Humorous Storytelling, Serious Folk

Gone

Well I’m driving through Nevada, as fast as I can,

Fresh from Lake Tahoe with a nugget wrapped in a set list

I’m heading south of Boise with campefire in my hair

I’ve been losing all my inhibitions somewhere out here

They say I live the life romantic, I ain’t got a penny to my name

I could come here and leave with nothing and be happy just the same

These people they climb the pulpit they try to convince me to stay

But I don’t stick around long enough to hear what they have to say

Chorus:

I’m gone, gone, gone,

like shadows on your lawn,

like cold wind blowing strong,

I go back down like the sun and I’m always there.

These people ain’t got much they just clap and sing along

but thats all a folk singer could ever want

Some of these bosses are saints and some of them ain’t

but from Austin to Missoula I just do whatever it takes

And this preacher digs my music but he’s worried about my soul

says if I don’t playing guitar he reckons I won’t die at all

cause I play on this thing more often than I breathe

if you can’t kill me in mid-song then you can’t kill me

Chorus

This wide eyed local finds me and he throws me to the ground

He says, you look just like Jesus without the blood without the crown

He begs me for salvation, I give him a meager dose

just enough to get him going to the next folk show

And I’ve been dreaming of the woman who simply lets me want her

with lips as red as Moab, as wet as Gualala

She holds me in her arms, she treats me like a prayer

She says. I won’t let you die lest you first promise to live

Chorus

© John Craigie 2009

As Tragic

Your lips taste like American Spirit,

My hands look like it’s been a long tour

Last night’s failure is 400 miles away

But tonight could be alright, if only  you’d let me stay

Chorus:

Baby it don’t take that long

Two rights don’t always make a wrong

Darling, listen to me, life doesn’t have to be

As tragic as it is in my songs

This romance is embarrassing it puts your integrity on the line

Kind of like a suicide note without the suicide.

Ranging from the depths of what you choose to see

who you choose to love and what you choose to be

Chorus:

Just like the sassafras that always seems to pass a little bit too soon

It always comes down to who you love and what you’re put on earth to do

The mighty kings of England, the mighty kings of Spain

They’ve all  kept there titles but they don’t do a thing

Now leaving North Dakota you know I kissed the other side

I have traveled all this way just to look you in the eye.

Chorus

© John Craigie 2009

Labor Day

On Labor Day I quit my job,

I went looking for the head man, I went looking for the boss

I went looking for somebody to tell my story to

I said this is the circus and you are the tattooed lady

You won’t be satisfied until we’re all covered in ink

You won’t be satisfied until we’re all slightly dirtier than you

 She said it’s now or never if you ever want to get away

I quit my job on Labor Day

I met an LDS on LSD, he said Jesus and Superman are basically the same thing

And the Bible was the very first comic book

He told me God will answer every prayer you pray

It’s just that he can hear you better than you can hear yourself

He said I love my messiah I just don’t get along with his old man

I said I could listen to you forever but he had nothing more to say

I quit my job on Labor Day

I ran to my lover to tell her what I had done, I said I’ve been molded into something unmoldable

I’m tired of changing the diapers on your inner child

Things are going to go back to just the way they’ve been

I said that’s about as realistic as the tenth commandment

Change rains down from above

Life is like a movie everyone just falls asleep

We wake up credits rolls we applaud at what we did not see

Breakin out, bustin through, I’m lookin for another way

I quit my job on Labor Day

© John Craigie 2009

Will Not Fight

Six AM ain’t no time to write a song

When the moon’s still up but the night is gone

And the muse she is fast asleep.

Where I guess, I oughta be.

Hold back that sunrise just a little bit more

I’m not quite ready to feel its warmth

My love comes to me when I’m cold

Into my heart with all the rest of the ghosts

Chorus:

Go down Moses, shine your light.  I will not fight, I will not fight.

Go down Moses, shine your light I will not fight, anymore tonight.

