Lyrics & Song Stories


I’ve got an old gray beard that’s a couple of inches long
My hair hangs down to the middle of my back
I drive a ’65 VW campmobile with a split windshield
I’m poor but it’s only money that I lack
I park my home at a rest stop now and then
I sing songs for gasoline and bite to eat
Some people stare, some turn away, but I make lots of friends
I have all I need to make my life complete
Then I wake up in a crowded office space
I sold my soul for a steady paper chase
I’ve got deadlines and worry lines carved across my face
And I’d rather be most any other place
I smoke grass, but only for medicinal reasons
I mainly get high on mountains that I climb
I open all my van windows wide so I can feel the seasons
Nobody tells me how to spend my time
And then I wake up in a carpeted plastic cube
This office space interrupts my fantasy groove
I’ve got deadlines and worry lines carved across my face
And I’d rather be most any other place
I finally figured out what really matters
But I surrendered to society long ago
I’ve got bills to pay, and roles to play, and responsibilities
I was drawn into a web of lies, now it won’t let me go
I spend all my days just rollin’ down the highway
Living life the way that life was meant for me
At nighttime when I make my bed underneath the sky
My lullaby is just knowing that I’m free

He’s just a sideways theologian, he don’t have all the answers
He just has all the wonder, and he wonders
If the peace of the Lord be with you, then the peace should bring the hope
And the sky should turn to golden and the water rush in
He knows creation is groaning, longing, longing
For the great act of salvation, the divine embrace
So he does all of his have-to’s, and avoids all of his shouldn’t’s
And he minds the youth and monitors the language
And the spirit is buried underneath the cold hard grip
Of righteousness and all the right thinking
So he always looks for a reason just to get up in the morning
Conquering the angel in his sleep
What about this grace he hears of pulling toward a higher light
Pulling out of the weight of mediocrity

There’s a fan on the ceilin’ in my living room
It can turn low, it can turn fast
It’s got five different speeds, to meet all of my needs
And a written guarantee it’s gonna last
In the summer when I sweat, I sit right under it
And I don’t move until it cools me down
It’s just a personal convenience I can’t live without
And God wants me to have it, no doubt
There’s a new car in my driveway for the world to see
It can go slow, it can go fast
It’s a luxury SUV, it set me back 80 g’s
And it goes 13 miles on a gallon of gas
On the weekend when I’m bored, I drive it into town
And I smile when I see heads turn around
It’s just a badge of affirmation I can’t live without
And God wants me to have it, no doubt
God wants me to prosper, and always to believe
That everything I pray for I’ll receive, praise the Lord
There’s a woman waitin’ just for me when I come home
She can move slow, she can move fast
She’s got all the right stuff, and she can’t get enough
Of my love, she needs my touch
When we go out at night, she wears her clothes real tight
And all the other guys think I’m so tough
She’s just my little ego booster I can’t live without
And God wants me to have her, no doubt
God wants me to prosper, no doubt
‘Cause it’s all about me, no doubt

Hands in my pocket on a Saturday night, my feet of the sidewalk
I’m all strung out of losing and lonely, cause baby you’re nowhere in sight
I’ve got a certain song going round in my head, couldn’t place it or tell you the tune
My heart is breaking like a record is shattered
Standing beneath a dying yellow moon
Did you forget me standing lonely, did you forget I would always be here
Do you remember the way I said your name, do you ever feel the weight of the years
And it must be that you’re still better than me at losing what you don’t want to find
Cause you’re out on your own and you don’t seem to miss me
But I can’t get you out of my mind
Girl I always loved that blue dress you bought on vacation last May
Dancing like a star on a dark Texas night, you know you took my breath away
But now I’m the fool who’s all wrapped up in blue, can’t forget what your silence said
Cause it speaks so loud to the face in the mirror
It’s driving me right out of my head

