Surviving the Echoes
 

Altars

 

Acoustic guitar & vocals - Greg Gilbertson

Upright and electric basses - Eric Thompson

Drums - Travis Nicolai

Piano - Lars Carlson

Background vocals - Alisha Schweisthal

 

How I’ve tried to assemble an altar

from the stones on which I was birthed

But the masonry won’t hold together

and the rocks tumble back to the earth

It seems now indeed there’s a difference

between an altar and the ruins of war

This city was all that I knew once

Now a pile of stones, nothing more

 

But wait just a few more days

Just hold on a few more days

Yet three more days and I swear that this city will rise

 

This tower you’ve built in your honor

I say it’s time she comes down

I’ll leave no stone on another

To this fate by your own hands you’re bound

Now comes the storm you’ve protected against

with foundations laid deep in the sand

The mountains will be crushed and the sea be absorbed

So run to the hills if you can

 

Then wait there a few more days

Just hold on a few more days

Yet three more days and I swear a new temple will stand

 

The waters that once fed my city

dried up a long time ago

Now each night I lie in the bed of the river

and dream of how the waters will flow

Beneath me tonight lay a dozen dry stones

baked in the dust and the clay

I know I can piece them together this time

But just how they’ll go I can’t say

 

But wait just a few more days

Just hold on a few more days

Yet three more days and I swear that these waters will run  

 

 

Landmines

 

Acoustic guitar & vocals - Greg Gilbertson

Bass - Eric Thompson

Drums - Travis Nicolai

Pedal steel and electric guitar - Bronson Bergeson

 

There’s a gut reaction

Whenever these stories start to swirl

But ‘round here it seems the rumors of war

Come from the other side of the world

Boys if you wanna see some carnage

Well you don’t have to go that far

One thing I’ve come to learn

You never know where the land mines are

 

These days we’re all live on the scene with them images of war

The newsroom’s got a man imbedded

behind every bedroom door

Strange the things that you’ll call peace

when you can’t take your foot off the charge

When the world gets quiet honey watch your step

You never know where the land mines are

 

Hearts explode every day

We always knew there’d be a price we’d pay

Now making love’s like falling on a grenade

And we’re all tick-ticking away

‘Out of sight, out of mind’ is what you said when you buried it in the yard

But oh I bet your foot falls hard

 

It’s always our best intentions

that cut the deepest wounds

Seems our best inventions

tend to spell somebody else’s doom

With all the crap we have these days it shouldn’t have to be this hard

But if I were you I’d get the kids inside

You never know where the land mines are

 

Hearts explode every day

Doesn’t mean it’s gotta be that way

You see a mine field is no place to play

But then we’re all just ticking away

‘Out of sight, out of mind’ is what you said when you buried it in the yard

But oh I bet your foot falls hard

 

Yes I’ve seen some action

I’ve heard the lion roar

Tally marks all over my body

Well they’re just for keeping score

And I will tell you all about the tattoos

But you don’t get to ask about the scars

Oh for now honey let’s just say

you never know where the land mines are

 

Hearts explode every day

Guess it’s always kinda been that way

But we were so sure that we could make it okay

But look we’re all still ticking away

‘Out of sight, out of mind’ is what we said when we buried it in the yard

But oh I bet our foot falls hard

 

 

The Ballad of Howard Marshall

 

Acoustic guitar and vocals - Greg Gilbertson

Bass - Eric Thompson 

Drums - Travis Nicolai 

Pedal Steel - Bronson Bergeson 

Background vocals - Alisha Schweisthal

 

These lines on my face

Speak not of my age

No, they’re just the cracks starting to show

But there was a time

I was strong as these pines

But the forest so long ago was laid bare

And don’t tell me about pride

 

‘Cause this is the part...

This is the part...

The part we all fear

 

My old man died

when I was away

And I’d give my life just to speak with him again

But I don’t know what I’d say

Meanwhile I watched

As my comrades were slain

Funny what the bullets that miss your head will do to your brain

 

So this is the part...

This is the part...

The part we all fear

 

I do not fear death

‘cause I’ve seen him before

I ran across him in the jungle when I was just a kid

And I pinned his ass to the floor

 

But he touched my hip

That’s why I walk with this limp

Now when people call my name I forget to look up

Hell I don’t know who I am

He said he’d be back

That he’d bide his time

Now I’m gonna lose this second round

But I think I’ve earned that right

 

Still, this is the part...

This is the part...

This is the part…

This is the part…

The part we all fear

The part we all fear

But oh do not fear

Have no fear

 

 

Can’t See a Thing

 

Acoustic guitar and vocals - Greg Gilbertson

Bass - Eric Thompson 

Drums - Travis Nicolai

Trumpet - Connor Pietrzak  

Trombone - Alex Karye 

Background Vocals - Greg Gilbertson and Evan Middlesworth

 

I told my lover, “You got nothing on me”

She just smiled and said, “In a year we’ll see”

So I left her beneath the apple tree

Where she’d carved her name by mine

Then I grabbed my things and headed out west

Where no trees can grow, just scrubs at best

But for some reason her locket’s still on my chest

And it reads “forever thine”

 

Now who’s to say what the winter will bring?

