lyrics from Moonlit Rambles

Song For the Slow Dancers

People just don't see the way you see, boy
Maybe you could change your name to Leeroy
Give 'em something recognizable,
In a newsbite-sizeable way

I'm told it's all about the branding
Not that old peace, love, and understanding
And if honesty is as good as we say it is,
How come it doesn't pay?

Saskatchewan rappers sound like they're from Compton
And for the reggae singers it's the Caribbean
If you're country it's Houston or old San Antone
Or any old place but your very own
That's what they're callin' authentic
Couldn't even say what they mean if they meant it
They never told me their secrets, they never
Let themselves be known

But I've heard songs that broke my heart open wide
Let all these tears spill out and let the light inside
The drunken throng'll jump around to any old thing
But a song strong enough for world-changing must be
Clear as the moonlight, clear as a straight answer
Play a song for the slow dancers

Some sell it actin' sleazy
Some sell it with free and easy
Some sell it with bad sweaters and ironic moustaches
Some sell it with porn
And they're filling the air with all that traffic
Trying to turn the revolution into a demographic
Don't you think it's high time to lay it on the line?
All they got is lines to lay it on

But I've heard songs that wore their hearts on their sleeve
Got some words on this napkin I really believe
Under all the zippity-do-dah-dey
Your heart & mine are longing to say something
Clear as the moonlight, clear as a straight answer
Play a song for the slow dancers

They tell us that the industry's dying
But I can assure you, good people, they're lying
It's already dead, devoured its own head
After killing all its brightest kids
Thank God for the real singers I know
House concerts, and community radio
They'll only keep lying as long as we're listening
What if nobody did?

I've heard songs that told me I am not alone
And the only life for me to live is my own
Songs that held me in the palm of their hand
And spoke to me in words that I understand
Clear as the moonlight, clear as a straight answer
Play a song for the slow dancers

Goin Up to the Country

Goin up to the country
Come on along

We're gonna leave behind our phones and watches
Slip into our beards and moustaches
Swim in our birthday suits
Dance and get a little loose
If you got the gin, I got the juice, come on along
All this staring at a screen can't be good
Let's go out into the trees and burn some wood
We're gonna dirty up our hands
Abandon our elaborate plans
If you hear me, and you understand, come on along

We're gonna learn things that can't be put in books
Hang our hats on mother nature's hook
Sit by a stream, and have a think
Wash my face in mother nature's sink
We got lots to eat and drink, come on along
Good people, I believe, for what it's worth
We're gonna make a little heaven right here on earth
The New Best Friends will be swinging
Carolyn Mark will be singing
I got a big tent I'm bringing, come on along

But I gotta warn ya,
I've been known to hold hands and dance around in a circle
You know I might even wear purple
There'll be cowboys and hippies waltzing together
There'll be a whole lot of "I haven't seen you in forever"
If you can take the weather, come on along
And it must be fifteen years ago by now
A light went on in my head that never went out
Saw how it all fit together with room for me
Knew I'd always find family
Ain't that a lucky place to be? Come on along
If you still don't understand
Somebody's gonna take you by the hand
And they'll say, welcome home, my friend, welcome home

Ain't this just about all there is to life?
The mornings, the days, the evenings and the nights
If you got love, you don't need a lot
Every day is a gift you got
So whether you're s'posed to work or not, come on along

Let Your Horses Run

Of all the known and unknown people and places, and tonight of all nights
How is it that you and I are facing underneath a moon this bright?
Leading or being led, we can never know
Stones from distant ranges meet in a riverbed, gathered by the flow

While we're side by side, let the wagers ride
While we're in the sun, let your horses run

Knowing what I know it's hard startin', this old world's so sick & sad
But you make me wanna grow a garden, & you know that can't be bad
I've been blind and selfish, but I'm hopin', while our paths entwine
To keep my eyes wide open, and your heart with mine

While we're side by side, let the wagers ride
While we're in the sun, let your horses run

High and Lonesome Again

There's not many sounds as wild and lonesome
As a far-away train in the night
They used to carry my young mind with them off down the line
And I'd shiver to think of the distance
And some nights I'd walk out past the lights
To gape at the stars and hear the highway whine

I followed that high lonesome sound
Been down some good roads and I've known some good friends
After all that travelin' round
Here I am high and lonesome again

The songs of the open country
And the words of the traveling men
Drew my young eyes away toward the horizon
They said a heart that always runs free
Will never find rest but within
The fleeting space between voices harmonizing

