birdsong

by steve haley

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credits

released May 20, 2010

Brad Lannon - Mandolin

Reid Shepherd - Percussion, violin

Susie Vokey - Album Artwork

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steve haley New Brunswick, New Jersey

Steve Haley's folk music is inspired by whispers in the dark, stories swapped by firelight and tales passed from the lip of one generation to the ear of the next. The dark -and sometimes strange songs tell of the woods, witches, winged creatures, wars, dreams and ghosts. ... more

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Track Name: forest, of forest, protect me
forest, oh forest, protect me

we were lovers in the autumn
dead leaves in your hair
embers dancing with the stars
on the trails of the air

forest oh forest protect me
in your giving arms
lure me into majesty
with your humbling charms

maybe i'm right
i've been wrong many times before
the future seems bright
we're staring straight at a fiery sun

you were just a common stranger
looking for a ride
I was looking for someone
to hide in

came to branching paths in the wood
we broke out in a run
took the one less travelled
just for fun
Track Name: king of stone
king of stone

the king of stone bartered with me
we shook hands with
the tall oak trees
talked under his dark green robes
thought we were alone

but the forest has its own eyes at night
who knows where they go what they see
some creatures stay sleeping until the light
we tiptoe gently, let them be

the people of the woods and I
drank and sang till it was time
to toast and drink, a merry meal
to celebrate the deal

but every agreement comes with a price
who knows when its time to dig in
to your pockets, your heart's full for a time
but lessens on each passing whim

hand in hand we walk with them
to teach the saplings how to swim
in my old age they'll do the same for me
walk me to the sea
Track Name: flee into the autumn dark
flee into the autumn dark

a wintry storm in the middle of march
the bones need to rid the cold
people will sit and freeze on their front steps
waiting to do as they're told

i'll make my way to a bar across town
to see what the night drags in
a room full of bores but the whiskey pours
it's the way that it's always been

the kitchen is full of rosy cheeked companions
who'll sing until their throats are hoarse
people nod off, others openly retire
the night has to run its course

i'll take my time with this bottle of wine
toast to their sleeping heads
that i might get mine before yo get yours
i'll let you know how it's been

the dew of the morning creeps under my skin
scares all the warmth away
i step on the leaves, dead under my feet
the seasons will turn again

unchanging dreams are a dangerous thing
like running with anything sharp
but run i can try and with no peering eyes
i'll flee into the autumn dark
Track Name: the woods look different at night
the woods look different at night

it was in may twilight, we ran to a forest
where we thought we'd spend the night
then came flying creatures
we had to fend them off with our cigarettes
set the grass alight

eyes can drift discreetly, take you off your guard
leave you for the night collector
he will dress you up
fatten you, fill your cup
get you ready for the winter

it gets tiresome, now i'm overwhelmed
this isn't what I'm like
it gets lonesome hanging on to bones
swinging at nocturnal eyes

ashy, blackened skin
a dank and musty wind
confirmed what we had thought
that we had to be dreaming
or flying pretty high
to believe our deserved lot
Track Name: take heed
take heed

i keep wishing
for someone to come whistling
down the trail
just drifting on his own
maybe i'll see my own reflection
in his eyes
and i won't hear what he says to me

when he says
"don't go that way
your mother won't forget your face
so just turn around
go back the way you came"
Track Name: mountain retreat
mountain retreat

we found our own way down
from the mountain side
we didn't turn around
until it was out of sight
when we had time to stop
and catch our weary breath
we couldn't fill our lungs
because the guilt had sunken in

i won't go
back for the ones we left behind
you said "so
do we just leave them there to die?"
we won't know unless we're all willing to try
or grow old
have to live with it all our lives

into the dark unknown
where anything can happen
and you always feel alone
even though you're surrounded by
footsteps, breathing and moans
and furry creatures
stomping your feet on bones
you cross your fingers
Track Name: along the way
along the way

the moon casts faint shadows
upon the trails i walk
along the way
i am stiff and tired in every bone
i've walked this road ten thousand times or more

the river runs beside me
like a friend i've met
along the way
rushing towards the great ocean unknown
where it has always been free to roam

the trees are bigger than a house
my back gave out
along the way
i had to ask my brother for a loan
he teases like it's thirty years ago
but it's not thirty years ago
Track Name: shadows on the town
shadows on the town

when all the chatting stops
we'll pack it up and move it someplace else
the mountains cull me back again
we'll give and take away
but we cannot save it all just for ourselves
i dreamt i heard this all from you

we laughed to see
our shadows on the town below
and we wept to see
it all just go to waste, ruined debris

the rain washes my skin
i breathe it in and step under a tree
the clouds are smothering the sky
i catch a glimpse of you
and what you want to do and now i'm spiralling
into the stillness of your eye

i loved the heat
your body gave under the covers
and you felt deceit
drown you in its fiery, flaming se
Track Name: the water's company
the water's company

i never knew
which lake were you
surrounded by birdsong?
your lapping waves
gesturing at me
"don't worry we don't bite"

"but neither does
anything else," i responded hungrily
the water blushed
as the sun began its climb
towards the sky

embarrassed by
its rude
inhabitants
on a breeze
it gently said
"take anything you want

but be sure
to reap what you sow
i'd like to share
a meal with you
like i've shared so many before

the water's
company is very secretive
and after much thought
i took initiative
and introduced myself