Bells & Whistles : Best take the cards out and lay them flat out Even if that’s not what you want to do I would not stray far from the bed you made Because I imagine you’re going to lie in that one too I’m alone out here Two ponds staring up like eyes of the earth Trickery is not necessarily sin August will drain them and April fills them up The fish out here are jumping once again I’m alone out here Listen to the bells and whistles ring Listen to the hawks and doves while they gently sing One from the left and one from the right And then I take a flurry with both hands I will not falter, I will not go down On the hillside where the violets grow Inside of me where the violence grows Lord, Almighty where does the timing go?

Chemical Dependence : Spiritual desperation and a chemical dependence It’s been a long, long road Rasters and vectors keep switching, I’m sitting here wishing This paper would burn Today was the first day I haven’t been thirsty In two days and three months before Learning to speak it, but they just can’t make me believe I’ve a use for these words And I don’t like to go out on the weekends Those Baptists got nothing on me Send my regards to your boyfriend You know just where you can find me Spiritual desperation and chemical dependence It’s been a long, long road One day I’ll be leaving, you better believe I’ll go running like hell through that door Because I can’t wait to go out on the weekends And those Baptists going to see me in church Say your goodbyes to your boyfriend Or he’s entering a new world of hurt

17 Years More : I can’t sleep a wink any longer And tobacco signs are like chains on a river 2 x 6 been threaded through a sable And I’d never seen the wrong side of the coast Flashing and the crackling of the timber It’s one more down and the hole’s getting bigger Looking like its raining in the rafters And I’ve never seen that live oak up so close But I’m seeing things I never thought I’d see And I’ve got her to thank for showing me 17 years more And from what they say it’s only getting worse Chewed me up and spit me out Another season will surely be the end of this town Hush up now Katie, don’t you cry no more Because those winds will scratch and steal and maim a man You don’t want to know what lies behind that door There are things out there you’ll never understand

Black Skies for the High & Mighty : I resigned to a life of resignation Brushed the fires with my own flesh and bone Black skies for the high and mighty Daylight, well, it never felt so right All the plight, I avoid it with my eye Black skies for the high and mighty Let the grows pick my bones Every story is judged by the color of the tongue This ones as dark as my grandmother’s lungs Black skies for the high and mighty Let the grows pick my bones

The Wicks Have Met : Scratch in the lens again and I’m broken down Amongst the weeds and sweet gum trees just blowing now To the hum of a song or the grinding of the metal The whole crowd roars when I’m torn in three Where is your line? Brushed like fire and bent like wire Just awakened eyes and arms fresh from fighting The come down chills and combative pills will martyr The celebrants and ghosts outstretched in the arena Only being there I swear will prove you wrong I will not go back down there I will not go back down there again The wicks have met

Cadillac Limousine : Shirtless by the punch bowl, naked in my skin Hoping it’ll bring me back again Is that fading sun a sign of things to come? Or is that light mistaken for the dawn? Got no stories of my own Just the one that people told me Go out looking for my own Down that road But it’s only leaving There is no parting So don’t you be grieving when I go When the sun don’t come I’m going to hold my tongue Be in a Cadillac limousine coming home Stinging like a snake farm, setting out alone Don’t suspect you’d understand it It’s been a long time leaving and I’ll be a long time gone But don’t worry I won’t come home empty handed Got no memories of my own Just the ones people told me Go out looking for my own Down that road

Bottomland : I toasted you when we first met The name I gave you, now I forget But you told me the things I needed to know You’d never seen the ocean and you had no rings to show Swallow me now, bottomland Swallow me right now, bottomland We left a green Virginia in my car You said, “how far we going?”, and I said, “not far” I pointed out the landmarks along the way Battlefields and places that dead men lay The things I once dreamed now I know The facts as reported, I don’t remember them so But the truth sleeps out here amongst the waves While the gulls scream and forage above our sandy graves

Ursa Major : There’s static in the air And the rise and fall of breathing The answers have never been so clear Chainsaw teeth couldn’t cut a tear Thanks to electrical wires Tonight there will be no sleeping One arm on the roof and the other underground It’s cold outside but in here it’s withered and brown Enter the room to blank stares Build it up layer by layer Ursa Major Burn bright Not a dry eye in the room And from the hawk’s plume there’s no mistaking Aperture and lens speed share my view I don’t care about them, I care about you Circle the bed in road flares From the thieves and the naysayers Ursa Major Burn bright It was Zeus himself that threw the bears farewell girls, I will try to call from somewhere

The Whistler Knows Best : Another day of digging There must be a rat in the hole I make no progress This hard ground has got the digging slow Got the digging slow There’s just no promise when you go Bright green grass Burned yellow like I’m pissing gasoline In two weeks time Replace my leg with staples and string Staples and string The sound and lights smell so obscene But, I’ll wait around, like all the rest Hoping I don’t starve to death The whistler knows best Black in the muzzle Like my double barrel shotgun Just three years old But damn if I don’t feel that young I don’t feel that young Like I did when you up and run But, I’ll wait around, like all the rest Hoping I don’t draw my last breath The whistler knows best Be careful what you ask for Outside the shadow of the house It might not be flowers like it seems But dandelions and ditch weeds Dandelions and ditch weeds

Cumberland Sound : This old hound is St. Mary’s bound This old hound has still got a ways to go Spend the first half of your life just trying to run away And the second half just trying to get back home To the Cumberland sound One day I’m going to cross that river and settle down Like voices from the timber I can’t get it out of my ears It’s all I hear Cotton ain’t the king no more the kudzu is Swallowing up that land and choking off the light Inch by inch it pushed me to the precipice Going to wade right in that water and float on down

Ringing in the Days : Punishing sun stained my skin Below the sleeve, above the collar Deep dark tide, undertow Will hold you down beneath the water Batten them all down tight We’ll be drinking it by the pint All the brackish and the brine Sun and the seas are getting high If I ever get home again, I’ll be Ringing in the days Counting the ways I’m going to spend ‘em Pillaging thieves broke my glass Stole your pants and my wallet It’s easy to rob you blind When you’re traveling out of sight Of all the brackish and the brine Now I know how leaving feels

Swagger and Honesty : All the swagger and the honesty In the fox blood they baptized me I’m out running, hear the hounds beating up the soil Never see the likes of me again No backslider going to get the best of me There ain’t no jester could match my levity Tell the labor to dig the holes and fill them back up Never be the kind of life for me Say you trust your mother, but still you cut the cards You keep your money buried in the back yard Like the possum you’re not the kind to wait around and see All the swagger and the honesty

Broken Rider : All the ink does sparkle What happened to What happened to the simple blacks and blues?We’re past the point of in or out Don’t worry Don’t worry because I’ve read that story too  Broken rider A half days burn out The money always stings Enough wires up here to make an airplay fly Like a dog with its nose Cast to the breeze I’d appreciate if I could hear a mournful cry I will not lie down alone An empty bed in an empty room Stand the words up and see if they don’t fall Stand me up And watch me as I fall All the ink does sparkle What happened to it? Broken rider You can stand in a bag of leaves