Jason Isbell Southeastern

facebooktwittergoogle plus

Southeastern

Title : Southeastern
Release Date : June 11, 2013
  1. Cover Me Up
  2. Stockholm
  3. Traveling Alone
  4. Elephant
  5. Flying Over Water
  6. Different Days
  7. Live Oak
  8. Songs That She Sang In The Shower
  9. New South Wales
  10. Super 8
  11. Yvette
  12. Relatively Easy

 

Cover Me Up

 

A heart on the run keeps a hand on the gun you can’t trust anyone

I was so sure what I needed was more tried to shoot out the sun

Days when we raged, we flew off the page such damage was done

But I made it through, cause somebody knew I was meant for someone

 

Girl, leave your boots by the bed we ain’t leaving this room

Till someone needs medical help or the magnolias bloom

It’s cold in this house and I ain’t going out to chop wood

So cover me up and know you’re enough to use me for good

 

Put your faith to the test when I tore off your dress in Richmond on high

But I sobered up and I swore off that stuff forever, this time

And the old lovers sing “I thought it’d be me who helped him get home”

But home was a dream, one I’d never seen till you came along

 

Girl, hang your dress up to dry we ain’t leaving this room

Till Percy Priest breaks open wide and the river runs through

And carries this house on the stones like a piece of driftwood

Cover me up and know you’re enough to use me for good

 

Girl, leave your boots by the bed we ain’t leaving this room

Till someone needs medical help or the magnolias bloom

It’s cold in this house and I ain’t going out to chop wood

So cover me up and know you’re enough to use me for good

Cover me up and know you’re enough to use me for good

 

Stockholm

 

I’ve heard love songs make a Georgia man cry

On the shoulder of somebody’s Saturday night

Read the good book studied it, too

But nothing prepared me for living with you

 

Locked me up tight in these shackles I wear

Tied up the keys in the folds of your hair

and the difference with me is I used to not care

Stockholm, let me go home

 

Once a wise man to the ways of the world

Now I’ve traded those lessons for faith in a girl

Across the ocean, a thousand years from my home

In this frozen old city of silver and stone

 

Ships in the harbor and birds on the bluff

Don’t move an inch when their anchor goes up

And the difference with me is I’m falling in love

Stockholm, let me go home

Let me go home

 

And the night, so long

I used to pray for the daylight to come

Folks back home surely have called off the search

and gone back to their own

 

Ships in the harbor and birds on the bluff

Don’t move an inch when their anchor goes up

And the difference with me is I’m falling in love

Stockholm, let me go home

Let me go home

 

 

Traveling Alone

 

Mountain’s rough this time of year

They close the highway down

They don’t warn the town

I’ve been fighting second gear for fifteen miles or so,

Trying to beat the angry snow

I know every town worth passing through,

but what good does knowing do with no one to show it to

 

I’ve grown tired of traveling alone

Tired of traveling alone

I’ve grown tired of traveling alone

Won’t you ride with me, won’t you ride

 

I quit talking to myself

And listening to the radio a long, long time ago

Damn near strangled by my appetite

In Ybor City on a Friday night

Couldn’t even stand upright

So high, the street girls wouldn’t take my pay

She said come see me on a better day, and she just danced away

 

I’ve grown tired of traveling alone

Tired of traveling alone

I’ve grown tired of traveling alone

Won’t you ride with me, won’t you ride

 

Pain in the outside lane, I’m tired of answering to myself

Heart like a rebuilt part, I don’t know how much it’s got left

How much it’s got left

 

I’ve grown tired of traveling alone

Tired of traveling alone

I’ve grown tired of traveling alone

Won’t you ride with me, won’t you ride

 

 

 

 

 

Elephant

 

She said “Andy, you’re better than your past”

Winked at me and drained her glass

Cross-legged on a barstool like nobody sits anymore

She said “Andy you’re taking me home,”

but I knew she planned to sleep alone.

I’d carry her to bed, sweep up the hair from her floor

 

If I’d fucked her before she got sick I’d never hear the end of it

She don’t have the spirit for that now

We just drink our drinks and laugh out loud,

and bitch about the weekend crowd,

and try to ignore the elephant somehow

 

She said “Andy, you crack me up”

Seagram’s in a coffee cup

Sharecropper eyes, and the hair almost all gone

When she was drunk, she made cancer jokes

Made up her own doctors’ notes

Surrounded by her family, I saw that she was dying alone

 

But I’d sing her classic country songs and she’d get high and sing along

She don’t have a voice to sing with now

We burn these joints in effigy and cry about what we used to be,

And try to ignore the elephant somehow, somehow

 

I’ve buried her a thousand times, given up my place in line

but I don’t give a damn about that now

There’s one thing that’s real clear to me: No one dies with dignity

We just try to ignore the elephant somehow, somehow

 

Flying Over Water

 

