Lyrics for Sweet Mortality
copyright Harvey Swanson 2009, all rights reserved


1.Skipping Stones (4:02)

Harvey Swanson: acoustic guitar, vocals
Lino: electric guitars, electric slide, bass, keys, acoustic solo guitar Billy Kelleher: drums, percussion

goin’ home
takin’ the shortcut
sometimes, can take a little longer
skipping stones
getting’ sidetracked
there you go, just like you belong there


out in the open
beyond the highways
above the clouds, out of mind
free floatin’
through empty space
in the holes that riddle time


skipping stones, skipping school
making waves, breaking rules
spinning, skimming ‘cross the surface of a pool
a series of circles
concentric, synchronized
waves from the past
and the future collide


goin’ home
takin’ the backroads
losin’ track of time
skipping stones
gone fishin’
skippin’ school with Albert Einstein
changin’ scenes
from a slow train
me and Al on the rock island line
his eyes gleamed
as he explained
right now there is no time


skippin’ stones, dancing over graves
dust and bones, numbered and weighed
spinning, skimming along the edge of a wave
a series of circles, concentric, synchronized
waves from the past and the future collide


goin’ home
goin’ to the highlands
let the clear wind blow my mind
skippin’ stones
hoppin’ islands
‘cross the ocean of time


2. All Ready (3:09)

Harvey Swanson: acoustic guitar, vocals
Lino: electric guitars and slide, bass keys
Jo Booser: violin
Billy Kelleher: drums, percussion
Sharon Grant: background vocals


the canyon exhales
a deep cold breath
a shivering, relieving sigh
filling the breeze
with the memory of death
and the life that comes after we die
seasons changing, all ready


the leaves in the wind
have lived and have been
the breath of life all summer long
sister seed, mother tree
sweet earth come to me
and carry my spirit along
i’m feeling lighter, all ready


chorus:
the seasons change and the earth spins around
the elements rise and return to the ground
‘round and ‘round and ‘round and around
i’m getting dizzy all ready


the fruits from the trees
the roots and the leaves
feed our bodies and spirit and mind
life from the earth
runs deep and springs forth
spiraling, circling ‘round
i’m feeling stronger all ready


we’ll each reach our fate
some sooner than late
a moment suspended in time
between you and me
and the leaves in the breeze
eternity suites me just fine
i’m feeling freer all ready


(chorus repeats twice)


3. Lighten The Load (4:40)

Harvey Swanson: acoustic guitars, vocals, harmonica
Lino: electric guitars, bass, keys
Bryan Teal: dobro
Sharon Grant: background vocals

when I’s a kid we walked the railroad tracks
me and some of my friends
walked half the day and then walked back
wonderin’ if it ever ends
now when I hear that distant whistle
and the grinding heavy steel
i feel my freedom crushin’
under the weight of my wheels
lighten the load
live and let go

i can be my own worst enemy
dead with one shot
worse than any evil arch rival
givin’me the best that he’s got
i can be my own holy savior nailed to a tree
sacrificed for love, to set my soul free
there’s a long, winding freight train, ahead of its time
goin’west, into the sunset, over the great divide
with box cars of phantom hoboes
flat cars stacked with scrap
this old engine’s overloaded
gotta get rid of this crap
lighten the load
live and let go

you can be my own sweetest dream
draggin’ baggage out of my past
dust off that nostalgia, throw it in the trash
sweep out the cobwebs, the fear and the confusion
kick out the bullshit, anger and illusion
lighten the load

the boxcars were rockin’ slowly
as I hopped on the train
the fireman was shovelin’ coal
he was feedin’ the hungry flames
the engineer blow the whistle
on all those empty platform ghosts
goodnight, farewell my love
i’m headin’ for the coast
there’s a long winding freight train
ahead of it’s time
goin’west, into the sunset
over the great divide
the engineer and the fireman
and the brakeman all agree
we got to toss off this excess
baggage we don’t need
lighten the load

i can be my own worst enemy
dead with one shot
found out...in the Open
lost...in a thought


4. Primal Therapy (2:34)

Harvey Swanson: acoustic guitar, vocals
Lino: electric guitars and slide, bass
Jo Booser: violin
Billy Kelleher: drums, percussion

