Live at the Red Clay Theater

by Jonathan Byrd

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about

recorded live at the Red Clay Theater in Duluth, GA, an Eddie Owens Presents event

credits

released January 27, 2015

beautiful live stereo mix by Shalom Aberle
Jonathan Byrd, guitar and vocals
Johnny Waken, everything else

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about

Jonathan Byrd Chapel Hill, North Carolina

“One of the top 50 songwriters of the last 50 years. ” — Chicago Tribune

“...a folk singer with the heart of a rock 'n' roll band.” — K. Oliver, Free Times.

Preacher's kid, Gulf war Navy veteran, seventh-generation North Carolinian, guitar flatpicker, award-winning iconoclastic and spiritual songwriter. An American treasure.
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Track Name: I Was An Oak Tree
I Was An Oak Tree - Jbyrd

I was an oak tree. It took a thousand years to grow.
I've seen kingdoms come and go.
I've seen the losers turned to lords and back again.
I held the rebels when they hung them from my limbs.
When men of fortune cast their futures on the sea,
that's when they came for me.

I was a slave ship under the standard of the cross,
a hallelujah holocaust.
Half were dead before we reached the other shore,
and the captain never saw the coming storm
that swept around the cape and took us by surprise.
Only eight survived.

I was a campfire, a pile of driftwood in the sand,
the only comfort in this land.
Eight hungry sailors roasted acorns that they'd found,
and left me burning as they stumbled toward the sound
of a church bell ringing out above the ocean's wind
and I was born again.

I am an oak tree, out along the wild Cape Fear,
and there is talk of freedom here.
Where is the kingdom that was here before I came?
Where have the people gone who only left their names?
A revolution's just a circle, after all,
and every kingdom falls.

I am an oak tree. If it takes a thousand years to grow,
I'll see kingdoms come and go.
Track Name: A Big Truck Brought It
Big Truck Brought It Rob Vaarmeyer

Keep your Kenworth running strong for regional, bulk, or hauling logs.
Air suspension's got a nice soft ride. Fairing's got a toolbox inside.
Piano-hinge doors stay quiet and square and that huck-bolted cab ain't going nowhere.
600 horses, charging straight and true, and it's aerodynamic, to save you fuel.

If you got, a big truck brought it.
If you want it, there's a big truck on it.

Picture a semi in your mind, flat-nosed grill, red oval sign.
The classic-looking semi, it was defined by the Peterbilt 389.
New model's got a sloped-grilled hood. That lets you see the road real good.
If you like that, that's just fine. Me, I drive a 389.

If you got, a big truck brought it.
If you want it, there's a big truck on it.

Air-braking haulers go by many names. They're all a little different, but one thing's the same-
whether Sterling, Mack, or Western Star, a big rig brought it to where you are.
If it's Freightliner, Eagle, Volvo, or Ford, Playboy mudflaps or Baby On Board,
hauling solid gold or a load of manure, a big truck brought it. You can be sure.

If you got, a big truck brought it.
If you want it, there's a big truck on it.
Track Name: Wild Ponies
Wild Ponies - Jbyrd

She had legs like daggers and eyes like oceans
and her heart locked up in a hard combination.
I took her to the island, to see the wild ponies.

See, I had a friend who had a concrete boat, -
it don't take as much as you might think to float-
and he lived out on the island with the wild ponies.

We made a fire in the live oak trees,
and listened to the pirate breeze blowing.
And wondered how a man could be
so far from home, and still know where he's going.

She drifted down from a shipwrecked town
and landed here on the Pamlico sound.
She'd heard out on the islands, there were wild ponies.

I gave all I could give to her:
a chance to see what she had heard
and a night out on the island with the wild ponies.

But she didn't stay here, like she didn't stay there,
always looking for somewhere a little greener.
Every time I see the ponies run-
scared and hungry, wild and young- I see her.

I heard somebody say she died
drinking one night on the ocean side,
swimming to freedom, like a wild pony.

I wish her well. I wish her peace.
It's got to be lonely to be so free,
always running, like a wild pony,
living your life like a wild pony.
Track Name: May The River Run Dry
May the River Run Dry Corin Raymond and Jonathan Byrd

Black crow lighting on your old, crooked tree
Where have you flown and whose bones did you see
May the river run dry if you lie
Mister, I won’t lie to you, I’ve flown to Mexico
I’ve flown to places only crows and outlaws know
May the river run dry if I lie
May the river run dry if I lie to you

You better shoulder your gun and prepare
Water and saddle your mare
There’s two riders coming; I can just see their dust in the air
Cross my heart and hope to die it’s true
May the river run dry if I lie to you

I looked out to the south and the crow said to me,
Devil’s Island Eddie and the Boone Kid are free
May the river run dry if I lie
Eddie’s blood is bad, so poisoned with pride
a rattlesnake bit him, crawled off and died
May the river run dry if I lie
May the river run dry if I lie to you

