THE OPEN ROAD

Face pressed on the window of a '69 Eldorado.
I asked, Daddy, where does that road go?
He said, Honey, I don't know, but I guess
anywhere you want it...
any place you want to go.
And that's how it all started with the open road.

Six string in the seat behind.
The oil is changed and she runs just fine.
An open heart and an open mind
and open arms for the travelling kind.
The map laid out before me,
point my finger with my eyes closed.
Time to learn the lessons of the open road.

   Oh, the open road is a funny thing,
   How it fills your soul, makes you want to sing.
   You're hardly up the driveway, you're just barely home,
   And then you hear the music of the open road.


Forty years a vagabond,
a thousand cities, a thousand songs.
Looking back didn't seem that long.
The urge is there but the strength is gone.
Don't plant me in a garden
in a hometown I don't know.
Scatter my ashes on the open road.

   Oh, the open road has this funny way,
   How it takes control, pulling you away.
   There's no doubt about it,
   you'll never rest your soul,
   Until you heed the calling of the open road,
   when you hear the music of the open road,
   once you feel the rhythm of the open road.

BACK IN THE HIGHLIFE AGAIN

It used to seem to me that my life ran on too fast
and I had to take it slowly just to make the good parts last.
But when you're born to run it's so hard to just slow down,
So don't be surprised to see me back in the bright part of town.

   I'll be back in the highlife again.
   All the doors I closed one time will open up again.
   I'll be back in the highlife again.
   All the eyes that watched me once will smile and take me in.
   And I'll drink and dance with one hand free,
   Let the world back into me,
   And oh, I'll be a sight to see
   Back in the highlife again.


You used to be the best to make life be life to me,
and I hope that you're still out there
and you're like you used to be.
We'll have ourselves a time
and we'll dance 'til the morning sun
and we'll let the good times come in
we won't stop 'til we're done .

   We'll be back in the highlife again
   All the doors that closed one time will open up again.
   We'll be back in the highlife again.
   All the eyes that watched us once will smile and take me in.
   And we'll drink and dance with one hand free,
   And have the world so easily,
   And oh, we'll be a sight to see
   Back in the highlife again.

KEEPER OF THE FARM

Red and golden on the farmhouse wall,
the sun shone in and showed a place
that I'd known all along...
A place that needed me, a place that I'd call home,
a place where I knew I belonged.

They came a hundred years ago to rest beneath this tree.
They built a home just like the home
they'd left across the sea.
Three generations, and now it's come to me.
I am the keeper of the farm.

   I am the keeper of the farm.
   I am the holder of its history.
   There's nothing here to do
   that can't be done with two strong arms.
   I am the keeper of the farm.
   I am the keeper of the farm.

Weathered wood against a bright blue sky.
The whites just aren't as white now
as they were in grandpa's time.
But I have the power, and I hope I still have time.
I am the keeper of the farm.

   Chorus

I never stop to wonder now why it's up to me
to care for this museum from another family.
But tireless and faithful since the day fate spoke to me,
I am the keeper of the farm.

   Chorus

BLACK SNAKE OF THE SKY

A storm front moving in, they say on Channel Eight.
Be here with bells on by the end of the day.
The clouds are ugly bruises on a wounded, silent sky.
Big black snake from heaven
crawling down from where he lies.

The old folks say the last one came in 1963.
Took twelve little trailer homes and Dillard's Grainery.
I've never seen a picture, but I'd pay to see the sight.
Black snake striking deadly in the early morning light.

Take me, oh, take me, Lord I'm ready to go.
Twenty one years, never been nowhere
and I need a chance to grow.
Take me, oh, take me, I'm growing wings to fly.
Gotta leave now, gotta get out now,
Oh, take me, black snake of the sky.

   No hiding in a cellar, no crawling in a hole.
   I'm gonna stand out in the pasture
   hollering Lord I'm ready to go.

Take me, oh, take me, please don't pass me by.
Twenty one years in the same old town
is a long and lonesome time.
Take me, oh take me, just let me hitch a ride.
I want to be like Dorothy and leave this place behind.
Take me, oh, take me, I'm not afraid to fly.
Gotta leave now, Gotta get out now.
Get me out of this town before it all falls down.
Oh, take me, black snake of the sky.


GOING DOWN

Oh, the road we'd chosen was the treacherous kind.
The grades were steep and the curves were blind.
It was a dead end road with no warning signs
we were going down, going down.

