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(1997)
ACROSS THE WINTERLINE

Song List and Lyrics

YOU’RE THE ONE

RUN, RUN, RUN
THE OLD BUCKDANCER'S GONE

THE MAN IN ME
WATERBUG

COYOTE
ACROSS THE WINTERLINE
THE LONE PALMETTO SINGS

MAMA LOU
PLAYING ON THE RUNWAY

A GOOD HEART SHOWS
IF NIGHT BE KIND
HEARTLAND

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

YOU’RE THE ONE

Well, I'm one for you honey. 
   I'm through with the show,
But I ain't goin' nowhere if you can't go.
I'm bettin' my life and my sanity, too,
The whole nine yards, the whole ball of wax
On me and you.
I'll risk the farm. I'll take the chance.
"Cause we raised the stakes from a one night stand
To a true romance.

CHORUS
You're the one. You're the one.
You hung the moon, stars and the sun.
You're the one.
You're the best in the whole wide world.
You're the one.


Can't no hurricane blow this house down.
Not even an earthquake, 7.9
Could turn my head around.
There's a blizzard outsideand the wind is strong,
But I'm rock-steady on my feet
Where I belong.
Send a twister my way.  Let the lightning strike.
But it won't tear apart this house of love.
Let 'em howl all night.

CHORUS
You're the one. You're the one.
You hung the moon, stars and the sun.
You're the one.
You're the light of the whole wide world.
You're the one.


Great Salt Lake. The Gulf of Mexico.
The big Okeechobee, the Atlantic and Pacific
And the Shenandoah.
The water is wide, cold and deep,
But it all comes together in a big, blue ball
At my baby's feet.
I'd catch all the rain fallin' from the sky
And bring it in a bucket to you, baby,
When your well runs dry.

CHORUS 

   

RUN, RUN, RUN

The neighbor's dog is barkin' at the fog;
A train whistle's blowin' out of town;
The sky is as pink as my half open eyes;
I wish I could go back and lie down..
   lie down.

The church steeple catches  the first morning sun;
The houses lie sleeping down below;
My car disappears in a low river haze.
This might be the Savannah -
I don't know.
 
At the crest of a hill, I meet the dawn
Casting shadows like the bars of a cell.
A truck speeds around me with four Christmas smiles
And a tree bound for tinsel and bells...
   and bells.

A crow flying straight down the river
Calls all his friends on the way.
A raccoon curled on the shoulder of the road
Is gonna miss a beautiful day.

CHORUS
Maybe I'm a leaf on a sweetgum tree
Hopin' that the rains won't come.
Maybe I'm a kid with a ticket to ride
Hopin' that the trains won't run.
Maybe I'm a fool with holes in my shoes
Hopin' that my time won't come.
Maybe it was always
  meant to be this way -
Run, run, run.
Run, run, run.


A pigeon makes a home in the overpass
Where trucks rumble by every night.
Some critters find poetry in motion
And pleasure in the glory of flight...
   of flight.

The haze on the river has lifted;
The water looks cold but sublime.
Rollin' down slow to forever,
Like some kind of pitiful wine.

CHORUS

   

THE OLD BUCKDANCER'S GONE

 Seaboard rail line, Charleston-bound
Sashays skyward, one last round.
Herons and bitterns with their heads hung down...
The old buckdancer's gone!

The fiddler squeals in the cotton gin.
He strikes a match and invites us in.
Guitar, banjo, mandolin
Play the old buckdancer's song!

CHORUS
Sweet Jocassee, make my bed.
My dreams are loose and the moon is red.
With so much music left unsaid...
The old buckdancer's gone!
The old buckdancer's gone!


The Santee's burning at the source.
It veers unfettered from its course
Like some alligator tidal force...
The old buckdancer's gone!

There is no star for me to climb
To scan the sky for one last rhyme,
So I'll borrow one from him this time...
The old buckdancer's gone!

CHORUS

Sweet Jocassee, make my bed.
My dreams are loose and the moon is red,
With worlds of music left unsaid...
The old buckdancer's gone!

The dancer witnessed blood and fire,
He saw with the seers and lied to the liars,
And bled for every heart's desire...
The old buckdancer's gone!

Give me one last spin around
With every pretty girl in town.
Bury me in a live oak crown...
And dance all over my grave!