Somewhere down in Bozeman where the bachelors hang

They tell there stories with equal pride and shame

Just like soldiers at the end of a war

Trying to look happy to be out of work

Chorus:

© John Craigie 2009

Mama Nashville

My fans up in Whitefish say I gotta settle down somewhere

This roaming and rambling won’t get me anywhere

Everybody’s screaming Nashville, that’s where the stars are made

So I picked up my guitar and I headed Nashville way

So I went down to Second Ave and got myself a gig

With 37 other singers also on the bill

I tell you all them locals they long since moved away

My crowd was just the other singers waiting to get on stage

Chorus:

Goodbye, I don’t need you, and Lord knows you don’t need me

Goodbye, Mama Nashville, you got too many mouths to feed

They told me not to go down there and sing my originals

They said some Nashville country singer will steal my melodies and my words

If they wanna find some fortune, they better rob somebody else

I barely have the balls to sing these songs myself

Chorus:

So I lit down to Shreveport as fast as I could

I love the way they talk there and them women treat me good

They said reincarnation is happening in that town

The lawyers come back as mosquitoes or is it the other way around

© John Craigie 2009

28

Jim Morrison, Miami County Prison,

Looking out the window at the barbed wire fence

Singing “this ain’t for me, this rock n’ roll scene,

I should be writing poetry, on a farm out in France”

 

“Cause I can’t see through the darkness, I can’t feel no pain

Seems you lose your spark, when you achieve your fame

And I could start it all over, I could escape

If I could only make it to twenty eight, if I could only make it to twenty eight”

 

Janis Joplin, one foot in the coffin,

Left that theater rocking, and she walked on out the door

She put her head in her hands, she said, “I’ve given all I can

I drain myself for these fans, I ain’t never been this dry before”

 

“I’m gonna move out of this Chelsea Hotel, stop drinking all the time

Stop blowin’ Leonard Cohen, and listening to him whine

Cause I know that I am beautiful, and I will prove it someday

If I could only make it to twenty eight, if I could only make it to twenty eight”

 

Kurt Cobain, sat in his shed in the rain,

Stomach full of pain, eyes growing dark

He said “I’m losing control, I oughta move down to San Francisco,

Light candles at all of my shows and switch to acoustic guitars”

 

“Because this world it don’t need no more tension and hate

It needs a reason for these kids to stand up and create

And I could pull this trigger or I could just walk away

If I could only make it to twenty eight, if I could only make it to twenty eight”

© John Craigie 2009

Easter Sunday

JC rose two days later just to show his friends that he could

Almost as if to say the afterlife’s alright but it’s not that good

JC walked through the streets of Jerusalem people stickin their hands into the holes in his side

He said there is life and there is death and the echo of both that survive

But your life lasts so much longer than the time that you spend

Down here kicking

Baton Rouge Easter Sunday, just a bottle of wine and me

The best show I ever had there were twelve people in the audience

But they all knew all the words to my songs

Got three encores and they had to close the coffee shop down

But we all went outside and sang some more

Don’t judge your success my friend on the number of humans

That see you up there doing you thing

Baton Rouge Easter Sunday, just a bottle of wine and me

Down here we got everything, we got the good and the bad

Up there they only got the good

Deep down I think we like the uncertainty, this is the heaven that we all want

And death is nothing more than the moment

For our echo to start

Baton Rouge Easter Sunday, just a bottle of wine and me

© John Craigie 2009

Resurrection Bay

I met her up in Helena, in the state mental hospital

I was put there by a judge, boys, she was put there by the same.

Just one look into her green eyes, Catalina she was all mine

She told me of her paradise, called it Resurrection Bay.

