Book of Skies

by Kevin Brown

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"Book of Skies is a strong contender for one of the best releases of Americana music by a singer-songwriter this year.” - Terry Roland, No Depression

"A truly magnificent writer... the kind of record we’ve been waiting to hear for a good long while!” - John Cowan (New Grass Revival, Doobie Brothers)


released June 22, 2015



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Kevin Brown Spokane, Washington

Singer-songwriter Kevin Brown makes his home in rural Northeastern Washington state, not too far from the farms where two sets of great-grandparents settled a century ago. The rich natural surroundings serve as a metaphor for exploring the landscapes of the heart and soul -- faith, family, love, the passage of time, and the interwoven fabric of earth and humanity. ... more

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Track Name: The Empty Page
The sun comes up The homestead beams
I brush the watercolors from my dreams
The chimney smokes The coffee screams
Snow is falling on a state of evergreen
I push my pen across the empty page
Pirouettes on a paper stage
I do my little dance with the middle of my middle age
Oh, I watch the wild geese flying o’er the frozen farms
I bend my ear I flap my arms I crane the neck on my guitar

I am haunted by the songs of the ages,
I am driven by the distant glow
But it’s the empty page that moves me so

I am a preacher’s son My father was a fisherman
We stand out where the river turns
With our tangled lines and our big can of worms
We ask the water for many things:
another bite another song to sing
And will it wash us clean
Oh, at the end of the day we don’t know much
But the song behind the morning’s blush is so foolishly in love with us
Track Name: At the End of the Day
At the end of the day when it all comes down
To a quiet breath or a crashing sound
A train in the distance, or a siren’s whine
An echo at the bottom of the bottom line.
Do you scratch at the itches of the big regrets,
Pencil in the words that you wish you’d said,
Erase the places where temptation got away?
Tell me, does it all add up at the end of the day?

At the end of the day there’s no guarantees
No bright light when you hit your knees
With your heart in a fist, your head in your hands
Hanging from the gallows of circumstance.
Was there too little time? Too little pay?
Too many people getting in your way?
You can paint your life in black and white
But it all just fades to grey at the end of the day.

Shine on, daughters and sons
We might be diamonds when it’s all said and done
Tossed like stars into the heavens above
Tucked in deep in the ground of love.
There’s a story in the hand you hold
There’s a journey and it’s growing old
There is something that the whole thing keeps trying to say:
We are not alone at the end of the day.
Track Name: Thirsty Soul
Late last night when the dry spell broke,
The gutters all gushed and the water wheel spoke,
The rooster ran circles ‘round his weathervane,
And the Rest fell on the roof like rain.

I’m gonna throw my bucket down the bottom of the well
Tie it to the rope on the Mission bell
Watch the songbirds rise when it takes its toll
Gonna stir up some water for my thirsty soul.
I’m betting my life on a thirsty soul
Bring a little water, Sylvie
From the watering hole

Standing on the ledge down at Paradise Falls
There’s no turning back when a Leap of Faith calls.
You just curl into a cannonball and hope you don’t drown
And yell like the dickens the whole we down.
I’m betting my life on a thirsty soul…

Winter’s passed and the spring comes around
I wait like a seed in the cold, wet ground
Trying to break through and let the leaves unfold
I wait like a secret waiting to be told
Kicking at the silence like an old tin can
It’s just another day of promise in the promised land
Just one drink’s gonna me whole
I’m betting my life on a thirsty soul.
Track Name: High Horse
There’s a closed mind with an axe to grind
And he don’t like my kind.
He’s on a high horse, he’s out of sorts,
Painting the world in big bold lines.
He shakes his finger. He wags his tongue.
And the people applaud like he speaks for God,
But the thing about being so right is you might be wrong.

We’re the United States, because we love to hate
The other party’s candidate.
Light a fire underneath the choir and let’s call it national debate.
Read my bumper. Get off of my lawn.
I’m the righteous kind, I’ve got half a mind,
And the thing about me being right is you being wrong.

Saddle up your high horse, and ride off in the sun.
Shoulder up your banner, because the battle has begun.
There’s a bomb in a suitcase. There’s a kid with a gun.
There’s a clean-cut guy in a suit and tie
In the toxic glow of a talk show
And the only thing he don’t know is he might be wrong.
Track Name: Then Came the Wind
I was once a wandering pilgrim with some shadow across my soul
Drawn out into the desert all alone.
In some long forgotten valley, such a tale to be told, I beheld
A great pile of human bones.

Against the hum of history's nations and unsung episodes
I gazed upon the shells of bygone men
Such an ivory congregation, so pale in their repose
Left here to never breath again.

What god-forsaken army had surrendered to the sun?
Sweet life is promised, then it's squandered, then it's done.
Do not breathe! Don't let the canyon walls come down
Upon this haunted ground.

The desert stars were scattered like bone-dust in the night
A horned owl called out from a cottonwood.
I wished that I may, Lord I wished like hell I might
Be any place but where I stood.

Do not wonder at the mischief of the moon
As it steals behind a thunderhead
That snuck up much too soon.
Do not run! It is time that we begin.

Then came the wind. 
Lightning split the canyon, rolling thunder split my brain
I shivered by no tremor of my own.
My rapid racing heart became the rattle of the rain
And the rain became the rattling of bones.

That graveyard quaked and quivered like some dream electrified
Paralyzed I watched the scene unfold:
Bone came to bone like lovers reunited
One hundred thousand skeletons made whole.
"Can they breathe?" asked the canyon,
Or the coyote, or the wind,
Or the god that took their lives only to
Give them back again.