Hank's playing on lousy speakers
And every word that he sings is true
Tonight it's just him and me, this storm, this stupor
This hotel room, and these thoughts of you

I don't know if I'm tired of always running
Or just tired of always getting away
I keep blowing through with nothing that I can call mine
But there's something kindred and healing
In the sound of a loon on the lake
Or the cold whistle of the wind as it runs through the pines

A Million Miles

When I came to the city I was green as green could be
Didn't know myself, and hung on what they thought of me
But I got a feeling these ain't my kind of folks
They laughed at my clothes and not at my jokes
And I wished I could fly a million miles from here

The change in me is frightening to behold
Cash burns holes in your pockets, work burns holes in your soul
I can feel the eyes of the voiceless crowd
Might even be scared to live out loud
And just dream of being free a million miles from here

Gone, gone, gone, gone ain't a place, no road'll take you there

There's a few kinds of trouble just seem to follow me around
They show their old faces any time that I slow down
They followed me out to the golden coast
Introduced themselves to those I loved the most
And they'll be hounding me a million miles from here

Some folks say there's a heaven up above
And this vale of tears ain't no place to put your love
Some other folks say the world's whatever they call it
They say open your mind, and open your wallet
And you'll wake up a million miles from here

Gone, gone, gone, gone ain't a place, no road'll take you there
Gone, gone, gone, gone ain't a place, there's no way to nowhere

There's no such place, there's no such place,
There's no such place as gone
Wherever you go, there you go along
There's no such place as gone

In the country they're living like we all might have to do (and it might be real soon!)
You taking care of me, me looking after you
They said welcome home, what a sound to hear
Welcome home, let go your fear
But it feels like a million miles from here

Gone, gone, gone, gone ain't a place, no road'll take you there
Gone, gone, gone, gone ain't a place, there's no way to nowhere

The Lord Giveth and the Landlord Taketh Away

It's a fine line 'tween making ends meet and sleeping in the rain
Broke down and wishing you were back on that 8am train
Seems like the screw keeps tightening every single day
The Lord giveth and the landlord taketh away

Well, they'll sell you a dream, loan you the money for a house
And it don't matter if you can't make the payments when all the jobs head South
See, they bet on both sides, so they win either way
That's how the Lord giveth and the landlord taketh away

We just hang around drinking coffee from a paper cup
They say it'll trickle down, but it just keeps tricklin' up
And the first hit's free, but after that you gotta pay
That's how the Lord giveth and the landlord taketh away

Well, they say there's a crisis, every TV's talking about
How the same folks who got us into this need us to bail them out
Guess when you're too big to fail, it means you're too big to pay
Ain't it clever how the Lord giveth and the landlord taketh away

Big men got big plans, big plans only expand
They got no friends, only interests, little men are pawns in their hands
And they send them to fight for reasons that aren't what they say
Poor boys don't you know, the Lord giveth and the landlord taketh away

We just hang around drinking coffee from a paper cup
They say it'll trickle down, but it just keeps tricklin' up
Everybody gets a cut, and the newsmen just look the other way
While the Lord giveth and the landlord taketh away

They been writing up laws for as long as they been stealing the land
Make it so convoluted that ordinary folks can't understand
And it's a grim reminder every year on Columbus Day
Of just how the Lord giveth and the landlord taketh away

We just hang around drinking coffee from a paper cup
They say it'll trickle down, but it just keeps tricklin' up
It's just bottom lines and lines on the map, people affected get no say
That's how the Lord giveth and the landlord taketh away
That's how the Lord giveth and the landlord taketh away

All My Moonlit Rambles

Lonely crescent moon tonight, I know you're bright on the other side
But from here you're only an eyelid of light and a bit of empty sky
Still you're quite a companion, especially for one who's got none,
And I know you understand me, you've seen all the moonlit deeds I've done
Yes, on all my moonlit rambles, yes on all my moonlit nights

My dance partner when I staggered, you meant more than all the stars above
And every time I catch your eye I can't help but think of the girl I love
When you're wide open the world is written large, moon shadows play on the grass
Your frosty halo casting a rainbow like the sun in my love's eyelash
Shine on all my moonlit rambles, shine on all my moonlit nights

You watch us run in place not knowing what we're racing to find
I'm told you're a cold stone hung in space, but you feel like an eye in my mind
Watching all my moonlit rambles, watching all my moonlit nights

I poured my weary mind out to you, as if you knew how I'm thinking
And now and then when I played the fool, I swore I saw you winking
Here's to all my moonlit rambles, here's to all my moonlit nights

