To The Roof Of The Sky

by Bill Mallonee

  • Streaming + Download

    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
    Purchasable with gift card

      $20 USD  or more




Produced by: bill mallonee
Simply one of the best sessions I've ever done, with one of the best band.
Stellar engineering and co-producing by Tom Lewis makes this a milestone album...
"Roof" was the big record that led to the partnership with Buddy Miller on "Audible Sigh..."
A grand lil' tour de force here, this record and about 20 older VoL songs, were our staple set list for 18 months. This record is over 10 years old, but the tunes, the tones and the passion hold up well...! Enjoy!
A "must."
~ bill mallonee


released May 18, 1998

Bill Mallonee: guitars, vocals, harmonica, songs
Chris Bland: bass, bgvs
Ken Hutson: guitars, mandolin, pedal steel, bgvs
Scott Klopfenstein: drums
Jake Bradley: bass on "Please Leave me the Bones"
Mark Cooper-Smith: piano


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.
... more

contact / help

Contact Bill Mallonee

Streaming and
Download help

Shipping and returns

Redeem code

Track Name: Vigilantes of Love - But Not for Long
given what you want given what you need
given what you get given what you have to bleed
bleed some more and i will not mind
and i will not curse and mean it most of the time

given all i am Lord kill these grand pretensions
falling way too short with all my best intentions
moving much too fast with last chance on the line
so you learn to lie it gets easier every time

innocence there goes an old friend
who tries to show herself now and again
since you can't take her along
sure you'll miss her not for long

set the world on fire
hope you make a killing
set the world on fire
or die in burning buildings
Track Name: Vigilantes of Love - Run Through My Veins
look down for a little while
yeah this time i'm really in
you're on no first name basis
with the stranger in your skin

betrayal she's a girl
yeah i slept with once or twice
treason her next of kin
she was more than nice

and all your best intentions sleep under
a sky with no stars
and you run through my veins to my heart
and you run through my veins

when i'm sure of nothing
and certain of everything else
the longer that we do this
we feel less and less ourselves

hey why is it when you climb up here
you can't find a place to hide
hey why is it when you climb up here
it feels like suicide

look down for a little while
time to bandage up these wounds
time to find some spare parts
time to ration fuel

plant your victory garden
place a flower there for me
come into your kingdom Lord
said the thief from the tree
Track Name: To The Roof of the Sky
this is where the light starts to go backwards
it fades in a shimmer off that western rim
the path of ice that forms this spot stretches southward
it's rumored here it got the best of him

to the roof of the sky
what does she hold
in your room made of wind and of snow
leaving God only knows what down below

others with their crude maps and equally crude instruments
they sounded out the heights and found another's secrets
experience has led you to this dreamless sleep
and all that's left you is another a hundred feet

this is where the light starts to hesitate and flicker
colors bleed from once favorable skies
this is where your party lost all it's last contact
a step below your point in the sky
Track Name: Paralyzed
it's all over it's all over too soon
i knew it when you walked in that cold room
sooner or later we all do what we must
sooner or later comes down to trust

it's all over you walked into the night
i've been crying on the inside most of my little life
so those weren't diamonds in your hands
little bits of broken glass on the golden sand

you can conjure up your best spin
you can lie through your teeth
but you can never see the hurt
in the press release

is that me is that you in the faded light
it's hard to see the victims at the impact light
any available witnesses who saw it all with both eyes
is that you is that me paralyzed

it's all over there's no explanation
and all that's left is a messy clean up operation
sooner or later we all become what we chose
sooner or later truth be told

you don't have to say anything
each glance is a chapter
with the verdict written in your eyes
i'll take it at face value
Track Name: Avalanche
winter's quiet loneliness
wraps itself against my will
it's a bit cold it's a bit tattered
but it's keeping out the chill

sure my mean condition
is entirely my own choice
i just can't help but smile
whenever i hear Your voice

the pill was hard to swallow
but not quite as bitter as before
maybe it means i'm growing harder
i would be the last to know