I ain’t so I’ll even see the spring

Nothing echoes when I try to sing

You can see forever but you can’t see a thing

 

Out here the sun’s the only thing that’s high

It burns so hot each night it blackens the sky

That ain’t the wind that’s just the prairie’s sigh

As it exhales the word “she”

Now chasing pleasures is a lonely game

And freedom well she kind of works the same

If someone were here then I’d have someone to blame

But for now this one’s on me

 

I’m scared to death of what the winter could bring

Odds are I won’t even make the spring

An empty kingdom and a lonely king

You can see forever but you can’t see a thing

 

This land is void of sight and sound...

(Listen close and you will hear...)

But in my head the memories pound...

(More than just the things you fear...)

I survived the echoes but my ears still ring...

 

In later years I went back to that tree

And it still bore the scars of her and me

But looking up above no fruit could I see

Just a lonely little ghost

 

Well, he had moved into the branches there

Looking rough he was all scared and bare

He glanced at me but didn’t seem to care

He just stared out over the coast

 

He said, “Let me tell you what the winter brings

It freezes every river, heart, and spring

It bleaches land and sky ’til they look the same

So cold and numb that you don’t feel the pain

“The wind ploughs through you like a runaway train

You close your eyes but that’s where memories hang

The fondest memories deal the sharpest pain

All other memories seem to stoke the shame

 

“There’s icy drifts across the prairies and plains

Though your parched, you don’t dare pray for rain

You walk for miles to find that nothing’s changed

You can see forever but you can’t see a thing”

 

 

Because You Can

 

Acoustic guitar and vocals - Greg Gilbertson

Bass - Eric Thompson

Drums - Travis Nicolai

Piano - Phil Cook

Trumpet - Connor Pietrzak 

Trombone - Alex Karye

Saxophone - Sue Orfield

 

Baby you worry too much

As if you had that much control

And you can be hard to touch

Now that the world has taken its toll

And I know the road we’re on

Is not the road that you had planned

But it’s no good to be alone dear

So you come here and take my hand

 

A younger me would be shocked by what I’m looking at

But baby I think I see where you went wrong

If the war has taught me anything it’s that life don’t go as planned

So baby kiss me just because you can

 

Baby you always seem lost

But you’ve never had a map

And you like to count the cost

But that’s money you don’t have

Now all of this means nothing

‘Cause it was never up to you

So when you’re broke down, beat, and busted

There’s always one thing you can do

 

Baby all you have to do is turn around

And what you need will be right in front of you

But know the thing you never touch will always be out of hand

So baby kiss me just because you can

 

Baby you cling too tightly

To things you simply cannot hold

While that which lies within your grasp

Well baby you just let it go

 

And you watch it float away

Then you wonder why it leaves

Quit looking at the sky

You look right into my eyes

Oh baby you just look at me

 

A younger me would be shocked by what I’m looking at

I led with me best cards but life didn’t follow suit

When it all breaks down maybe all that’s left is to just strike up the band

But you should kiss me just because you can

 

 

Roads

 

Acoustic guitar, piano, & vocals - Greg Gilbertson

Bass - Eric Thompson 

Drums - Travis Nicolai 

Pedal Steel - Bronson Bergeson

Tenor Saxophones - Sue Orfield 

Baritone Saxophone - Tim Frederick

 

The road winds around this world

Like a snake squeezing her prey

And this circumnavigation

Gets a little harder everyday

Sometimes you drive forever

Through the long dark of the night

Or have we come so far north now the sun’s not gonna rise?

 

Modern science tells us

There are dark forces beneath the earth

That shift the land and make the mountains rise

But I’ve come here to show you

That ain’t what mountains are all about

We’re at the bottom of the hourglass

And our time is running out

 

Now, I’ll fall on faith but I’m scared as hell

Honey ain’t nobody safe

So terra-tethered I’m setting out

But the horizon curves the wrong way

 

Neil Armstrong was the first man

That ever set foot on the moon

But that ain’t why I wish that I was him

‘Cause escaping the world has come easy enough

But choose your vices well

‘Cause what I can’t do is get myself back again

 

Now they’ll tell you how all the wheels turn

But kid they’re all full of shit

‘Cause the monsters you fear well they’re all real

All you can do is place your bet

And go all in on a pair of nines

Then hit the road when all the money’s gone

Abandon your car when the sun comes up

‘Cause in the end maybe we’re just the sum of what we’ve lost

 

