The Brag and Cuss

Release date: June 19, 2007
Record label: Barsuk / Second Nature Recordings
Formats: CD/LP/MP3

Buy it:
Official Rocky Votolato Store | Amazon | iTunes

Track List:
1. Lilly White
2. Postcard From Kentucky
3. Before You Were Born
4. The Wrong Side Of Reno
5. Red Dragon Wishes
6. The Blue Rose
7. Your Darkest Eyes
8. Time Is A Debt
9. Whiskey Straight
10. The Old Holland
11. Silver Trees

Lyrics:

LILLY WHITE

christmas parties and all night fights / I remember you sweet-talking to me beneath the strung up lights / those days are gone now I know I had everything to do with that, because I’ve never been afraid of dying, never done much to avoid it / these memories still keep me up at night / on my way back from a place of no recovering / bleeding on my knuckles again / fighting a fight I can’t win / broken teeth and broken nose and ten years at the bottom of a bottle / will you help me find my way back home / the halls in this place you can hear ’em scream / ’cause they had to watch and listen to the people and the voices of what they’d seen / I can’t hear anything and all I can see / is a memory of your smile your necklace, pistol locket on a silver chain / hold on too tight, you’ll lose everything / on my way back from a place of no recovering / bleeding on my knuckles again / fighting a fight I can’t win / broken teeth and broken nose and ten years at the bottom of a bottle / will you help me find my way back home

POSTCARD FROM KENTUCKY

Jack Daniels in one hand / Basic Light in the other / my two best friends for so long that I can’t even remember / the blood of Christ is dripping into the eyes of the world again / on a horse it seems headless / no telling where we’re going / maybe you can turn it around you say, “shut up, you’re crazy, you can’t go back in time” / I know but the rain it haunts my mind / if you knew what it meant to keep your heart the same / I swear to god you’d have tried harder not to change / filling station 2am / I’m filling out a postcard again, laughing and remembering what you said, “you’re lucky you’re still breathing” / hell I’m ready for what waits / return my body to the leaves / with your ghost singing me to sleep I can hear the melody sing maybe you can still turn it around / you say, “shut up, you’re crazy, you can’t go back in time” / I know but the rain it haunts my mind / if you knew what it meant to keep your heart the same / I swear to god you’d have tried harder not to change

BEFORE YOU WERE BORN

if I asked real sweet would you take a ride with me / we’ll drive down streets that no one else has ever seen / in red bucket seats with a stereo from 1953 / I knew you before you were born / and I’ve seen an ending worth waiting for / under blankets of maps to keep us warm / mile markers made out of rows of white birch trees / lead me to black velvet dressed in silver rings / just like you and me some things are meant to be / I knew you before you were born / and I’ve seen an ending worth waiting for / under blankets of maps to keep us warm / the paper moon in the tree branch blue sky is cold and brittle on an October night / dead weather vines that grew on concrete steam lamp lights / I knew you before you were born / and I’ve seen an ending worth waiting for / under blankets of maps to keep us warm

THE WRONG SIDE OF RENO

I hear a train whistle blowing / and it’s in key with my song / all the way on the wrong side of Reno / where my toughest friends are from / every broken bone and every blue black eye in the stories of ass beatings that you’ve earned / you told me about how more than half were deserved / something sank into that bleeding skull / a certain kind of wisdom and a humble soul / it keeps me searching no matter how many miles left until we get back home / you’ve been quite a traveling companion / I hate to see you go

now the world we’re living in is Golden / gilded with every lie we lived through / back from the war early Christmas morning / not even a ghost could keep him sober for you

every broken bone and every blue black eye in the stories of ass beatings that you returned / you told me about how more than half were deserved / something sank into that bleeding skull / a certain kind of wisdom and a humble soul / it keeps me searching no matter how many miles left until we get back home / you’ve been quite a traveling companion / I hate to see you go

RED DRAGON WISHES

all the possibilities, things you can pick up and look beneath / just watch your step don’t fall between the blanks in your memories / there’s an anchor sinking in the sound of a sense of lack that follows you around / years went by but I know it don’t matter what you think of me / I’m awake don’t let me go back to sleep / like a fugitive who just quit running you found out there’s no escape / some mistakes can’t be undone / it’ll never be like it was / and wishing for it only makes it worse / there’s some demons waiting down south / some kind of confederate ghost that holds me close shows me the way to go until I’m sure I’m lost / I built a workshop to find myself where I can dig in the corners climbing spider webs / it’s a polaroid cemetery of every look you’ve ever given me

I’m awake don’t let me go back to sleep / like a fugitive who just quit running you found out there’s no escape / some mistakes can’t be undone / it’ll never be like it was / and wishing for it only makes it worse / keep on writing to capture a feeling, it’s an outline of a real connection / treat your desires as what they are – imposters and a lonely invitation

some mistakes can’t be undone / it’ll never be like it was / and wishing for it only makes it worse

