Book of Skies

by Kevin Brown

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1.
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
2.
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.
3.
Thirsty Soul 04:32
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.
4.
High Horse 02:26
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.
5.
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 "Breathe!" Some bones are best forgotten, some bones will be revered Some stories should be taught, some stories are just weird. There was such a barren darkness upon the hearts of men... And then came the wind.
6.
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.
7.
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.
8.
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.
9.
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.
10.
Blow Me Away 06:39
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…
11.
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.
12.

about

"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)

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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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