Lyrics

Lyrics from the album Evening Sounds
All lyrics written by Jake Shane

The All Night Boys

Valley stretched out like the ancient spine
Of a King James Bible stained with Sunday wine
And the stars exhale over Granada
A darker, an older sonata 

Water kneeling, rising, chanting on rocks
Under the blown up bridge with all the rusted locks
Your heart started hard as the temple columns
But that didn’t keep the kingdom from falling

And the all night boys with their melodies
Hanging to the walls of the narrow streets

Blood orange boughs bow in weighted silence
As the air is thickened with a cavalry of violence
And the bride with a kerchief in her hands
The groom’s razor blade in the river sand

She dreams of gypsies tying, taking Jacob
To a sea of reeds just before she wakes up
And the stars exhale over Granada
A darker, an older sonata

And the all night boys with their melodies
Hanging to the walls of the narrow streets


Visions

The room was quiet and warm 
Almost as if there were no storm
Limbs bent about to spill
Against the pane and windowsill 
Rain stones wrote their poetry
As we hunted the mystery

Ay ay ay ay, ay ay ay, ay ay

White light of the new moon shone
Just like jasmine on unhewn stone
Isaac touched his cheek to it
To see if he still could submit
The consecrated blade on his knee
As he hunted the mystery

Ay ay ay ay, ay ay ay, ay ay

Curtains rose as windows cracked
The night began its final act
You unwound a lullaby
Words replaced by deepening sighs
Your chest was a rising sea
As we hunted the mystery

Ay ay ay ay, ay ay ay, ay ay


The Upper Sun

Old men amble through the park
With hands held behind their backs
Or else they cast fishing lines
And reel in all the slack

Fortune tellers tilt their heads
To remember all the refrains 
Pigeons perch on outstretched palms
And cards curl with the coming rain

You walk by with the afternoon
The upper sun in your hair

I recognize your face
Seen you here twice this week
Once in the crystal palace
Once near the almond trees
If I see you once again
I swear I’ll fall to my knees

Senegal men lean on iron
Rails of the rowboat lake
The saxophone marches in
With the dancing man in skates

Gypsy women carry rosemary
Pressed against their chests
Boys and girls roll around
For hours without a rest

You walk by with the afternoon
The upper sun in your hair

I recognize your face
Seen you here twice this week
Once by the fallen angel
Once near the library
If I see you here again
I swear I’ll fall to my knees


Seascape

Burial clouds are descending
The captain tells you to be brave
But cliffs are impending, bulwarks bending,
And the hull is digging a grave

Dogs are howling in the bay
But St. Brendan has gone away
St. James can’t show you the way
And St. John don’t work on Sundays

Painters will paint wild oceans
Singers will sing of the waves
But only a sailor knows the motions
Of a ship that cannot be saved

Dogs are howling in the bay
But St. Brendan has gone away
St. James can’t show you the way
And St. John don’t work on Sundays


The Lights Go Out

She was washing the dishes and singing with the water
Yellow gloves rubbing the rhythm of her lyric
I held a cloth as she turned to me and said
When I see beauty I always feel melancholic

And her lives above
Painting boats a chestnut shade
And this is my favorite part
When the lights go out

She was searching for books in a room of thousands
Distant music mining under a dark landscape
She brought down two poets, turned to me and said
It’s April—read this sepulcher, then these sonnets to escape

And her skies above
Staring west at Jupiter
And this is my favorite part
When the lights go out

She was playing a Chopin waltz on the untuned R.S. Howard
Black red white ribbon bobbing in her tangled harp-string hair
Her arms were waves of light and I thought I heard
Her whisper about beauty falling from the air

And her treasures above
All hidden in the broken bed
And this is my favorite part
When the lights go out


Before Winter

You leaned over the rocks
Soaking the white sheet in water
Echoes of light on your dress
Echoes of night in your sigh
You watched the boys in the stream
Swim toward their childhood dreams
And you wished it were just as it seemed...

But you say it’s only a matter of time
Before winter, and the curtains are closed

He stood on the hill with his paints
Brushing the sun in your hair
The breath of the wind on his vest
The breath of your body in his eyes
He watched you wringing the sheet
The streams of water on your feet
And he dreamed of the day you would meet...

