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Bill Mallonee and the Vigilantes of Love

Audible Sigh – 2000 (Compass)

Reviewed by Kevin Oliver

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CDs by Bill Mallonee and the Vigilantes of Love

Bill Mallonee's commitment to his craft rises out of these songs like sweat from an honest day's work - and in the end, that may be all he is after, for himself and others. Long lauded for their passionate roots-rock and singer-guitarist Mallonee's faith-centered lyrics since getting their start in Athens, Ga. in the early 1990's, the current version of VOL is a trio including bassist Jacob Bradley and drummer Kevin Heuer. Guests include Emmylou Harris, producer Buddy Miller and his wife Julie Miller.

All of the extra ammunition does little to overpower the typical VOL sound. Somewhere between the lyrical intelligence of Bob Dylan and the musical intensity of The Call, it is a wide stylistic path bridged with ease on songs like the rousing, "She Walks On Roses" or the more contemplative "Nothing Like A Train." Expressed through the nasal twang of Mallonee's voice, the lyrics are framed in anthem-like song structures that rock with the conviction of a man who hasn't lost sight of his own humanity or that of others.