We both knew we were cured, no matter about the judges word

On that first day of summer, we made our escape

Running through that June night, with them stars as our only light

She said that every star that falls lands in Resurrection Bay

So me and Catalina, we hitchhiked to Alaska

All through them drunken forests, up that Alcan Highway

Made it down to the Kenai, on the 4th of July

Made love under the exploding sky of Resurrection Bay

But Catalina was a strange girl, not long for this world

Why they’d put her up in Helena, she would not say

She was in love with that water, like a mother to a daughter

I watched her smiling face go under, from the shores of Resurrection Bay

Now I ain’t nothing but a stranger moving south through your country

‘ve been eating from your orange groves I’ve been sleeping through your days

At night I watch the black sky, see them stars go shooting by

I know that every star that falls lands in Resurrection Bay

© John Craigie 2009

Anna Rose Part IV

Everytime I come to town you know you look so sad

But when the show is over you are happy again

You say your boss don’t respect you and neither does your man

But this time around girl I’ve got a plan

Chorus:

Quit your job, sell your car

Tell that fool that you live with, you don’t live here anymore

Bring your banjo I’ll teach you how to play

You know its ne——ver too late

You say your life’s been hard, you’ve been abused and mangled

but i tell you an angel with a messed up past is still an angel

All these people just push you aside

you got this chance to leave ’em all behind

You’ll watch less and sing more, it’ll be easy to quit that stuff when you can’t afford

Nothing but the bare necessities.  You won’t be a millionaire but at least you’ll be free

Chorus:

So pack your bags, my wheels are rolling

you won’t need them fancy clothes where we’re going

Tell your father not to shout and scream

He can write it off as one of your crazy dreams

Cause I know you got the music deep down inside

and I’ll bet we’ll sound good when we harmonize

You’re way too perfect for a town like this

I need the whole damn planet to know you exist

Chorus:

© John Craigie 2009

All Through Montana

My tires swell, the road seems lonely,

The road seem lonely, my life seems great

The sun rises slow, over the hills

As I drive east towards a western state,

I listen to Greg Brown, all through Montana, and all through Montana I look for your soul

It just seems like the place that you would’ve settled down, that is if you ever even settled down at all

You’d be so proud if you could see me now, I got my own record and another on the way

Just play my guitar from town to town, but I know it all began on that warm spring day

I cut class with you for no other reason than to welcome in the season and let the wind kiss your neck

You took me to that meadow and I played you that song, the one about how some planet’s star lies

right between your breasts

I guess I was stupid I guess I was naïve to think that I could have kept it a secret somehow

I would have written you so many more songs if I had known the muse then like I know the muse now

So I stare north now into what must be Canada, with tears in my eyes as the wind rocks my brain

A man can only not know so much before he realizes he doesn’t know one goddamn thing

I listen to Greg Brown, all through Montana, and Montana is so much bigger than you think

In my wildest dreams I picture you roamin around, makin folks smile and maybe keepin an eye out for me

© John Craigie 2009

Map of Dallas

I got me a map of Dallas, and I’m sitting in Kalispell

About a thousand miles from Texas but I guess it’s just as well

I got my past in my dust got my future over the hill

And I don’t need nobody to cast my spells

I got dreams and things and songs for times of war

I got a life that lays itself, you know it don’t get bored

I got my local crowd waiting for me down at the local bar

And I’m going to sing to them till my throat gets sore

Cause it only happens once, life will not wait, and it won’t throw it back to you

There ain’t enough time to do something right, but plenty of time to do something new

Come on please   give me your blessing

And sing my songs when I’m gone

Take me down to the river wash my little soul clean

From the dust of your highways to the smut of your dreams

You can take my guitar and my harmonicas, throw them all into the sea

I swear the tide will bring them all back to me

And if I don’t make it home don’t’ cry none

Don’t let lit keep you in

We all come back, baby , slow or fast,

Back to where we began

Come on please give me your blessing

And sing my songs when I’m gone

I got me a map of Dallas

And I’m sitting in Kalispell

Bout a thousand miles from Texas but I guess it’s just as well

I got Springsteen on my radio cranking it loud as hell

I just love this song I don’t care what my neighbors yell

Cause it picks me up my life gets stuck my wheels don’t seem to roll

Baby take my advice, hold on tight, never let go

Come on please give me your blessing

And sing my songs when I’m gone

© John Craigie 2009