God, i wish that i was innocent
at least i think i do
if i had her as a gift to bring
i would bring that gift to you

here comes the avalanche
all my path is covered
leave a light for the lovers

mercy there's a word
we could drown in every moment
splash across the rocks at five pm
and i can count all my components

no, no this potion won't help anyone
to try and tell the truth
no, no that key it won't unlock the door
to this prison cell or womb

i have a picture
wish it was a photograph
you were holding little children
right there upon Your lap

it's never cold in that picture
as far as i can tell
outside the rain has changed to snow
and it's frozen in the well
Track Name: Doin' Time
comes a time it's all been stripped away
comes a time when it's time to take a good long look and walk away
comes a time to lose yourself in song
when survival's the game you play but you're barely just holding on

maybe it's yours
maybe it's mine
same flesh and blood
same crooked line
backside of the backbeat
yeah doin' time

if my walls are crumbling can i set a spell
if you fashion up the foundation it's all just shot to hell
and my blueprints are really so suspect
with my phone line good and twisted ragged measurements

comes a time to let the whole thing go
comes a time when you realize we've all been bought and sold
yeah beat up cut down turned out of your game
hey money moves the lips where once the spirit was untamed
Track Name: Perishable Goods
she's a given give me a gift
down the shaft and something's ripped away
you got wise long ago
what she's taken has long been spent
speak your lines under the influence
fade into the dream

my coat pockets dreams and fears
drag them out across the table here
trust the signs exactly as they lay
here we kneel kiss the sky
lose yourself inside the question why
God's eye holds you in its gaze

the unjust judge has summoned up
the prisoner for more extensive questioning
the courtroom chamber's full
regardingless of the missing persons
whereabouts and God you hope they show up
a moment here too soon

my coat pockets dreams and fears
drag them out across the table here
trust the signs exactly as they lay
here we kneel kiss the sky
i have learned the trust the alibis
God's eye holds you in its gaze

if they want your story well
those who are familiar can contend
to be that far behind
hey bartender a partial block
around the heart and loneliness
a car that's empty always overflows
Track Name: Vigilantes of Love - This Time Isn't One Of Them
there's a time for listening to the thunder
there's a time for cleansing all the sins
there's a time when i'm slowly going under
this time isn't one of them
no this time isn't one of them

there's a time when joy is so elusive
out of your grasp and three sheets to the wind
there's a time crying is conducive
this time isn't one of them
no this time isn't one of them

most of my life's been like a wedding
the moment where the bride and bridegroom kiss
sometimes i can believe all that i hope in
this moment feels like one of them
this moment feels like one of them

four riders appear on the horizon
systems and superstructures will explode
peace will be a word for hypnotizers
this time isn't one of those
no this time isn't one of those

that holy life should count for something
those blessed words ever be recalled
remember well who has really loved you
to be loved is the best of all
to be loved is the best of all
to be loved is the best of all
Track Name: Filigree
so you try on this hat they call concession
try to make your utmost best impression
i had no idea just how much deception
what's involved in my casual connection

pull down down the walls
pull down these walls so i can breathe
what's underneath this filigree

these materials help me get my thinking done
take a wrecking crew to see what i've become
when the mike smells like beer future's so unclear
some call it sad but at least it's picturesque

these are days for framing your own story
these are days for taking inventory
so you cling to the truth to find a place to stand
do what you do or baby just what you can
Track Name: Isadora Duncan
i have a friend knew isadora duncan
yeah she wore her scarves too long hit the gas a bit too strong
she lost her head still she saw the glory
or so goes the story hope she was not wrong

she waits underneath electricity
what does she touch what does she see
isadora duncan so free isadora

she is leaping she is spinning with some urgency fantastic
outspoken she is choking as she veers into heavy traffic
were you listening to the angels between the lines of your symphony
dancing under cobalt blue skies morning star free

you taught me well loved me even better
prayed over my fields when they were cold and barren
yeah you held the truth from an austere trailer
shoring up my failure i was long past caring
Track Name: Proving Ground
you attempt to board the train
though the car is full of liars
recognize the tendency
you're the great compromiser
suppose sooner or later
we're all just survivors
prayer become the heart's lost words
when you're too close to the fire

if you get a patch of ground
well it's there you draw your plan
if you get a soap box
it's there you take your stand

