Billy Falcon remembers, all too well, how low he had gone. His wife had died after a long battle with cancer, leaving the singer-songwriter to raise their 8-year-old daughter on his own. He was depressed. He was hurt. He was angry. The love for his daughter and the songs he would write were his only salvation. "I thought, 'Somehow I have to make this thing work again,' " Falcon said, recalling the darkest period in his life. "But it's hard because you get almost dysfunctional. "It was to the point where I'd have the check for the phone bill written out, but I couldn't seem to go to the mailbox."
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The pain of losing a loved one never goes away, but Falcon believes he's a better man for it. "After the first initial years of grief, it's almost like you get something back. I don't know what, but it's like an enriching thing for me." As fate would have it, or "a total fluke," as Falcon would call it, success walked through the front door unannounced and tapped him on the shoulder.
Through mutual friends, Jon Bon Jovi had heard that Billy Falcon, a longtime staple on the New Jersey shore rock scene, was still plugging away at his music. Being a Falcon fan and owning all his now-obscure records, Bon Jovi wanted to hear something, anything, on tape. "I sent him a casette of 'Power Windows' and a few songs that would up on the last record ('Pretty Blue World,' on Mercury in '92), with just me on an acoustic guitar. It wasn't until eight months later," Falcon said, "when I was visiting friends in Nashville, looking at life down there to see if I could bring my daughter there and somehow live there, that I got a call from another friend who bumped into Jon at the Stone Pony." This time, Bon Jovi tracked him down and asked him to return to New Jersey to discuss a record deal.
"So I go from this guy who didn't know where anything was coming from, this Mr. Mom, and here I am hanging out with Jon and Danny Kortchmar, Benmont Tench. I'm in Jon's house, cutting demos while his wife is making coffee. This was a trip." The result was "Pretty Blue World," spawning a minor hit in "Power Windows." Two years later, Falcon was back -- more confident and relaxed, and still pinching himself. His second Mercury album, "Letters From a Paper Ship," was released in 1994.
His ship has come in.
"First and foremost, I'm a father, and then I'm a writer," Falcon said. "Something happens on the outside and it affects me on the inside, and I write. That's my letter. I figure, with the album title, what could be more vulnerable, more movable, more affected than a paper ship."
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