We were travelin’ light, never mindin’ the sight
Of Abilene disappearin’ behind us
On U.S. Highway 83, just beginnin’ to get free
From the 8 to 5 routine tryin’ to bind us.
Then we made a left turn where the past returns
Hopin’ to find out just where we come from
And on the highway that’s the best, we began to motor west
From Texas to the California sun
And we sat cross-legged on a saggy bed
In a run-down motel room
On the lonely dark edge of a forgotten highway
We never made much money but we sang our songs
For the sake of the simple truth
On the lonely dark edge of that forgotten highway
The interstate takes less time, but it’s got no rhyme
‘Cause you’re goin’ too fast to read the roadside poetry
So take any exit down to that two-lane hallowed ground
And learn a lesson from yesterday’s wayside prophecy
We slept in a concrete teepee, we stopped at a curio shop,
And we bought a t-shirt at the Petrified Forest
And we talked about war and politics with the man behind the counter
At an old motel he said was built by his father
Now we’re losin’ our minds, wastin’ all our time
Holdin’ jobs that lose the love for the sake of the letter
When we just want to be free to sing about what we see
And to break the chains of every prisoner’s fetter
And we sat cross-legged on a saggy bed
In a run-down motel room
On the lonely dark edge of a forgotten highway
We never made much money but we sang our songs
For the sake of the simple truth
On the lonely dark edge of that forgotten highway
We never made much money but we sang our songs
For the sake of the simple truth
On the lonely dark edge of that forgotten highway
On the lonely dark edge of that forgotten highway

Highway 10, heading out to far West Texas
Highway 10, through El Paso and Las Cruces
Highway 10, not much out there in the distance
So I fly right on by Deming’s motel row
And ol’ Lordsburg can’t tell me nothin’ I don’t know
On to Tucson, another 150 more miles or so
Highway 10, let me take your lonely journey once again
Highway 10, stretching out through Arizona
Highway 10, destination California
Highway 10, can’t you feel my wheels upon you
Burnin’ up my tires beneath the desert sky
Lookin’ back to see the towns I’m passing by
I feel so good I wonder why this car don’t fly
Highway 10, meditatin’ on the waitin’ of my friends
Highway 10, moving through San Bernadino
Highway 10, rolling South of Pasadena
Highway 10, been so long since I have seen ya
And I long to be there on a summer night
Lookin’ out upon an old familiar sight
Takin’ rest just gazin’ on the city light
Highway 10, take me back to where your pavement finally ends
Give me comfort in the company of friends

Gray skies, autumn winds, my favorite time of year,
Quiet evenings, lonely nights, I wish you were here.
I walk alone into the night, I watch the clouds above,
I think about you, and how I love you, the wonder of our love.
People passing outside my window, cars go rollin’ by,
I’m so lonely here without you, a grown man shouldn’t cry.
When you’re without me what are you thinkin’, does my love fill your heart?
Do you always love me only, even when we’re apart?
Gray skies, autumn winds, my favorite time of year,
Quiet evenings, lonely night, I wish you were here.

You’ve walked this footbridge every day
The black lava flow is home to your feet
The road reclines in both directions
The sun reaches down to darken your cheek
Your new life is marching in from the East
You fought and lost with final defeat
They still take your land and buy your shoes
All the while your ground is drying underfoot
Sister lives on your reservation
Brother left with grander vision
Father fights and dies every minute
Mother called you forsaken
The rusted shells of metal you billow past
Forgotten by the dreams of the young men
Past the cracked adobe against majestic forms
It’s all your children ever will know
The dark clouds are trying to give you rain
Out where the sky rests on your mountain
You’re stirring up the dust on a warm day
It’s coming down, we’re living the great divide

I’m getting’ on a jet plane in the mornin’
Got a one-way ticket in my hand
I hear there’s a lot of homeless people out in Hawaii
Maybe one of them will understand
I’m livin’ someplace right next door to nowhere
The job I do is driving me insane
It pays the bills but leaves my poor heart cold and empty
I might as well be standin’ out in the rain
I can sing my songs out on the sidewalks
The tourists will throw me dollar bills and dimes
Just enough to buy a beer, some pretzels, and a sandwich
And to live my life on my own time
Hawaii’s about 3,000 miles away
It’s not far enough, but it’ll do
My little world is closin’ in and I know I can’t stay
If I don’t get on that jet plane my life will be through
The winter wind cuts me like a razor
The summer sun just boils my brain away
I’m gonna find that eternal springtime
In my t-shirts, shorts, and sandals
And live out on the beach every night and day

