Innocent in my Arms

I hear them talking, I know you hear them too

Just remember everytime they point a finger at you

They got three fingers pointing right back at themselves

Mama said failure ain’t falling down

Failure, is staying down in the ground

Mama’s gone now, but you still get up every time


Hang on, hang on

Every rising sun is one more till I come back to

ya babe and teach you how to stay warm

Hang on, hang on

Let this whole town judge you for what they think is wrong

Because all that I know is you are innocent in my arms


I ain’t no JC, you ain’t no Magdalene

But this cold world it gets colder it seems

Every time they let them church bells ring

But I’ve seen you dance in the pouring rain

That duct tape on your fiddle, babe it ain’t no shame

Things are only as broke as we let them be

© 2013 John Craigie

Ain’t Comin’ Back

Yes it’s true I built this house, yes it’s true she once was mine

Yes it’s true I disappeared on a cold spring night

They say you’ve been hanging round, but you cannot settle in

Cause every morning you think I’m gonna be rolling round that bend


Chorus 1:

Oh but I ain’t coming back, no I ain’t coming back

When I’m gone I’m gone, child believe that

No I ain’t coming back


I never cared for your purgatorial town

Your little weed kept everybody hiding underground

I searched for your culture, I searched for your community

You never wanted that, you sure as hell didn’t want me


Chorus  2:

So I ain’t coming back, no I ain’t coming back

Make yourself at home, boy, unpack your bags,

No I ain’t coming back


Chorus  3:

Oh no I ain’t coming back, no I ain’t coming back

When Craigie’s gone, he’s gone, gospel truth, absolute fact,

No I ain’t coming back

 © 2013 John Craigie


My name is Rachel, I was born here on the coldest day of May

And I work here in this brothel, I do not feel ashamed

You can tell me the men are faithless, you can tell me the men are sin

But I’ve cured the devils, I’ve held the innocent


There was a painter, he used to come here, at least when he could afford

Which wasn’t often, but when he did, it was me he would implore

They told me he was crazy, but I did not seem to hear

Until one night when he gave me a bloody piece of his ear



Oh Vincent, who has hurt you so, oh Vincent, how was I to know

In the long run, history will make it clear

But all my screams will fill your dreams, some of passion some of fear


Verse 2:

There was another painter, name of Gauguin, more famous I suppose

They were friends, maybe lovers, oh with painters you never know

They were screaming, and they were fighting, Gauguin drew his blade

And he slashed at poor Vincent and they never spoke again

Chorus: (how were we to know)

Verse 3:

All your sadness, it will vanish, whenever you choose to leave

When you bury yourself in your painting, beneath the crows, amongst the wheat

And I will lie here and I will wonder about the gift you gave

Was it your sickness, was it your madness or just a way to share your pain

Chorus: (how were you to know)

© 2013 John Craigie

We Ain’t Leaving This Bar, Patrick (Til We Find You Some Love) 

Out here on the road the tires swell and the limits bleed

One minute you’re a hero the next minute you’re asleep

You could fall in love a hundred times and no one would ever know

You could shed a million layers and still be sweating in the snow



But the night is still young our music set is done

And we ain’t leaving this bar Patrick till we find you some love


Verse 2:

Some of these women are crazy, some are gonna drive you wild

The women down in Baton Rouge, they do nothing but make you smile

Some of these men wanna kill me, some wanna love me so

There’s a couple guys in Milwaukee who probably wanna do a little bit of both




Verse 3:

There’s a grandma in South Dakota and she treats me like a star

She tells me she listens to nothing but John Craigie cds and NPR

She says, “when you gonna get famous, boy, when you gonna shine”

I say, “the more famous that you get, honey, the worse songs that you write”





I’m a one beer a night kind of guy, I don’t usually drink a lot

But tonight I’ll match you beer for beer and shot for shot


Verse 4:

I know this tour’s been weird, I know this tour’s been hard

But like you said, “playing to an empty room is still better than any other job”

Maybe we’ll make it to the big time, maybe we’ll just stay here

But this world ain’t nothing but an open road full of beautiful people’s ears

© 2013 John Craigie

Before Lafayette Turns Off It’s Lights

Gonna hitchhike right out of Saginaw, with nothing but curse words in my jaw

No longer need to live out this old Paul Simon song

Gonna head way down south, gonna spit all them dark words out

Gonna be pure when I fall into your arms


Cause I’ve been calling out your name, every night as I climb onto the stage

And I stare, into the light and the black

When all your songs have been sung, and you’ve given away all your love

It’s unreal just how much comes back


I know you may have grown cold, but we ain’t that old

I still believe I can make things right

Tell your mama to shout it, she never needed to doubt it

I’ll be home before Lafayette turns off its lights


Back when you kicked me out to the curb, I was a different person

That southern heat, had melted all my brains

One thing this north country cold will do, wake you up slowly remind you

Just why you were here in the first place


I loved you for so long, kept it to myself, but I kept it strong

Just waited for the right time

Now I’m on my way, I sware on this day

I’ll be home before Lafayette turns off its lights


I’ll walk through these worn out shoes, I will swim if I have to

I will crawl like I did when I was a child


You’ll see the lines on my face, marks that the road has made

I just hope I’m still beautiful in your eyes

Tell all your boyfriends to shout it

They were fools to doubt it

I’ll be home before Lafayette turns off its lights

© 2013 John Craigie

Preservation Hall

On the corner of Dauphine and Dumaine, I picked up a trumpet and I started to play

I hit 25 blue notes all in a row, the crowd dispersed headed for the next show

A Creole girl taught me to dance watched me kick out my legs and throw up my hands

She said there’s room in this city for a guy with no pity, for himself or anybody else



