Paper Birch (2012)

Paper Birch

1. Gone

Time is such a strange companion, you never can predict
If days will drag as years fly by, yet the minutes slowly tick

I stood on that platform waiting for a train from a distant land
Didn’t know where I was going just a suitcase in my hand

I took the first train out of there
Forsaking all those precious years
Now they’re gone, gone, gone, gone
Caught the fastest, furthest ride
Left you without me by your side
Now I’m gone, gone, gone, gone
Gone, gone, gone

The past floats by, it tries to catch me, tries to lock my gaze
But I am here and, darling, this is now, can’t get back those long gone days

Looking back at times I wonder why I hurried so to leave
The grass ain’t greener on the other side it’s just full of stubborn, stubborn weeds

I took the first train out of there
Forsaking all those precious years
Now they’re gone, gone, gone, gone
Caught the fastest, furthest ride
Left you without me by your side
Now I’m gone, gone, gone, gone
Gone, gone, gone

I- I – I want to go home

I took the first train out of there
Forsaking all those precious years
Now they’re gone, gone, gone, gone
Caught the fastest, furthest ride
Left you without me by your side
Now I’m gone, gone, gone, gone
Gone, gone, gone

2. Minnesota Sky

Wake me up in the morning sun and tell me something true
I’ve been sleeping for so long, I wanna shake these restless blues
Open eyes, open expectations, open heart embrace
Weathered hands not too worn to grasp the sunlight dancing on my face

Hey sweet Minnesota sky, teach me to live before I die
Seduce me with rhyme and your loose sense of time
Sweet Minnesota sky

I drove North up the Avenue of The Saints who have gone before
I packed my summer suitcase heart and I strung up my dusty old guitar

Hey sweet Minnesota sky, teach me to live before I die
Seduce me with rhyme and your loose sense of time
Sweet Minnesota sky

One, two, three and four
I’ve been cutting ties, I’m closing doors
I’m moving, I’m moving on
I can’t quite explain… horizons come they pull me away
I’m moving, I’m moving on

Hey sweet Minnesota sky, teach me to live before I die
Seduce me with rhyme and your loose sense of time
Sweet Minnesota sky

Hey sweet Minnesota sky, smile down on me when you roll by
Rain down your song, why don’t you carry us along
Sweet Minnesota…
Sweet Minnesota…
Sweet Minnesota…

3. Tangled

I took a picture of this place so I could never come again,
Your dust kicked up and coated me and I breathed you deeply in,
I taped your picture to my mirror and I left it there for years,
I pass on by from time to time, dance with your distant stares

Dance with me, just the thought of you will do
Dance with me, I’m all tangled up in you

Ever since I started learning you and studying your moves
Well since then I’ve been all caught up in peculiar rhythms of your moods
I stride on up, you stumble back then we reverse the scene
Our feet are bruised from tripping on unmet, unspoken dreams

Dance with me, I can match your every move
Dance with me, I’m all tangled up in you

Oh—
Dance with me, just the thought of you will do
Dance with me, a sweet and subtle sway for two
Dance with me, I can match your every move
Dance with me, I’m all tangled up in you

4. Hymn of the Sycamore

When winter comes, I hold my breath thoughtfully
Will we make it through to see the spring
Redbirds they dance, branches are bare
November, I look up with longing, an ache obscure

Will you not, will you not come to me
I whisper soft hosannas by the sycamore tree
Will you not, will you not save me
Gather me up under your sheltering wing

I tip back my chair stare to the sky evening comes
Now it’s laced with stars and my questions
My simple mind, my simple thoughts humbly
Bow down in surrender, bow to mystery

Will you not, will you not come to me
I whisper soft hosannas by the sycamore tree
Will you not, will you not save me
Gather me up under your sheltering wing

I’m a fool for the sky for what bends my eye
For what bends my knee
Oh give me something to hold
While these days are cold
While these days are mean

Come to me, I whisper soft hosannas by the sycamore tree
Will you not, will you not save me
Gather me up under your sheltering wing

Will you not, will you not come to me
I whisper soft hosannas by the sycamore tree
Will you not, will you not save me
Gather me up under your sheltering wing
Gather me up under your sheltering wing

5. Mary

There’s a hole in her blue jeans there’s a rip in the inseam
Well you know what that means… time to go
‘Cause she’s been here for 10 years, met her quota of shed tears
Why she’s locked up in her fears, I don’t know

I don’t know-oh-oh oh-oh

Oh Mary, my how far you are from home
Oh Mary, take it easy on the road
I hope you find some peace of mind
Some rest for your soul

Hope you find what you’ve been looking for—oh

From the bone she takes marrow, with her lips she shoots arrows
Now she’s taking down the sparrows with a pointed bow
As they fall all around her sudden loneliness astounds her
Why surprised by its encounter, I don’t know

I don’t know-oh-oh oh-oh

Oh Mary, my how far you are from home
Oh Mary, take it easy on the road
I hope you find some peace of mind
Some rest for your soul

