The Ghost of John Henry

John Henry, Part 1

This will be the death of me
And what will I, what will I leave behind?
Will they sing my name
After they lay me in the sand?

There won’t be no victory
For this heart that beats and hands that bleed
What more can they take
Than I gave with this hammer in my hand?

‘Cause maybe I was born
For such a time as this
Yeah, maybe I was born
So this moment could be written

You’re wrapped in chains
And told you’re free by men with force and men with pay
But I’m through selling me
And if I fall, then at least I made a stand

‘Cause maybe I was born
For such a time as this
Yeah, maybe I was born
So this moment could be written

I will rise, I will rise

‘Cause maybe I was born
For such a time as this
Yeah, maybe I was born
So this moment could be written

We Used to Sing

We used to sing of glories yet to come
How the troubles of this life would soon be done
We’d raise our eyes up to darkened skies
And pray for angel wings to bring us home

But I can’t sing those songs the way I used to
The words just feel so empty on my tongue
No, I can’t sing those songs the way I used to do
The way I did before I was in love

We used to sing the songs of the open road
Saying where we lay our head we call our home
Always blind to what we left behind
And never sure what we were running from

But I can’t sing those songs the way I used to
The words just feel so empty on my tongue
No, I can’t sing those songs the way I used to do
The way I did before I was in love

I used to sing a sad, sad lullaby
Alone beneath the distant stars at night
How no fallen world could ever make us whole
And happiness was meant to pass some by

But I can’t sing those songs the way I used to
The words just feel so empty on my tongue
No, I can’t sing those songs the way I used to do
The way I did before I was in love
Not the way I did before I was in love

Tomorrow may take you

It takes so long to fall asleep, when you’re gone
This aching house just moans and creaks, when you’re gone
No wishing star to shine for me, when you’re gone
When you’re gone

But when you’re here
You’re here and I can make some sense of this life
In this life, everything I need is in your arms
Your arms can hold me fast against tomorrow
Because tomorrow may take you again

I watch your shape fade down the road, when you leave
I feel those footsteps in my bones, when you leave
And I beg the winds to bring you home, when you leave
When you leave

But when you’re here
You’re here and I can make some sense of this life
In this life, everything I need is in your arms
Your arms can hold me fast against tomorrow
Because tomorrow may take you again

Steam Drill Blues

The morning come
Sun-burnt sky
Swing the hammer
Drive the spike
I got a girl
Left alone
‘Cause I’m too many
Miles from home

Gotta go where that money flows
‘Cause love don’t buy too many clothes
It’s a job that breaks your back and soul
But it’s what we do ’cause it’s what we know

The country grows
We make the way
Our blood and sweat
For a better day
But now they say
We’ll be replaced
Machines are coming
To push us out the way

What to do when that money goes?
‘Cause love don’t buy too many clothes
It’s a job that breaks your back and soul
But it’s what we do ’cause it’s what we know

Before the Lord I’ll stand proud
No machine will beat me down
No machine will beat me down
Bring that drill
Coal and steam
Bring it ’round
To hear this hammer ring
Against a wall
A man will fight
I’ll beat that drill
Though it take my life

What to do when that money goes?
‘Cause love don’t buy too many clothes
It’s a job that breaks your back and soul
But it’s what we do ’cause it’s what we know

Broken World

It’s a dry season ’til the rain begins to fall
And it’s a barren winter ’til the ice begins to thaw
Until I knew you, gray was all I saw

‘Cause it’s a broken world
But here we are, you and I
Somehow I found the only one
Who could ever help me see
That in the cracks is beauty

The empty branches give way to the bloom
And the burning daylight yields to the moon
No matter what the distance, you know I’ll hold you soon

‘Cause it’s a broken world
But here we are, you and I
Somehow I found the only one
Who could ever help me see
That in the cracks is beauty

It’s a broken world
But in the cracks there’s beauty

More to Rust

My strength, my enemy
Gone the days I thought I had ahead of me
My strength, my enemy
Work my hands have done I’m told is obsolete

You use words like “Progress,” and you use words like “Change”
And grind your brothers down beneath this onward-rushing train
The world keeps spinning faster, but where’s it taking us?
The more machines we build, the more there is to rust

And I say oh, oh, oh, you can keep tomorrow
I don’t know how to live the life you’re promising
Oh, oh, oh, you can keep tomorrow
If disappointment is all it brings

My pride, my ability
Though the ground may shift and change beneath my feet
My pride, my ability
Haven’t met the mountain yet could conquer me

You can yell your “Progress!” and you can yell your “Change!”
But if this river breaks its banks, we all drown just the same

The world keeps spinning faster, but where’s it taking us?
The more machines we build, the more there is to rust

And I say oh, oh, oh, you can keep tomorrow
I don’t know how to live the life you’re promising
Oh, oh, oh, you can keep tomorrow
If disappointment is all it brings

All it brings…
My strength

God, In His Wisdom

I once heard an old and broken man
Say that he wouldn’t change a thing
All the pain and life’s suffering
Had made the man he was that day

But who can say what could’ve been?
Who can say what could’ve been?

I think of roads I might’ve walked
And in the dark I pray
That God in his wisdom
Has led me this way

A boy in prison blues held his head up high
Said that he wouldn’t be ashamed
His heart could not be caged by walls or by chains
Another chance he’d use it just the same

But who can say what could’ve been?
Who can say what could’ve been?

I think of roads I might’ve walked
And in the dark I pray
That God in his wisdom
Has led me this way

We make peace with the
Past we create
Or we fall beneath its weight

We make peace with the
Past we create
Or we fall beneath its weight
Or we fall beneath its weight

The wife of a wealthy man cries herself to sleep
Thinks of a love she once turned away
He asked for her hand, but she was too afraid
And sold her heart for some money and a name

Now who can say what could’ve been?
Who can say what could’ve been?

I think of roads I might’ve walked
And in the dark I pray
That God in his wisdom
Has led me this way

The Morning Breaks

The morning breaks
It smiles on me
I know what I’ve been
But not what I’ll be

Today they’ll see
When fate calls my name
I won’t shrink away
…Today they’ll see

The devil takes
He takes my hand
And tells me that I’m nothing
Just a broken man

Today he’ll see
I won’t be fooled this time
I won’t believe the same old lies
…Today he’ll see

Days I forget but I don’t mean to
All I love and things I choose
Can take this clay, and shape it new

Today I’ll see
The blue of the sky
And as the sun does shine
…So will I

John Henry, Part 2

When I was just a little baby
My mother whispered softly over me
“My child, my boy
The only way to live is on your feet”

Now the sun is high and it begins
The smell of burning coal upon the winds
My hammer, their steam
A mountain made to dust beneath each swing

At the end of this race
Eternity awaits
At the end of this race
I will reach the light of day

On, and on we go
Lord, Lord

Deep inside the rock it’s hard to breathe
Visions of my love, they come to me
My baby, my girl
I’ll fall into your arms come victory

At the end of this race
Eternity awaits
At the end of this race
I will reach the light of day

On, and on we go
Lord, Lord

Home.

My Love, Look Up

Into the light we walk
An ocean of sky that calls
Its voice like wind and a welcome hand
To bear you away when you fall

But I go there with you
My love, my love
But I go there with you
My love, my love

We point our feet for home
But none we’ve ever known
We only fear the road ahead if we
Feel that we walk it alone

But I go there with you
My love, my love
But I go there with you
My love, my love

My love, look up
My love, look up

The clouds are lifting
From the sky above
A new day is coming
My love, look up

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