THE BLUE ROSE

full of regrets grave diggers will find / there’s no map to follow and the roads all changed there’s smoke in your brain and no one to show you the way / surrender to the weight of what you gambled and lost / but at least you don’t have to lie to yourself anymore / on the way back from hell tonight, smoke’s rising up through the lights / and there’s a reason that you don’t have to talk, I know what you’re thinking / somewhere a blue rose is in a coke bottle / blooming on a kitchen window sill / surrender to the weight of what you gambled and lost / but at least you don’t have to lie to yourself anymore / ghost trains run on the tracks down a gravel hill behind a trailer house / you can hear ’em if you listen close enough / it’s the sound of a world that forgot where it came from and every lesson learned / I can feel the ending creeping up / surrender to the weight of what you gambled and lost / but at least you don’t have to lie to yourself anymore

YOUR DARKEST EYES

that smoke it moves just like sweet velvet / it lures me in till I’m drinking to kill the pain, trying to stay out of a fight but the liquor it won’t let me / the only thing it’s killing now is me / your darkest eyes and pale skin are always on me / black fingernail polish is chipping off again / on my mind just like a death treat or maybe a death wish / kill me anytime I’m ready for it / no one else was ever half this beautiful, no two hearts were ever half what ours was whole / desperate like the rain on your midnight window sill / I said I love you and I know that’s what you meant / I know that’s what you meant / there’s a holy grail of a simple life led somewhere / in the blankets of trees between you and Tennessee / St. Peter’s in a river running out to Homer’s sea / where the leaves can break your heart / and the waves might wash me clean / no one else was ever half this beautiful, no two hearts were ever half what ours was whole / desperate like the rain on your midnight window sill / I said I love you and I know that’s what you meant / I know that’s what you meant

TIME IS A DEBT

time is a debt son, the world has always owed, but not anymore I found out how to beat it it’s the water in a river, you can’t keep your head above / but not anymore I found out all its secrets / you didn’t know what was hiding in your eyes / the highs are the ice in the branches on a mountain top / you didn’t know what was hiding in your smile / the lows are the devil’s tears, rain falling in the sunlight / time is a debt son, it’s something you can’t call your own / but not anymore I found out how to keep it / and who I used to be is just a sea of evenings, now I’m the morning light that will always keep you from sleeping you didn’t know what was hiding in your eyes / the highs are the ice in the branches on a mountain top / you didn’t know what was hiding in your smile / the lows are the devil’s tears, rain falling in the sunlight

WHISKEY STRAIGHT

the moonlight is shining down / through the factories on the shipyard waters / and in a winter midnight a sideways moon sets on the memory of what’s gone missing the sidewalk stares up silent / I’m just a shadow slowly disappearing / a ghost of something real that used to exist / a memory of what’s gone missing / why do you keep running / the pace is hurried but you’re never closer to what it was you thought you wanted / it all keeps changing / and now something else is missing / I knew our time was running out / so by the kitchen window back at your house / I ended up wasted on whiskey straight and filled the ashtray up with your secrets / you were an anchor with high cheekbones / I was a soldier with broken fingers / you ended up wasted on cheap champagne, celebrating everything that’s missing / why do you keep running / the pace is hurried but you’re never closer to what it was you thought you wanted / it all keeps changing / and now something else is missing / familiar madness / it all keeps changing, and now something else is missing

THE OLD HOLLAND

I was sick with that old Margaret, for four years, near about / young, dumb and dumbstruck when Margie, she blew my candle out / I’ve got to have me a partner if I’m to sell it all / save the mirror I look best in, in the back of that dirty hall / stare through the beers and year and the bags and bruises fade / those grim lines turn sharp and fine, like laws the pilgrim laid / beaming through all the brag and cuss, promising the fall / at the mirror I look best in, in the back of that dirty hall / soak up their mislaid luck and the floor is a pond of piss / the brown glass throws a face back / wondering how it came to this / something about being there at last makes a man stand tall / that’s the mirror I look best in, in the back of that dirty hall / I can’t take up another drink and fight them now no more / they’re all moving, you’re one of them, through that Old Holland door / I’m wishing for a pardon through hoarse and hungry calls / towards the mirror I look best in, in the back of this dirty hall

SILVER TREES

I hear you call me, branches break in the wind / and through the leaves and concrete you’re gonna grow into something that death can’t steal / a garden that gives, sprouts come up glowing / fruits of jade and golden silver trees to mark the legacy of a life that finally learned what this means / the invisible choir sings you a voiceless lesson / so you’ll always remember what grew out of decisions that death can’t steal / lives that learned to give when it seemed there was nothing / oh, how much more it meant to those around we go / there’s a rhythm soft and slow / you’ll always hear the choir if you listen close

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