I hope you find what you’ve been looking for—oh

Oh Mary, my how far you are from home
Oh Mary, take it easy on the road
I hope you find some peace of mind
Some rest for your soul

I hope you find what you’ve been looking for—oh

There’s a hole in her blue jeans there’s a rip in the inseam
Well you know what that means….Time to go

6. Old River Roll

Oh liars and cheats won’t you quit your sad ways
You can’t tell if tomorrow is the last today
Empty we came; bare we go to the grave
The old river rolls on, poor sinners to save

Old river flow, old river roll, roll, roll
Roll sorrow and sighing away
Our hearts were made to yield your praise
Old river won’t you roll away

And when your time comes and you stand at those gates
There’s no golden merit that will warrant your way
On Jesus rely; all your debts have been paid
The old river rolls on, poor sinners to save

Old river flow, old river roll, roll, roll
Roll sorrow and sighing away
Our hearts were made to yield your praise
Old river won’t you roll away

Old river flow, old river roll, roll, roll
Roll sorrow and sighing away
Our hearts were made to yield your praise
Old river won’t you roll away

7. Tommy Ray

A handsome man sat next to me, in a downtown breakfast café
He asked to share my table; I said I guess that’d be ok

He said his name was Thomas Raymond,
But I could call him Tommy Ray just like his friends
He told me tales of freight train riding and he wore a wandering grin

Hey, hey, hey Tommy Ray
That old freight train keeps pulling away
Hey, hey, hey Tommy Ray
Boy, you gonna have to settle down one day…

I said “If you want my sympathy, at best I got a listening ear
You got a baby on the West Coast crying
Now what the hell you doing way back here?”

Hey, hey, hey Tommy Ray
That old freight train keeps pulling away
Hey, hey, hey Tommy Ray
Boy, you gonna have to settle down one day…

Hey, Tommy Ray
That old freight train keeps pulling you away
Hey, Tommy Ray
Boy you gonna have to settle down, you gonna have to settle down

Hey, hey, hey Tommy Ray
That old freight train keeps pulling away
Hey, hey, hey Tommy Ray
Boy, you gonna have to settle down one day

Hey, hey Tommy Ray

8. Single Malt Soul

Preacher, preacher can’t you see
There’s something welling up inside of me
You look in and I look out
What’s the difference between faith and doubt?

Preacher, preacher don’t you know
You don’t got nothing on my soul
You can holler and you can yell
What’s the difference between heaven and hell?

Baby, burn me like the whisky
That I love drinking down oh so slow
I want my truth rough and risky
‘Cause I’m a single malt soul

Preacher, preacher tell me this
Is this love or a Judas kiss?
You tell me I’m your little lost lamb
Well you ain’ t nothing but a mixed up man

I could love you if you’d lay me down
Just like that book you used to carry around
Before you watered down the poetry
Well that’s the difference between you and me?

Baby, burn me like the whisky
That I love drinking down oh so slow
I want my truth rough and risky
‘Cause I’m a single malt soul

There was a time when you were burning up
Just like that whisky in a silver cup
Filled with the spirit to the brink
Don’t it all come down to what you drink

Baby, burn me like the whisky
That I love drinking down oh so slow
I want my truth rough and risky
‘Cause I’m a single malt soul

9. Feels Like An Ending

Feels like an ending, it feels like goodbye
So let’s stop pretending that we got more time
Everyone’s moving but I’m motionless
Stuck on the highway, traffic’s a mess

So I wait for go

So make up your mind, you middle road
Can’t straddle these lines, I can’t ride the unknown
My foot to the pedal, my hand on the wheel
A vertical pull and I want to be free

Feels like the passage, the passage of youth
Days make you older, honey, you know, you know that’s the truth
Calendar pages, they flip, flip through my mind
Go easy on me, oh won’t you Old Father Time

So I wait for go

So make up your mind, you middle road
Can’t straddle these lines, I can’t ride the unknown
My foot to the pedal, my hand on the wheel
A vertical pull and I want to be free

Fly past my window, little bird
Sweep me up in your light-hearted world
My heart on the line, a road that meets up with the sky

So make up your mind, you middle road
Can’t straddle these lines, I can’t ride the unknown
My foot to the pedal, my hand on the wheel
A vertical pull and I want to be free

10. Will You Be

Will you quench my thirst, will you feed my mind
Will you wait up when I lag behind
Will you stay in step, will you get my jokes
Will you know the things that I like the most
Will you be, will you be my love
Will you be, will you be my love

Will you know my way, will you be OK
When that way deviates from normalcy
Will you remind me when I forget to breathe
Will you stay all night and never leave
Will you be, will you be my love
Will you be, will you be my love

Will you give me grace as I learn to give
Will you stand up to me when I need to sit
Will you pour my wine when the day is done
Will you still be there at life’s setting sun
Will you be, will you be my love
Will you be, will you be my love
Will you be, will you be, will you be
Will you be, will you be my love
Will you be, will you be my love

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