Bill Mallonee – You Give it All Your Heart [FREE MP3]

Bill Mallonee

In honor of Valentine’s Day, I give you one of my favorite songs…
A song about love… and baseball (and the sorts of gifts and passions we have that give shape to our lives)

This song has been recorded in several different places, but this live version from 2000 is one of my favorites:


ALSO, for a limited time…
Bill is giving away a free MP3 of a different recording of this song

The song also appears on his 2002 album Fetal Position…
[Listen and Download here]

Bill Mallonee:
Paste Music Magazine, in a poll conducted by both writers and artists, listed Bill Mallonee as 65 in their “100 Greatest Living Songwriters Poll.” “At the end of the day, it’s about the story living under your own skin. In my work, I’ve just tried to chase that story down and put something of a frame around it for a spell.” Mallonee, (pronounced MAL-O-KNEE) the lyrical and musical source behind the late Vigilantes of Love, started playing music in Athens in the late 80’s. Bill’s deeper love for music and lyricism of artists like Dylan and Neil Young left an indelible mark on his writing and vocal delivery. “Being a son of the South, it’s hard not to be surrounded by the beauty of things fractured and incongruous…that’s the stuff of real songs… What came out was my own version of what I deeply loved in the work of those two.” [Dylan and Neil Young]

Read my review of Bill Mallonee’s
recent Jack Kerouac-themed album

You Give it all your Heart…


yeah you give it all your heart
’cause that’s the way you play the game
ever since the smell of fresh cut outfield grass
you’ve always been this way
from the oil upon your leather glove
to the sharp crack of the bat
to the faces on the trading cards
and the stats upon the back
you give it all your heart
’cause they come to see you swing
you learn to nurse your own hurts
and hope the coach doesn’t suspect a thing
sure it is a long shot
but the sky seemed oh so clear
we may not make it out the bush leagues honey
but that’s not why we’re here
now ever since the first game
it’s been deep inside of you
was it a music only you could hear
when the count was three and two?
but ever since you picked up the wood
you can’t seem to put it down
you cannot get enough of it
so you roam from town to town
and some call it your passion
and some call it your gift
you know the way you read the wind-up
and the nuance of each pitch
the whole thing felt like something else
when we walked onto that field
it was like a language you must learn to read
or a base that you must steal
we may not win the pennant
we may not drink champagne
it’s not whether you win or lose
but it’s how you play the game
the heroes are not as many
and the scoreboards are not as bright
but somewhere some kid gets it all
when he swings that wood tonight
i once knew a woman
she asked her son to shine her shoes
she put a quarter in each one of them
’cause she thought that was his due
but he returned the money
and when she asked him why that was
he said mom i’m old enough to know by now
you just do some things for love
well you give it all your heart
’cause that’s the way you play the game
ever since the smell of fresh-cut outfield grass
we’ve always been this way
sure it is a long shot
but the sky seemed oh so clear
we may not make it out of the bush leagues honey
but that’s not why we’re here

Written by Bill Mallonee
for CyBrenJoJosh (BMI) ©2002

C. Christopher Smith is the founding editor of The Englewood Review of Books. He is also author of a number of books, including most recently How the Body of Christ Talks: Recovering the Practice of Conversation in the Church (Brazos Press, 2019). Connect with him online at: C-Christopher-Smith.com

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