Before I Go

by Ordinary Elephant

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1.
03:39
Over in the corner Like an old barstool He held me up Right when I needed him to He said “Listen up my friend Let me tell you what I know You can wish you were someone else Then you gotta let it go Cause that’s a good way To get a bad start I don’t care what straw you drew You gotta let it make the best of you We ain't playing a game We ain’t running a race It’s a way of life, boy You just gotta find your place I used to be like you Would sit here in the dark Watch ‘em in the spotlight And pick myself apart But that’s a good way To get a bad start I don’t care what straw you drew You gotta let it make the best of you You don’t need To bring down the house If you can bring ‘em inside When they bring down the lights” Then the room went dark I could barely see his face Picked up his old Martin box Ready for the stage He said “Let me ask you this Whatcha gonna do? Will you pick yourself up Or find a crack to fall through? Cause that’s a good way To get a bad start I don’t care what straw you drew You gotta let it make the best of you You don’t need a good way To get a bad start I don’t care what straw you drew You gotta let it make the best of you"
2.
03:37
My daddy was a railroad man Raised by a woman whose life and love showed in her hands She saw fire and death, was given less Than her fair share, but never asked for more She just thanked her stars and garters And held close her 9 sons and daughters When the south wind carries home The whistle of that freight train I can hear him speak to me See the strength she gave, and the man she made Makes me proud to share his name Through the fields of cane and corn Across the tracks, then back again, to see her when we could As a child I did not see The story behind the smile that she, put in his eyes She lived a small town life But taught him what it means to try When the south wind carries home The whistle of that freight train I can hear him speak to me See the strength she gave, and the man she made Makes me proud to share his name In the summer sun we drove back To that town where the dirt turns red, and the rivers, brown He stood tall and strong, full of song That she gave him for times like those When we watched fly away A woman of amazing grace When the south wind carries home The whistle of that freight train I can hear him speak to me See the strength she gave, and the man she made Makes me proud to share his name Share his name Share his name
3.
You’re trapped inside your head Have you even heard, a word I’ve said Will you open up and be you again Or keep this up, right to the end Hey that’s neither here nor there Let me just clear the air Can I count on you To see this thing through I want us to shine again Like something old, made to feel brand new But would we just be scraping the surface Of the dirt and the rust Ready to come back and cover us At the first sign of rain or dust Your hammer’s ready to fall How it follows through, is your call Will you help me build this house back up Or just keep working at that wall You put yourself behind Please come out if you’re so inclined Can I count on you To see this thing through I want us to shine again Like something old, made to feel brand new But would we just be scraping the surface Of the dirt and the rust Ready to come back and cover us At the first sign of rain or dust You’ve thrown me out to see How life could be, without me But it’s not just me, my skin’s not thick enough For all three, of us Don’t talk at me under your breath Just tell me all the lines you’ve transgressed And why I can’t I count on you To see this thing through I wanted us to shine again Like something old, made to feel brand new But we would just be scraping the surface Of the dirt and the rust Ready to come back and cover us At the first sign of rain or dust
4.
04:55
I fell asleep with the TV on Hand around the telephone Thinking about you Came close, but I got scared Didn’t think you should have to bear Witness To something, something like this Another day, another dollar spent On shit made to make me forget Because I can’t stop They say it’s do or die man But I forget what I am Fighting For, who am I fighting for Cause looking in the mirror I am barely reminded Of somebody I used to know You say you got what I need To keep me from crossing This line I toe So I will try to keep the medicine down But it’s hard when I’m alone in this house And I’m not sure I wanna stick around I could change if I wanted to But what I want’s got nothing to do With what I need What I need is a wildfire As loud and bright as a gospel choir To burn me Down, back to something good Cause looking in the mirror I am barely reminded Of somebody I used to know You say you got what I need To keep me from crossing This line I toe So I will try to keep the medicine down But it’s hard when I’m alone in this house And I’m not sure I wanna stick around You know all my promises They just end up as good intentions Because what I say can never seem To hold my attention So I’m trying to keep the medicine down But I’m desperate here in this house I’m trying to want to stick around For you
5.
03:24
