The County Primaries

by Kevin Brown

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about

"The County Primaries is easily one of the best debut albums of 2010 and it reveals Brown as a singer-songwriter with an eye for detail, an ear for melody, and the perfect voice to tie it together. Brown has a great talent as a performer and his songwriting skills are unmatched among the new breed of singer-songwriters to emerge over the past few years. Yet neither of those things are what really keeps me coming back to this album. That can only be accomplished by sincerity and heart, two things Brown and his album have plenty of."

- Adam Sheets, No Depression

credits

released October 1, 2010

Ivan Rosenberg (dobro, banjo, harmonies, producer), Eugene Jablonsky (bass), Caridwin Irvine-Spatz (fiddle), David Keenan (guitar/percussion), Burke Carroll (pedal steel), Laurie Byers (harmony vocals), Jans Ingber (percussion)

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about

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: Move Away From the Light
The windows glow from the TV sets
The kids around the internet
Little campfires unattended.
There's a gust of wind, a knock at the door
The Sheriff says you'd best be out by morning
Or it might be too late.

Move away from the light, move away from the light
Things are not as bright as they appear.
Move away from the light, move away from the light
Now's the time to move away from here.

Time was, it was the best of times,
You used to walk those woods in a state of wonder
While the whole world went whirling by.
But now it's up in the morning, a shot of caffeine,
You blow some smoke in front of a screen,
And let the dominoes deal with the reckoning.

Move away from the light

So where do you go, and what will you do?
And what are you going to take with you?
And how much can you stand to lose?
You grab your suitcase, some shirts and ties
A cardboard box of manila files
And some keepsakes that you never use.

And that sliver of moon slides into the smokey haze
Like a goodbye to the good old days
And you check your phone while the radio whines
Some crazy kind of John the Baptist line
About the coming fire.

Move away from the light, move away from the light
Things are not as bright as they appear.
Move away from the light, move away from the light
Now's the time
Now's the time
To move away from here.
Track Name: On the Line
Cast your questions just a little farther
Hold a little tension in your line
The rainbows rise like whispers on the water
Rippling cross the shadows of the pines

Bending like a willow towards the morning
Out before the sun begins to shine
Suddenly it strikes without a warning
You know you've got some heaven on the line

On the line, sometimes it seems you find
You've got a little heaven on the line.

Being that it all begins with water
I'm leaving all these dusty roads behind
I don't know the stillness like I want to
I need a little heaven on the line.

On the line...

Jesus loved that Galilean Water
He walked up on it, he turned it into wine
Fishermen and hookers and curious onlookers
They knew they had some heaven on the line.

On the line...
Track Name: Fallow
There's no harvest, and there's no yield
There's no profit in a fallow field,
Just hitchhiker seeds in the blowing dust
Weeds growing inside the tractor ruts
The good intentions are all used up
I'm out standing in my field.

And I'm trying to make it rain
Trying to find my time again
I lost it somewhere in between
The shovel and the hill of beans
In the shadow of these big machines
I'm trying to make it rain.

Fallow, the fields are fallow
The roots stop shallow
The well runs deep
Down below the plow and the harrow
The bone and the marrow
Hallowed be...

There are bones beneath this soil
Down below the sweat and toil
And they just might up and dance I'm told
Walk real tall on streets of gold
Ain't no grave will ever hold
The soul beneath these bones.

So turn it over, lay it by
Cover it with winter rye
Time will ease the furrowed brow
While you fix the tines upon the plow
The time to hesitate is now
Just let it lie.
Track Name: As Quiet as Grace
As quiet as Grace
As simple as silence
As gentle as water
As steady as rain
As crazy as loving
For as long as it takes
This world waits for something
As quiet as Grace.

Angel of mercy
Mother of praise
Sister of brothers
Who've squandered their ways
She don't say a word
As she washes your face
In Living Water
As quiet as Grace.

Look for her shadow
To fall 'cross your face
She'll be there waiting
You'll know the place
Down by the river
Where sins are erased
I've never seen nothing
As quiet as Grace.
Track Name: The Last Days of Indian Summer
September left late this morning
With a half-hearted chilly breeze
It went shuffling southward on down the lane
Just killing time by degrees
And October comes on like a woman
Dressed in some old flannel gown
These last days of Indian summer
They sure like hanging around.

