Stateside Lyrics

Building a Road

I rested up for the exodus
Now I’m picking up speed
So you can say, ‘Good luck’, but save the rest of it
Luck is all I’m gonna need
I’ve got gas for the truck and some rings that
I keep on a little silver rope
One from my mother, one from my sister
One from this girl in Mexico

They’re building a road that wraps around this town
They build and they go, they never do slow down
Na, na, na, na…

This place had class, but now it’s just actors
Kissing ass to benefactors
I’ll trade charity any day for clarity
I drove my last car off the edge of a year
That’s a funny way of getting clear, I know but

They’re building a road- a constellation bright
Of Texaco stars for cars that choke the night
Na, na, na, na…

I came along a family
Huddled ’round a little roadside cross
Flowers weeping from their arms
Withered by my exhaust
The darkening was happening
The hungry highway moaned
‘Everything is everything’
Each petal fell alone

On a road that keeps the country small
Nobody knows where each one goes at all
But they’re building a road to make that money flow
Soon there’ll be no more place for a boy like me to go
Na, na, na, na…

 

Falling is Faster

You were grace when I was watching
Cruelty unaware
Kindness met with caution
Knowing I could not stay there
Trapped in some lame conversation
This guy said, ‘There’s gonna be a war’
I missed his plan for salvation
And watched you walk out the door

Falling is faster than forward or backward
Hope I land on my feet tonight

Now I’m pressing petals down
One flower at a time
In the phone book of the town
That I just left behind
I could try my hand at painting
When words are not enough
For the uncertainty of waiting
For the urgency of love

When falling is faster than forward or backward
Hope I land on my feet

Tonight the fireworks are falling down
They paint my window white
They don’t make a sound
My ears are ringing
My fears are singing
You’re nowhere to calm me down

There was a woman reading fortunes
Outside the place I played
She said, ‘One hand says you’re in motion,
One says you’re slipping away’

Falling is faster
(dodge the question, kill the light)
Than forward or backward
(maybe tomorrow we’ll get it right)

 

Promise

You came awake and you were shaking
Lying safe inside my arms
In the cradle of a dream just before my sleep was gone
And I will keep the words you whispered there forever
I know someone got you first
I guess I should know better
But I’m pulled out of my bed by the ringing telephone
It’s my brother on the line, he says, ‘Wake your lazy bones!
The peninsula is shining in the West
You should run into this day and forget about the rest’

If there’s reconcilliation to be found
If i’m searching for a reason to be proud
I will find it, I will find it, I will find it
I will make you a promise and stand firm behind it

They say that beautiful dies faster than the things we always see
Everyone’s afraid of dying, everybody except me
‘Cos that peninsula will shine that way forever
I will wait for you my love, and we will shine that way together

If there’s reconcilliation to be found…

 

Stardust Motel

Stop the arguing, please
I was working on the memory
Of the rhythm of her breathing
When she’s fast asleep
So much sweeter than the sound
Of people disagreeing

Like the ghost of gasoline stays clinging to your fingers
I’m haunted by her whispers as well
And I’m singing on my knees ‘cos I don’t have a prayer
All alone in The Stardust Motel

Angela, Angela
You’ve got a devil on each shoulder
And no one left to talk to
Keep your bright eyes up
And never let them tell you
What door not to walk through

All the citizens are sleeping and city lights just flicker
Waiting for cathedral bells
I am bleary eyed and burning
Through the shivers of my fever
All alone in The Stardust Motel

Stuck up in a neon castle with a ferris wheel dream
You and me- what a story to tell
I’m telling it tonight, I’m singing for myself
All alone in The Stardust Motel

 

Vancouver

I’m hooked on a woman
She’s hooked on wine
She says living with me feels like killing time
And her superhero friends could teach her how to fly
I know she’s going to leave me
On the ground in the end
So I packed and I made Intersate 5 by ten
On a perfect morning for throwing away the map
For pretending that the world was flat

December 1, Vancouver sunshine
I close my eyes, I still see the skyline
It’s bitter cold but it tastes like grace
I said a little prayer walking by The Hudson Bay

Ballerinas practicing three flights up in silhouette
Made those mannequins
Seem as useless as regret
I know I won’t forget that reverie
That made all of my addictions
Seem like reasons to be free

December 1…

Feeling bulletproof, I pull the sunroof down
Singing outloud, driving through Gastown
Yesterday’s rain is swimming in the gutter
I’m above a lot of things that I was under

December 1…

 

The Great Space Race

Born right before the end of a war
I somehow landed alive
In debt forever to The Big Whatever
laughing up there in the sky

Now The Great Space Race was paid for and won
When I came along, they’d moved on to guns
But the shuttle still blows on those barroom TVs
And they still sing, ‘O say, can you see?’

