47 Minutes (Album Notes)

1.  CRANESONG – We named our house in Utah “Cranesong”, because of the 4 large Sand Hill cranes that were in the front yard on the day we bought the house. They still fly by morning and evening during the summer as we look out across the valley that we love. I grew up in a family that yearned for the American west. I now live here more than half the year and truly feel like I was “just a mountain meadow seed, some western wind blew south”.

It’s dark outside.
The snowflakes glide then settle down
Wistfully, gently kiss the ground.
Like winter moths they swirl around
The lights of Eden Valley town.
Without a care, without a sound

It’s dawn outside.
The new sun rides the ridge above.
Kindling hearts and diamond dust,
As aspen groves and burning bush
Lie quiet beneath the gentle touch
Of winter’s pearl tipped artist brush

Where home becomes more than a word
And dreams take wing like graceful birds
In songs of silence love is heard.
And life becomes living once more

It’s eve outside
As two cranes cry their vesper hymn
The monastery bells chime in
The junipers kiss the blushing rim of
Pastel heavens drawing in
The starlit curtain of day’s end

And home becomes more than a word
Our dreams take wing like graceful birds
In songs of silence Love is heard
And life becomes living once more

You plant your roots, you settle down
You grow your money tree, you plan your end around
You fight the great divide
You finally figure out
You were just a mountain meadow seed
Some western wind blew south

2.  JOY – My mom’s name was Joy. I wrote this for her when she was ill and got to play her this recording just prior to her passing. The first verse is informed by the great American play “Our Town”. The second by the long line of singer poets, the third by the life changing experience that music had on me growing up and the generational passing of the torch to my two daughters.

Oh darling Emily You got it right
This world is just too big and bright
Our town could never contain the light
Even the universe is too small

Ye poets are portals that mere mortal men
Turn to for comfort again and again
It takes fire and rain to comprehend
The fiction, the fear and the fall

But life’s in the knowing and loves in the chasing
And I’ve chased it since I was a boy
Never knew there was so much sadness
I never knew there was so much joy.

Oh, FM radio how did you know?
Left and right you split my soul
Into beautiful tragical clear stereo
Tore my Gemini twins apart

Just to be reunited by rhythm and rhyme
In muse’s own daughters in music’s own kind
Forget who you are and just look who you find
On that Southern Cross nailed to the stars

‘Cause life’s in the singing and love’s in the writing
So I’ve written since I was boy
Never knew there was so much anger
I never knew there was so much joy

Oh, flee as a bird; no you’re not weary yet
Time to relinquish regret
Peacefully forget
That old rugged boss soon you will lay down

To become fire or wind
Or rain or sky
or cloud or sea or ground

‘Cause life’s in the dying and love is the answer
To the questions since I was a boy
Never knew there was so much heart ache I never knew there was so much joy
Never knew there was so much of you in your boy…never knew there was so much joy

3. Their Time- A decade at a time autobiographical journey of the high and low points along the way, with a final reflection of gratitiude for the generation that brought us into the world as they quickly pass from it.

61 dawned sun (son) and light
Dawned black and white
Dawned left and right
The pins reset, the planes would fly
The mills would hum, the babies cry
They made their love, they built their shrine
On the mountain of their time

89 broke fresh and green
Broke like Dancy’s dream
Broke at the seams
The tide would rise, the boats would sail
The crowds would hum, the try would fail
I leveraged love, I dug my mines
In the gold vein of…my time

The 21st rose dun and grey
Rose a new bouquet
Rose a less travelled way
The pawns were moved, the queens were took
The bishop vainly, fell to the rook
We learned of love, buried our crimes
In the fresh red clay of our time

Twenty twelve dawned bright and blue
Dawned white and new
Dawned and then withdrew
The pins reset, a soul would fly
The choir would hum, we would cry
And say goodbye

We raise our love, kneel at the shrine
So thankful of…thankful of….their time

4.  MAGIC MAN – Written for Buddy Autry, who took me under his wing in the late 60’s in north Georgia and taught me sleight of hand and allowed me to be his magical assistant at local talent shows and carnivals.

He was an old magic man
He could pull a rabbit from a hat
He could make four aces fly
Circle the room, and land in your lap
With a wave of his wand, a pretty lady, he just sawed in two
Would sing and dance as he pulled her apart
Oh, Mr. magic man
Wish you could fix my broken heart

He used to ride thru town
In stagecoach pulled by an old grey ox named blue
He promised miracles and for two bits he perform a trick or two.
I watched him like hawk
But never caught him with something up his sleeve
I believed that quarters came from empty ears
Oh, Mr. magic man
Wish you could make the love that left me re-appear

She was my everything
So everything is lost now that she is gone
The cards are blank, these turtle doves just don’t belong
The patter is all wrong….