Time With You

It's a warm moonlit night, let's walk out in it
Seems these days we rarely do
You and I are tired, but we got these minutes
I wanna spend some with you

These streets can feel so cold and distant
You know I feel it in me too
Any place, all we ever have are these very instants
I wanna spend some with you

How did we all get so beaten down?
How'd we get so over run?
Working so hard all these years now,
Can't buy yourself another one

It's hard to keep your head above the headlines
Repeating lies 'til they sound true
Those who say time is money want both of mine,
I wanna spend some with you

How did we all get so beaten down?
How'd we get so over run?
Sometimes a strong drink'll block it out
And you buy yourself another one

I'd turn it around if I had the power
Maybe enough of us together do
I may not see that day, but while I've got these hours
I wanna spend some with you

How did we all get so beaten down?
How'd we get so over run?
The ones you love are like a hometown
You can't buy yourself another one

It's a warm moonlit night, let's walk out in it
Seems these days we rarely do
You and I are tired, but we got these minutes
I wanna spend some with you

Go On, Ray

Ray, I got the news in a motel room that rainy night
And I wondered just what I'd been waiting for
Wondered if I could write you a song you'd like
And why I never wrote you one before
You never were the kind to talk about your heart
But you never let us doubt how much you cared
Never liked to dress up, never tried to sound smart
Never had much patience for folks who put on airs
Never learned to swim, never learned to dance
Never left the continent, through you drove its whole expanse
While the country lost its way, somehow you stayed true
A boy from Levering, Michigan, 1922

Takes a certain kind of man to farm for fifty years
While the cost of living and corporate profits soar
He just pushed on, bull-headed, we never saw his tears
They don't make quite that kind of man no more
Opened two hardware stores, made furniture by hand
Carried mail while Grandma taught the kids in town
When the money got tighter he had to sell off some land
And when the big stores came, he had to close one of his down
He watched the land he loved turn suspicious and cold
Saw the countryside carved up by walls
But he never bought the lies, never prejudged a soul
Said don't the good book say “whosoever calls”?

So go on, Ray, we're coming after you
You passed through well, and that's all a man can do
My dad's following, in time I'm going too
Go on, Ray, we're coming after you

He was an artist with wood and jerry-rigging things
Hands gnarled from eighty years of hard use
I saw him hit himself with a hammer, and he didn't even wince
Somehow nine out of ten fingers made it through
Had the kind of smarts you might call old-fashioned
Built a hydro plant himself by trial and error
He loved tractor shows, music boxes, clockworks and gadgets
Built us a merry-go-round with a washing machine motor
When he couldn't walk too far, it really slowed him down
But he loved his work too much to stop
He'd still plant a little crop in that old Michigan ground
And ride his lawn tractor out to the wood shop

So go on, Ray, we're coming after you
You passed through well, and that's all a man can do
My dad's following, in time I'm going too
Go on, Ray, we're coming after you

Last time I saw him he was leaving for South Dakota
Taking a vanload of clothes on his own dime
To a poor kids' school on the land of the Lakota
I think he knew that trip would be his last time
No one knows what it's like to lay this body down
Though some folks say that they do
I just know he went a long way, and came back around
And there's a lot of people better off for him passing through
Ray, they bought you a new chair just before you died
We hoped you'd have a few more years at home
But then you had to take another ambulance ride
And I reckon you just didn't want to go

Go on, Ray, we're coming after you
You passed through well, and that's all a man can do
My dad's following, in time I'm going too
Go on, Ray, we're coming after you

Song for a Pilgrim

Wanna find a new song and shake these city blues
Set out at the break of day with a pair of sturdy shoes
A pair of sturdy shoes, a bedroll and a knife
Set out at the break of day to look for my life

I don't feel at home here, or believe what they're talkin'
Even when I walk alone I'm glad to be walkin'
I'm glad to be walkin', and proud of you my company
Even when I walk alone I take you all with me

Around the bend a ways, sun is shining on the road
And I can slow down this fevered pace, and I can lay down this load

Nothing's as sure or scary as thinking makes it so
All of 34 years old & what do I know?
What do I know? Only what I've felt
All of 34 years old, I played what I was dealt

Around the bend a ways, sun is shining on the road
And I can slow down this fevered pace, and I can lay down this load

I thank my unknown maker, and try to take 'er slow
Heart yearning, by going, learning where I have to go
Where I have to go, and when to stay in place
Heart yearning, by going, learning, stumbling into grace

Around the bend a ways, sun is shining on the road
And I can slow down this fevered pace, and I can lay down this load