You better shoulder your gun and prepare
Water and saddle your mare
Look again now; even you’ll see their dust in the air
Sure as I was born to die it’s true
May the river run dry if I lie to you

The wind died, a shot rang, and all there was to see
was a black crow falling from his old, crooked tree
May the river run dry if I lie
It’s good to see you, Eddie, I just got the word
nobody knows but this black and twisted bird
May the river run dry if I lie
May the river run dry if I lie to you

Everything is prepared
I’ve watered and saddled the mares
We’ll wait here ‘til nightfall and tomorrow we’ll each have our share
Every man will get what he’s due
may the river run dry if I lie to you

sure as we were born to die it’s true
may the river run dry if I lie to you
Track Name: Coyote
Coyote

He hugged the brush and ran the ridge, dropped down and headed for the bridge. Quiet as the rising moon, I saw coyote.

The devil broke the rolling veil; a shadow rode along the rail. Black as the buzzard's wing, I saw coyote.

If you look down there, you’ll find a trace, a barbed-wire scar across the face. Fading like a midnight mile, I saw coyote.
Track Name: Lakota Sioux
Lakota Sioux Matt Fockler

Summer is changing. Fall is in the air.
The geese are in migration. You can hear them up there.
The prairie's golden brown. The leaves are falling down.
The fawns have lost their spots
and the temperature's dropping down.

It was a big day I suppose when the Indians chased the buffalo.
Across the prairie in herds they'd go, 'til the blood began to flow
and they went down.

We ain't got no time, no to waste no time.
We got a lot of lives we got to keep in line.
Pretty soon the snow's gonna fly. You don't feed them, your people gonna die.

It was a big day I suppose when the Indians chased the buffalo.
Across the prairie in herds they'd go, 'til the blood began to flow
and they went down.

They like to paint their face. They like to paint their paints.
They like to decorate everything up and celebrate.
They like to congregate in a beautiful place,
dress themselves in feathers and leathers and dream their fates.

It was a big day I suppose when the Indians chased the buffalo.
Across the prairie in herds they'd go, 'til the blood began to flow
and they went down.

Then the cavalry came to take their land away.
They lied and died and lost every battle but they got their way.
Then they took their souls when they took the buffalo.
They took their families blankets riddled with the pox, and so

it was a big day I suppose when Custer went in for the close
and found himself with his pants down as the Indians rode around
and cut him down.

We ain't got no time, no to waste no time.
We got a lot of lives we got to keep in line.
Pretty soon the snow's gonna fly. You don't feed them, your people gonna die.

It was a big day I suppose when the Indians chased the buffalo.
Across the prairie in herds they'd go, 'til the blood began to flow
and they went down.
Track Name: Pickup Cowboy
Pickup Cowboy

He's a pickup cowboy, crying up I-35.
He went and got his heart broke down in South Padre Island.
Now he's driving to Sioux Falls with two bald tires.
He's a pickup cowboy.

He's a lowly roller. He don't need much money,
living on buffalo jerky and tupelo honey,
and fishing for breakfast in the muddy Missouri.
He's a pickup cowboy.

Good dogs get better 'til they die, until they die.

He's an Indian summer back in South Dakota
sleeping in his tipi and living like a Lakota
with his long blond hair and his long blue yodel.
He's a pickup cowboy.
Track Name: We Used To Be Birds
We Used To Be Birds JByrd

You look at me. I look at you.
We used to be birds, navigating the night together.
You come to me. I come to you.
We used to be birds, calling out in the sky for each other.

Now here we are and no one knows we used to be birds.
It’s all there in the hinge of your hand, in the way we turn.
Did you ever wonder why you looked to the sky to find me?
I looked for you too and one day I knew we used to be birds.

You dance with me. I dance with you.
We used to be birds. Here’s a sweet little song to remind us.
You say my name. I say your name.
We used to be birds, on a branch in the night for the lovers to find us.

Now here we are and no one knows we used to be birds.
It’s all there in the hinge of my hand, in the way we turn.
Did you ever wonder why you looked to the sky to pray for me?
I prayed for you too and one day I knew we used to be birds.
Track Name: americana, acoustic, songwriter, flatpick, Jonathan Byrd, Johnny Waken, country, live recording - Poor Johnny
Poor Johnny Jbyrd

Poor Johnny at the bottom of the lake. Bottom of the lake, poor Johnny.
Poor Johnny at the bottom of the lake, boy went fishing and drownded.

I had a girl I loved the best. Bottom of the lake, poor Johnny.
Lord knows, Johnny could've loved the rest, but the boy went fishing and drownded.

I had a bottle of ninety proof. Bottom of the lake, Poor Johnny.
I'd take one drink, he'd take two, and the boy went fishing and drownded.

Johnny was using my good cane pole. Bottom of the lake, Poor Johnny.
Got so drunk that he couldn't keep ahold, and the boy went fishing and drownded.