The world is coming down like a Sunday matinee
Things aren't like they were when we were young
I've come back to this place to have my final say
To should out all the songs that I once sang
The churches and the schools and the old drive in's still the same
Our restaurant is still up  on the hill
And John I've got the table by the door
The wine is poured, the places set, it's you I'm waiting for
We'll lift a glass to younger days well done
Please don't say you've lost the long way home
The summer sun was late the last time we shook hands
Our college days were two roads out of town
But we swore to make it back no matter what our plans
To celebrate another fortune found
But how our work and families and our lives take all our time
The promises of youth are hard to find
The candle's burned away and the bottle's nearly gone
The words to our old song have lost their rhyme
One day I'll return on another trip along
Perhaps a later year a better time
The waiter brings the trays out as the crowd is winding down
Another hand is reaching for the chair

I got cobwebs in the corners, where the four walls meet the ceilin’
And I guess I ought to sweep ‘em, but I won’t
They make a real good metaphor of how my mind is thinkin’
And I guess I ought to care more, but I don’t
There’s dust upon the desktop where I scribble out some lyrics
And I hope they’ll make a difference, but they won’t
They just lie there getting dustier, safely hidin’ from the critics
And I guess I ought to try more, but I don’t
There’s a man standin’ on a corner, holdin’ a piece of cardboard
A sign that says “please help me,” but most people won’t
Through the window I hand him a dollar, and he says “God bless you brother”
And I wonder could I do more, but I don’t
So I count my many blessings, and I go about my business
Hopin’ things will get better, but they won’t
‘Cause the poor keep getting’ poorer while the rich get even richer
And I wish I had an answer, but I don’t
I watch you leave every morning, and I wait for you each evening
Hopin’ we’ll be together, but we won’t
The days all pass so quickly now, we forget our good intentions
And we vow to find time later, but we don’t
So we let our life just slip by and pretend we have forever
Hopin’ everything will work out, but it won’t
And we look for any reason good enough to stay together
Cause we almost love each other, but we don’t

Let me lie down in green grass
Let me have some times to pass
Let me be free for just a day
Let the time go slowly
Let me watch the sky above
Let me spend a day with the one I love
Let me feel the wind a blowin’
Let me see her warm eyes glowin’
Let me know her love is just for me
Let me hold her hand in mine
Let me see her soft hair shine
Let me know she’ll one day stay with me
Let us talk for hours
Let us have some peace of mind
Let us share all the love that we can find
Let us give each other
All the love we have inside
Let’s tell the world we’ve nothing here to hide

Allison got married in a chapel in the woods, her parents had to park a mild away
They say she looked so pretty and the preacher made it good
I knew she'd always wanted it that way
Driving with the top down on an April Saturday, magnolias spinning in the fading light
We'd head down to the quarter for some jazz and efoufee
A night in New Orleans would do us right
The southern stars have led me all the way to second sight
You can't reverse the past or second guess hard left from right
But even so I try to find the place where I went wrong
So please forgive the timing of my song, but I finally understand where I belong
Allie had her baby boy on the 15th of July, a week before her daughter's first birthday
She called her new son "Daniel" like the song that made her cry
We held hands while the record used to play
Chicken and church picnics and the Mississippi moon, and homemade peach ice cream on my birthday
But dreams are made to waken when the fear gets in too soon
I left a note before I walked away
Allie talks to Jesus every Sunday afternoon, asks Him to protect her family
In sickness and in health with hand-me-downs and silver spoons
As long as they're together finally
Most stories have nice endings where the hero gets to stay  in castles built for other an to live
But long-lost love is gone for good when a man throws it away
Like yesterday's advice on how to give

She stares down at her knittin’, he looks up at TV
In different chairs they’re sittin’, not even in close proximity
They make no conversation, they let the silence fall
Like the darkness on the longest night of all
They used to try to make it, but all they did was fake it
Then the kids were born, and the debt piled up
Then they were openly disagreein’
About what each other thought they were needin’
They had to admit they had always been drinkin’ from an empty cup
Now they’ve got the four walls, they’ve got the ceilin’
To stare at from the bed where they’ve got no feelin’
It’s all just a masquerade, a sad April Fool’s parade
Of all the pretend promises they never should have made
They both grew up never knowin’ how to know how to feel
So they both just had to guess about what is worst and what is best
They made a quick decision that took them far too long
And they found out truth is more than right or wrong
You can cry for them, you can cry for yourself
You can cry for the wedding rings on display on a pawn shop shelf
You can cry for the children who make the same mistakes
As the ones their parents already made
And yet they stay together, like it’s supposed to be
But they just can’t shake the feelin’ their love is a lie everyone can see
They tell themselves they’re livin’, but they died long ago
When they sold their souls to be stars in a silent picture show