From the sky, we look so organized and brave

Walls that make up barricades and graves

Daddy’s little empire, built by hands and built by slaves

From the sky, we look so organized and brave

In the heat, I saw you rising from the dirt

Drunken tears and tugging at your skirt

If only you could tell me then, what part of you got hurt

In the heat, I saw you rising from the dirt

 

Take my hand baby, we’re over land

I know flying over water makes you cry

Where’s that liquor cart, maybe we shouldn’t start,

but I can’t for the life of me say why

 

From the sky the highway’s straight as it could be

A string pulled tight from home to Tennessee

Still, somehow, those ditches took the better part of me

From the sky, the highway’s straight as it could be

 

Take my hand baby, we’re over land

I know flying over water makes you cry

Been in the sky so long, seems like the long way home,

but I can’t for the life of me say why

Did we leave our love behind

 

 

Different Days

 

Staring at the pictures of the runaways on the wall

Seems like, these days, you couldn’t run away at all

Even if you did, what you got to run away to

Just another drunk daddy with a white man’s point of view

I can see you in my mind’s eye, catching light

Sleep beside the river if we make it out of town tonight

You can strip in Portland from the day you turn sixteen

You got one thing to sell and benzodiazepine

Ten years ago I might have seen you dancing in a different light,

and offered up my help in different ways,

but those were different days

Those were different days

 

Had a girl back home and we shared her single bed

When I whispered in her ear, she believed every word I said

If she didn’t believe, she didn’t dare give me slack

Or it was “Baby, I love you, get off of my goddamn back”

Time went by and I left and I left again

Jesus loves a sinner but the highway loves a sin

My daddy told me, I believe he told me true that:

“The right thing’s always the hardest thing to do”

Ten years ago I might have stuck around for another night,

and used her in a thousand different ways,

but those were different days

Those were different days

 

And the story’s only mine to live and die with

The answer’s only mine to come across,

but the ghosts that I got scared and I got high with

look a little lost

 

Ten years ago I might have thought I didn’t have the right

To say the things an outlaw wouldn’t say,

But those were different days

Those were different days

 

Live Oak

 

There’s a man who walks beside me he is who I used to be,

and I wonder if she sees him and confuses him with me

And I wonder who she’s pining for on nights I’m not around

Could it be the man who did the things I’m living down

 

I was rougher than the timber shipping out of Fond du Lac

When I headed south at seventeen, the sheriff on my back

I’d never held a lover in my arms or in my gaze,

So I found another victim every couple days

But the night I fell in love with her, I made my weakness known

To the fighters and the farmers digging dusty fields alone

The jealous innuendos of the lonely-hearted men

Let me know what kind of country I was sleeping in

Well you couldn’t stay a loner on the plains before the war

When my neighbors took to slightin’ me, I had to ask what for

Rumors of my wickedness had reached our little town

Soon she’d heard about the boys I used to hang around

We’d robbed a great-lakes freighter, killed a couple men aboard

When I told her, her eyes flickered like the sharp steel of a sword

All the things that she’d suspected, I’d expected her to fear

Was the truth that drew her to me when I landed here

 

There’s a man who walks beside me he is who I used to be,

And I wonder if she sees him and confuses him with me

And I wonder who she’s pining for on nights I’m not around

Could it be the man who did the things I’m living down

 

Well I carved her cross from live oak and her box from short-leaf pine,

and buried her so deep, she’d touch the water table line

And picked up what I needed and I headed south again

To myself, I wondered, “Would I ever find another friend”

 

There’s a man who walks beside her, he is who I used to be,

and I wonder if she sees him and confuses him with me

 

Songs That She Sang In The Shower

 

On a lark, on a whim,

I said “There’s two kinds of men in this world and you’re neither of them”

And his fist cut the smoke

I had an eighth of a second to wonder if he got the joke

In the car headed home

She asked if I had considered the prospect of living alone

With a steak held to my eye

I had to summon the confidence needed to hear her goodbye,

And another brief chapter without any answers blew by

 

And the songs that she sang in the shower are stuck in my head

Like ‘Bring Out Your Dead,’ ‘Breakfast In Bed’

And experience robs me of hope that she’ll make it back home

So I’m stuck on my own

I’m stuck on my own

 

In a room by myself

Looks like I’m here with the guy that I judge worse than anyone else

So I pace, and I pray, and I repeat the mantras that might keep me clean for the day

 

And the songs that she sang in the shower all ring in my ears

Like ‘Wish You Were Here,” How I wish you were here

And experience robs me of hope that you’ll ever return,

So I breathe and I burn

I breathe and I burn

 

And the church bells are ringing for those who are easy to please

And the frost on the ground probably envies the frost on the trees

 

And the songs that she sang in the shower are stuck in my mind

Like ‘Yesterday’s Wine,’ Like ‘Yesterday’s Wine’

And experience tells me that I’ll never hear them again

Without thinking of then, without thinking of then

 

