fearless and her book delivered a powerful narrative about America’s hard truths and the long journey to freedom. “My grandma Billie led by example, showing me what creativity looks like and how critical art can be as a form of love and resistance. She is part of me and part of the Wylder family,” Salloway reflects.

“Raised in a progressive home and taught to play by Pete and John Seeger, activism is a constant in Avi Salloway’s life and art. During the past decade, he’s performed in world crisis spots, from the Palestinian territories to Standing Rock, always delivering a message of music’s power to heal and bring change.” –The Hippo

credits

released September 7, 2018

All songs written by Avi Salloway © 2018 Wylder Moonshine Publishing/ASCAP. All Rights Reserved
With exception of “Till Your Well Runs Dry” written by Peter Tosh © Irving Music, Co.

The Wylder family:

Avi Salloway - singing, guitars, electric bass on Great Blue Heron, December 31st, Moonshine, piano on Fourth of July, organ on We Rise
Rob Flax - violin, Juno 60 on Medicine Mama, upright bass and tambourine on Till Your Well Runs Dry,
pump organ on December 31st, singing
Jeremy Gustin - drums on all songs except Roar of the Wild and Till Your Well Runs Dry
Lucy Clifford - electric bass on Medicine Mama, Fourth of July, She the Earth, Nowhere to Run
Zamar Odongo - calabash on Roar of the Wild, singing on Fourth of July, Till Your Well Runs Dry,
Moonshine, Vital Signs, Roar of the Wild
Alexander Anderson - organ on Fourth of July, synthesizers on Vital Signs
Bridget Kearney - singing on Great Blue Heron
Isa Burke - singing on Fourth of July, Moonshine, Vital Signs
Krista Speroni - singing on Till Your Well Runs Dry
Jeff Prystowsky - electric bass on Vital Signs
Daniel Fox - shekere on Roar of the Wild
Daniel Fox, Brian Paulding, Avi Salloway - claps on Great Blue Heron

Wylder family singers on December 31st & Till Your Well Runs Dry: Cassie Kollman, Nouredine Ousmane, Laura Smith, Danilo Henriquez, Blair-Victoria Dutra, Linda Alila, Rob Flax, Avi Salloway, and Krista Speroni

Bridget Kearney appears courtesy of Nonesuch Records

Produced by Avi Salloway and Daniel Fox
Recorded at Eyeland Studio at the Columbus Theatre, Providence, RI
Additional recording at Wondersmith Audio, Lynn, MA and ZUMIX, East Boston, MA
Engineered by Daniel Fox
Additional engineering by Andrew Nault (1, 3, 6, 7)
Mixed by Daniel Fox and Avi Salloway
Mastered by Jeff Lipton at Peerless Mastering, Boston, MA
Assistant Mastering Engineer: Maria Rice
Album cover by Avi Salloway, Great Blue Heron print by Laura Smith
© 2018 Billy Wylder & Sand & Gold Records

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Track Name: Great Blue Heron (feat. Bridget Kearney)
I will follow you
I will follow you
like birds flying away

great blue heron in the sky
tell me why
won’t you tell me why
tell me why we live this way

lazy river floating by
taking time
taking time
stay for a while

I will follow you
I will follow you
like birds flying away

grains of sand through my hands
I am falling
I am falling
I am falling for you babe

in the stillness of the night
on the mountainside
on the mountainside
we can hear the great divide

I will follow you
I will follow you
like birds flying away
Track Name: Medicine Mama
long white coat
don’t you make no joke
got the medicine in hand
but she can hardly stand
it ain’t her fix
no none of your tricks
she’s been used and abused
raped and confused
stepped on like garbage
on the concrete streets
left by the guests
in her holy guest house
left by the guests
in her holy guest house

we are barely listening
we are barely listening

in the shadow of the building
can’t see the sun
tide between the walls
there’s nowhere to run
hear the clock in the hall
losing the beat
beggars bare their wounds
like meat on the streets
and the flags of freedom
they whip in the wind
built on the towers
of original sin
built on the towers
of original sin

we are barely listening
we are barely listening

the wheels keep spinning
in the patterns of the past
gotta let the skin die
before the new one can last
there are cracks in the frame
of this temple of freedom
got God on our money
a future to believe in
as leaders of the world
line up like enemies
mother’s crying, mother’s crying
they’re nowhere to be seen
mother’s crying, mother’s crying
they’re nowhere to be seen

a thousand red flags burning in the face
a thousand red flags what will it take

feel the fire now
feel the fire now
don’t you wait
don’t you wait
we ain’t got time
we ain’t got time

we are barely listening
we are barely listening
Track Name: December 31st
December thirty first
and you feel like you could burst
take a deep breath mama
you’re here today
now you have served your time
and there’s no chance to rewind
may your burned little heart
find peace in time

Anita is your name
and your children sling cocaine
the streets took your man
who’s to blame
there’s chaos in the air
it’s about damn time we care
we’re all on this ship
and it’s sinking fast

she said…
take the back roads to Birmingham
and maybe you’ll understand
this ginger lil’ place
ain’t Dixieland
my granddaddy Jim
he and all his kin
worked them fields
through thick and thin

Anita is my name
and my children sling cocaine
the streets took my man
who’s to blame
there’s chaos in the air
it’s about damn time we care
we’re all on this ship
and it’s sinking fast