CHORUS

   

THE MAN IN ME

 Eleven after one, thirteenth of April
Full moon shinin' over southeast Atlanta
A whole lotta ghosts down here.
A whole lotta ghosts down here.

Off in the distance, over the road,
Mad old visions of mean little people
With axes to grind
Everybody got an axe to grind.

Oh, Chattahoochie, roll forever,
You're not like me, I'm light as a feather
Blow away in the first strong wind.
Blow away in the first strong wind.

Across the Mississippi, onto the plains
Can't fight the notion that I'm goin' insane
It's amazin' I've come this far
I wonder who's drivin' this car.

Sun goin' down, eyes turnin' red
St. Louis woman jumps outta my head
Into the bright sunshine
Leavin' my ass behind.

Oh, Missouri, your water so deep,
You're not like me, I'm walkin' in my sleep
Might never wake up again
Might never wake up again

CHORUS  
Holy smoke,
I'm gettin' old and broke
But I'm doin' all I can
To find the man in me
To find the man in me


Dodgin' coyotes and free-rangin' cattle
I got so scared, lost in Seattle
There's a hole in my hotel wall
Great big hole in my hotel wall

New Year's Eve, out of control
Layin' down rhythm for some bad rock and roll
Left a good home behind
My son and a friend of mine

Oh, Colorado, you're wild and clear
You're not like me, a prisoner of fear
Don't know what I'm doin' out here
Don't know what I'm doin' out here

At seventeen years I couldn't understand
Watched Mama take up with a broken down man
Her brush with insanity
Now it's all clear to me

Ridin' in a turquoise '53 Buick
They said Hank Williams wouldn't pull through
It was the radio voice of fate
Ridin' through the Garden State

Oh, Savannah, steady as you flow
You're not like me,
I don't know where to go
I don't know where to go

CHORUS

27, 51, 75, must be a miracle,
We're all still alive
There's a reason for everything
There's a reason for everything
There's a reason for everything
There's a reason for everything

   

WATERBUG

 Big old frog below my feet,
Lookin' for somethin' small to eat.
I never paid no mind till when
He ate me whole and I'm gone again.
I never paid no mind till when
He ate me whole and I'm gone again...
   gone again.

Things been goin' bad to worse
For the center of my universe.
I can't hear the truth be said,
Livin' alone inside my head.
I can't hear the truth be said,
Livin' alone inside my head.

CHORUS
I'm the waterbug.
A shallow man.
The waterbug don't want to know
'Bout trouble in the water down below.


You got a life I never knew.
I never looked inside of you.
I confess that all these years
I never liked to see your tears.I confess that all these years
I never liked to see your tears...no tears.

There's a big old world - now I see
The daffodil and the bumblebee.
I wonder who coulda made this bone,
The wildebeest and the anemone.
I wonder who coulda made this bone,
The wildebeest and the anemone.

CHORUS

I got a line and I got a pole.
One is a lie and it burns my soul.
That pole is hooked inside my brain.
In a shallow pool I shall remain.
That pole is hooked inside my brain.
In a shallow pool I shall remain.

CHORUS
(add last time)
Skimmin' along all over the land.

   

COYOTE
 The desert turns cold in the midnight,
Where rivers are rapid or dry,
Where stars shine like souls in flight
Over snow in the black mountain sky.
A coyote measures the distance
'Tween him and the fear in my heart.
He leads me into the desert,
And then disappears in the dark.
And then disappears in the dark.

Your children are calling, I hear them,
Calling for you to come home.
You can't be a cold, heartless father
Who would leave his babies alone.
But maybe those aren't your children,
Just phantoms you want me to hear...
And maybe that's only a shadow,
Instead of the love that I fear.
Instead of the love that I fear.

CHORUS
Oh, Coyote,
You tricked me again.
Who do you think you are?
Enemy, lover, demon or friend...
I see you behind yonder star.
I see you behind yonder star.

 
The cities of gold have all vanished -
Conquistadores lost in the ground.
The coyote walks undiminished -
Calling - not making a sound.
Why is the canyon wren laughing?
Why does the sidewinder cry?
The Song Dog is up to his old tricks tonight.
Now who in the devil am I?
Now who in the devil am I?

CHORUS

   

ACROSS THE WINTERLINE

 Boys, you tell your stories well.
It seems you must have tasted hell.
Too well I know that bitter taste,
For where it burns love has no place.
I met a common coward's end.
I curse my will that would not bend.
I couldn't face a truth so pure
That shone within those eyes of yours.