‘Cause that ticking in your chest is an atom bomb

Hell we were always gonna lose

So let it bleed, let it break, and then watch it blow

Now put this cigarette to your lips and light the fuse

 

 

Gallows 

 

Acoustic guitar and vocals - Greg Gilbertson

Bass - Eric Thompson

Drums - Travis Nicolai

Mandolin - Myles Thompson

 

There ain’t no justice in this town

I think the judge is on the take

No Your Honor I was not in my right mind

I plead the fifth that I’d just drank

But it was a momentary lapse

Just a temporary thing

So I’m about to get down off this stand

‘Cause I’ve found another way to swing

 

See I’ve been hanging ‘round the gallows

I’ve been hanging ‘round the gallows

I’ve been hanging ‘round the gallows

Again

 

So boys there I was holed up

Between the jailer and the gin

I swear the barkeep’s name was Gatling

‘Cause he seemed bound to do me in

Shots were flying everywhere

Every soldier took a dozen rounds

Our casualties were mounting up

Yeah I tell you that was one hell of a town

 

So I’ve been hanging ‘round the gallows

I’ve been hanging ‘round the gallows

I’ve been hanging round the gallows

Ever since

 

All those kisses that I stole

Girl you come here and I’ll give them back

You say you’re bottled up inside

You’ll pop the cork and I’ll drink to that

You wear your very best intentions

Like a halo above your head

But you let it slip and soon them bastards

Will have it tight around your neck

 

And you’ll be hanging ‘round the gallows

Like I’ve been hanging round the gallows

We’ll go hanging ‘round

Just kinda hanging ‘round

 

I’ve been hanging ‘round the gallows

I’ve been hanging ‘round the gallows

I’ve been hanging ‘round the gallows

All my life

 

 

Trees

 

Acoustic guitar and vocals - Greg Gilbertson 

Upright and electric basses - Eric Thompson

Piano - Phil Cook

 

She was born in a grove of trees

Half way between two shining seas

And the things her folks said ‘Don’t forget’

Would float away where two rivers met

But she remembers how the pine trees smelled

And the memories those cedars held

 

Then the trees she loved were all cut down

That’s what happens in a logging town

Now folks boast of how far you can see

But she don’t like this kind of free

 

You see poverty in this town once slept

And moved back in when the saw mill left

‘Now don’t cry to me. You all got paid.’

Said the business man but it’s a hell of a trade

When you pony up and barter your past

For what must be spent and what cannot last

 

Now nothing slows the wind these days

It just cuts on through in progress’ name

How do tell a story now

After you’ve pulled all your landmarks down?

 

So out among the stumps and scars

They all said were sawed off prison bars

She plants what she will never see

But sequoias outgrow every other tree

So she plants what she will never see

Yet hope grows from the smallest seeds

So she plants what she will never see

‘Cause ‘round here hope grows slowly

 

 

Whispers

 

Acoustic guitar and vocals - Greg Gilbertson

Background vocals - Alisha Schweisthal

Bass - Eric Thompson

Drums - Travis Nicolai

Pedal steel - Bronson Bergeson

Mandolin and fiddle - Myles Thompson 

 

The questions I have are the same as anybody else

But answers prove harder when you only ask yourself

So it gets dark and loud the deeper that I go

Could you help me convince myself I’m not alone?

 

There is a place inside that I don’t let you see

Boards and scrap tin walls that barely shelter me

It’s not the kind of place you want to spend the night

But honey I’d love it if you found your way inside

 

I’m always trying hard to listen through the noise

But I can’t seem to hear past the sound of my own voice

So in this echo chamber the thoughts ricochet

But when you speak is simply goes away

 

I’ve been in the dark so long my eyes have atrophied

And I can find no rhythm to this cacophony

So whisper light into my ears so soft and low

And let your simple music take me home

 

 

Echoes 

 

Acoustic guitar and vocals - Greg Gilbertson

Upright bass - Eric Thompson

Mandolin and fiddle - Myles Thompson

Dobro - Shane Akers

 

When the masters of mankind

Dim the lights and pull the blinds

And crunch the numbers to figure which wars next to wage

They’ll sing the glory of the stripes of the flag

But magnetic strips are all they care that you wave

As bombs fall somewhere in this day and age

 

But some won’t easily go down  

Kid we got foxholes all over this town

Rebels armed with neither gun nor flag

And while resistance might seem feeble

Here is the bunker, here is the steeple

Rumors and whispers in this day and age

 

And baby when this war is through

I’ll have little to show but you

For all of this resistance that we have staged

So come lie easy with me now in this field

And put its flowers in your hair

If I should fall you can throw them on my grave

 

So cup your hands behind your ears

And listen with all your might

Listen past the gunships and the rage

See Elijah at the mouth of the cave

And faint singing you will hear

Those are the echoes of a coming day and age