AUDIBLE SIGH​/​The Acoustic Renderings 1998

by Bill Mallonee

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I remember autumn being super charged in Athens, Ga. that year.
A riot of colors, cascading sunlight changing daily by degrees.
The first chill in the air, but still enough warmth to shed that afternoon coat or sweater and breath in that elixir of the earth's glorious scent.
That smell of fecund earth, newly drenched with autumnal rains, then slowly growing sleepy and giving way to dormancy.

I've always lost myself in the last gasp of Autumn's "wild streak."

Which leads me to this:
How did this new chapter start?
Quire frankly, the "new" Vigilantes of Love was born at this time;
It all started in a small practice room.I'd sit for hours with guitar hand and lots of great coffee (via Jittery Joe's of Athens Jaw-Ja!);

And I'd write. All day. And often far into the night
Emotionally? Pretty sad. I was picking through the wreckage of what had been our deal with a major/minor label from 1992-1997.
We were 'free," so to speak with no where to go...but up.

As a band, it all felt young again. We had fine tuned our sound, cemented a solid line-up of great players; The new chemistry of friendships & working relationships was galvanized. magic was happening.
It was inspiring. I wrote about 100 songs over a year; (Sadly, quite a few of them have been lost. Cataloged on old cassette tapes, they've been lost via countless moves)
I wrote what was to become The Roof of the Sky, Audible Sigh and 'Cross the Big Pond. The pen just would not stop.
i wrote all these songs...and then me and my friends wnet out an played them. For you. and you...and you...

So, here ya' go:
Here was the first installment of songs that were later, learned, rehearsed and "owned" by Vigilantes of Love

These are rare versions of songs.
This is the first time they have been offered as a single, unified whole.
They're too well executed & played to qualify as "demos."
(Engineer Tom Lewis made sure these were recorded with width, depth, clarity & precision and with an emphasis on a relaxed atmosphere.)
Demos, I believe, are just sketches; These songs are...well, real finished songs. Hence the term "renderings."

These were songs are very dear to ,y heart. songs. Songs about Life, Love, relationships, band, road.
About the things that lost and the things that get found.
I was asking myself lots of questions and journalism them in some old brown paper notebooks, on napkins, on bar drink coasters.

In essence: Am I earning my stripes? Am I growing wiser? Am I learning to be affirming, not just with others but even with your own 'self." Am I able to live with the growing number of professional let-downs and betrayals...and not be bitter?
Because bitterness is a poisoning of the soul. It is always fatal.

Little did I realize then that we were headed, in a few months, into the studio with national treasure and guitar hero, Buddy Miller, to record many of these very songs as Audible Sigh. But, that's another chapter...

I sat down and recorded these 11 songs one afternoon, with "To The Roof of The Sky" Studio engineer, Tom Lewis behind the glass, rolling tape.
The voice, playing and delivery was all there.
Real acoustic magic & feel...and good memories.
Hope you enjoy the songs as much as I did this recording session.
~ bill mallonee Fall 2017


released September 29, 2017


all rights reserved



Bill Mallonee

Bill Mallonee is an Americana artist w/ 75 plus albums over a 25 year career. Voted by Paste Music Magazine #65 in their "Top 100 Living Songwriters" poll. He was the
founding member of Vigilantes of Love. He has worked with Mark Heard, Buddy Miller, Emmylou Harris, & Peter Buck from REM.
His most recent work, "The Rags of Absence" released in Jan. 2017.
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Hard Luck and Heart Attack
Written by Bill Mallonee for CyBrenJoJosh (BMI) ©1998

clouds break for a moment when you're coming off desolation
and frisco's your appointment you're the way you were before
trying to gaze east but with no one to depend on
and the blisters on your feet yeah from coming down the mountain

your friends won't let you down but friends they're not the refuge
you're tearing up the town with a hip flask of red wine
scrawling visions buzzed in that five and dime notepad
saving them just because angels seemed so sad

a ticket from the coat-check girl
her words and flesh they're laughing
taking down her number
on that lipstick-stained napkin

sainthood for anyone yeah who knows you lose it to save it
a prayer for everyone who's ever been out on the pavement
a sound inside of me as i'm falling through the cracks
hard luck and heart attack of hard luck yeah and heart attack

arms around me if i'm going through the ceiling
service stations of the cross yeah the doctors they need healing
things clear for a moment when you're coming off desolation
between nothing and the atonement it all bleeds behind your cadence
Did You Know?