He was an old magic man
And flowers would bloom in his trembling hands
And he could pour pure water in, turn it into gin
And then rain confetti out
One frosted night on Halloween
He leaned in to me and said the carnivals begun,
Then whispered, son…as the trumpet fanfare blew
Oh, Mr. magic man …I miss that kid. And I miss you
Oh, Mr. magic man …I miss that kid. And I miss you

5.  SNOWVEMBER –  My “Little Martha”, I wrote this instrumental while at my house in Florida. It contemplates the first tentative snowfalls that blanket the mountains of Utah while we are still enjoying the last rays of summer on Cape San Blas. It was recorded on my front porch with the sound of the wind and the water on a cheap guitar into a laptop microphone, but it captures that freshness of a song just written and played down for the first time.

6.  ONE MORE CHRISTMAS TO REMEMBER – My personal reminiscing about childhood and the Christmas traditions I grew up with. The names and the images are from my life, but hopefully everyone will find their families and their traditions lurking beneath the surface.

Chocolate chip cake, Russian tea
Warming our pajamaed feet by the old gas glass furnace
Fake spray snowflakes from a can
The tree trunk tightened in the stand
Charlie Brown and Linus

White Lights unraveled down the hall
Blinking, beckoning to crawl
Around each limb, and branch and bough remind us
One more December, one more Christmas to remember

Spindle dropping 45’s, Ed Ames, Elvis, and Burl Ives
God it must be him
Six strings strumming Silent Night
As the little drummer boy outshines gold and frankincense

White elephants and Rudolph’s hooves
In fact and actually on the roof
But just out of the frame for proof in our polaroid prints
One more December, one more Christmas to remember

Clarence says a bell will ring each time an angel gets their wings
But there’s been too many tinkling bells here lately
I feel their presence in the room
Their eyes so bright their minds renewed
An unbroken chain of love down through the ages
As we let memories wander thru our own back pages

Bricks of rim fire 22’s
Plush white carpet living rooms
Papa’s envelopes
Breyer horses, Addy’s trunk
Priceless memories, worthless junk
Bo on a towrope

That Mama’s paintings, mother’s poems
Harmonicas, chrome, never blown
And a song for Georgia, ribbon tied and rolled up
One more December, one more Christmas to remember

The good book says that angels sing
Each time a new soul gets their wings
But there’s been too many angel bands here lately
The heart’s not built to reminisce
About some bright place beyond this
So we wrap each precious memory in fine paper

Then once a year we pull them out
Weigh them shake them, turn them round
And wonder what forgotten year
What long lost loved one will appear
To share a laugh to dry a tear
To remind us while we all are here
To keep each other near and dear
And to stoke into a fire love’s glowing ember
One more December, one more Christmas to remember

7. THE DAY WE WENT OUT ON THE ICE – One day I went walking out on the frozen lake in front of our house in Utah with my daughters, Suzannah and Rebeakah. Being from the south it was very unnerving and exhilarating to walk a 1/2 mile out on to the frozen surface. We each had cameras and took some amazing photographs as we laughed enjoyed a perfect moment in time together. As I was mixing this cut, my long time friend and guitar buddy from back home called me to say his father had passed away. Rather than quickly fade the song after the last line, I picked up my ’73 Strat and played the long outro in honor of him, his dad and the thousands of hours that we have given over to the guitar only to get back in tiny slivers the magic that we seek each time we pick one up…this time the magic made it.

The day we went out on the ice
Time stood still
We were frozen in the moment
The sun just giving back the sky
To the evening chill
The stars milling around backstage
Behind night’s black curtain
Waiting for the show to begin
Once again

The day we went out on the ice
Love was real
As solid as the mountains
No need to ask, no need to try
Just enjoy the thrill
Laughs spilling down bank
Knee deep in fear and wonder
Too soon to be scattered by the wind
Once again

Oh, the wise men and sages say we’re all eternal
No beginning, no end
Then why is my soul haunted by the constant thought of dying?
And losing my best friends
My best friends

The day we went out on the ice
I felt complete
And completely in the moment
On how just when the peace arrives
The tide recedes
And we trudge on with the journey
These pictures as our witness
That perfect is place where you’ve already been
Amen

8.  I’M NOT READY – Nothing consoles a young heart, broken over first love, like a guitar and a song. At 15, I found myself in a reverberating empty stairwell at Georgetown University singing to ease what at the time seemed to be a mortally wounded heart. That experience informed this song of decision so many years later.

