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by Stripmall Ballads

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I don’t care about your hustle / I’m only here for a short time / To be fair, I did whistle / But I haven’t got a dime I am going, going to reap what I have sowed / I am waiting for Susan at the crossroads Don’t you tell me ‘bout your maker / I know Him well and we are good / Go to hell, you pretty faker / You know what I can make with guitar wood? I am going, going to explode / I’m believing in Susan at the crossroads Her hair, dark as the river / Morning doves find her there / And her skin is smooth as winter / I may drown or I may freeze I am going, going to do what I am told / I am telling Susan from the crossroads She spoke until the sun set / Then she turned east and I got lost / Smoke on the hills so I went west / I could marvel or I could burn I am going, going to behold / Susan at the crossroads
My soap smells of juice and sage / and you should go on to see her / my soap smells of juice and sage / I’ll find my way home on my own Your boots smell of polish and sweat / and you should go on to see her / maybe we walked for too long a time / nobody’s fault but my own No one should assume at path or a gait / or forfeit their freedom for loves kicks / you led the way, yes, but I followed you / nobody’s fault but my own I’ll lodge myself in a very dark cave / with walls made of sharp obsidian / my skin it will roughen and I will grow old / and no one will come to see me (lyrics by Simone Schmidt)
She said it was not her real name / instead she’d be called / the same as her, she who walked with fire / and burned down the last record store / don’t mind me There were two ways out of town / two ways to look at it / two live wires tattooed with venom / one was a ghost and one was full of children / don’t mind me Her black skies, her fallen towers / that was her name, Joan of Arc in all the flowers / what a shame when she jumped off the stage / and was found ranting at the bus stop / don’t mind me
Valerie 02:28
Sounds like a knocking on the door / the ringing chimes / clockwise, Valerie / her hands the hands of time / slowly twist the key / spinning wheels, Valerie The fading hours hid fast friends / her glass face missing them / from the mantle, Valerie / she sets to start the chores / fingerprints prove / you’ve been here before, Valerie Her mourning tears will find / a belle in dust / she draws the blinds / the winding dusk / the peace of mind / haunting Valerie / up from the bed and back again / Valerie will tell you when
I’ve been pushing rope and chasing fast women / I’ve been shooting dope and making my living / hitting that tail end of the week / keeping it real every time I speak / copping that feel on a deadend street / lining up them rails just to stay on my feet / I’ll give you a deal, boys, that can’t be beat Slinging my six when the tongue wags / sitting on the fix with the ziplock bags / moving that powder, Miss Molly Forenow / king of the hour’s gonna show you how / more superman power than the law allows / don’t take it like a coward / gotta stand up proud / bath-salts on the sour make you shout out loud Keep the motor running in case the police come / you’re purring and a’humming and I’m almost done / make more money if you know my name / they’ll play you for a honey if you’re in the game / it stops being funny when the trick’s the same / it’s pull over, Johnny out geeking in the rain / they’ll give you what you need or they’ll give you away
Marietta 04:57
Mary, Mrs. James, how much has really changed? / the river men still taste the same / salt in their sweat / and sweet in the rain There’s nothing going on / on the banks of the river / somewhere between / alone and together / oh, Marietta, will you ever come find me? / there’s nothing wrong with a sinner saying please I’ve been out with the night fishermen / and the women all wearing Harley-Davidson / whose arms and legs are made of Virginia Slims There’s something going on / on the banks of the river / oh, Marietta, will you ever / come find me down by the river bank? / there’s nothing wrong with a sinner giving thanks The railroad boys are setting off fireworks / and those redhead girls got all the percs / can’t recall their names / but we laughed till it hurt There’s nothing going on / but there’s something going on / oh, Marietta (written with Morris Paul Lippens)
Jennifer Pine Tree / needles will burn at the thought of heat / flames return if not for Jennifer / her soft bed for my dark river Distant translator / reminiscent stranger / be my savior / in an instant situation / distance translation Deeper depths / empty aquifers / some kind, older power generator / Jennifer, it’s a wonder / you held your breath under / (so long) water Distant translator / reminiscent stranger / be my savior / in an instant situation / distance translation Whenever I leave / the wheels turn me out of reach / the names we’ve learned / ill-gotten, not forever / are lost instead / so tells me, Jennifer Distant translator / reminiscent stranger / be my savior / in an instant situation / distance translation
Slinger 04:19
I was her first / should’ve never been / guess it was a mistake / the way I let her in But I didn’t tell her lies / to make her want me more / she wants me anyway / from years before When I was just a kid / a slinger on the street / they knew what Jimmy did / the guy you wanna meet Slinger, drug slinger / Slinger, oh my slinger A town bound to fail / another hard-luck tale / she’s too young for shame / she’ll never be the same I knew she had a man / wasn’t my concern / she was a river girl / he was too good for her Jesus on the prowl / he bought her everything / he wants a young girl now / and he makes me sick I did it anyway / I knew I was her only chance / to know something more than circumstance Then it all went down / a man died that night / it was self-defense / but that don’t make it right I don’t have no regrets / you get what you deserve / but I can’t forget / I left her on the curb / After what she saw / begging me to take her / far from Wichita / the place I knew would break her Slinger, gun slinger / Slinger, drug slinger / Slinger, oh my slinger So I did what I did / I ain’t made for prison / they’d lock me up for it / they’d lock me up for living / who wears a bad luck charm? / a slinger on the streets / I didn’t mean no harm / the guy you wanna meet (by Morris Paul Lippens)


DISTANT is the newest addition to the Stripmall Ballads oeuvre.

There are two kinds of people who will pullover and stop when they see a stranger with a guitar singing at the crossroads: the kind you wish who would, and the kind you wish who wouldn’t.

Phillips Saylor Wisor (Stripmall Ballads) has been taking the backroads since he started troubadouring in ’93. On one such excursion, freshly heartbroken and adrift across dirt roads in Middle America, Phillips sat down at a crossroads – and Susan stopped. The ensuing summer of wandering through the American heartland and underbelly led inexorably to encounters with various souls, both fraught and forlorn. The songs that came out of those various free rides and intersections are herein collected.

Based out of Maryland, Phillips has opened for/toured with the likes of The Be Good Tanyas, Danny Barnes, The Sumner Brothers, The Old 97's, Sarah Harmer and others. He was a founding member of the acclaimed old- time duo, Shiftless Rounders, a touring member of IBMA award-winning bluegrass band, King Wilkie, and is an in-demand clawhammer banjo teacher.


released February 15, 2020

Recorded in Columbus, Ohio
Produced by Evan Harris
Phillips Saylor Wisor - lyrics, guitars, vocals
Jeremy Ebert - lap steel guitar
Evan Harris - upright bass, marimba, vocals
Brandon Woods - drums
Darren Whitaker - electric guitars
Morris Paul Lippens - lyrics
Simone Schmidt - lyrics


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Stripmall Ballads Maryland

Stripmall Ballads (Phillips Saylor Wisor) is outsider folk music from the odd state of Maryland, USA.

Since 2002, Wisor has been an active figure in the folk underground as half of the widely celebrated old-time group The Shiftless Rounders or as the touring banjoist with IBMA award-winning King Wilkie.
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