We all feel too late
We seize up and hesitate
Forget our great fortune and luck
I’m a son, a brother, I’m right on time for this life
I’m not going soft
I’m just paying the miracle off

Now a thousand old souls still wake up
From Dresden dreams to Florida sun
Shuffle ’round rooms humming Glenn Miller tunes
Feeling useless, used up and done

 

Sunshine

Stitch the days together
With needle and thread
You’ve been awake forever
That’s what your best friend said

You’ve got sunshine in your eyes tonight
I guess that’s why they’re red

You can change your haircut
You can change your clothes
You can’t change what happened
You can’t chane who knows

You’ve got sunshine in your eyes tonight
But only when they’re closed

Everybody waits and waits
For things that never come
Everybody, clean and patient
Ends up feeling dirty and dumb

It’s a new situation
I want to clear my name
But I’m an accumulation
Of details in your brain

I’ve got sunshine in my eyes tonight
And I know who to blame

 

Mother My Dear

Mother wants a wedding
Father wants a man
Me, I’m not ready
I’ve got another plan
Jesus would need a coffin
To get me in his church
The Devil wants me walking
So I can do his work
Is that the way it seems?
Is that the way it seems to be to you?
Is that the way it seems?
Is that the way I seem to be to you?v

Mother, my dear
Mother, don’t you fear
You know it’s not true
Mother, my dear
Mother, hold my near
Then turn me loose

Well I know that it’s a hungry world
But your boy is not a lamb
And you’ll be the first to know it
When I find out what I am

Mother, my dear…

 

Empire Builder

Put my paycheck in my pocket
Got my guitar painted black
I set out to tell my story
Someone told me, ‘Don’t look back’
Thought I heard that lonesome whistle
Thought I was on the lost highway
But it was only California
And those commuters on the interstate
Just tired commuters on the interstate

Thought I’d check into The Chelsea
That’s the place for a troubadour like me
With a ragdoll and her needles
To inspire my masterpiece
But by the time I made The Big Apple
I couldn’t find a room to save my life
I was just a pilgrim weary from travel
There was no new song to write
No there was no new song to write

I went down to meet the devil of The Delta
But I could not even give my soul away

So I prayed up to sweet Jesus
‘Send me something for my song’
I sang, ‘Glory! Hallelujah!’
But I knew I’d gone all wrong

I don’t need no lonesome whistle
I’ve seen my future in a dream
On the Amtrak Empire Builder
I’ll let the old world turn to steam
I’ll let the old world turn to steam

 

Floater

Underneath the matress
I’ve got one hot round of fire
I clipped all my connections, ripped up every wire
I say I’ll let it sleep, then I make myself a liar

You can’t work an honest day if you never see the sun
If there’s a job to do, it’s a job that I’ll get done

I can’t say I’ve ever really been shy of the steel
I learned to blow my way right out of any gone-wrong deal
I’ve got it it my veins, you’ll never break the seal

And I won’t defend my twisted sense of obligation
If there’s a job to do, it’s a job that I’ll get done

The way that it is now is how it’s always been
You get frozen and then you float free again
The women and men who you get tied up to
They get tired of you and you float on through

Every night I fall into the same old cold-bed dream
I’m walking like a free man in the sand beside the sea
I’m not tied to nothing there and nothing’s tied to me

Just some sister of a cousin of a Rockefeller’s son
Oh, then I wake up on that gun
If there’s a job to do now, it’s a job that I’ll get done

 

Dead Soldier

I stepped into the place with tired eyes, tired eyes
To meet a man named Farrell there
That was the plan- to meet Farrell and then

All of my days, my days of dreaming
All of my days of dreaming would pay

I must have had my last drink too soon
I could have slipped under the wheels
Of any woman in that room
And all that cash was burning a hole
Through my jeans, right to my soul

All of my days…

I must have made my last bet too large
Maybe on the wrong table, or with the wrong cards
‘Cos next thing I knew, I was down on the floor
Twitching ‘neath the barrel of Farrell’s 44

All of my days…

Oh baby, I’m sorry
I don’t know what else to say
Guess I can’t be trusted with nothing
I just dream it all away

 

Storytaker

Take a story from the past
Polish it, make it ‘built to last’
Give it love and give it gas
And someplace to go
Give somebody else the wheel
So they can feel the way you feel
Impervious to all of us
Lost on your own long road

Nobody ever seems to get through to you
Nobody ever seems to get through

Every boy will cry and sob
The day he knows he’s not Roy Hobbs
Just a man who needs a plan
And someplace to go
As for me, I was born
I was born to barnstorm
And I won’t sit waiting
For a wind to send me home

Nobody ever seems to get through to you
Nobody ever seems to understand
That it’s your right to be
Standing there silently
And that the sweetest irony
Is what you’ll tell the world

Take a story from the past…