Future Hymns for the New Idolatry

by Bill Mallonee & Vigilantes of Love/WPA

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I'll be brief. (It is possible)
These are "hymns." At least the way i hear them.
These "hymns" have been something like inventories, pep-talks & wrestle-lings on the way. They have been written in moments of elation & despair.

No, they'll never get sung in a church...but maybe you'll make a few of them your own beneath the skin of your own temple.

There's a lot of "worship songs" out there these days.
To my ears, a lot of it sounds like the strumm-y-acoustic-hippie-drug rock of the 70's replete with insipid lyrics of a repetitive mantra-lke quality OR it sounds like 3 chords & a ripped off U-2 out-take.

(I know, I know...i can hear you hitting your "mouse" to go somewhere else. "Exit," if need be; S'all good. Whatever works. To each his own.)

Me? i've always been wary of "propaganda." I suspect God feels the same way.
I was raised on many an old Presbyterian or Lutheran hymn book. I figure that if "they" got it right the first time with their penchant for tuneful melodies & time-tested lyrics pounded off an old upright, then I wasn't going to better that.

I had something else to attend to. And so, here's what i want to say:
i learned early on that i had only one thing to bring to God. And that was my blindness, my shallowness, my emptiness & my sin.
That's still the case.

Sometimes a guitar and a song have been the only way i could "pray" to God. And as I said, these songs are some of my inventories, pep-talks and wrest-lings on the way.
Because the Good news of a Crucified & Resurrected Savior and the whole-ness He promises ONLY make sense when you know what the "bad news" is first. It's not pretty. And it's part of who you are.

"He maketh all things new."
Yes. He does get the last word...and I'm more convinced than ever that it's a good one.
But. I wrote these because, like a patient listener & loving Father, He waits to hear our words first...
~ bill mallonee
Fall 2013


released January 22, 2016

Bill Mallonee: Guitars, vocals, harmonica, keyboards, bass
Kevin Heuer: drums where noted
Jake Bradley: bass, guitar where noted


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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Track Name: Into God Knows What
words & music: bill mallonee

take the edge off of the dark days
blunt doubts cruel knife blade
steal the sting out of the grave
at that last shovelful of earth
I swear I've never heard a louder curse
than before they put those digging those away

Let me go down easy...when the box gets shut
Let me go down easy...into God knows what

well, you know i read the book and i heard the angels sing
heard a few sermons on the road from "A" to "B."
you vanished into thin air swept out of this room
all the good ones leave the party way too soon

now, i won't need the drink and i won't miss the pills
But, if i could take your locket picture with me? Now, there's a cure for what ills
so i'm heading for the neon with this girl who caught my eye
and her smile means more at midnight though i could not tell you why
Track Name: Hat In Hand
pen the lament and shadow your eyes
there's a vapor trail stretching across a kansas sky
dirt lot kids making dirt lot plans
shuffle forward your hat in hand

could be the hangman could be the noose
could be the engine could be the caboose
it pays to know on which side you stand
shuffle forward your hat in hand

yeah gold in this house there's gold in my band
there's gold in your blouse honey gold in my hand
it's a rhythm and mystery you don't quite understand
shuffle forward your hat in hand

run fast after everything
and that's just what you'll miss
live your life opened armed
or with a clenched fist

dirt lot kids doing dirt lot deeds
way too much living in the minor key
burn all these sins in a Love so grand
shuffle forward your hat in hand
Track Name: Adagio
ADAIGO words & music: bill mallonee
it all showed up fractured
it all showed up broke
it was never a story
more like an unfinished note
and the sighs? they were deafening
more than pictures could show

all the laughter of childhood
fell through the iron bars of the years
and the bright path of youth
grew dim & unclear
on a trail marked with sorrows
to a place nobody knows
i have dug through my heart
like a plot full of weeds
something strangled by thorns
something crushing the seed
and the rose? it lies fallen
in the ice & the snow

me? i took to the highways
could be i went for the view
all the cities were crumbling
and my choices were few
was i looking for someone?
was it you? I don't know...

