Album: Get a Witness

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1. Junior 3:51 (lyrics)
2. Beyond This Wall 7:33 (lyrics)
3. Get a Witness 4:54 (lyrics)
4. Summer Lighting 8:06 (lyrics)
5. Empty Glass 8:16 (lyrics)
6. Good and Faithful Servant 4:19 (lyrics)
7. Bittersweet 6:28 (lyrics)
8. Blood Brothers 4:57 (lyrics)
9. David’s Solo 2:15
10. Night Drive 11:40 (lyrics)
11. Northwest Passage 11:37 (lyrics)
12. The Bay Boy 3:18



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©2007 Red House Records

“Kudos to Garnet Rogers for both the thought behind this release – the picking, choosing and connection of the songs — and the music in its totality. Plus, a tip of the hat for the iconoclasm displayed by the length of a number of the cuts here: 7:25 for “Beyond This Wall,” “Summer Lighting” coming in at 8:04, with “Empty Glass close behind at 8:10. “Night Drive” runs 11:10. Any discussion of anti-corporate music requires the inclusion of Garnet Rogers.”

– Kevin McCarthy – Valerie Enterprises

“On a long awaited concert album, even his torch songs feel like tours de force, sung in a glorious bass that shimmers with danger and grace..”

– Boston Globe Top Ten Folk CDs of 2007



JUNIOR
It’s Howdy Doody Time

Born on second base
You thought you’d hit a double
Daddy and his rich friends
Bailed you out of trouble
I watch you as you work the crowd
Your eyes too bright, your voice too loud
Ah Junior, you’re doing your daddy proud

It’s hard to do your job
When you’re always on vacation
They’re pulling your strings
From an undisclosed location
You’re kicking ass and taking names
You’re filling up the jails
You’re tapping our phones
You’re opening my mail
But God’s on your side, Junior
How can you fail?

Another rich man’s war, another poor man’s fight
Keep the flag draped coffins
Hidden from sight
In Washington there’s 50,000 names on the wall
You can’t name one of them
You were drunk and AWOL
And we’re supposed to come when you call

So you were born on second base
Or maybe it was third
You’re wrapped in the Flag
You mouth holy words
But are you getting nervous Junior?
Your numbers are hurtin’
Even your best friends are looking uncertain
Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain
Yeah I’m sick of your lies
I’m sick of the games
All of your friends
They all sound the same
Well, have your phony war
But not in my name
You don’t speak for me.

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BEYOND THIS WALL

Close your eyes, put down your gun,
Rest yourself, try to catch your breath

Beyond this wall
Below that hill, behind that house
Lies a dusty death
You learn real fast if you’re halfway smart
To keep your head down, bide your time.
I’ve seen too many eager kids like you
Catch a bullet, we send them down the line.

That one there, he’s just a kid
Maybe 14, but don’t you be fooled
His father’s fathers for 200 years learned to fight in a harsher school
They whipped the British and the Russians too, from the Khyber Pass to Khye-Kheen hills
My guess is a 100 years from now, they’ll be whipping someone still.

We picked one up, looked a lot like him, on a night patrol in Khandahar
I tried to grab his shoulder
But he slipped away and turned to run, but not that far
There was shouting, firing, the night split open in the flash of the I.E.D
One swift moment, it was over
I looked around, we’d lost three.

Just look around you, no rich kids here
Mostly middle class and working poor
Sons and daughters sweating out another dirty little war
Dust and sweat, the end of hope, crippling fear, sudden pain
Dreams and faith flushed like blood, flushed like blood down a filthy drain.

My son turned one two days ago
I haven’t held him yet
My wife emails me pictures, holds him to the phone
You take what you can get.
Christmas and birthdays come and go, from day to dusty day
We listen to each other breathing on the phone and lie that everything’s ok.

Well, I miss my family, I miss my wife
I miss the kid I’ve never known
If by some small chance I’m spared my life
I swear I’ll never leave my home.

Why we’re here
What’s the bigger picture
Why we’re fighting, well it’s not for me to say
I’ll keep my head down
And with God’s grace
I’ll fight to live, fight to live
Another day.