Yesterday I secretly
Watched her laughing, free of me.
That heedless whim revived the tears;
And now, again, the dream appears.
And in that dream so real she stands,
Astounding eyes and subtle hands.
Once upon a summertime
That dream was real and she was mine.

Spring and summer sailing past.
Autumn, too, has gone at last.
Truth is only truth, I find,
On either side of the Winterline.

If you find your way by star or prayer,
Send one to me if you've one to spare.
One kindly star to shed some light;
One prayer to conquer fear of night.
Boys I may be too fargone.
Flag a train to take me home.
Send me back through seas of time,
Back across that winterline.

Let's drink up, boys, the hour is late;
Too late for love, no need for hate.
Don't crave eternal summertime,
You can't outrun that winterline.
Boys I may be too fargone.
Flag a train to take me home.
Send me back through seas of time,
Send me back across that winterline.

Spring and summer sailing past.
Autumn, too, has gone at last.
Truth is only truth, I find,
On either side of the Winterline.

   

THE LONE PALMETTO SINGS

 A shrimpboat out of Charleston - 
   Miss Joanna was its name.
Owned by Darrell Williams 
   of no fortune and no fame.
His gentle disposition pleased all who 
  shook his hand,
But no one really knew him. 
   He was a quiet man.
A very quiet man.

His accent was not Charleston, 
   and neither was his stride.
He never spoke of family or 
   where they might abide.
His sandy hair and freckles might 
   call to mind a child.
One might say that destiny lay 
   hidden in his smile.
Destiny - hidden in his smile.

CHORUS
The bay reflects the heartbeat
In wide concentric rings.
The islands rise like tombstones
And fly on dolphins' wings.
Through indigo plantation halls
The lone palmetto sings.
The lone palmetto sings.

 
He was a football hero 
   in a piedmont college town,
But the pros never called him
   and his dreams went underground.
A shrimper from McClellanville 
was selling all he owned.
So he bought the rig that would become 
his living and his home.
A shrimpboat was his home.

He was an able seaman
   and generous to his crew,
Accustomed to the distance of the man
   they never knew.
Somehow he found the time to spare
   to fashion with his hands
Trinkets from the teeth of sharks found
   among the sands.
The teeth of sharks - found among
   the sands.

CHORUS

The seasons rolled like breakers,
   and for each he had a name.
Joanna was the autumn, of whom
   no trace remained.
He never spoke of love, of failure or regret,
But these all hung around him
   like a slow descending net.
Hung around him like a net.

Strippers from Savannah,
   and tourists from Santee,
All are decorated with jewelry
   from the sea.
An empty johnboat circling near Daufuskie
   in the sound
Barely left a ripple in the gossip
   of the town...
Not a ripple - on the surface of the sound.

CHORUS

   

MAMA LOU

Early Sunday morning
I'm stretchin' and yawnin',
Shakin' off the night before.
Somewhere in the dwellin'
Somethin' mighty good is smellin',
There's a racket on the kitchen floor.
Papa's choppin' wood,
The fire's burnin' good
And there's a kettle bubblin' on the eye.
There's a ham in the oven,
Mama's stirrin' somethin',
"Son, you touch it and I'll tan your hide."

REFRAIN
Oh, Mama Lou!
I'm stayin' here with you.
Cook me somethin' sweet tonight.

The porch swing's creakin',
Mama's teakettle's shriekin'
On a sunny Thanksgiving Day.
I wipe the smile off my face
'Cause Grandpa's sayin' grace,
But any kid would rather eat than pray.
I love my collard greens
And some blackeyed peas;
I want sweet potatoes on the side,
And okra gets my vote
When it slides down your throat,
And, of course, I want my chicken fried.

REFRAIN

The tea is double sweet,
And it cools me when I eat.
I smell biscuits risin' slow in the pan.
Mama's cobbler full of berries
Topped with ice cream and cherries
Makes a beggar out of any man.
My memories roam
   to that old family home
Where it smelled liked heaven all the time,
And Mama never changed
From a fire to a range...
That's music to this heart of mine.