And the fire we started to keep back the cold,
it burned for a while and then we just let it go.
We stood there watching, and we hugged and we cried
as it was going down, going down.

   Going down, like the December sun,
   Going down, oh, we knew we were done.
   There was no way to stop it or turn it around.
   Our own little Titanic with no solid ground.
   We were going down, going down, going down.

Failure is a pattern to find comfort in.
The stairs from the cellar lead but one way, my friend.
That is, unless you're going the wrong way again,
unless you're going down, going down.

So blow the dust off the Bible and read me that piece...
Somethin' 'bout a number, somethin' 'bout a beast...
my favorite part about the end of the world
where we're all going down, going down.

   Going down, like the December sun,
   Going down, oh, we knew we were done.
   There was no way to stop it or turn it around.
   Our little Titanic, with no solid ground.
   So we raised up our glasses and had one more round.
   Here's to going down, going down, going down.

MAKE YOU SMILE

What can I say to you to make you smile?
We haven't seen the sunshine
in a long, long while.
But I've taken off my Raybans
and I've adjusted to the dark.
We need to find the way, the thing to say
to get a grin to start.

   What can I say to you?
   Wanna hear a joke or two?
   What can I do to change your style?
   Would'ja like a candy bar?
   Come on, it's not so hard.
   What can I do to make you smile?

Should I do a little dance for you
or stand up on my head?
We've got to get beyond this cloud of gloom.
You know, it isn't all that bad.
The future isn't painted black,
it's just the past's a little blue.
Does it take a tickle to the ribs
to get a smile from you?

   Chorus

I see a light on our horizon.
How I wish to see you smiling.
I promise you forever after...
no more crying, only laughter.

   Chorus

WINDOW SEAT

Leaning on the window, trying hard to sleep,
somewhere between the rumble and a dream.
Between the earth and heaven, at twenty thousand feet,
I'm looking at my lifetime from my window seat.

   Why was I so cautious
   to never trust in fate?
   My heart would reach to lead me
   and I would back away.

I made the right decisions, always landed on my feet,
but I missed some of the action from my window seat.

Looking for the exit, but finding no release,
I'm pressed between my choices and my peace.
Through a pile of cotton candy,
I am searching for the ground.
I need something soft to catch me as I plummet down.

   Chorus

If I could live life over, and those choices could repeat,
I'd change my style and take the aisle
for my window seat.

THE RAIN CAME DOWN

I remember that summer day.
Now it seems like a world away.
We walked beneath a clear blue sky.
You told me what was on your mind.
I told you what was on mine.
The storm never made a sound,
but how it hit, and how the rain came down.

We found in a sheltered spot,
a place where we could rest our hearts.
We talked 'til our eyes were dry.
The windows fogged, I could not see the sky,
but I did not question why...
The storm never made a sound,
but how it hit, and how the rain came down.

   Rain wash away the tears in our eyes.
   Rain wash away the gray from our skies.
   What we wish, what we need,
   and what we hoped that fate would do...
   one day those wishes will come true.
   We'll just remember, until that day comes 'round,
   the day the rain came down.
   The storm never made a sound, but how it hit
   and how the rain came down.


THE CALLING

I am a poet, I am a painter.
I play the string bass in a band.
I am a writer, I take these pictures.
I only am just who I am.

I am no genius, I am no prophet.
I catch ideas from the air.
I find the moment, the phrase, the colors,
and let fate take it from there.

I have this burden, a world of worry.
I'm not the only one in need.
I know my calling, refined my talents,
but I have a family to feed.

So if I touch you, bring tears or laughter,
if some emotion comes unfurled,
take something with you, if only memories
and I'll leave my mark upon your world.
Take something with you that you'll remember
and I'll leave my mark upon your world.

ALL GONE
                   

All gone, just a bit of turkey,
a biscuit and some gravy and a piece of pumpkin pie.
All gone, I'm headed out the driveway
and you stood there in the doorway and we
waved bye bye.

   I've got a lot to be thankful for and
   a few good reasons to bow my head.
   I've got a lot to look forward to
   but still alot of thank-yous to be said.

Snowblind, looking for the sunshine.
Where's my Mason Dixon line
on this highway I don't know?
I'm almost done, I'm headed down the homestretch,
tying up the loose ends of a year flown by.

   chorus

All gone, the leaves of last October,
and the sadness on my shoulders
from the things gone wrong.
It's all done, the water's all run under
and I stand here on this bridge and
watch a rising sun.