Then what happened, I never could tell. Bottom of the lake, poor Johnny.
He never could handle his liquor well and the boy went fishing and drownded.
Track Name: The Fifth Wheel
The Fifth Wheel

The payphone is busted; I’m flat out disgusted.
I feel like the fifth wheel tonight.

I’m out on the weekend and you and me, we ain’t speakin’.
I feel like the fifth wheel tonight.

I don’t know where I’m goin’. I just keep on rollin’.

I love you. I miss you. I wish I was with you.
I feel like the fifth wheel tonight.
Track Name: Diana Jones
The Ballad of Diana Jones

Diana was a Cherokee, pretty as you'd ever see, with blue eyes and long, black hair and a wild streak from here to there. Reservation life was slow, so she packed her bags to go, moved to Georgia and took the name Diana Jones.
Diana ran the Dewdrop Inn, wily as a mountain cat, kept a room behind the bar for any man who needed that. People talk about her still, how she'd take a twenty-dollar bill and write across Jackson's face, "Diana Jones."

She brought all the gold in Georgia back shinin', twenty bucks at a time.

Harlan wore the badge in town; he was always hangin' 'round. Ever since Diana died, you hardly see him on this side. His wife used to come for him and drag him out of the Dewdrop Inn. It wasn't fit for a family man to know Diana Jones.
Diana made the front page news the night she went out on the loose, heartbroken with a gun in her hand and in love with a married man. Neighbors called the station scared; Harlan had to go down there. Something went wrong somewhere for Diana Jones.

She brought all the gold in Georgia back shinin', twenty bucks at a time.

No one knows what happened then between Diana and five armed men. Shots were fired and words were said- two men and Diana dead. Things went on, the way they do; the papers filled with other news. The wild died in Harlan, too, with Diana Jones.
I've only seen him one time since; he come into the Dewdrop Inn, bought all the old boys a round and went to lay his money down, gave a twenty-dollar bill a kiss and said, "I hate to part with this." Right across Jackson's face, it said, "Diana Jones."

She brought all the gold in Georgia back shinin', twenty bucks at a time.
Track Name: Starlight
Starlight Jonathan Byrd

He held a toothpick ‘tween his teeth, a mischievous carpenter.
She boarded the train and gave him a kiss, a tentative wanderer.

Star light, star bright, you’re the only star I’ve got tonight. Starlight.

He stroked her hair and showed her the dough, no more than bargainer.
She followed him back to the sleeping car, oh, Saint Christopher.

Star light, star bright, you’re the only star I’ve got tonight. Starlight.

That’ll get you all the way to Thunder Bay. Wait outside the Finlandia.
I know a man who'll give you a room. You don’t have to work for him.

Star light, star bright, you’re the only star I’ve got tonight. Starlight.

Train kept a-chuggin on through St. Paul, her face in the window,
drinking black coffee and cutting her hair on the white linoleum.

Star light, star bright, you’re the only star I’ve got tonight. Starlight.
Track Name: Do You Dream?
Do You Dream? Matt Fockler

Do you dream? Do your dreams come true?
What do you see? What do you do to make it happen?
Do you dream? Do your dreams come true?
What do you see? What do you do to make it happen?
I caught another one. I'll chase one down for you.
We're on another ride, a carnival for a few friends.
See things like they should be, stand up on our could be, and dream dreams.

Do you remember what it was like being a child,
not thinking about the hard things, just wide open wild,
playing night games in the neighborhood, playing like grownups should,
dreaming like there's no way you could these days?
I caught another one. I'll chase one down for you.
We're on another ride, a carnival for a few friends.
See things like they should be, stand up on our could be, and dream dreams.

Face the music and cope with the crowd.
Stand out somewhere and look at the clouds.
Fact of the matter, fair and square,
straightforward and honest, you got to dream like you care.
No fair to the middlin', my fair, weathered friend.
Don't fall between two stools. You're the friend of a friend,
falling head over heels, like I did for you,
right over backwards and into the truth.
I caught another one. I'll chase one down for you.
We're on another ride, a carnival for a few friends.
See things like they should be, stand up on our could be, and dream dreams.

Do you dream? Do your dreams come true?
What do you see? What do you do to make it happen?
Do you dream? Do your dreams come true?
What do you see? What do you do to make it happen?
Track Name: You Can't Outrun the Radio
You Can't Outrun The Radio- Jbyrd

I was driving out in Kansas
when I heard that song you love.
Big sunflowers, for all their graces,
turn their faces to the sun.
Son, you can't outrun the radio.

My friends tell me, "Move to Austin,
maybe Nashville, Tennessee."
If I can get back to North Carolina,
I'll let the music come to me.
See, you can't outrun the radio.

Even Dale Earnhardt. He was hell on the speedway.
He was a champion seven times.
He thought he'd make it one more five hundred,
and went four hundred and ninety-nine.
When it's time, you can't outrun the radio.

Now I'm laying in this hotel.
It's all uphill, to fall asleep.
I check the FM on the alarm clock,
and pray the Lord this lap to keep.
People, you can't outrun the radio.