REFRAIN

There's a pound cake bakin'...
My taste buds are quakin'...
Mama's tricklin' lemon icing on the top.
I'd still be lickin' that bowl
At a hundred years old
If Mama hadn't ever stopped.
But stop, yes she did,
And us broken-hearted kids
Never let a blessed word go by
That Mama's gentle spirit
Didn't fly by and hear it,
Raising love in us in reply

REFRAIN

   

PLAYING ON THE RUNWAY

 Lights - along the runway...
They say the pilot cannot see.
Wings - of rust and age,
Too weak to rage or carry me.
The distant city is silent now.
We cannot fly away, 
We don't know how.
So we're playing on the runway -
There will be no way to leave the ground. 

Stars- no one remembers
Great dying embers;
Turn out your light.
Hearts - like scarlet sashes
Rise from the ashes,
Shine on tonight.
The broken forest, the holy land
Fall to rubble and turn to sand
While we're playing on the runway
There will be no way to leave the ground.

Stand - and be my friend;
If this must end
Why should we care?
Dance - like no tomorrow -
There is no sorrow we cannot share.
One blue tomorrow
We'll never see.
This very moment
Will always be
While we're playing on the runway
There will be no way to leave the ground.

There is no heaven...
There is no fire.
No sanctuary...
No angel choir.
So we're playing on the runway
There will be no way to leave the ground.
We're just playing on the runway
Watching the Milky Way slowing down.

   

A GOOD HEART SHOWS

I want to see like the blind man,
And know the voices of the street.
I Let the footsteps tell the story
Of every stranger that I meet.
In the crowds that mill around me,
If I find you will I know?
You can hide an evil spirit,
But a good heart...
A good heart shows.

I want to know what love is like.
I think I've seen it in your face.
They say it drives people crazy,
And leaves nothing in its place.
Careless words are sweet as honey.
If you love me will I know?
You can hide an evil spirit,
But a good heart..
A good heart shows.

CHORUS 
You can hide an evil spirit,
Wear somebody else's clothes.
You can turn your back on teardrops,
But a good heart......a good heart shows.


Some people give it all away,
Down to their last crust of bread.
They give love without condition;
No stone of judgement in their head
You won't find them in the limelight;
They will go where no one knows.
You can hide an evil spirit,
But a good heart...
A good heart shows. 

   

IF NIGHT BE KIND

On the highest bough of an old pine tree,
A restless bird looks away to sea.
Five hundred miles over wave and breeze...
Let night be kind to these wings of mine,
God, if you please.

I've never flown this far before,
Through sky unknown to a distant shore,
To see what fate might have in store...
If I be strong in wing and song,
I'll fear no more.

CHORUS  
If faith be strong,
And wind be fair,
If moon does shine,
And night be kind,
I'll meet you there.


Though I was made with wings to fly,
I wandered, aimless, through the sky.
I felt an emptiness unfold...
When Nature sent a breath of winter
Through my soul.

CHORUS

The hardest thing that bird can see,
Is letting go that old pine tree,
And fear of falling like a stone...
If night be kind then he will find
His other home.

CHORUS

   

HEARTLAND

 CHORUS
Heartland, Heartland,
Somethin' to believe in for every man,
Woman and child and barnyard critter 
   in the Heartland.


Shade trees, bumblebees.
Put away a little for the deep freeze.
I got a one-way ticket
And I'm Followin' the breeze 
   to the Heartland.

Thunderhead...I'm under the bed...
Hailstones fatter than my Granny's head
Knockin' shingles off the roof 
   of the old homestead in the Heartland

BRIDGE
Wheatfields roll through the old dustbowl.
Corn tassels glowin' summer mornin'.


Sow's ear, silk purse
Spinnin' over Kansas in Dorothy's curse...
A combine rustin' in a cloudburst 
Thunder in the Heartland.

Autumn sky...pumpkin pie...
Missouri's got a law that says people can't fly.
They say you gotta have a permit 
   and a reason why in the Heartland

Mark Twain, Jesse James,
Even Harry Truman would remember your name
Tellin' lies about Lincoln from the back
   of a train through the Heartland.

BRIDGE
Wheatfields roll through that old dustbowl.
Storm clouds crawlin'... bullfrogs callin'.


Heat wave...a penny saved...
Watchin' all the yellowheads surfin' the waves
Rollin' amber to horizons that could
Make me a slave to the Heartland.

Meadowlark...Lewis and Clark,
Rowin' up the river in the birch bark
Lookin' for the eagles and the Indians
In the natural park called the Heartland.

CHORUS

Heartland, Heartland,
Somethin' to believe in for every man,
Woman and child and Garrison Keillor
   in the Heartland.