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GET A WITNESS

Three long months
Ah Lord it’s been that dry
Sun burning down from a cauldron sky
I woke up this morning
Clouds piled up above
Blessed rain
Ah it poured down like love

Can I get a witness
For this perfect day

Swallows chase their reflections
Above the pond
Cool green shadows
Sweep across the lawn
Nothing calls me
I’ve got no place to go
Ah just the birds like graceful angels
Flickering to and fro

Outside our door the world it moves too fast
Takes my breath away at how the years have passed
We’ll let the world go, love, do what it will
Look into my eyes make my heart stand still

Cool sweet evening
Falls upon the fields
Battered old moon
Hangs like a broken shield
The birds have flown
Out behind the sun
Lord, maybe somewhere, somehow
Today the good guys won.

Can I get a witness

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SUMMER LIGHTNING
Livingston, Montana

I was driving west
Through the Bighorn Mountains
The hills were heavy with newfallen snow
The sun-bright hills were dappled like a pony
I was driving hard, I had miles to go

And a magpie flew across the mountain highway
It flashed and tumbled through the golden trees
And I thought of you
My heart was lifted
And floated with that magpie
On the morning breeze

For where I go
You go with me
Though the miles keep us apart
Your kiss is on my lips
Your face before me
Your gentle hand
Always on my heart

We are brief as summer lightning
We are swift as swallows’ flight
We are sparks that spiral upward
In the darkness in the night
We are frost upon a window
We won’t pass this way again
In the end, only love remains

Tonight the harvest moon
Hangs across the valley
I see the hills shine in its silver light
It’s the same old moon that shines upon you
It’ll light my way until I’m by your side

Well who scattered these diamonds through the vault of heaven
Who drew the curve of the magpie’s wing?
Who shaped your face?
What made you love me?
Where is the spark of every living thing?

I don’t know
I don’t care either
I know you love me
How could I not see?
And I am yours
Now and forever
Till my lips fall silent
And my eyes can’t see

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EMPTY GLASS

Takes two days to cross Nebraska
Give or take a year
A lifetime’s worth of cigarettes twice that many beers

He’s driving east
His tail between his legs
He’s lost the highway itch
His wanderlust died years ago
He left it rotting in a ditch

Rain clouds in the rearview
Radio playing low
Two million miles behind him
A million miles to go

There’s no Hank or Merle or Johnny now
You can’t hear them anymore
Just redneck clowns with stupid hats
And young girls dressed as whores

And they grind them out like sausages
They all sound much the same
There’s no room for him on the radio
He never learned to play the game
He pulled over towards evening
In a quiet Midwest town
Just a motel and a watertower
Cornfields all around

A fat man with blue marine tattoos
Showed him to his room
He put his guitar and his satchel down
Sat there in the gloom

And a dog barked down the street
He saw fresh laundry on a line
Next door a couple was making love
Somewhere a baby was crying

Another drink would go good now
One drink and then one more
Maybe, one more just for luck
No one’s keeping score

He lay back in the darkness
On the narrow motel bed
He closed his eyes and heard the music still
Playing in his head
And a moth beat on the window screen
His breath grew soft and slow
He dreamt about a time and place
So many years ago

Cool mornings under cloudless skies
Barefoot on the grass
Looking at the world with hungry eyes
Nose pressed against the glass

In the cornfields around the town
A million fireflies rose
Dancing winking in the dark
As the day drew to a close

And so in clouds their numbers grew
And their ghostly light grew too
As through the dark and empty streets
Towards his room they flew
They flew in through his open door
Above the bed where still he lay
They gently lifted him aloft
And carried him away

And they floated him above the church
And the roofs of the little town
They carried him out into the dark
And gently set him down

And bit by bit and by and by
As the fireflies shone their light
The old singer disappeared
Into the breathing night

The motel maid tapped on the door
Next morning with her key
She swung it wide, looked inside
All that she could see

Was a guitar and empty glass
A satchel on the bed
And the imprint on the pillow
Where he had laid his head

The wind blows warm from Kansas
Thorough empty silent hills
Seasons come seasons go
As seasons always will

Somewhere where the waves of grass
Stretch on out of sight
His songs are on the prairie wind
Faintly in the night

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GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANT
For Coretta Scott King

Chorus
Rest now good and faithful servant
Rest now your race is won
Rest now good and faithful servant
On to Glory now your work is done

Freedom’s won slowly
Inch by inch
You looked hate in the eye
You did not flinch
You bent your back you shouldered the load
Weary miles down a long, dark road

The load was heavy
You took the weight
Where’d you find the courage to face the hate?
Hand of iron in a velvet glove
You tore down the walls
With the power of your love

Rest now good and faithful servant
Free at last from the fear and lies
Rest now good and faithful servant
They thought they stopped you in Memphis
You would not let the
Dream die

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BITTERSWEET
Karen Savoca

He threw his pipes over the edge
Sighed and felt no worse
He never could make up his mind
Were they a blessing or a curse?