And their tendons grew like vines,
Organs pumped within,
New muscles bent their spines,
Hair flowed upon their skin.
They stared in silent wonder just there beyond belief
When a voice from ancient halls cried out

Some bones are best forgotten, some bones will be revered
Some stories should be taught, some stories should be feared.
There was such a barren darkness upon the hearts of men...
And then came the wind.
Track Name: Close to Home
The day that you left me I cleaned out the fridge
I got down on my knees, scouring the edge of the
Shelf where the carton of cream had expired;
The sweet milk of plenty a bit soured inside.
“I’m lonely, I’m lonely,” said the boy I once knew
He was so helpless in love with you.
Ah, but love is the walls and the roofs we have known.
He was close to the truth. But I am close to home.

“Surprise me,” you said to your African town
With its razor-wire walls and its trash-covered ground.
The travelogues all say there’d be no reason to stay here.
So you stayed for a season.
And you grew like the grasslands that swept towards the sea.
You swayed to the breath of a curious breeze
Beholden to sorrows and mercies untold
You are so close to heaven. I am so close to home.
There’s a cold stack of nothing filling my empty woodshed.
There’s an absence of you in the cold on your side of the bed.

You draw the brown faces inside your blue eyes
I draw in the pages of my book of skies
I wrestle with meaning and meter and rhyme
They always come out in 3/4 time.
And we waltz ‘cross the crest of our Christmas card years
We waltz across our separate hemispheres
Folded together like fingers, we are so
Close to believing we are so close to home.
I do believe we are close to home.
Track Name: Honky Tonk Haiku
I don’t need no devil making me do no wrong
I can do it just fine all by myself
Who knew the blues could be so blonde,
Have legs so long, and eyes so blue?
Darling please believe me, this was not the way it seems
I swear I was not kissing her when she was kissing me

Heavens to Betsy,
What’s a poor farm boy to do?
Honky-Tonk Haiku.

When I took that library book and did not pay my fine
The road less travelled was not on my mind
When I took that wrong turn at the Stevens county line
Call me a victim of a neon sign.
Pretty women dancing in iambic time
The cadence of their footsteps falls in such a gentle rhyme.

Heavens to Betsy,
What’s a poor farm boy to do?
Honky-Tonk Haiku.

You be the picture of a light in the window
I’ll be the picture of a fool
You sit at home with your troubles and heartaches
While I’m having trouble getting off of this bar stool.
I am not drunk, I’m just thinking
That I am the mess I made, and that’s why I keep on drinking.

Heavens to Betsy,
What’s a poor farm boy to do?
Honky-Tonk Haiku.
Track Name: Pale Blue Dot
There's a sign on the corner. It says "S.O.L."
It's holding up a man. He's a cardboard wishing well.
You wish him well.
It's an out o' luck world that he's standing in.
There's too many angels on the head of that pin
So you drop a dollar in and drive away.

There's a guy in the bar. He plays guitar.
He used to tour the country but he
Never really went that far
Things being as they are.
He plays Only The Lonely, and Heartbreak Hotel
Every Friday night for the traveling clientele
In the lounge at the motel.
We're just a pale blue dot seen from outer space
Heaven must be one helluva place to see
For the lonely…
For the lonely...

She boarded a plane for a foreign land
For reasons that she did not understand
Passport in her hand.
Twenty six kids in a tiny classroom
Gathered her wits up into a bloom
Every afternoon.
Track Name: Sing That Sky
The days roll by like railroad cars, hollow as they come
They echo as they hurry on their way
The nights drag on like fitful dreamers trying to make it home
Still as statues, cold as Christmas Day.

There’s a lonesome, restless feeling that I can’t put my finger on
It’s probably just some dream I used to know.
It hungers in the twilight and lingers in the dawn
It wanders round the midnight sky alone.

I can’t sing the blues, but I can sing that sky
I’m bound to lose my ground and fly.
I’ll keep my eyes on the arc of that horizon
I’ll let someone else sing the blues tonight
I will sing that sky.

The wild geese have had their days. I guess that I’ve had mine
So it goes, and so the seasons change.
The sunset spills across the hills like a sweet Spanish wine.
I can’t help but shake my restless wings.
Track Name: Blow Me Away
Morning in Missoula, and the Big Sky’s got the blues
The Blackfoot River’s running high
And the highway’s got no time to lose.

I’ve got no destination, no direction line
Spin a bottle on a roadmap and
Kiss my empty glass goodbye.

I’m just a paper in the wind
Blow me away, I’ll be coming ‘round again
Oh, oh, oh… blow me away.

She tells me that she’ll take me where the Ponderosas pine.
But that’s just highway talk – I love the rhythm
Of her little white lines.

All my restless fires are kindled by the colors in her skies
The wild swollen beauty and the syncopated lines
Where the Rockies rise.

I’m just a paper in the wind…

Out where the weather brings the fence line to its knees
I shed my wheels and spread my wings
And step into the morning breeze.

I’m just a paper in the wind…
Track Name: Book of Skies
There's a full moon tonight, it's high as a kite,
And it looks like it might cause a scene.
With that spark in your eyes, and such dangerous skies,
Who knows what tonight might bring?
Roll me like thunder! Light me up like the 4th of July!
Let's turn the next page in our book of skies.

It's a fair bit of believing when we
Sit out in the evening, and
Watch the swallows go boomeranging by.
The sky’s so in motion with wings of devotion
Two hearts might just take off and fly.
Love is not rocket science. It is close to delight.
It spills across the pages like twilight in our book of skies.

Sometimes I fall. Sometimes I soar.
Sometimes it rains. Sometimes it pours me another one.
And I oblige.

"Read 'em and weep," said the stars to the deep
Dark nothing that hangs out beyond.
"Listen and learn," said the wind
To the heart of a rhymer trying to find his song.
Look up on a moonless night,
It is no big surprise
That the ending is never-ending
In our book of skies.