It’s gonna take more than just a razorblade
My skin’s so thick I don’t think it will slice it up
Or cut the cord that flies me to the great unknown
Unbinds me on my journey home
Defines me even when I’m gone
As we should have known along
That suicide is wrong

It’s gonna take more than just pill or two
To ship me out, somehow I doubt they have the strength
To drown the voice that calls me from my soul within
Implores me to begin again
Ignores me even when I’m in
A stairwell with a cheap guitar
To serenade my broken heart

I’m not ready
I’ll tell you when I am
I’m not ready
I’ll tell you when I am

It’s gonna take more than just a lover’s leap
With jagged stones to break my bones and crack the code
Expose the God inside me circle black and white
That guides me in the way of light
Designed me with the will to fight
And with the power to let it go
But with the wisdom when to know

I’m not ready
I’ll tell you when I am
I’m not ready
I’ll tell you when I am

And if by chance my life is taken
Before I feel my time is through
Will all the universe be shaken?
Or will I be just one more soul shot out into the blue?

Well I think I know the truth
But I’m not ready
I’ll tell you when I am
I’m not ready
I’ll tell you when I am

9.  CURTAIN CALL – For all the theatre rats and musical buffs out there. Just as “Glory Days” traces the arc of aging athletes, this song traces the arc of the people in my life who had a love affair with the stage and the classic musicals. For many, the brightest moment of that elusive dream came in High School or community theatre. Try and count all the references.

Memories stacked liked chairs
Behind the darkened high school stage
Where we butchered hair, limped thru guys and dolls
Whispered break a leg…lights out, pratfalls
Now just empty halls

Too bad we could not make it last
Grease paint a new smile on our past
Too bad we all fell back to earth
Too bad the perfect bubble burst
But God bless us all
Who ever heard the curtain call

King Arthur’s cardboard sword
Anastasia’s wig that our own princess wore
The lion that roared, one music man trombone
Joe cable’s radio….Falstaff…El Gallo….Cyrano

Too bad the world is not a stage
And we were merely players at that age
Too bad we took our bows too soon
Too bad the wizard took the last balloon
But here’s to one and all
Who ever heard the curtain call

When you’re a Jet you’re a Jet all the way
From your very first play, til your last dying day
Pity the crowd, but drink their applause
Let ‘em hold their breath
With each well timed pause
Let the bard rewrite
On each opening night
Your own character flaws

Memories stacked liked chairs
Behind the darkened high school stage, where
We were all OK, the slipper fit just right
We defied gravity…exit left and right
Then said good night

Too bad we could not make it last
Grease paint a new smile on our past
Too bad belief just can’t suspend
Too bad the last act had to end
But God bless us all
Who ever heard the curtain call

10.  I FELL – For Anna.  The love song that I heard in my head. All these years and thousands of songs later, this is the one I was always trying to write.

Easter Sunday in a southern storm
Just like a perfect rose found in full bloom
I caught her silhouette across the room
I felt a silent power I’d never felt
Oh and like the April shower on that asphalt shingled roof
I fell

That sunbaked summer was one sun bathed kiss
I laid my head across her rising chest
A prayer for new beginnings in each whispered breath
Rose with the padre’s clear twin tower bells
And just like the July fireworks in the Santa Barbara sky
I fell

Love is a chance meeting in a parking lot
Love is at the corner table counting change
Love is in the vase you break the store clerk makes you buy
It’s in your waiter’s eyes…always such a sweet surprise

November never felt so fresh before
Two shadows stroll as one around the park
Somewhere in twilight, neither day or dark
We stopped beside an antique wishing well.
And like the shiny penny down the waterfall
I fell

Love is checking books out just in front of you
Love is selling jewelry on the waterfront
Love is taking tickets at the turnstile for ride
It’s in your baby’s eyes, such a sweet surprise

The Christmas cold turns all our words to smoke
A midnight kiss that claims my heart again
A single flake lands on my true love’s chin
A passing stranger hums the First Noel
The lights flickered and glowed. I held my baby close
And like the feathered snow
I fell

Love’s behind the curtain when the show is through
Love rolls down the window in a raging storm
Love’s the smile dismissing your rehearsed goodbye
It lives there in her eyes
Always…Always…