We lived on an island out at Hanalei Bay, bonfires in the evening, sun and surfing all day
But every weekend on Sunday we'd grab our kids and guitars, singing praises to Jesus, the sun and moon and the stars
At the church of the Paradise Children
Everyone is welcome to get in the groove
At the church of the Paradise Children
Come and feel the Holy Spirit move
We cleared the sand for a campfire, we built our houses in tress
Traded corporate lifestyles for a coconut breeze
Come see my photograph album, a life beneath cellophane
Here's how we spread our aloha, here's how we dealt with our pain
I loved my friends and my freedom, I loved my VW van
Until thy came and removed us, we loved our own fellow man

Song Stories

West-central Texas is a perfect place to live for a constant observer of the weather like Ed.  As the old saying goes, "if you don't like the weather in Abilene, just wait five minutes."  Ed particularly enjoys watching thunderstorms develop during the spring months.  One spring afternoon as he was watching storm clouds forming, it occurred to him that what he was observing served as a very likely metaphor for, pardon the pun, "stormy" relationships.  WEATHERMAN is the song that resulted from his musings.
How often do we think we're running toward the new when we're really just running away from the old, or just running away?  THE ONLY SOUND was inspired by someone Jenni knew who moved to Abilene from Austin, TX.  He had a sad soul and it seemed he thought he had discovered what he was looking for in moving, only to find he had brought his loneliness with him.  Only after the song was written did Jenni realize he had actually come from San Antonio.  Oops!  Such is life!
LOST GENERATION (The New London Song)
New London, Texas is very near Tyler, Texas, and Tyler, Texas is where Cole spent his formative years.  LOST GENERATION  commemorates the 1937 explosion of the school in New London.  Almost 300 children died that day after an undetected gas leak was ignited.  It was that very incident that led to the introduction of odor into natural gas.
Ed is forever fascinated by the frequent disparity between what appears to be and what really is - a seemingly perfect relationship that suddenly splits, apparent career success that takes an unexpected dive, and well-constructed deceptions that promise heaven but deliver hell.  Fairytales present themselves in many guises, but they have one thing in common - they all tell a story that can never come true.
CYNTHIA ANN PARKER had a beautiful and tragic life.  As a young girl at Fort Parker, Texas, she was captured in a raid and taken to live with a Comanche tribe.  She embraced her new life, grew up, married, and had three children.  When she was 35 years old she was captured again (along with her daughter) and taken to live with her family of origin.  She was told her two sons would be brought to her, but of course she never saw them again.  After several attempts to flee to her family, she began a hunger strike and is said to have died of a broken heart.  Jenni was touched by her story after reading about her at Frontier Texas in Abilene.  Her life is a reminder to us all of the destruction that hatred of our fellow beings brings.
Human nature tends to think love includes entitlement, as if loving someone, or being loved by someone, implies ownership.  Au contrare - love, if it is really love, must be freely given and freely received.  Otherwise, it is nothing more than a device used to obligate and manipulate someone into a kind of forced emotional servitude.  Love frees both the giver and the receiver of love.  This inspired Ed to write SHE JUST HAPPENS TO LOVE ME.
The beginnings of MONTECATINI were written on a plane ride back from Italy.  Jenni is a people-watcher by nature, and when she travels she always watches and wonders about the people she sees.  Sometimes it can become a trance-like experience - watching and wondering, sound and time almost stop.  But for the people around, the hustle and bustle continue, and they walk right by without even seeing you.
In downtown Kerrville, Texas there's a tiny cafe where Sara greets you, seats you, takes your order, cooks your food, buses the table, and runs the register.  Cole was inspired to write SMALL TOWN SARA after he, Dan McGregor, and Greg Young enjoyed pizza ala Sara during a trip to the Kerrville Folk Festival.
Ed wrote TWO-LANE ROAD long ago when he was in college.  He had lost the song until one day while driving and dreaming on a two-lane road, he thought "That would make a good song subject.  Hey, I've already written that."
INFAMY was inspired during one of Cole's trips to Hawaii.  It marks a tragic day in world history, and explores a moment in a life affected by that day.