Tea Leaves

by Brian McGrath

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1.
Tea Leaves 04:26
Well I woke up middle-aged No direction, no big dream Halfway stuck up somewhere in-between Went looking for relief Read the signs surrounding me But I don’t think they mean a goddamn thing It only matters what you do Not what you think, or know, or speak This modern world ain’t built for the meek It’ll leave you torn in two Bruised-beaten, drowning in the sea Middle-aged and shaky at the knees But alright, I’ll believe your lies Cause I can’t seem to read the tea leaves Every feeling in our bones Every morning we wake up alone With nothing left except our memories “That’s life” I heard you say There’ll always be something in the way Nothing’s ever as it seems… But still a man can dream Dream…a man can dream The dream never ends for those who learn to love And keep their eyes looking up above The dream never ends for those who don’t think small Who keep their eyes looking at the dawn But alright, I’ll believe that you’re right ‘Til I don’t need to read the tea leaves
2.
Old Flames 05:33
Autumn night, firelight, all alone Memories and wine, and my mind roams Then the lonely cry of a telephone Comes a sweet, young voice I used to know Oh, who’s to blame when love takes aim? But tonight, we’re two old flames dancing in the rain Dancing in the Rain Through the foggy night and flagstone road Down the ruins of time and soft moon glow Narrow is the path to your front door Heavy is the heart that’s wanted more Oh, who’s to blame for love reclaimed? But tonight, we’re two old flames dancing in the rain Dancing in the rain You once told me I burned too bright You once told me you’d be my bride Golden sunrise to your sunset But you can’t remember what I can’t forget Stubborn shame led us astray But tonight, we’re two old flames dancing in the rain Dancing in the rain Dreams must fade But Lord let us stay here tonight Two old flames dancing in the rain Dancing in the rain
3.
A summer night Under the burnt black Midwestern sky A woman’s face in the lantern light She turns away toward A distant church bell, a lonely chime Knows something just don’t feel right Heartland, her Heartland Where old dreams began Where still she’s never free In a rustbelt ghost town Born of crooked hopes and broken vows She lights a smoke and thinks out loud “Not for me” she says… “It should not have been this way for me Now all I got is what could have been” Heartland, her Heartland Where all dreams began Where still she’s never free To be free now Be reborn on a Midwest breeze A second chance for redemption tonight For to live, love Yes to live is still to dream Make your peace and leave it all behind To make your peace and leave it all behind Heartland, her Heartland Old dreams be damned…what can a loner do? And there she stands, dead still with fear of the great unknown And she lights her last smoke and rides off through that prairie night… All alone
4.
Young Man 04:12
When you love somebody And you know that they could be the one To break your heart When all is said and done When you want her badly And the moonlight makes you believe In your dreams You know that’s half the fun Well young man Go forth unashamed The world rewards the brave And young love Burning bright again Born on the summer wind You’ll never be so young again. When you love somebody And you know that they could be the one Who’s gonna break your heart When all is said and done And you want her badly And the moonlight makes you believe In her dreams You know that’s half the fun You young fool You couldn’t find the words To tell her how you feel And young love Born and burned again Lost on the summer wind You’ll never be so young, You’ll never be so young, You’ll never be so young again.
5.
Young love, sweet love, two of a kind What's mine is yours, yours is mine Punch me in the shoulder, I'll pretend it hurts Pretend you don't see me looking down your shirt Oh no, what's this now? Two dumb birds with our heads in the ground Life's cleaning our clock, kicking our can But we still got each other and that ain't half bad Dancing in the kitchen like fools in heat You're all thumbs, I got two left feet Furnace ain't running ‘cause the bill's not paid It's cold as hell but at least we're getting laid Oh no, what's this now? Two dumb birds with our heads in the ground Life's cleaning our clock, kicking our can But at least we got each other and that ain't half bad No I've never been one to knock on wood With the luck we've had I probably should They hear us coming down when we're driving through town Tail lights broke, the muffler's gone Can't stop laughing, you're red in the face So far behind I think we're winning this race Oh no, what's this now? Two dumb birds with our heads in the ground Life's cleaning our clock, kicking our can But at least we got each other and that ain't half bad No I've never been one to knock on wood With the luck we've had I probably should Sky full of stars in the middle of the night You whisper in my ear, "It'll be alright" The day might come when I don't know your name But I'll still be loving you just the same Oh no, what's this now? Two dumb birds with our heads in the ground Life's cleaning our clock, kicking our can But we still have each other and that ain't half bad We still got each other and that ain't half bad
6.
Before the silence becomes the din Before the romance, before the sin Where there’s smoke there’s fire, with love there’s grief And all the parts of your heart the words don’t reach Not what you do, but who that you know The man on the street corner told me so There’s end days coming, debts to pay Every man for himself and God for me So, we don’t need it Leave the past behind Hold on tightly now… Dangerous Times Catch your breath kid, you’re running on fumes No he don’t need talk, he just assumes Well one half fear and the other half lie They’ll pray for you and spit in your eye No, we don’t need it Leave the past behind Hold on tightly now… Dangerous Times We’re all looking for a place to sleep Pretend our dreams are gonna set us free We’ll wrap ourselves up in our lies We’ll bite our tongue and shut our eyes No, we don’t need it Leave the past behind Hold on tightly now… Dangerous Times
7.
Well I got woke up in a white-hot fever Hear you call my name girl But I can’t see you In a cold sweat I ain’t getting any sleep tonight I gotta go now, gotta get a move on Walk out on the back porch Breath the cold night air in Take one more drag on my last Parliament The night’s awaitin’ for some rough loving And I’m gonna give it some yeah Some real attention Well I guess I don’t know But I sure hope so Let’s get a move on Meet her down at the motel Foster and Lincoln You know they charge by the hour girl Rooftop to the basement Gonna stop and see Betty She’s gonna make me feel like a real big man I’ve been broken, but I’m on the mend now Wake up in a strange bed Wake up in town Wake up with a strange face Dead eyes staring me down Well if I could girl You know I would now But both my hands are tied up This ain’t a kind world Well I guess I don’t know But I sure hope so Let’s get a move on Smoking Marlboro Reds now Telling white lies now I’ve been feeling blue now Got bloodshot eyes now My last dollar Ripped from my cold dead hands by a demon woman But I’m on the mend now Just one more whiskey, Lord Just one more pint, Lord God, I need one more shot Gotta get my head right Been working on a plan, man To get me the hell out of this dark place But I’ll wake up, gonna do it again Well I guess I don’t know But I sure hope so Let’s get a move on Let’s get a move on
8.
Yeah that’s the way to go You got to lose some to gain control And it looks like it’s gonna rain down on here now You’ve been pulling like a hurricane Breaking up our home again All your birds are out for blood again, but it’s alright Where to run When all the roads lead back to home We ain’t too young To pretend that we don’t know One day I left Sold off my rights Down goes the sun, off go the lights Well you wanted it alright Tell me how you feeling now As the storm clouds roll into your little town But where to run When all the roads lead back to home We ain’t too young To pretend that you don’t know what’s going on Well you wanted it alright Tell me how you feeling now As the storm clouds roll into your little town All the best laid plans Of both mice and men They are no match for your hurricane All the best laid plans Of both mice and men Hell, they are no match for your hurricane
9.
Thinking down Lincoln on a Saturday night Under the porchlights amber glow You say I’m always in my head, in the red, half-dead Just waiting on the rain to come Oh, but does it matter to you? Oh, is it supposed to? Same situations, conversations, revelations I can see that you are ready to jet We’ve been leaving in a minute for an hour or two You know it’s hard work trying to forget Shine a light, shine a light Oh wounded night! All the lost souls wander the streets Searching for a door with the porchlight on All looking for a place to sleep Oh, but does it matter to you? Oh, is it supposed to? So tell me… If we can hear the future coming But can’t find the words to sing along I guess we’re all just hanging on Man, I’m getting older but I still ain’t wise Gone wrong, but it serves me right As long as I can dream and I can breathe I’ll still believe Everything’s gonna be just fine Shine a light, shine a light Oh wounded night! I’m a lost soul wandering the streets And I’m always in my head, in the red, half-dead So leave your porchlight on for me Oh, but does it matter to you? Oh, is it supposed to? Oh, it never mattered to you! Oh, it was supposed to…
10.
Fireflies dance on the wind As the evening light grows dim I hold your hand, you hold my heart Underneath your willow tree Auburn hair, hazel eyes The face of God in the night Our two lost souls entwine Underneath your willow tree Underneath your willow tree Tell me all your hidden dreams, Darling I’ll believe Just put your hand in mine Tell me can life ever be so good again? Underneath your willow tree You’re always gonna be my true love You’ll always own my sad heart You’ll always be mystery to me, my love Underneath your willow tree Tell me all your hidden dreams, Darling I’ll believe Just put your hand in mine Will life ever be so good again? This summer never end? Never end! Underneath your willow tree Underneath your willow tree
11.
Lonesome, leather and tweed Wounded down among the autumn weeds Lost comfort in a fading dream When the hunter calls for you You answer slow You know it’s just your given role You were born to lose As a cold wind wanders through Forged steel carves the woodland night Lost shadows dance in the ancient lantern light For one to make it, another has to die To sacrifice When the hunter comes for you You crawl below But you know it’s just your given role Not yours to choose Tonight, under the cold blood moon He said he’d love you You were his rose Forever bonded, it’s you he chose And you surrendered with both eyes closed Your eyes were closed. When the hunter calls for you You answer slow But you know it’s just your given role You were born to lose And you wonder if he’ll remember you Wonder if he’ll remember you…

about

"To be free, to be reborn on a Midwest breeze...a second chance at redemption tonight. For to live...yes to live is still to dream. To make your peace and leave it all behind..."

- from "Her Heartland"


"Tea Leaves" is my third full length album...a collection of eleven new indie folk tunes born and bred of my Midwest heart and soul. This album in the story of where I am now...and perhaps where many of you may be too. This is an album about middle-age...about adulthood, with all it's half-truths and grey shades. These tunes are of equal measure love and pain, sadness and hope, loss and belief. And sometimes, within it all, there's just a bit of fun. This album, to me, represents the sound of surviving the grand storms that roll through our life...to find the new dawn on the other side...to still stand, to still hope, to still dream.

This is "Tea Leaves" - a collection of songs I am so fiercely proud of, a collection I cannot wait for you to all hear and experience.

- Brian, 11/19/2020

credits

released November 19, 2020

All Lyrics, Music, and Performances by Brian McGrath.

Recorded, engineered, mixed and mastered by Rick Riggs w/ Brian McGrath from August –October 2020 at Handwritten Recording in Chicago, IL.

Released on Friday, November 20th, 2020 on Howling Man Records, Chicago, IL.

Many thanks to my family, friends, and all my listeners across the United States and abroad. You have made this all possible, and I am so happy to share this fine work with you. Special thanks to Mr. Rick Riggs – a collaborator and friend who made this beautiful album shine.

©2020 Brian McGrath.

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Brian McGrath Chicago, Illinois

Brian McGrath is an Indie Folk Songwriter born and bred in Chicago, Illinois.

With intense, honest conviction tempered by Midwest sensibility and grit, the big man with a big voice tells tales of broken characters, desolate landscapes, and hopeful redemption all along the highways and byways of the American heartland. ... more

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