The Woods Are Burning

by Brian McGrath

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Eric Rothgeb
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Eric Rothgeb Great selection of songs by a talented Chicago artist. Authentic, catchy, and moody. Favorite track: Rustbelt Highway Vagabonds.
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about

"The woods are burning boys. Can't you understand? There's a big blaze going on all around" - Willy Loman from 'Death of a Salesman'

Cover image in the public domain, titled "Caterpillar tractor with grader widening the roadway of the Alcan Highway" by Office of War Information. Overseas Picture Division. Washington Division; 1944.
commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Alcan_construction.jpg

credits

released March 2, 2018

Words, Music, Performance by Brian McGrath.
Recorded, Mixed and Mastered by Brian McGrath.
©2017 Brian McGrath

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about

Brian McGrath Chicago, Illinois

Brian McGrath is an Indie Folk singer/songwriter and Chicago native.

With an intense, honest conviction tempered by Chicago sensibility and grit, the big man with a big voice tells tales of broken characters, desolate landscapes, and fleeting redemption all along the road connecting Chicago and the Northwoods. ... more

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Track Name: Billy Caldwell
I walked into a den of wolves
Never thought I'd see the light of day
Feeling for me, bleeding for me
Silence 'fore the sins

One by one, I feel within
Alive with burning rage
You get right to the borderline
Watch it fade away

Billy Caldwell
In the dark, of the black, in the old coal night
I saw you once in the Indian lights

Shhh...they can hear you
Of course you'd break!
What'd I tell you once?
"The feeling just can't stay"

Drink it down, fill it up
A belly-full for the pain!
See I had it once, I let it slip
Won't happen again

Billy Caldwell
In the dark, of the black, in the old coal night
I saw you once, den of wolves, in the Indian lights
Track Name: Robinson Woods
Old dead weather lost and gone, she says
"Whether you're right, you're gonna be wrong"
I'm not coming back, I ain't moving on, she says
"Man keep singing the same tired song"

Oh let me be, Lord let me be!
Oh won't you cut me down and set me free?
Or I'll set the woods on fire

We make our beds
How we love to lie, she says
"The last thing to go is pride"
Clean the blood, wipe your brow, she says
"Yeah there's nothing we can do about it now"

Oh, let me be, Lord let me be!
Oh won't you cut me down or set me free?
Or I'll set the woods on fire

Piece by piece
Life wears you down, she says
"Rust to dust, buried in the ground"
Them big ideas gone up in smoke, she says
"Ain't life sad, ain't life a fuckin' joke!"

On fire!
We set the woods on fire

Oh let me be, Lord, let me be!
Won't you cut me down and set me free?
Track Name: McGrath, Alaska
I went alone to face the weather
The rain kept comin', all the people hide
Twelve hit the ground when the bells were ringing
Look around then wonder why?

Oh, this harsh land will take the light right from your eyes
But I never live, I never die

On a Sunday night they caught me stealing
Across the river at the old town post
And in the morning they roped me down
Carried me away and they hung me high

Oh! How that last moment just drifted on forever
It was a long time coming
A long time coming

I dreamt I lost you among the hemlock pines
And for three nights I searched far and wide
And I found your body in mangled sin
Along the banks of the Kuskokwim

And though this dream was just a dream
It felt much more than real
I never woke, I never feel
I never woke, I never feel
Track Name: Rustbelt Highway Vagabonds
We were young and dumb and on the run
Like rustbelt highway vagabonds
Them drunken nights never set us free
Always less than you think and more than you need

Well I'm sometimes sunshine, sometimes shade
Sometimes a sea storm pulling you beneath my waves
But that ain't me, that ain't me, that ain't me no more
I walk that straight and narrow right to your door... Sometimes

Want the house, the kids, want the van in the driveway
All them toys on the floor in the middle of the hallway
Two bottles of red when the kids go sleep
It numbs my mind, but hell it hurts to think

Oh sometimes sunshine, sometimes shade
Sometimes a sea storm pulling you beneath my waves
But that ain't me, that ain't me, that ain't me no more
I walk that straight and narrow right to your door... Sometimes

Well folks they move and times must change
But still this life of ours is defined by pain
And like some raven flying with a broken wing
We fall back to Earth while hero gets hanged

Well I'm sometimes sunshine, sometimes shade
Sometimes a sea storm pulling you beneath my waves
But that ain't me, that ain't me, that ain't me no more
I walk that straight and narrow right to your door... Sometimes
Track Name: Second Wind
I've been low for a long, long time
But they don't know I lost my mind
Booze and smokes gonna set me free
Not what I want, just what I need

I just can't catch my second wind
No, I just can't catch my second wind

These things I've done, the life I lead
The folks I know just watch me bleed
What I love most, oh gets ripped away
Now she's a ghost and I'm to blame

I just can't catch my second wind
No, I just can't catch my second wind

I've been low for a long, long time
But they don't know I've lost my mind
Track Name: Fever Dreams
Chimney smoke in the dirty ether
I speak these words, my hands raised to God
A mournful cry and I must wander for you still
In these badlands I'm ordained to crawl

Fever dreams
Comfort me, comfort me!
In the light of the midnight sun
Fever dreams
Come for me, come for me
Oh my God, what have you done?

Among the dead trees I can feel you with me now
Emerald eyes the jewels of a devil's soul
I spend my life beholden to your troubled love
With a wicked grin I'm devoured whole

Fever dreams
Comfort me, comfort me!
In the light of the midnight sun
Fever dreams
Come for me, come for me
Oh my God, what have you done?

Fever dreams!

The wind it whispers
Breathes out my name
I must move through the pain
I live among, I live within my fallen gods
I live in fear that I'll never awake
Track Name: Northwoods Benediction
I was waiting for something, I was waiting to hear you sing
Waiting for a reason, for a sign, so it seems
Waiting for the future and all good things to come
Fleeting little moments belonging to the young

Everything unspoken, all the day’s we’d yet to be
Anything remotely true to that which made us free
When the hope of youth is born to sad uncertainty
Mourning all the years we’d yet to clearly see

Love it comes and goes
Time it kills us slow
Kills us slow

Still I wait for something, still I wait to hear you sing
Waiting for an answer, still waiting to be free
Hoping for the future and all good things to come
Fleeting little moments belonging to the young

But love it comes and goes
Time it kills us slow

It kills us slow
Track Name: Old Big Timber
Well there's a wild wind a blowin'
I've been hiding away for years
Spend your whole life a runnin'
Oh, just runnin' from the fear

There's a cold night comin'
I've been tryin' to find my feet
Spend your whole life a runnin'
Yeah just runnin' away from me

Quit your bawlin' now, got you under my thumb
There'll be peace enough when endings come
You can't live your life lookin' at the floor
Cause I need more
I need more

In the stillness of the mournin'
In a hope that never comes
In the sadness of forgetting
Just where it is you belong

My mind is a petty thief
Steals me blind, leaves me in grief
You're a stranger now, but I know you still
Only in dreams
Only in dreams