Burrell’s laying in that cold cell
on a rusted out bed
six feet underground
with no rock at his head
stars and stripes above me
they’re whipping in the wind
in the name of liberty
a nation filled with sin

la la la la la la la la
let the bird fly out
Track Name: Fourth of July
riding on a ferris wheel
living in the ideal
bliss on the holiday
amused by the revolution
round and round you’re turning
staring out at the bay
Uncle Sam always gets his way
on the fourth of July

cotton candy
brown bag brandy
lazy river ride
kids and coca cola
just like they sold ya
with your beautiful bride
just for a moment you can hide
on the fourth of July

holding all the glory as you run
on the boardwalk you can’t avoid the bums
glowing like the faces round the fire
sing the star spangled banner with the choir

Coney Island
living in the big fun
castles all along the beach
poisoned seagulls
dirty needles
right before your eyes you see
freedom at the cost of being free
on the fourth of July

windows breaking
mothers shaking
walls are caving in
the world keeps turning
backward learning
the streets they smell of sin
grandson are you listening
it’s the fourth of July

sitting in a carriage in the sun
you take another shot and then you’re done
praying for a home up in the sky
take a look at your footprints before you die
take a look at your footprints before you die
take a look at your footprints before you die
Track Name: Till Your Well Runs Dry
you said you loved me
and then you left
you broke every promise
you win every bet
you never miss your water
till your well runs dry

tell me, tell me…
whatcha gonna do, when your well runs dry
whatcha gonna do, when your well runs dry
whatcha gonna do, when your well runs dry
I’d like to know…
whatcha gonna do, when your well runs dry

listen to me darling
you cheat and you lie
now you come runnin
wanting second try
you never miss your water
till your well runs dry

tell me, tell me…
whatcha gonna do, when your well runs dry
whatcha gonna do, when your well runs dry
whatcha gonna do, when your well runs dry
I’d like to know…
whatcha gonna do, when your well runs dry

we prayed before you
on sacred land
you stood on the mountain
with guns in your hand
but I know that you wonder
and you’re feeling blue

tell me, tell me…
whatcha gonna do, when your well runs dry
whatcha gonna do, when your well runs dry
whatcha gonna do, when your well runs dry
I’d like to know…
whatcha gonna do, when your well runs dry

can’t drink the oil
leave it in the soil
mni wiconi
water is life
can’t drink the oil
water is life
whatcha gonna do, when your well runs dry
we’d like to know
we’d like to know
we’d like to know
we’d like to know
Track Name: Moonshine
I was just a dream
turned to water down the stream
racing through the rocks
turned to clay and then to chalk
words I then became
written on the wall
a poem in their brain
like a rolling waterfall

I am the moonshine
I am a baby’s cry
and I am forgiveness
am I fictitious, woah oh

in the spring I am the green
come and see me we will sing
in the golden hour glow
be not afraid if you don’t know
for the sun will come again
you will grow my friend
imagine you’re the sand
and the water and the wind

I am the moonshine
I am a baby’s cry
and I am forgiveness
am I fictitious, woah oh
Track Name: Vital Signs (feat. Isa Burke)
the lion’s breath
a young one’s heart
the vital signs
not far apart

falling stars
missing tears
another home
another year

woah, fire
woah, water

hollow home
refugee
your shadow
as real can be

desperate eyes
beneath the veil
we are broken
and we are frail

woah, fire
woah, water

Damascus gate
Aleppo road
guerrilla guns
where do we go

across the sea
to Sicily
Malaga
take mercy on me

woah, fire
woah, water
Track Name: Roar of the Wild
went walking in the desert
with just my shoes
made me a headdress
I danced with my muse
the stars all above me
the sound of their silence
I was reminded
there in the night

solace and stillness
I leave a world of illness
take a desert’s sweet kiss
on my weary head
come a rolling thunder
and the rhythm of rain
I am free from these chains
that I did not choose

roar of the wild
may I be your companion
I will defend you
until I am dust
there will come a time
down rivers and highways
when you and me are
one in the same

it’s my good fortune
a haven from madness
if money makes sadness
then a poor man I’ll die
I’ve danced with holy
women and children
ghosts in the mountains
under one sky

roar of the wild
may I be your companion
I will defend you
until I am dust
there will come a time
down rivers and highways
when you and me are
one in the same

let me hear your voice
desert angel
let me hear your voice
mountain muse
let me hear your voice
lonesome cannon
it is you, I can’t refuse
Track Name: We Rise
hear the pounding of drums, deep in the distance
at the foot of the mountain, we rise in resistance
to the black snake and her poisonous smile
Track Name: She the Earth
there was a time when she was the earth
as fine as the sand, as true as the north
her soul inside the soul of the world, round

deep in the fold of her history
one with the land, one with the sea
mother to child, river to soul, whole

circles of glass reflecting the sky
she lights up the darkness with diamonds in her eyes
dancing with shadows, turning herself to the fire

she cried her song to the call of the wild
prayed for her kin, the spirit of the child
mama, mama what have they done
the waters are rising, there’s nowhere to run

dried in the lines of her sun kissed hands
a mirror for the earth, she understands
the magnetic connection,
bending her heart towards the water

the blackness of night, transformed by the stars
guided her home, from near and from far
now the light that she sees, shines from the streets
she can’t find her home, she can’t find her peace
she can’t find her home, she can’t find her peace

she cried her song to the call of the wild
prayed for her kin, the spirit of the child
mama, mama what have they done
the waters are rising, there’s nowhere to run
the waters are rising, there’s nowhere to run

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