all the kingdoms that rise up
they collapse without a sound
yeah the driving rain is cleansing
driving rain is cleansing
driving rain is cleansing
out here on this proving ground

well i remember the summer
shimmer in the laughter
we were lying to each other
about what we were after
and i'll admit that just perhaps
judgment is too stern
when your dreams have long been buried
and your bridges they're all burned

hear that there are secrets
told that there are maps
ah but everyone we've been privy to
has closed on us like a steel trap
leaves you full and noble
dreams you never lost them
stays with you forever
long time after you're forgotten
Track Name: Opposite's True
oh these odd years when reviewed i constantly find
hey when i'm reaching for the light darkness is not far behind
you might think i've learned a thing or two about playing it cool
well you might think that that is so ah but no no the opposite's true

you might think in the storm we've discovered the eye of the calm
but i've yet to find a way to dodge all these sweaty little palms
yeah you might think we've made some enemies but i just can't i recall who
you might think it keeps us up at night but no no the opposite's true

are there any words of wisdom i've picked up along the way
why yes death usually comes dressed up in her finery and lace
hey hasn't everyone in these bars been crying inside their whole life through
well you might think we cease to hear it ah but no no the opposite's true

kings and queens are bankrupt here at the mouth of the nile
they say the pyramids they're all looted pharaoh won't be back for a while
crocodiles are hungry see them polish their top ends with care
i used to understand their language but now i'm just unaware

used to install fire alarms before i ever started to sing
after all these years i find i've been doing the same thing
hey everyone stop check your pulse never mind it's code blue
well you might think to call the doctor but no no the opposite's true
Track Name: On the Verge
on the verge of stealing
the precious thing you're concealing
give the cup of grief to me
hey i'll drink it to the dregs

if your senses are reeling you know that
everything that rises must converge
simply in a word you will
lay your burden down and walk away

you're slipping through the cracks and by the way
we all start out as castaways
thrown down coins on dusty floors
distraction the order of the day

so you mine a deeper vein
to try and even out the score
what lies behind these suffering songs
and yearning well for something more

we're on the verge

fresh tar off the railroad ties
bind us to that lonely route
keep the home fires burning
if the embers ever going out

i'm on the verge of stealing
that river forded in great haste
give the cup of grief to me
but thirst is all that we can taste
Track Name: (Please) Leave Me The Bones
conversations fade people moving out slow
hey here's one for the record one for the road
you can stand on your soap box all alone
you can have the flesh but please leave me the bones

some call it gold some call it dross
some say i'm saved some say i'm lost
so i say in the most respectful tone
you can have the flesh but please leave me the bones

making those records for the company team
pull the shiny knob of the vending machine
you do your best to play the hand that's thrown
help yourself to the flesh but please leave me the bones

touch of your love makes my heart full
every lonely note reminds me of you
and am i looking for heaven inside this drone
you can take the flesh but please leave me the bones

when my rhymes were wrapped at all
cadences car crash on the retaining wall
come Holy Spirit purify this soul
you can have the flesh but please leave me the bones
Track Name: Farther Up the Road
honey cover me with roses
cover me in the leaves of fall
on those beads of your rosary
hey remember me when you call

i'll be waiting by the telephone
though you're just down the hall
when i'm beat down cold and stoned
wrap me up in your prayer shawl

now some will steal your garden
some will sow their weeds
yeah some will rob you good and blind
just to see you bleed

honey cover me with roses
this sack of bones and skin
come and breathe upon this spirit
'fore winter settles in

checking out of this cheap motel
with the wind all in our souls
God shows His face
farther up the road

now all those choices that you took
asked more than you can give
and all of those worst-case scenarios
become your one life to live

and all the greed and powers that be
they have worked no ill effect
there are never disappointments
when there's nothing left

now hunger she's a driver
but you never knew her name
you had assumed different destinations
but now they're obviously the same

hey you can take it all on the chin
pretending you don't feel a thing
and there is no bucket big enough
for tears that make you sing

honey cover me with roses
yeah and do not spare the thorns
you know some of us are waiting
a lifetime to be born

and if there are no roses
and those dealers will not sell
let your prayers become like kisses
and they'll do just as well

If you like Bill Mallonee, you may also like: