Wildflowers

by Jonathan Byrd

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Debut record

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released January 1, 2001

Robbie Link, bass
John Boulding, banjo and dobro
Tim Stambaugh, backing vocals
Rex McGhee, fiddle
Bill Hicks, fiddle
Charles Pettee, mandolin
recorded, mixed and mastered at The Rubber Room by Jerry Brown
produced by Jonathan Byrd

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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: Wildflowers
I'm going down to the railroad tracks and see if I can hitch a ride on the 939.
You don't know; I might never be back. I'll see you in that town all the way at the end of the line.

Wildflowers bloom every spring, every spring
even in the high desert sun.
I hear your voice when a bluebird sings.
I see your face on everyone.

Arkansas was wet and gray. After a rain, you know the fields in the delta really shine.
Every drop's a reminder of the silver tears in the eyes of the girl I left behind.

Wildflowers bloom every spring, every spring
even in the high desert sun.
I hear your voice when a bluebird sings.
I see your face on everyone.

The sun has risen and the sun has set. Would you believe that we are in Texas still?
Blooms to the east and a fire to the west, the painted plain with nary a valley nor a hill.

Wildflowers bloom every spring, every spring
even in the high desert sun.
I hear your voice when a bluebird sings.
I see your face on everyone.

California, here I come. The western sun is no closer than when I begun.
I've been chasing this foolish dream and now I am the fool to have left my one and only one.

Wildflowers bloom every spring, every spring
even in the high desert sun.
I hear your voice when a bluebird sings.
I see your face on everyone.
Track Name: Eli's Cotton Gin
California farm town. The end of the day. You can smell the feed lot ten miles away. If I had a dollar for every head out there, I'd be in Pebble Beach smoking herb like a millionaire.

Smoke from a tractor, dust from the ground. Be nigh on two weeks, it'll still be around. Outside Fresno, it's flat all day. If it was clear as a bell you couldn't see nothin' anyway.

From Gilroy to Sequoia, there's enough work to be done to keep a fella like me busy 'til kingdom come. If you stood on the back of my combine, you'd still never see the end of the San Joaquin and Eli's cotton gin.

People everywhere, I can understand. You're hard working folks. I'm a hard working man. With our lives and with our hands, we feed the land to feed the land.
Track Name: Velma
Wind in the cypress, sand on the ground
Fallin' down Velma, fallin' down
The daughter of a farmer, she ran away to town
Fallin' down Velma, fallin' down

You poisoned your mama, then you watched her fall
Your medicine is calling, can't you hear your medicine call?

You married my granddaddy. Him I never knew.
About the time he met me was about the time he met you.

The you killed Stuart Taylor. Someone had to know.
Every man you been with, one by one they go.

Once you take to killing, your life ain't never the same.
Now they have your number. Now they know your name.
Track Name: Sandy Mush
In the middle of July with the grass growing high and the dusty blueberries on the bush, I met a girl who was prettier than pearls in the sweet mountain hills of Sandy Mush. Sandy Mush, Sandy Mush, dusty berries on the bush in the sweet mountain hills of Sandy Mush.

I had come to this land to make a living with my hands and find a valley green and lush. I would work through the years, save my blood, sweat, and tears and find me a home in Sandy Mush. Sandy Mush, Sandy Mush, a valley green and lush in the sweet mountain hills of Sandy Mush.

Her will was strong. Her eyes were like a song and her voice was as sweet as a thrush. I asked her in the spring if she would wear my ring and bear me a child in Sandy Mush. Sandy Mush, Sandy Mush, a voice like a thrush in the sweet mountain hills of Sandy Mush.

If your father says yes, I'll be filled with happiness and I'll pick you a rose to match your blush. If your father says no, then away I will go and I'll tarry no more in Sandy Mush. Sandy Mush, Sandy Mush, a rose to match your blush or I'll tarry no more in Sandy Mush.

Well my father has heard you're a man of your word and when the berries again are on the bush, in this green valley mild I will bear you a child, a beautiful child in Sandy Mush. Sandy Mush, Sandy Mush, when the berries are on the bush I will bear you a child in Sandy Mush.

Sandy Mush, Sandy Mush, a rose to match your blush and a beautiful child in Sandy Mush.
Track Name: Golden Glow of Autumn
Empty branches scrape the sky so clean. Wintry fingers claw the clouds on high. It's been a year since I kissed you hello in the eaves with the porch light low in the golden glow of autumn.

Cattle come inside to sleep at night. Bales of hay laying warm and dry. It's been a year since I laid with you. There is no time when your love is new in the golden glow of autumn.

By the river where your child was born, the corn was green and the sun was warm. There were hawks hanging in the sky from the sweltering heat of July to the golden glow of autumn.
Track Name: Tinytown
Here in a tiny town, you can take a look around, we got lots of little things to do. You can drive in your tiny car, have a drink in a tiny bar, eat a little plate of barbecue.

Lazaro is a barber and he plays the bass guitar. He used to live in Austin. He made a living playing in bars. He likes to garden and it suits him just fine in a tiny town, growing columbine.

Charlene is the florist and she runs the B&B. Her kids are in college now. Her husband's in Tennessee. Ever since her daddy died, here mama's lived in the home, in a tiny town, fading away alone.

Tinytown has got nothing to keep Charlene in a tiny town. She's got a big sky dream. When her mama dies, she'll sell the house and store, and a tiny town will see Charlene no more.

Lazaro and Charlene been hanging out since fall. They been seen kissing behind the ballpark wall. Charlene's mama died this morning before the sun. In a tiny town, the heartache has just begun.

You can't grow no peaches in Montana, but it's lovely as a dove in the snow. I ain't got no money, but I'm handy with a hammer. Can I go Charlene, can I go?