i have dug through my heart
like a plot full of weeds
something strangled by thorns
something crushing the seed
and the rose? it lies fallen
in the ice & the snow

i have reached out my hand
i have prayed every prayer
i have reached out my hand
to grasp the thin air
it was never a story
more like an unfinished note
Track Name: The Golden Gathering In
THE GATHERING IN words & music: bill mallonee

Well, the faint amber glow from the old campfires
they are flickering out...they are flicking out
And the last few embers vanish
in the darkness' mouth...in darkness' mouth

Hail to the saints
and all of us beginners
the lost sheep and the sinners
all those "where-the-hell you been?" best friends
the shaken & confused
all those winners at "born-to-lose"
at the golden gathering in

and those old cowboy songs?
well they rarely got it wrong
but the world is always losing
everything it wins
she'll be comin' 'round the mountain
shimmering like a fountain
and on her lips?
the sweetest of hymns


there's a blue moon in the desert
and "all shall be most well..."
said blessed Julian
to her sisters at the well
the disgarded & ignored
the busted & the bored
the fallen & untamed
the one without a name

last chorus
Hail to the saints
and all us beginners
the lost sheep and the sinners
at the golden gatherin' in....
Track Name: Break In The Clouds
BREAK IN THE CLOUDS words & music: bill mallonee

For God's sake man, just look there as the city sleeps
she's all tangled up in her dirty dream sheets
and the storms? Well, they're all spent now
Here is your dusty pearl.
she's such a lonely girl
here is another world...and a break in the clouds

I couldn't find my name on your guest list once again
but the door-man of life just opens up and lets me in
to your room where your tweed is sweet and loud
she is a shiny girl
kind of a solid state girl
here's is your other world...and a break in the clouds

now what i found about the truth is she usually don't get heard
and what i think about Love is she always gets the last word on the streets of this God-forsaken town
that is a shiny pearl
she's such a pretty girl
ah, yeah in this God-forsaken town
she's such a lonely girl
kinda of a dusty pearl
here is your other world....and break in the clouds
Track Name: Bottoming Out
Bottoming Out lyrics/music: bill mallonee

Guitar player country band
too long watin' for the ship top come in
the ship to come in
Record man said he liked our sound
pulled some dust from a bag and he bought us another round
he bought us another round

Religion's neither here nor there
when you'r stuck in the middle of the thin air
it's too much hunger and not enough cash
it's always the cheap stuff that takes us down fast
always the cheap stuff that takes us down fast
and nothing is turning you about?
yeah, you're bottoming out...

5 sets a night and you do what you must
You do what you must
look at those ruins you hide among
yeah your lips keep moving
you don't understand the tongue
you don't understand the tongue


Make 'em believe it was love at first sight
Make 'em believe they had the time of their lives
and grace? Could there ever be enough
for the hollow places you can't fill up
you fill up or touch
Track Name: Yeah, Yeah, Yeah (Got Faith Like A Butterfly's Wings)
words/music: bill mallonee

I can tell you're not sure if you wanna go
and really that's most understandable
there's whole a lot involved in where you place your bet
and all these reports? They're a little suspect

taking a stab at matters of the heart
shooting in the proverbial dark
you gotta a prayer like the breath of a little baby
i wish i knew how you felt about me

yeah, yeah, yeah...not much i can bring
yeah, yeah, yeah...i got faith like a butterfly's wing
yeah, yeah, yeah...there's a world beneath your skin
For God's sake try to be your own best friend
yeah, yeah, yeah...

the autumn branches have been stripped bare
your breath it freezes & hangs in the air
the wind it howls over bleak terrain
if you make it back kid, well, you're never the same

searching for a secret on this path
always a little elusive just outta grasp
but the stones on the way have been worn smooth
so maybe that'll be some comfort to you
Track Name: What You Take (And What You Leave Behind)
(There is a lil' nod in the 2nd verse to national treasure, the incomparable Glenn Campbell.)