The leaves are all restless to let go
The winter wheat sprouts in the fields
The sunflowers quietly bow down their heads
And that blue sky just don't look real
The oak tree stands in her glory
She's the backyard homecoming queen
The last days of Indian summer
They don't always say what they mean.

Tamarack burns in the woodstove
It's keeping me warm while I wait
Seems like she was just starting school
Tonight's her very first date
Lord I know the passing of seasons
I hope she'll be coming home soon
These last days of Indian summer
Play some kind of bittersweet tune.
It's the last days of Indian Summer
And winter's coming on soon.
Track Name: Medicine Bow
He came from Wyoming, he was a man of few words
He'd seen the last of the buffalo herds
Laramie Dan, yeah he moved kinda slow
Because of what happened in the Medicine Bow

He said the winter of 45, Lord it was hell
Four feet of snow turned to ice where it fell
And the Indians tell how the buffalo cried
Their legs all tore up, bloody and broke, and they died.

Four hundred carcasses lay there to rest
But the Indians say that when the storm passed:
Twenty huge buffalo, whiter than snow
Were heading up into the Medicine Bow.

I belong to the sky
The wind on the prairie it blows such a terrible cry
So I'm going high in the Medicine Bow when I die

Well the West opened up and the railroad came
Slashed up the belly of the Midwestern Plains
Cold iron rails and cold iron guns
Dead buffalo, and dead Indians

Now four million carcasses lay there to rest
Worn like a medal on the white man's chest.
Ain't nothing so awful in this world below
As the death song sung by the White Buffalo

I belong to the sky...

Laramie Dan says that not long ago
He was up high in the Medicine Bow
He found him a couple old buffalo skulls
Bigger than any that he'd ever known

And you may not believe it, but he swears that it's true
He slept there and dreamed 'neath a cold pale moon
Of a hole in the sky, and when he awoke
His legs were all tore up, and bloody and broke

I belong to the sky...
Track Name: It Was You
While the cotton sleeves of New Years Eve, 1982
Wore their tattered hearts out on the frozen avenues
Another year departed like a drunk man in the mist
And the barmaid at the 219 was not the one I kissed
It was you, it was you
Long before I opened up my eyes I knew that it was you.

In the morning all the poets were lined up outside my door
Trying to have a word about this girl that I adored
I was in my notebook, trying not to be outdone, no one knows
Just how young a man is at twenty one but you
It was you, declining all my offers of the moon, it was you.

There were Miles and Miles of Texas in a crowded old saloon
I took you by the hand and I spun you 'round the room
Tied up in your French braids and tangled in your smile
I thought I knew the angles, but I guess it took awhile with you
It was you, and I was dizzy with the motion and the music and the moment with you

Boys are bound to wander from the comfort of the nest
From that awkward first encounter with a bottle or a breast
We tumble to the pavement just like marbles from a bag
And roll around like nothing, as we shoot and piss and brag
And it was you, it was you
Receding in the distance like a road sign in my mirror, that was you.

The swings were mostly empty, the slide was long and slow
I don't know why I picked a playground as the place to let you go
Just the ghostly grip of something from adolescent years
We stood there on the green grass fighting back the tears
And it was me, it was me
Striking my best tragic pose... but I suppose you knew that wasn't me.

Last night I dreamed about you, we were dancing close and slow
Just like that winter's night so many years ago
When I woke up the moon was in your salt & pepper hair
I guess I'm just the guy who's always had a prayer and it was you
Me and you
Long before I opened up my eyes I knew that it was you
And it is you
Half a life together and the kisses just get better with you.
Track Name: The County Primaries
The Big RED Barn rose into view
Right out of the upturned sod
Like a cherry on top, or the world's biggest apple,
Or the nose on the face of God
Scarlet O'Hara's probably waiting inside
With a jug full of strawberry wine
She'll blush when I kiss her on her big ruby lips
And I'll show her one red hot time.