A murder of crows Between the trees, beneath the boughs Black feathers shine like armor Around the frail bodies they house And he, too, is frail On the inside, and out Ankle-deep in ash, once his porch Or maybe his wife’s blouse And they’ll never know Because today it’s all the same Their lives are just piles Of black and white and grey Like a wild crow Flying around a caged bird Listening to her sing Feeling every word On the outside we pace, And cry, and love, and wait For better days to come As we try to share the weight But we’ll never know Because today we’re not the same Their lives are just piles Of black and white and grey Like a lost bird, in the dusty dark of dusk Searching the sky, for something he can trust Covered in dust, of things he did not think he would outlast He’s thinking in questions, he never thought he would ask Like a fallen bird In an unsteady voice He replies “I’m alive, But i’m not well Too many pictures Sat on those shelves That told stories I could never tell And now they’ll never know Because today we’re not the same Our lives are just piles Of black and white and grey” A murder of crows Between the trees, beneath the boughs Black feathers shine like armor Around the frail bodies they house
6.
Two small lanes, to come and go It’s a little roundabout, by the standards of that crow Flying by to say, hey it’s not It’s not your time I didn’t see it coming, from the passenger’s seat I was shaking Kerrville dirt, off my dirty feet I’m not sure how something so fast Could ever feel so slow The humming of a thousand freight trains Everything and nothing, flying through my brain Like a summer storm, right out of nowhere So violent, then it’s gone Two small lives, in the grand scheme Stopping by to say goodbye, to another three Waiting at a time and place, that was more right Than they will ever know From the dirt and grass, of the roadside A shadow broke across the sun, and bright blue sky A familiar face, so many miles from home For a moment let me forget The humming of a thousand freight trains Everything and nothing, flying through my brain Like a summer storm, right out of nowhere So violent, then it’s gone Without any fanfare Just leaving splatters on the glass, for the sun to erase Like the blood on my skin Left by wounds that marred my face And I just can’t shake The look on his face Trembling, pale, and pained, by what he saw As we sat in thankful silence Knowing how it could have gone
7.
Done-up hair, atop a frail frame Eyes that smile, words that make me do the same A glimpse of who she was, in the shine of her dancing shoes A glimpse of who she is, in what she has to lose She’s been waiting for him, to change That’s something she never thought she’d want She said “I don’t want you to leave me, darlin’ But don’t let me hold you back I’ll see you some bright morning” He picked her up at 8, in May 1962 In his Ford Fairlane, gulfstream blue It was a little run down, the one thing to his name But he had a ring in his pocket, and something to say She’s been waiting for him, to change That’s something she never thought she’d want She said “I don’t want you to leave me, darlin’ But don’t let me hold you back I’ll see you some bright morning” Too many machines, sing their song around his bed Too many words, that she never said “I don’t know if you can hear me, but I’ll keep talking anyway I don’t want there to be, something I forgot to say I’ve been waiting for you, to change That’s something I never thought I’d want I don’t want you to leave me, darlin’ But don’t let me hold you back I’ll see you some bright morning Oh my hands they may be empty But my heart is full I will see you again I’ll see you some bright morning”
8.
02:56
I remember all those rides Home on the backroads, that twist and wind You’d call me over to your lap And then you’d let me drive Have you forgotten the games we’d play On the coffee table, at the end of your day And that dog you didn’t want But got me anyway Oh and what about the name that you gave to me Have you forgotten The blood that runs in our veins Oh and the times that came before I was just something You have to explain I remember when I knew And not knowing how to tell you You’d swear the words that I spoke Were stones that I threw I haven’t forgotten the look you gave What you said, and didn’t say Went from family to stranger Cause you needed someone to blame Oh but what about the name that you gave to me Have you forgotten The blood that runs in our veins Oh and the times that came before I was just something You have to explain Who I am Didn’t end up how you planned So you threw me off your sinking ship And started rowing for land Maybe I won’t look so different From that far away I’d like to think we’ll close This distance that you’ve made But I can’t swim this sea, or walk on water And I don’t think you’re coming back for me Oh I remember the name that you gave to me I have not forgotten The blood that runs in our veins Oh and the times that came before I was just something You have to explain Who I am Didn’t end up how you planned But don’t forget that who I was Is still who I am I can’t swim this sea, or walk on water But I think you should come back for me Yeah I think you should come back for me
9.
03:33