words & music: Bill Mallonee

Between the clear as day and the wonderfully oblique
'tween the dross in your veins and the treasure you still seek
the span of years that reaches here to the skies
what you take and what you leave behind

between what you've seen and what your lips can tell
between the stuff if the holy and the hard sell
it occurs to you it was all gentle on your mind
what you take and what you leave behind

between the counterfeit & the mother of all pearls
just beneath the skin of this tired old weary world
honey, that kiss of yours that opened up my eyes
what you take and what you leave behind

Bill Mallonee: electric 6 & electric high string guitars, vocals, harmonica
Jake Bradley: bass guitar
Kevin Heuer: drums
Track Name: All That Is Dear To Your Heart
DEAR TO YOUR HEART words/music: bill mallonee

Now i loved the land and i loved the sky
And the dreamers who'd pass by my door
i needed those dreams & I needed their dreamin'
and i needed those story they told

pull on your boots...roll up your sleeves
you live out of a place that's on bended knee
step out into the sunshine...and before you depart
kiss all who are dear to your heart
kiss all who are dear to your heart

verses 2 & 3
a world of wonders...since i opened my eyes
writ large in the passing of seasons
and the thieves who speak violence and the preachers of fear
well that all flew in the face of reason
we're blind folks reading the braille of our heart
we're all spies breaking codes everyday
sooner or later it comes down to love
received then given away

verse 4
through all of the haze of our dime-store days
we spend hard on what little remains
But Love is a miner with his eye fixed on you
and there's gold deep inside of your veins
Track Name: Nomenclature
Nomenclature words.music: bill mallonee
this is one of those nights a halo rings the moon
you venture out upon those hard streets of gloom
the moon shines so bright pinned to her curtain of blue
the only sound you hear is the shuffling of your shoes

this is one of those nights there's nowhere to hide
another neon happy hour fell a lifetime shy
your heart's a lonely ocean and your heart is just a tomb
and the only sound you hear is the shuffling of your shoes

i've told a million truths whispered a million lies
i learned to do it all looking dead into your eyes

keep to the back roads yeah the underground's even better
you map the strange terrain with a different nomenclature
yeah this is one of those nights where God could show up soon
the only sound you hear is the shuffling of your shoes
Track Name: Life I Never Lived
Life I Never Lived music/lyrics by bill mallonee

Look at al the goodwill i retracted
Look at that deck of cards and how i stacked it
Look at all that fear and how i masked it
look at the life i never lived
look at the life i never lived

Look at all once mistook for wealth
Look at all those gifts i put back on the shelf
Look at all the slack i cut myself
look at that life i never lived
look at that life i never lived

Playback all the harsh words i spoke
Take note on how i squashed some hope
look at all those tender hearts i broke
look at the life i never lived
look at the life i never lived

Look at all the houses i tore down
Look at all the smiles i turned to frowns
Look at all the roads that just went round & round
look at the life i never lived
look at the life i never lived

Look at all the good i failed to see
Look at all i failed to do for Thee
look at what i might one day have been
look at the life i never lived
look at the life i never lived
look at the life, look at the life
look at the life i never lived
Track Name: All Out In The Clear
ALL OUT IN THE CLEAR words/music: bill mallonee

nothing left to lose...nothing left to fear
nothing left to prove...all out in the clear
all out in the clear

all the tapes will be erased
the ones inside your skull
the ones that made ya' feel disgraced
the ones that made you feel so small
all the trinkets that you bought
every scene & every clique
all you cobbled together
to define yourself with

every mask you ever wore
every image you portrayed
every lie that you put forth
it'll all just fall away
fall away like an old suit
wash off like cheap cologne
like an old coat you discarded
threadbare to the bone

and everyone you ever hated
everyone that you reviled
everyone that you berated
you may yet, be reconciled
every wall that you erected
every line drawn in the sand
all those convictions you protected
wrapped up in prayers and flags

there's a story you've been telling yourself but it's so revisionist
there's a story you've been selling yourself but you ain't really buying it

one day you'll meet somebody
well beyond the sea
and you'll shake hands with your true self
and you'll like what you see

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