Based loosely on the life of Jack Kerouac, this song was inspired by Kerouac's work entitled Desolation Angels. It opens with Jack atop Mount Desolation where he would do fire watch. It touches on his self destructive lifestyle, his partying trips to San Francisco and his belief in the innocence of American spirit. Bill attempted to write this song from Jack's mindset. ~ Jason Horst
Your Part of the Story
Written by Bill Mallonee for CyBrenJoJosh (BMI) ©1998

yeah you get to tell your part of the story
yeah you get to live it for better or worse
yeah your lips were alluring and slightly moist
so let's kiss away our part of the curse

we've been dragging our dreams across the asphalt and pavement
try to speak of the gift yeah and the one who gave it
but it's hard to distinguish to the untrained eye
yeah this thing that you love but it's taking your life

nothing feels as good as holding you again
breath and whisper pressed up against the skin
and oh that sweet caress we're so familiar with
sooner or later yeah it comes down to this
yeah it's all just gift that you're living with

we've been digging through notebooks some empty some full
yeah and mapping the caverns of our little skulls
i've been trying to find something you might need
maybe a little goodness in me

good people have sent me these cards and letters
say "we love what you do" suppose it makes me feel better
but you can't carry the weight when you're so unstable
you let us sleep in your beds yeah and eat at your table
Track Name: GO & ASK HER
Go and Ask Her
Written by Bill Mallonee for CyBrenJoJosh (BMI) ©1996

a hard line taken every path you crossed
baby what was never found is never lost
long ago you stopped thinking about what it costs
to live in this skin

yes and all those men who ran out on you
who climbed your mountain to steal their view
well they took all the treasure but they left you
with a mind full of nothing

go and ask her
you're innocent when you dream

floated on down to new orleans
with the drifters and the gamblers and the river boat queens
we're all taking our chances on what we've never seen
with our own two own eyes

oh the first time i think i hear you say the word trust
was one half prayer the other half curse
i was hoping you'd think of me none for the worse
for loving you

you can build a big wall around your heart
you can win all the battles before they start
you could claw your way straight to top
of the wreckage and bleed

i wanna hold you in my arms at night
what's it take to make life turn our right
if love is the clue
let's follow it right to eternity

was watching you sleep it was late last night
with a smile on your lips were you dancing in the light
of a place where i
i could not quite reach
When You're Blinded by the Light
Written by Bill Mallonee for CyBrenJoJosh (BMI) c.1997

trusted you until it hurt
don't wanna go there for a while
barely recognized the word
i've been forgetting how to smile

it's funny how supposed friends
trip in here so fancy free
ah but when the story ends
we just rewrite our histories

and it's no good telling stories
when my ears are sealed up tight
does no good to see the sunrise
when you're blinded by the light

gave you all the best we had
of our labors and our trust
played a benefit of doubt
yeah but we couldn't raise enough

bought a one-way ticket to nowhere
on a ship called lost at sea
well it was there i found my courage
she was sleeping next to me

Lord show to me Your face
Lord show to me Your skin
Lord show to me the places
where they put the nails in

gonna crawl in there with all my fears
introduce them to my pretense
yeah introduce them to my sorrows
they'll become the best of friends
Did You Know?

Bill has introduced this song as being about humility and working through one of the hardest emotions, that being anger that ends up being self-righteous indignation. In the lyric sheet for the 'Cross the Big Pond EP, Bill says this song is about "betrayal and perspective - watch your heart." ~ Jason Horst
She Walks on Roses
Written by Bill Mallonee for CyBrenJoJosh (BMI) 1997

got a skeleton closet we've got a dreaded disease
i been looking high and low for my skeleton key
and they say that pride well it's is the chief of sins
well i know all of his deputies i'm well acquainted with them

yes she walks on water
yes yes she walks on sky
yes yes she walks on roses
yes yes she walks on by

she got a brand new ache she got a brand new crutch
got a brand new scar take a lifetime to cover it up
and this ground is barren honey this place was dry
that's a long long time ago 'til i looked in your eye

everybody got a secret deep under the ground
you can take it out once in a while when there's no one around
you can grab for it all yeah with your list of demands
or you can come as a small child yeah with your empty hands
Track Name: BERLIN IN '53
Berlin in '53
words & music: Bill Mallonee BMI1995

i have a photograph
detailing the matter
quite a formidable pair they were
full of grace and swagger

those smiles are disarming
it's like a drowning sensation
their hands full of each other's
highly classified information