REAL BUT NOT RIGHT

This is real, but it's not right.
But it's how I feel, and though I fight it,
You're my first thought of a morning
and my last thought late at night.
Yes, this is real, but it's not right.

I guess it's fate, you came to me.
A bit too late, but now I see
that the rainbow's end I thought I'd found
has only now just come in sight.
Yes, this is real, but it's not right.

   I gave my heart away
   that April day so many years ago.
   That someday this would happen,
   how was I to know?
   It's not the way I planned.t
   Please understand, it hurts to be untrue.
   If I had only known,
   I could have stayed alone
   'til you came into view.

So here I sit, my heart in hand.
I'm poised to toss it to the wind.
And though anyone just looking on
might not understand,
I think I know where it might land.
I think I know where it might land.


SAVE ME


So I stand in the yard on this warm April night.
Got my lighted match and my dynamite,
and I'm about ready to blow up my life.
Where are you?  I need someone to talk to...
And there's this tick crawling on my knee.
He's not aware of his sad destiny.
He just lives his life just like you and me.
But he's true. He does what he's gotta do.

   So save me, save me. I need someone to baby me
   through these dark decisions of destiny,
   and that's you, only you.

See that rain in the western sky.
It's headed our way, babe, but we won't cry.
We'll stand here to face the wet and the wind
and with you, I'll decide what to do.
And when all this is over, and it's all said and done,
will you still be my confidante, still be the one
to talk through the night with me and welcome the sun?
Will you, only you...?

   So save me, save me, I need someone to baby me
   down the darkened stairs of my destiny,
   and that's you, only you.

When I'm winding down in the evening of life,
I'll look back with a smile on this difficult time
and  I hope I'll still find a dear friend at my side,
and that's you, I hope that it's true.

   So save me, save me
   Like a coin in a jar for a rainy day.
   I'll wait 'til the crossings of our destinies
   for you, for you, for you.


YOU LEAVE


One last look as you make your rounds
to every room, upstairs and down.
One last look at those precious grounds.
You say goodbye to this dream you'd found.

One last look in the rearview mirror.
Tears cloud your vision as you try to steer.
One last look at a home so dear
where you thought you'd stay
for the rest of your years.

   But then you leave, you leave.
   You can't believe how deeply
   your heart can grieve,
   but still you leave.

You tried to be so strong
through all the times you felt so alone.
Nothing more to be said, to be done.
You did all that you could do.

   And so you leave, you leave.
   You can't believe how deeply
   your heart can grieve,
   But still you leave, you leave,
   with your eyes on the horizon
   and your heart on your sleeve,
   you leave.

HIGH CLOVER

Hard times come in phases.
It's either love songs or the blues.
And life is what you make it,
and what you have is what you choose.
I chose the path of least resistance,
and though I the path I chose was wrong,
I'll be running through high clover 'fore too long.

   High clover....
   when these troubles all are over.
   I'm gonna drop the reins and let my pony run.
   I'll be singing a different song.
   I'll make right what all was wrong.
   I'll be running through high clover 'fore too long.

From a quarter acre sandlot to an eighty acre field,
you tore down all my fences,
and now my heart can finally feel.
I feel like jumping up for joy,
now these troubles all are gone.
I'll be running through high clover 'fore too long.

   High clover, now these troubles all are over.
   I've dropped the reins and let my pony run.
   Now I'm singing a different song.
   I've made right what all was wrong.
   I'll be running through high clover from now on.

ROWS

Rows of daffodils roll across the hills.
rows of blackbirds on the line.
Rows of wild red rose
climb the oak fenceposts that
line this blacktop road that
marks the county line.
My life lies in rows.

Rows of pale blue lines
fill this book of mine,
Rows of thoughts that seek the tune.
Notes will come to me,
bits of melody,
piles of paper line the room.
My life lies in rows.

   My life holds no circles, no spirals,
   no crooked trails to choose.
   My heart like an arrow
   chose this narrow line
   that led me straight to you,
   straight to you

Rows of empty seats, rows of tapping feet,
rows of friends I've never known.
Rows of red tail lights,
a single row of dotted lines,
rows of highway signs
that lead me to my home.
My life lies in rows.