I could scream at the top of my lungs
to breathe some life into this song
but my actions would scream louder
sayin’watch your tongue
and keep on carryin’ on

crossin’ the line
crossin’ the great divide
tear down the borders
there’s nothin’ to hide
I’ll be you and you be me
and we can all be us
and keep on carryin’ on

nothin’ to hide, no reason no more
spill my guts all over the floor
I make a mess, I clean it up
sit back and kick off my shoes
and keep on carryin’ on

there’s a monkey, he’s lookin’ for you
he’s got a potion, he’s got a magic brew
hold your nose and take a dose
and the rest is up to you
to keep on carryin’ on

repeat first verse


5. The Bitterroot Blooms (1:06)

Harvey Swanson: acoustic guitar, vocals
Jo Booser: violin
Bryan Teal: dobro

the bitterroot loves to bloom
in the rockiest, driest places
a warm and loving heart
will shine in the darkest night

an ugly frown can drown
even the prettiest faces
and all the books and schools in Boston
might not teach you wrong from right

life is a paradox
like a mismatched pair of socks
one following the other
though they be different colors
each one steppin’
where the other one's not


6. Lead Balloons (4:08)

Harvey Swanson: acoustic guitar, vocals
Lino: electric guitars, bass
Jo Booser: violin
Billy Kelleher: drums, percussion

livin’ in a time, with too much of too little
a Christmas surprise, a million dollar riddle
an empty box with a bow, the highs and lows
and nothin’ left in the middle
up and downs, there’s no way around ‘em
try to lose these blues, now that you found ‘em
easier said than done, when you’re the one
who’s cornered and surrounded

chorus:
I ain’t out to bust anybody’s bubble
or cause anyone anymore trouble
than they already got
no that’s not what
is the object of my desire
I’m just singin’ a tune about lead balloons
wishing you and yours a fine bonjour
and hopin’ that we all get higher

my garage is too small for my big new car
the ashtray’s too little for my big cigar
on the road to success I’ll be lookin’my best
if I ever get that far

it’s more than enough to drive anybody crazy
no if , and or buts, yes, nos, or maybes
put you right on the spot take all that you’ve got
showin’ just what it is that you’re made of
I’ll be bringin’ a broom, sweepin’ up the room
wipin’ all the fears from all of the mirrors
and hopin’we get free from what we’re afraid of

to hell in a basket to heaven on wings
on credit, on sale, we be buyin’ our dreams
and sellin’ our soul for its weight in gold
that cannot be redeemed

repeat chorus


7. On And On (Jerry’s Song) (3:12)

Harvey Swanson: acoustic guitar, vocals
Lino: electric guitars, bass
Jo Booser: violin
Bill Kelleher: drums percussion

with most peculiar timing
the comings and goings of us all
revelations from a post mortem avatar
the full force of one’s existence
arrives after they’re gone
unassuming bliss, unbearable burden

a turning point
the cause and effect blows my mind
the more I think of it
the more it sinks in
the bigger it becomes
what ends and begins


ritual, transformation
dancing in the shadows
between mortality and eternity
ever rippling, never fading away

this huge emotional wave
felt even by the uninitiated
and the unaware feel magic in the air
it’s rainin’ love
i can feel it runnin’ down my face
watering the seeds of compassion and grace
that were planted by a man
in the songs that he sang
in the life that he lived
and in the love that he gave

long live the dead
in our dancing bones
in our bodies and souls,
in our hearts and our homes
in our children that grow
and have children of their own
we go on and on and on


8. The Rumor(3:41)

Harvey Swanson: acoustic 12 string guitar, vocals
Lino: electric guitars and slide, bass, keys
Bryan Teal: dobro
Billy Kelleher: drums and percussion
Sharon Grant: background vocals

the naked king parades through the wings
waving at the whispering crown
they’ve noticed their king isn’t wearing a thing
but they dare not say it too loud
somebody told me, somebody told them
then someone said we’re all free
to say what we think, be what we feel
whatever we think we will be
there’s a rumor goin’ round
there’s a pretty big change in the wind
something’s goin down
something’s comin’ to an end

chorus:
and we can watch it all in slow motion
we’ll watch it like we’ve seen it before
we can see it through bars on our windows
or we can see it through an open door

as the rumor grows, everybody knows
the clues to the mystery
and as the story unfolds, time will expose
all of those who stole history

there’s a rumor goin’ round, it’s all over town
there’s a pretty big change in the wind
you can feel something shiftin’
something rising up lifting
something goin’ down
something coming to an end