If the night falls, before I do I won’t be far behind There’s nothing left, for me here Nothing but too much time This is the last time I want to say goodbye For the last time The sun rose, my heart fell I didn’t really want to make it through the night Let me, be dreaming Let me wake on the other side Because this is the last time I want to say goodbye For the last time I am shaken, I am rattled I hear voices in my head, jump at my own shadow I am lost, but not for long Because one day I will find you Evangeline I’ll keep looking for, the answer Until it starts to show I’ll keep listening, for your call home On the lonesome winds that blow Because this is the last time I want to say goodbye For the last time I am shaken, I am rattled I hear voices in my head, jump at my own shadow I am lost, but I am grateful To have called you my darlin’ Evangeline
10.
Band of gold, spinning around A finger on a hand that felt the sound That rang through the dirt of a battleground Across the sea in a foreign town Worried hands trace his jaw And that old El Camino with its every flaw But a blank page is all he can draw You'd swear he's never seen the things he saw Pacing a yard starting to wilt Brown and green, like a patchwork quilt Picking up leaves the trees have spilt Outside a house he doesn't know he built Band of gold, spinning around A finger on a hand that's bearing down On a wooden cane dug into the ground You'd swear he's never seen a thing in this town
11.
We flipped a quarter, to find direction Answers to our questions, maybe forget where we had been Picked a song to take us there, and back again one day “At the Stars,” I will always find you 300 miles through, Louisiana pines We passed a man with a cardboard sign His eyes didn’t look at mine, but I could read between those lines That cut deep across his weathered face Take a second look, you know We’ve all got something to hide, something to show We’ve walked straighter lines, we have taken higher roads Please don’t give in to all that is broken Until you give in To what you’ve got Threw a penny in a fountain, at 3:33 Took off with a one-way sign, pointing right at me We turned around and got on track, can’t believe how much we laughed I hadn’t seen you really smile, in way too long The trees were on fire, in the rising sun Shining off the water, and the face of the one Who would drive me anywhere, and love me anyway And remind me in the half-light, of that brand new day Take a second look, you know We’ve all got something to hide, something to show We’ve walked straighter lines, we have taken higher roads Please don’t give in to all that is broken Until you give in To what you’ve got
12.
04:03
You know, Townes was right The desert's quiet It ain’t Cleveland But it sure gets cold in the moonlight Mountains in the western sky They were always meant to occupy It’s times like these you don’t ask why It’s bigger than you and I When the sun lets down its guard The colors come like a postcard Slow, but worth all it can afford A reminder of all we’re moving toward I’m gonna let my bones be my anchor Ground myself to what I know When today becomes a long time ago Maybe I’ll have learned to let go Slowing down under the strain Pulling weight I couldn’t sustain Took leaving what’s known, for change To find it’s me that needs to change Shades of grey among the black and white I’m seeing things in a different light Finding what feels free Finding what I know is right I’m gonna let my bones be my anchor Ground myself to what I know When today becomes a long time ago Maybe I’ll have learned to let go I’m gonna take it slow, see what this world’s got to show And try to let go, before I go As the day lies down to rest The sky takes off her Sunday best Shedding all it had to confess Leaving what’s true to shine from the darkness Townes was right, the desert's quiet Take it slow, so it don’t, pass you by
13.
01:47
In the belly of this canyon Carved by the hands of the Rio Grande A thousand miles from what once called home I am just a speck On this west Texas wind Blowing through these hills of stone When I feel like next to nothing Next to something like that I know there’s nothing I need I don’t already have Talking about tomorrow Looking at a sky full of past The only thing that’s new is the moon Our eyes collect the light of stars Born three million years ago Showing up as we are passing through When I feel like next to nothing Next to something like that I know there’s nothing I need I don’t already have So thank you For taking me To the trees And where the mountains talk to me Time ain’t slowing down Guess you and I better learn to Cause what’s the worth of living through A life that cannot catch up with you

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℗ 2017 Ordinary Elephant
© 2017 Bean Sown Music
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released January 6, 2017

Ordinary Elephant is:
Crystal Hariu-Damore: vocals, guitar
Peter Damore: vocals, banjo, guitar on Leaving Kerrville

Others on this album:
Jon Gagan: upright bass
Jason Crosby: fiddle, piano
Sharon Gilchrist: mandolin
Jono Manson: tenor guitar on Best of You
David Berkeley: vocals on The Things He Saw
Mark Clark: brushes on Highway 71

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Ordinary Elephant

International Folk Music Awards 2017 Artist of the Year Ordinary Elephant captivates audiences with their emotionally powerful and vulnerable songs, letting the listener know that they are not alone in this world. "Two become one, in song...hand-in-glove harmonies surprise the listener with focused intensity and musical mastery," says Mary Gauthier. ... more

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