Whistlers and Sparklers : All of the shine is gone We drank it all between Barnesville and Gulf Shores The sutures all have dried The winds at our back and the tangles are untied I hear Porter Wagner Telling Dolly there’s nothing left to hold onto But I don’t think he’s right Lace your gloves up and get your ass back in the fight Fireworks stand Light a roman candle in my hand There’s a fine line between disaster and the best laid plans I think we tapped the wellspring An aqueduct of tangled rhyme Fragments and bits of code Sitting there on the backseat just waiting to explode Help me run the wiring To my bent and defeated heart Countdown and fire away Snakes and tanks and black cats, sulphur stains on my driveway Countdown and fire away Snakes and tanks and black cats, whistlers and sparklers, smoke bombs and fountains, killer bees and jumping jacks, saturn missiles with report, glow worms and camellias, whistlers and sparklers

Bury My Gold : The father of my father spent all his days Breaking the granite and carving the names Cast off the metal singing rust in your sleep And pay close attention to the company you keep The eldest got up and moved out of town  To that place farther down that they don’t call the south Sister comes by every once in a while But her best intentions were always in doubt Bury my gold under the needles Dropping on down from the tops of the pines Smokes going to rise Spirit so strong knocked a bird from the sky The seeds that you plant they grow up and they bloom Leave you punch drunk on the scent of perfume Just like the wind they’ll be turning again Even your closest of kin Wearing a side arm and crooked smile Went to see Uncle John under overcast skies Searching for contraband, wondering why All of the bounty was nowhere in sight

Mustang Island : Take the ferry from Mustang Island Retreating with the tide They tell me there’s a pot of gold Waiting on the other side Fill up my bag with the spoils Run as far as the eye can see Take the ferry from Mustang Island Unwind this tapestry All of the bulbs in the exit signs are burned out now Turn on the lights so we can see All of the money that you threw down won’t turn you into a cowboy It’ll tighten the grip not set you free Something here is lost in translation Feels like I was built here on these rails Yes indeed when I fled the house I left the turntable spinning That’s ok man, happy trails Help me chant out these incantations Trying to summon a little bit of sorcery Smoke and mirrors and I can hear you trying to protect There’s a windy side, then there’s the lee Here come the lights, now I can see I can hear Virginia calling me

Beehive : Domestic abuse in a bottle, chemicals staining my brain Beans on my plate before breakfast and a tighty blue wakeup call up in my face Switching the side of the road I’ve lost my wits but I’m still hanging on Rise and shine boys we got work to do and kilos to cover but we don’t have a clue how To get to the quayside, have you got the backline?   Oh no.  I guess that’ll do Stoke up the fires tonight, we’re stinging the beehive Gut string guitar through a bass amp, children’s kick drum on the floor Second hand Strat through a seven watt amp and the crowd won’t be yelling for more When you’re grinding your teeth down to stumps, feeling the sting of the blood on your gums Close your eyes tight and you can’t feel the plight That’s creeping up the leg of your trousers Smoke from the room at the top of the stairs But the firemen won’t be responding Up and at ‘em, load up the truck, but that damn one way system is holding us up Stoke up the fires tonight Get all the pins on your gigging vest right Break out the chemicals, turn out the lights at the beehive

Heaven’s High : Meringue was in my brain and the gin was shining on my skin God fearing holy men don’t know the kind of shape I’m in All the way from Raleigh Caroline That’s the way been feeling all the time since you left me alone Dig my grave and roll me over Taking the back roads somewhere in between Heaven’s high and leaving’s low Running around in vertigo Murmurs in the mercury the moment she awoke If that ain’t the word of God, he never spoke Spend your days sinking in the sun That’s the day all the other days will be measured upon Dig my grave and roll me over Days don’t turn to morning, I’m warning you tonight Fevers going to fade just like the luster of the daylight Then it’s gone

Release the Reins : I replayed that story over and over in my mind Even though I was right there it changes a little bit every time I wish someone had timed you when you made that run Would have won a gold medal for your country or at least a silver one Sometimes things disappear from right in plain sight We’re full of faults, no matter how you hold it up to the light Here come all the phone calls from some distance star Operator, tell me what’s my name?  I’ve forgotten who we are Release the reins Stick the landing I guess we could pile on but really what’s the use? All the rage I’ve got inside won’t break my fall or get my sentence reduced Tie my laces for me please I can’t remember how Pirouette across the gravel plain and violently take a bow Put me up there on an airplane Give me something to kill the pain Maybe some kind of morphine right into my vein Put me on an airplane give me something for the pain