I lost every dollar down in the quarter,

I won ‘em backfrom all the pimps and the lawyers

They threw me their coins, I sang ‘em my songs

Now im sipping my whiskey down in preservation hall


I exposed myself for a couple of beads, got thrown in a Tuba by the NOPD

I got blowed by a 400 pound man, saying, get the hell out of my instrument

Played my banjo, down in Jackson square, sang out loud so the good lord would know I was there

This Spanish moss feels like all the short hairs that grow,

on my baby where I lay my head when I get home


Chorus :


Verse 3:

Played my banjo, down in Jackson square, sang out loud so the good lord would know I was there

They told me my fortune, they told me it clear, they said you go back to Frisco but your heart stays here



© 2013 John Craigie

Free Drinks For Everyone

Well the van got a new heart up in Vancouver

Took me all the way down to Louisville

With just enough time to tune my guitar,

Climb on stage while the place got filled

And it’s wall to wall with all kinds of people

From the born agains to the barely legal

I’m on stage trying to please everyone

Or at least the few that choose to listen


And the man who’s supposed to pay me he’s doing coke,

In the back room with the man who was manning the door

So it’s a free show from now on I guess

All the poor hippies they’re sneaking in

They got their pot brownies and their mushroom tea

And they’re passing it out to everybody

I’m up here, sipping whiskey and singing

“If I ever sound like John Mayer, someone please shoot me”



And Suzanne the bartender’s out in the street

Kicking her shoes off her little bare feet

Pounding on the asphalt at the top of her lungs, she screams

“Free drinks for everyone, free drinks for everyone”


Verse 2:

This girl tells me she got my cd

From someone who burned it, from someone who burned it

Who burned it from some guy who got it from

Some station that one time played my songs

And I tell her, hell, there ain’t nothing that you owe

I just got’s to make enough to get me to the next show


And the meth zombies they’re stumbling in,

They don’t eat your brains but they’ll steal your tips

This cop up front he wants to throw me in jail

He said I know your fans love you but they won’t pay your bail




Verse 3:

Now it’s the third set, it’s a long set

Cause this bar don’t close till 4am

But I ain’t taking no breaks no more

Cause there’s a cougar waiting at the end of the bar

She’s waving her arms, she’s screaming my name

She comes closer and closer with every song I sing

And she throws her tequila down on the floor

But they’ll be another one for goddamn sure



© 2013 John Craigie

I Wrote Mr. Tambourine Man

I wrote Mr. Tambourine Man, that little man ain’t nothing but a thief

But I don’t care at all I was destined to be poor

I was destined to stay in this city

New Orleans in the morning after Mardi Gras

Is like the sweetest hangover you ever saw

All the buildings sag, beads hang from the trees

In the pink sky dawn I stumbled to Lafitte’s

In the corner of the bar with a notepad and a pen

A little hair of the dog, I wrote Mr. Tambourine Man


When the apocalypse is over, I hope you like your job

Ain’t it a shame nobody sets anybody free anymore


I hate a song where the singer is mad at their ex

Cause they said they’d always love ‘em now they’ve gone up and left

And they complain and they whine, and they want ‘em to come back home

I say, out of seven billion people, let the ones who don’t love you go


Never trust a musician who plays with their eyes open

All the good stuff happens when they’re closed

You gotta give yourself the shivers before you can give ‘em to someone else

So I wrote Mr. Tambourine Man and I left it in the dust

The perfect song is the song that you only got to play once

I don’t wanna be no dinosaur blaming the asteroid for my strife

I might’ve been born yesterday, but I’ve been up all night

© 2013 John Craigie

Goddess of New Orleans

I was born in Los Angeles,

Raised in the south part I am not ashamed

They had there angels, but none did compare

With the goddess of New Orleans


I sang to the princesses of all the county fairs

Queens of the Rockies they all listened with disdain

But all got quite when I poured my voice into the ear

Of the goddess of New Orleans


Down in the quarter the storm took a rest

Streets all wet with puddles full of rain

I turned a corner and with flowers in her hair

There lay the goddess of New Orleans


I knelt beside her, and played her my guitar

She did not judge me by my rags and stains

Either rich man or poor man it seems

In her eyes, there all the same


They say that Robert Johnson never sold his soul

Just born with a gift and practiced night and day

But he learned the blues when his love was denied

By the goddess of New Orleans


And Lincoln died laughing, so the story goes

Got shot during the funniest line of the play

But the people of Louisiana know

He just smiled at the mention of her name


Now I’m rambling through the Tennessee hills

But I promised I’ll go see her again

Either in her palace or in the gutter I will kneel

Before the goddess of New Orleans

 © 2013 John Craigie

Keep it Warm

I met a girl named Cheyenne, she was 8 years old

She told me she was married, deep down I thought that was wrong

She told me that her husband was 8 years old as well

I just smiled and I nodded, but deep down, I still think that’s weird


Her mama told me it was destiny, she couldn’t stand in the way

They acted like old lovers from the very first day

“Love comes when it comes,” she said, “you just never know

It could be when you’re a big kid, it could be when you’re 8 years old”


Chorus:  She said,

Light your candle in the dark, this world is cold even when it’s hot

You’re a borrowed soul, mama used to tell me that

She’d say, “keep it warm, keep it warm, some day you gotta give it back”


Verse 2:

I met a woman named Gladys, she was 108.     She said,

“John will you promise to write a song that says it’s never too late

Oh I don’t wanna leave here,” she said, “but I suppose that I will

I just hope they give me free will up there like they gave it to me down here”


Chorus: She said…


Verse 3:

I met a boy named Dakota, he was 3 years old

They asked him if he believed in Jesus, he said

“I just believe in the collective soul

Cause, John, when you think about it, it just makes the most sense

And if you ever doubt it just put your hand into someone else’s hand”

Chorus: He said…

© 2013 John Craigie