Here in a tiny town, you can take a look around, we got lots of nothing here to do. You can drive in your tiny car, have a drink in a tiny bar, eat another plate of barbecue. Another stinkin' plate of barbecue.
Track Name: Ashe County Fair
I have traveled from afar just to go to the Ashe County Fair.
Last night I slept out under the stars. Today I'll be at the Ashe County Fair.

Last year i met a beauty there. Her arms were brown and her face was fair. There were seven roses pinned in her hair. She sold pies at the Ashe County Fair.

I bought more than I could eat just to talk to a girl so sweet with her eyes like water and her hair like wheat, blowing around at the Ashe County Fair.

I asked her if she could go with me. She said, "My dear boy, that never could be.My mother's dead and my family needs me to sell my pies at the Ashe County Fair.

I knew right then that I must return or my heart would always yearn for her golden voice in my memory burned, above the noise at the Ashe County Fair.

I sold my cabin and a parcel of land. Bartered away for a small golden band. It was just right for a pie cooking hand, to pledge my love at the Ashe County Fair.

The winter last was long and cold. The fever took both the young and the old. County Ashe was hit hard I am told. This year there'll be no Ashe County Fair.

I spent a long day searching the town. Late afternoon, 'twas her father I found. He said, "I buried my girl in the hard, frozen ground in the field under the Ashe County Fair."

The wedding band, it weighed heavy like a stone. I left it to lay on her grave overgrown. I left my heart to be buried with her bones in the field under the Ashe County Fair.

Now I ramble this country wide. Maybe someday I will take a bride. Then perhaps I shall be satisfied, but for the memory of the Ashe County Fair.
Track Name: The Sparrow
When I was a sparrow flying low, I'd fill the wind with song wherever I'd go. When you saw me in the sky, you said, "I wish that I could fly," when I was a sparrow flying low.

When I was a catfish in your pond, hiding out behind the ferny fronds, when you saw me in my lair, you said, "I wish I could live there," when I was a catfish in your pond.

When I was a fire in your soul, whispered into prayer soft and low, then i heard you calling me like a beacon on the sea, when I was a fire in your soul.

Now that I'm a man standing tall, heeding to your lonesome lover's call, would it make you feel as free to live here on this earth with me, now that I'm your man standing tall?
Track Name: Mama
Mama, you know I done wrong. I never go to church. I'm always smoking reefer and I'm bound to get hurt.

I never get tired of the road. You never get no sleep. As long as people dance, your whiskey is free.

When I'm in the city y'know it's hard to find smoke, but if you live in the country, you best give up all your hope.

When I'm in the country, I can pay my bills, but if you live in Richmond, they don't let you keep no still.
Track Name: Molly Dear
Once I lived in old Virginia. North Carolina I did go. There I met a fair young maiden, though her age I did not know. Her hair was dark. Here eyes were sparkling. Cheeks were like rubies red. On her breast she wore white lilies, where I longed to lay my head.

Molly dear, go ask your mother a bride of mine you'll ever be. If she says no, come back and tell me and no more will I trouble thee. No I won't go ask my mother. She lies on her bed of rest. In her hand she holds a dagger to kill the one that I love best.

Last night as I laid on my pillow, last night as I laid on my bed, last night as I laid on my pillow, I dreamed that fair young girl was dead. Go on and leave me if you wish to for from me you will be free, for in your heart you love another and in my grave I'd rather be.
Track Name: The Cider Song
Up on this mountain, you can see for miles. You can see the silo on the hill. There's Little House and Big House and the valley down below. I got myself a press and a cider mill.

I'll never sell my cider nor keep it for my own. C'mon everybody. Taste these apples that I've grown.

I've got a wife and a little baby boy, a couple of jobs back in town. It's getting cold. It's that time of the year and I got apples laying on the ground.

Every year when the goldenrod's in bloom, I know harvest time is coming soon. My daddy taught me to harvest by the signs and always keep one eye on the moon.

Next thing that I make has got to be a still. i could make my own brandywine. I never have to worry about the revenue. I could go out on the highway with a sign.
Track Name: Her Eyes Were Green
Once I loved a farm girl only seventeen. She was old enough for me. She would bring me water from her daddy's spring to my shanty down in Cherokee.

Once her daddy found out she was coming 'round. I never did see her again. I tried to send a letter. I walked it into town. I tried to send a message by a friend.

Her eyes were green. Her eyes were green, green as the moss by a mountain stream. I see her always in my dreams and her eyes were green.

In the darkness of the nighttime, in the heat of the day, in the damp of the early morning dew, I miss you so badly, I love you so true. I weep and mourn, I weep and mourn for you.

Early one morning, I came to my door. There was a basket waiting there for me. Wrapped in a shawl that my lover wore, a pretty baby boy in Cherokee.

His eyes were green. His eyes were green, green as the moss by a mountain stream. My darling son, my wildest dream, and his eyes were green.

In the bottom was a letter, a desperate plea, "Take my boy and go to Tennessee. My father and my uncles will come to Cherokee. Go to Knoxville, my love, and wait for me."

Out by the springhouse it was half past ten. Her daddy heard somebody in the night. He shouted his warning. He shouted again. He took his aim and then he took her life.

Her eyes were green. Here eyes were green, green as the moss by a mountain stream. I see her always in my dreams and her eyes were green.
Track Name: Robena
Change is God's way of letting you know you've got somewhere to go. You can spin in these yellow circles or you can flow. I hope you flow and I hope you know that I love you, Robena.

It's such a lonely place to be. It feels like nobody knows. You can shrink until you disappear or you can grow. I hope you grow and I hope you know that I love you, Robena.

The only chains that are stronger than love are the chains of tragedy. You can drag that ball behind you or you can be free. I hope you're free and I hope you see that I love you Robena.