Token : Exodus from Gatesville with a console full of fire Running through the ramparts, sipping twice an hour Amber beams came cutting through, a strobe light through the pines We were fifty feet away from the Alabama line We were singing soft and low Brought about an indiscrete proposal Whispers on the wind and the weight was on your shoulders In the morning, you woke with one less token CMU block walls with no windows on the side Blocking out the daylight but they kept the past inside Memories that linger rang the opening bell Moonlight invitations came dropping like a veil Rising with the sin by the virtue comes the falling

Sugar Bowl : I lost my mind for a moment that was fleet Found it naked and running in the street We were smoking like John Cougar and a bit petrified Rolling like a cannonball down the mountain side The end is near  There’s a landslide in the sugar bowl  Like bats in the rafters sleeping all day The curtain was open but I had no lines to say I was mystified by the mist in your eyes I missed by 2 or 3 miles but it was a hell of a try Raise your glasses Raise them up high This may be fare thee well but it ain’t good bye

Never Was the Bird : Headed north out of North Alabama with the sun cutting through the clouds And the bruise still feels a little tender from the blows that took us down Lights went down and the cameras stopped rolling just as soon as we tuned them up Just another kind of common situation that follows us in our truck Sometimes it makes you feel like the dawn won’t ever come In the hand never was the bird And the bushes were burned down to the black wood I never thought it would go this far All the sure things and the cigarette deals are ashes in the tray Take them out spread them on the ground to guide us on our way When you’re looking at the bottom of the barrel better soak up the lingering buzz Scrape up the change for the next 22 to keep you going strong That eastern horizon is lighting up Hold up now I see the rising of the fog Amber beams are ringing true But on the breeze I hear the song of the Bush Stone Curlew

Undertaker’s Song : My pulse says 23 beats an hour - that can’t be right Maybe that’s why I’m falling asleep here at the traffic light I can’t hear a word you say but I can see you from the corner of my eye One hand out the window, Lord, and my brain’s up in the sky When I awake my hands vibrate just like a banjo string Radio station coming in I can hear the choir singSome kind of song that sounds just like When the Levee Breaks Bassoons and timpanis join in what a ruckus those things make Lock the doors and hang on I think I hear the undertaker’s song We’re going to reach the gates before too long When I arose I was exposed to the fabled bright lights All the harp players’ robes were pressed and clean and white Plucking out a tune that I know now was In My Time of Dying When they issued me my wings I set straight out flying If my halo should ever lose its shine Help me to find a new one somewhere If my wings should fail me my Lord Please won’t you meet me with another pair?

Days Don’t End : With the lungs of a younger man I’m breathing in and out Calming winds after disaster With the legs of a swifter man  Running for the exit Like a foal out of the pasture Days don’t end with the sun coming up Like they did back when the harbingers were here Dawn breaks and I awake All the damage disappears With the nerves of an older man waking in the darkness Tightly to the bottle grasping Frozen in broad daylight Stranded where you stand Fearless words and frames collapsing Beseech me not to leave thee Or to go from following after Beseech me not to leave thee Or to go from ever again

Tropical Depression : The system was tropical And they called it a depression But it was more like an elation Cause the groundswell came a creeping And they named her Gabriella Like a girl from Venezuela With a careless disposition And a temper, quite a tempe And the waves they came a crashing Like the mortars at Manassas The rumble of the breakers You could feel it on the street Where the windows were no longer Only duct tape and plywood to make them stronger The answers were escaping As the sirens started wailing Then the winds they changed direction And offshore it was passing Heading northbound up to Hatteras It was over before it started And the word from all the locals Was that you should have been here yesterday You should have been here yesterday It would your mind to pieces

The Line’s Been Drawn : Something’s just not right You don’t look the same but I know it’s you Pulled over the fence in the broad daylight 2 from 4 and 4 from 2 My stomach feels like the day’s twilight Where black and white make every shade of grey Moving across Iowa in the middle of the night Nobody has any word to say It looks like the lines been drawn Me in the middle and you on both ends Well the coast and the prairie don’t look the same Even to a boy who is about my age Some milk the cows, others wax the lanes See the long flat fields or the crests of the waves And we burn the bowling pins right there on the beach And their thick black smoke covers up the sun You sleep at night because you know we’re in reach Staying pretty still for being on the run Fronts come through and storms pass on Now it’s all like a snowflake in a boil Back home to Iowa with 8 years gone 4 back to 2 and 2 back to 4 I guess it doesn’t mean anything in the end