The Big YELLOW Bus on the side of the road
In the hot June afternoon sun
It broke down, overheated, like a big stick of butter
It's a lemon and it just won't run.
The pretty young teacher in the sunflower dress
With her little chicks all in a row
They stand there squirming in the dandelions
Yellin', cuz they gotta go.

Well the world turns nice and slow
Out ere at the end of a county road
And Mister, what you think you know
We heard it four years ago
Can't tell my left hand from my right
So I'm going back outside
These colors hold the light
A whole lot better than your black and white.

The Big BLUE Sky is a cartoon sky
It's funny how it's in her eyes
When they laugh, when they cry, when I'm swimming inside 'em
Like a blueberry swimming in a pie.
If I stand on my head I might fall up to heaven
Lord, wouldn't that be a sight.
I think about this when I'm feeling kinda blue
And then I know everything's alright.
Track Name: Upstairs
What with the wind and the cold,
Well, I just don't know, I can't find my car keys
And you don't like parties, and anyways,
You heard what the weatherman said
So honey let's stay home, and go upstairs instead.

The moon is abreast of the new fallen snow
The sky is a dress that is cut very low
The stereo sings to us soft and low
Let's go upstairs (let's go)

Newlyweds in an old picture
That hangs at the top of the stairs
Turn left down the hall
As the night softly falls
Time dissolves when sweet love calls...
For nine thousand days I've known your kisses
I got lucky when I met my missus
It must have been my farm-boy savoir fair.
So what do you say we go upstairs?

Your ears and your nose, your neck and those
ocean blue eyes up close when I kiss you
It's all so familiar and fine...

Who's that in that old picture
That hangs at the top of the stairs?
Turn left down the hall
As the night softly falls
And time dissolves when sweet love calls.
Track Name: Courted by Canyons
Maybe the mountains are moved by the mornings
And brought to their knees every night
Inclined by the days to the high lonely places
Where they tremble with earthly delight.

Maybe the first men that moved to the mountains
And the canyons of New Mexico
Opened their eyes when they realized the size of the
Things that we'll just never know.

I've been courted by canyons, stricken by stones
I've heard them call out my name
In the tongues of old lovers dressed in fiery colors
Wet with the southwestern rain.

I was not fully grown when I set off alone
Through the valley of bones in the rain
Looking for God in the canyon beyond
I was cocksure that I knew the way.

The thunderheads grew and the desert winds blew
Through the sage and the juniper trees
When the lightning bolt hit, I had to admit
That the journey begins on your knees.

I've been courted by canyons...

Whence comes the day, when it crumbles away
And the canyons lay down in the dirt?
And the rocks that have dwelled with things privately held
Split open and spill out their hearts?

Baptize me now if the water allows me to
Marry myself to the mud
As the red water flows in the banks of arroyos
I'll know I've been washed by the blood.

I've been courted by canyons...
Track Name: A Murder of Ravens
A murder of ravens waits in the wings
Folded like napkins, their black eyes are watching
The deer in the headlights, the screech of the brakes
The presence of prey, the absence of grace.
A murder of ravens, a roadside game
A murder that doesn't quite live up to it's name
They wait on the side, but they won't do the deed.
They're watching the wounded as they bleed.

A murder of ravens, a jury of peers
All of God's creatures are living in fear
Of the mind of the mob, the rule of the road
Of being picked clean down to the bones.

It's a game of survival without any rules
Scavengers starved for the stumbling of fools
They're only there to lighten your load
And leave the carcass by the side of the road

A murder of ravens slowly withdraws
Into the night with probable cause
It's a question that only nature reveals:
Are one man's misfortunes another man's meal?
Track Name: Julian
The evening sings with swallow's wings The morning brings the rain
All things shall be well again
So says Julian

Those ancient, wise and weary eyes
That watched the world above
That walked the marbled midnight skies
And'd thirst for heaven's love.

Oh, oh oh
When will we ever know
All things shall be well

The heart believes in mysteries
The mind believes in none
The eyes that see, o blessed be!
The light outshines the sun!

Ten thousand tired fugitives
Lonesome, on the run
With no less days to find our ways
Than when we've first begun

Oh, oh oh...

I cannot see the angels' wings
No matter how I try
Julian, she takes her hand
And peels back the sky

Oh, oh oh
In a little while we will know
All things shall be well