He just drank down his second pint
When a voice behind him cried
‘see here, I’ve found your blessed pipes, down by the waterside”

Isn’t life just like the autumn air
It’s bitter and it’s sweet
I will never understand it all
But that’s alright with me

She tells herself she’ll be ok
This feeling’s gonna pass
She pours herself another drink
And stares into the glass
Her heart is like a swelling moon
That’s sinking in the sky
She says “if I don’t tell somebody soon, I swear I’m gonna cry.”

He walks among the silent rooms
And always sees her face
He slips into a chilly bed with another in her place
He waits for dreams to take him back
To a boat out on a lake
Where everything is as it was
Before his big mistake

Chorus

Isn’t life just like the autumn air
It’s bitter and it’s sweet
I will never understand it all
But that’s alright with me
’cause I came down from the mountains
I crawled up from the sea
I will never understand it all
But that’s alright with me

I love Karen and Pete’s music. I never get to see or hear them enough anymore

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BLOOD BROTHERS
Bruce Springsteen

We played King of the Mountain
Out on the end
The world came charging up our hill
We were women we were men
Now there’s so much that time
Time and memory fade away
We’ve our own roads to ride
Promises to make
But we stood side by side
Each one fighting for the other
We swore until we died
We’d always be blood brothers

Now the hardness of this world
Slowly grinds your dreams away
Makes a fool’s joke of the promises we made
What seems black and white
Slowly turns to shades of grey
We lose ourselves in work to do
Work to do, bills to pay
And it’s a hard hard ride
There ain’t much cover
With no one running by your side
My blood brother

Through the houses of the Dead
Past those fallen in their tracks
Always moving up ahead
Never looking back

Now I don’t know how I feel
I don’t know how I feel tonight
If I’ve been crushed beneath the wheel
If I’ve lost or I’ve gained sight
I guess I don’t know why I make this call
Or if any of this matters
If it matters after all

Still the stars are shining bright
Like a mystery uncovered
I’ll keep moving through this dark, I’ll keep you in my heart
My blood brother

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NIGHT DRIVE

How bright the stars
How dark the night
How long have I been sleeping?
Sleep overtook me on my western flight
Held me in its keeping
I had a dream
It seemed so real
Its passing left me shaking
I saw you here behind the wheel
On this very road I’m taking

Hurtling westward through the prairie night
Under the spell of motion
Your eyes were keen and bright in the dashboard light
Dreaming of the western ocean
Dusty towns left far behind
Mountains drawing ever nearer
Your face was then as it was tonight
Ever young, ever dearer

I know this road and its every curve
Where the hills commence their climbing
We rested here if my memory serves
The western lights were shining
You lit a smoke, we shared some wine
We watched the sky in wonder
Your laughter echoes after all this time
In that high and wild blue yonder

I don’t know why I write these lines
It’s not like I could send you the letter
It’s that I love you more
After all this time
It’s that I wished I’d showed you better
Years have slipped beneath my wheels
Dwindling in my rear view mirror
As time has passed your life has grown less real
But these night drives
Bring you nearer

So tonight I’ll wish upon these stars
As they rise upwards to guide me
That I’ll see you here
Just as you are
Now as then, beside me
It scares me how the years have flown
Like the leaves drift in September
They’ve lost sight of you as your legend’s grown
But this road and I
We remember

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NORTHWEST PASSAGE
Stan Rogers

Westward from the Davis Strait
T’was there t’was said to lie
The sea route to the Orient
For which so many died
Seeking gold and glory
Leaving weathered broken bones
And a long forgotten lonely cairn of stones

Chorus
Ah for just one time
I would take a Northwest Passage
To find the hand of Franklin
Reaching for the Beaufort Sea
Tracing one warm line
Through a land so wide and savage
And make a Northwest Passage to the sea

Three centuries thereafter
I take passage overland
In the footsteps of brave Kelso
Where his sea of flowers began
Watching cities rise before me
And behind me sink again
This tardiest explorer
Driving hard across the plain

And through the night
Behind the wheel
The mileage clicking west
I think upon Mackenzie, David Thompson and the rest
Who cracked the mountain ramparts and so showed a path for me
To race the roaring Fraser to the sea

How then am I so different
From the first ones through this way?
Like them I left a settled life,
I threw it all away
To seek a Northwest Passage
At the call of many men
To find there but the road back home again.

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