chorus


9. The Junkie’s Reflection (4:03)

Harvey Swanson: acoustic guitar, vocals
Lino: electric guitars, bass, keys
Jo Booser: violin and flute
Billy Kelleher: drums, percussion

the junkie’s reflection says
he’s got nothin’ up his sleeve
but the tracks of his addiction
leadin’ him to believe
he’s got a right to be wrong
he’s got a license to deceive
in that house of mirrors so long
he’ll be the last one to leave,
he’ll make mistakes and he’ll have some regrets,
he’ll take it down to the wire
chasin’ dragons through those flaming hoops
breathin’, eatin’, playin’with fire

stranger than fiction, is anyone surprised
like pullin’ teeth, like puttin’ out eyes
wait a minute, i hear a wisperin’ in the dark
smell of gasoline i see flickering sparks
the world’s exploding with thought and ideas
bombs and guns hunger and disease
love and compassion put you down on your knees
pray for mercy from your favorite god

didn’t feel a thing, comfortably numb
happened so slowly, we didn’t see it comin’
endless suggestions, the truth and the lies
tthe final question , will ask us all ‘why?’
wise men say the answer is love
within, without, below and above
shit hits the fan push comes to shove
you know that you can count on your love

need some fresh air, need a cool drink of water
need an oasis soon, I can’t crawl much farther
hidin’ from the sun, runnin’ from the rain
drive me inside, drive me insane
it’s a fine line ‘tween madness and genius
a trip wire that’s stretched out between us
if you see Ma, please tell her you seen us
we’re thinkin’ ‘bout her all the time

bound to happen, bound to be
everybody’s bound for glory
good intentions, pavin’ the way
changing stones everyday
we’ll make mistakes, and we’ll have some regrets
we’ll take it down to the wire
chasin’ dragons through those flaming hoops
breathin’, eatin’, playing with fire.


10. Sweet Mortality (4:27)

Harvey Swanson: acoustic 12 string guitar, vocals
Lino: electric guitars, acoustic solo, bass, keys
Jo Booser: violin
Billy Kelleher: drums, percussion
Sharon Grant: background vocals

a small group of travelers follow their reason
reaping and sowing in and out of the season
caught a ride with a trickster, who was dying of thirst
won’t be last and it’s far from the first
planters and pickers, harvesting fruit
crossed the desert with the devil and died in their boots
ah sweet mortality
caught in a game, caught in the greed
caught in a box, caught in the cold
caught a slow train back from Mexico

a small group of soldiers patrolling the front
wide-eyed and wet eared, green rookie grunts
trained to be warriors, licensed to kill
invading, insurging, firing at will
breathing blood and shrapnel in a bright warm glow
what hit ‘em hard was what they did not know
ah sweet mortality
caught in a lie, caught in a scheme
caught in the crossfire, caught on the spot
caught a ride home in a flag covered box

a small group of runners in a sad sunken city
hardened by hunger, fed up with false pity
the law of the jungle, chaos in action
blood rushes the head, venom fills the vacuum
fly-over, drive-by, somebody’s gonna die
hot, angry metal flies, reach for the sky
sweet mortality
caught in a flood, caught up a tree
caught on camera, caught it in the head
caught stealin’, caught dead

a small group of climbers ascending a slope
with biscuits and water and a bundle of hope
‘cross the face, between glaciers,
‘neath a steep rocky slide
the whole earth rumbled, there was nowhere to hide
Buddha grabbed Mohammed
as he reached to save Jesus
they rolled with boulders, flew over the treetops
they were gone, sweet mortality
caught in a thought, caught in a breeze
caught in the moment, caught in the wind
catch yourself being where you’ve never been

tribes and nations, driven refugees
cast into exile, hunger and disease
banished and destitute, born into war
child slave soldiers live and die by the sword
a cycle of suffering with paupers and kings
spinning the web with our grand imaginings
ah sweet mortality
caught in the web, caught on your knees
caught in a pinch, caught in a hole
caught where you thought you’d never go

down a hard highway, up a soft garden path
sweet wine of redemption from the grapes of wrath
glowing in the moment, fading in the past
visions of the future that will always last
time is an angel with a glistening blade
on its razor’s edge our lives are laid
ah sweet mortality
catchin’ a breath, caught in a sneeze
caught in the act, caught with a smile
catch you later, after a while....