New South Wales

Here we sit

Across the table from each other

A thousand miles from both our mothers,

Barely old enough to rust

Here we sit

Pretending both our hearts are anchors

Taking candy from these strangers

Amidst the diesel and the dust

 

And here we sit

Singing words nobody taught us

Drinking fire, and spitting sawdust,

Trying to teach ourselves to breathe

We haven’t yet,

But every chorus brings us closer

Every flyer and every poster

Gives a piece of what we need

 

And the sand that they call cocaine cost you twice as much as gold

You’d be better off to drink your coffee black

But I swear, the land it listened to the stories that we told

God bless the busted boat that brings us back

 

Morning’s rough

It don’t give a damn about the mission

Has no aesthetic or tradition,

Only lessons never learned

And I’d had enough

About a month ago tomorrow

Parting holds no trace of sorrow

For the bitter and the burned

 

And the piss they call tequila even Waylon wouldn’t drink

Well I’d rather sip this Listerine I packed

But I swear, we’ve never seen a better place to sit and think

God bless the busted ship that brings us back

 

And the sand that they call cocaine cost you twice as much as gold

You’d be better off to drink your coffee black

But I swear, the land it listened to the stories that we told

God bless the busted boat that brings us back

 

Super 8

 

Don’t wanna die in a Super 8 motel,

Just because somebody’s evening didn’t go so well

If I ever get back to Bristol,

I’m better off sleeping in the county jail

Don’t wanna die in a Super 8 motel

 

Having such a sweet night audience was just right drinking like a pirate do

Don’t wanna sleep yet buddy, it’s a good bet, I’ll raise more hell than you

Do a couple rails and chase your own tail and talk about the bad ole days

Tremor in a tee shirt telling me her heart hurt honey, let me count the ways

Then a big boy busted in, screaming at his girlfriend, waving ’round a fungo bat

Bass player stepping up brandishing a coffee cup he took it in the baby fat

 

I don’t wanna die in a Super 8 motel,

Just because somebody’s evening didn’t go so well

If I ever get back to Bristol,

I’m better off sleeping in the county jail

I don’t wanna die in a Super 8 motel

 

Finally got the room clear bleeding from my left ear feeling pretty bad for the maid

Lost a couple drinks and my dinner in the sink and I woke up with the bed still made

Wasn’t quite morning I wasn’t quite breathing my heart, way up in my throat

Girl starts screaming and the maid starts screaming and it looks like it’s all she wrote

Well, they slapped me back to life and they telephoned my wife and they filled me full of Pedialyte

Saw my guts, saw my glory it would make a great story if I ever could remember it right

 

I don’t wanna die in a Super 8 motel,

Just because somebody’s evening didn’t go so well

If I ever get back to Bristol,

I’m better off sleeping in the county jail

I don’t wanna die in a Super 8 motel

 

 

Yvette

 

I can barely make out a little light from the house on the cul-de-sac

A bedroom upstairs, it’s a family affair

 

I’ve watched you in class, your eyes are cut glass and you stay covered up

Head to your toes, so nobody will notice you

 

I might not be a man yet, but that bastard will never be

So I’m cleaning my Weatherby

I sight in my scope, and I hope against hope, I hope against hope

 

Your mother seems nice, I don’t understand why she won’t say anything

As if she can’t see who he turned out to be

 

I might not be a man yet, but your father will never be

So I load up my Weatherby

I let out my breath, and I couple with death, I couple with death

 

Saw your father last night, in the window the light made a silhouette

Saw him hold you that way, he won’t hold you that way anymore, Yvette

 

Relatively Easy

 

Are you having a long day

Everyone you meet rubs you the wrong way

Dirty city streets smell like an ashtray

Morning bells are ringing in your ears

 

Is your brother on a church kick

Seems like just a different kind of dopesick

Better off to teach a dog a card trick

Than try to have a point and make it clear

 

You should know, compared to people on a global scale,

Our kind has had it relatively easy

And here with you there’s always something to look forward to

My angry heart beats relatively easy

 

I lost a good friend,

At Christmastime when folks go off the deep end

His woman took the kids and he took Klonopin

Enough to kill a man of twice his size

Not for me to understand

Remember him when he was still a proud man

A vandal’s smile, a baseball in his right hand

Nothing but the blue sky in his eyes

 

Still, compared to those a stones-throw away from you,

Our lives have both been relatively easy

Take a year and make a break there ain’t that much at stake

The answers could be relatively easy

 

Watch that lucky man walk to work again

He may not have a friend left in the world

See him walking home again to sleep alone

I step into a shop to buy a postcard for a girl

 

I broke the law, boys,

Shooting out the windows of my loft, boys

When they picked me up, I made a big noise

Everything to blame except my mind

 

I should say, I keep your picture with me every day

The evenings now are relatively easy

And here with you there’s always something to look forward to

My lonely heart beats relatively easy

 

© 2013 Jason Isbell