Berlin in '53
a young lieutenant i admire
he took his young bride up in his arms
they set the whole city on fire

on fire it was
saved from distraction
on fire indeed
with their love and passion

he covered her with kisses
he adorned her with praise
she took him unto herself
they set the whole city ablaze

tear down those walls
when she walked by in that dress
melt all the stone hearts
melt the machine gun nests

and let freedom ring
in that bloc to the east
those two got a weapon
they will soon unleash

well the devil he roams
the big machines they rust
kingdoms rise and kingdoms fall
trampled in the dust

i saw it in that photograph
they haven't stopped it yet
whatever Romeo whispered
to his sweet Juliet
Audible Sigh
Words & Music; Bill Mallonee for CyBrenJoJosh (BMI)1996

all these vain distractions
yeah and the worship of the buck
somewhere i think we gave out
at this club called the out of luck

it's deeper than the blackness
yeah than all the blacktop holds
starving for an omen
and the spaces they're wide open

and it's where you cast your heart tonight
from your less than humble home
and out here don't you learn to bleed
like something from a deeper need
yeah and all that's underneath unheard
still unspoken in other words
the open sky audible sigh

a simple science and good report
some human interaction
feelings long since disappeared
reported missing in action

an image lands the knock out punch
at the end of every quarter
yeah and trends they are tomorrow's landmines
we are always tripping over

yeah and all the common standards
and the measurements you use
to judge the labors of your hands
your threshhold of abuse

yeah and failure she's a new-found friend
you let her sleep once on the floor
when you rise to check out
yeah she follows to the door

is it a sign you're getting sicker
is it a sign you're almost well
the way it is with skin and bones
well who on earth could tell

you pitch your tent and you sing your song
by morning you're forgotten
and we're falling off that old soap box
and the chasm has no bottom

Did You Know?

This song is a demo from the Audible Sigh sessions, which did not make the final cut. Bill "cherry picked" lyrics from this song, using them in other tunes.
Track Name: MOONLIGHT DRIPPING (early version of "solar system")
a less forlorn early version of Solar System.

Moonlight Dripping
Words/Music Bill Mallonee

come in here and have a taste
hey really what's one more hopeless case
after all that's been said and all that's been done
there's a lot more said than ever gets done

threw it all in a pack and left with a haste
you walk away from once was never yours in the first place
at the bar of what it might cost
check all your burdens at the foot of the cross

her lips were red and her hair was brown
and you're feeling like the luckiest kid in town
she says i'll follow you well to the ends of the earth
said i'm not going that far for what it's worth

i really love to see you like this
the moonlight dripping from your fingertips
when the short wave dies and there's no one to listen
stars going cold in your solar system

it's thick and thin and off through bad weather
it takes just a promise to bind you together
you put all your love where it hurts the most
expect a little visit from the Holy Ghost

this ground was barren this place was dry
that's a long time before i looked in your eyes
you spend a lifetime trying to find the words to use
to tell about the thing that you're trying to lose
My Year in Review
words & Music: by Bill Mallonee for CyBrenJoJosh (BMI) ©1993/2002

all those nice little things you say
oh i really appreciate them too
all those kind little things you say
keep those cards and letters coming too

i spend a whole lot of time
with my reconnaissance photographs
irrefutable evidence
never pleads on my behalf

though they're not well developed
my mind's eye sees them true
all these little failures
of my year in review

there's a photographic essay
and you know cameras they never lie
little slips on little tongues
and my stinking alibis

let them stay unembellished
let them say what will say
they need no running commentary
'tween the pages of my days

though they're not well developed
they should tell the naked truth
all these little failures
of my year in review

check my passport and credentials
you see i come from a long lineage
but down here in the darkroom
you can manipulate the image

yeah my snapshot emotions
and the rough footage of my panic
i'm a poor composition
with a flair for the dramatic

and i don't show them often
oh you know what that might do
all these little failures
of my year in review
Falling In and Out of Favor words & music by Bill Mallonee

if you're standing without countenance out in the hungering dark
you're stuck inside this compound of your twisted little heart
all your phantoms finally fess up and reveal their true source
all your life you're begging change outside the liquor store

you're thirsty very thirsty although your cup is brimming
starving yes you're starving although your plate is full
we've been earning and slaving scratching and saving but never really gaining on it
brother i have seen my dread condition

oh when i told you so i'm used to this it's so cold
oh see you later i'm falling in and out of favor
ninety-nine of hard labor i'm falling in and out of favor
oh my blessed Savior i'm falling in and out

if you're stuck out on the ledge and at the end of your rope
the rain is coming down in sheets soaked your last match of hope
no alibis left upon this tongue not a single solitary one
i'm falling off these high cliffs right into your arms

we will crawl through this veil of tears that our own hands have made
we will run through the fire hey we will remain unscathed
draw the water of life from the Rock of our salvation
lay down in those sweet dreams wait for all this unfinished business

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