But you say it’s only a matter of time
Before winter, and the curtains are closed

They lay on the warm river rocks
Counting the wet cotton clouds
The echo of a breath on their chests
The breath of an echo from behind
They watched you turn toward the hill
Your body a slave to your will
And you stood with the white sheet so still…

But you say it’s only a matter of time
Before winter and the curtains are closed


The Grinding Stone

I stand in this room all alone
Turning the grinding stone
It leaves palettes of dust on the hardwood floor
To be swept in one sweep out the door

Crickets scratch out a moan
Lemon leaves swing in undertones
And the delicate webs of the night are sewn
To make it all seem a bit less hollow

So much work still remains
And yet what is there to gain?
Well it’s getting late now and anyway
I count in hours not in days

I look for the boundary line
Between the real and divine
On the edge of the edge of the blade I grind
I feel it from time to time

The rumor of horses spreads fast
Along the hedgerow then the grass
They are coming four to take me at last
From this room this stone this task

But so much work still remains
And yet what’s really to gain?
Well it’s getting late now and anyway
I count in hours not in days


Evening Sounds

As the olives are slowly pressed
Up against the metal twilight
Church bells ask for answers
And the village dogs contesting
While hammered strings climb cedar beams
To where Cecilia’s sons are resting
And chiming in some chimney swifts
Shadows streaming past the western window

And oh, the white-washed houses hold
The last of the country’s light
And evening sounds are filling up
These rooms that were once so bright

Wind and dust form silver bows
That sweep over waves of Spanish pages
And the feather ink pen trembles
Like a sail its ropes drawn taut
While the needle spirals the circle slate
Slowly unwinding the knots
She is sitting in her mermaid chair
Looking for the faded meadow

But oh, the white-washed houses hold
The last of the country’s light 
And evening sounds are filling up
These rooms that were once so bright

One by one the dogs lay down 
Their jaws on paws in cherry groves
And the shadows swing suspended
Over the bed of her sleeping sons
While strings, ropes, and knots are slacked 
And the church bells have rung out of questions
The wind is sinking beneath the waves
And the olives completely swallowed

And oh, the white-washed houses fold
Deep into the country night
Leaving evening sounds to fill up
The rooms of our dreams tonight


The Blacksmith

Like the blacksmith with his hammer
I just want you to give a little
But you’re as hard as any anvil
And it’s breaking my will

Well I followed you like you told me
Past the brick tobacco buildings
To the hilltop threshing floor
But you wanted, you wanted more

Mountains melted into flocks of
Sheep and I felt just like one
I waited for you until the fall
You didn’t care, care at all

Like the blacksmith with his hammer
I just want you to give a little
But you’re as hard as any anvil
And it’s breaking my will


Birds Flew On By

I found you below
Slowly drinking the fig tree’s shadow
You showed me how the river
Had cut the cliff so steep so low

With your hands spread wide
Like the village on the mountainside
You took the air prisoner
Then you opened your mouth and sighed

And the birds flew on by
Flew on by, bye

Four a.m. woke me
With buckskin drums crossing the valley
You were still dancing on cobblestones
Covered in melted wax and sherry

I found you below
Singing sacred songs in the meadow
The daughters of the wilderness
Told me again to let you go

And the birds flew on by


Flew on by, bye

Lyrics from the album Ancient Fire (2012)
All lyrics written by Jake Shane


It’s All Going To End Tonight

I was burned and burned out 
But I came back again 
Against the black meridian 
Your shadow told me then 
That hell had been invented 
But it couldn’t stop the sins 
The orphans, the Ophelia’s 
The persecuted skins 
We ought to be ashamed 
To think we know what’s right 
Oh, baby, it’s all going to end tonight 

Your shining dark gray eyes 
Hold the image of the sun 
But you know that all reflection 
Is a lie the mind has spun 
While peasants dream of stone and bread 
And cross themselves with thunder 
Devils ready sharp their hooks 
And wait to pull them under 
As we struggle in the darkness 
To try to find the light 
Oh, baby, it’s all going to end tonight 

One still summer evening 
A window open wide 
A mother kneeling broken cried 
With nothing left to hide 
Held her son out up for God 
In the slant of the setting sun 
To the holy image haloed high 
She prayed him for protection 
That memory seared into his soul 
And still shines burning bright 
Oh, baby, we might just make it tonight 
Oh, baby, we might just make it tonight


Queen Of Eternity

Swinging, Judas swinging from an aspen tree 
Jesus payed him back for all his loyalty 
There’s a brandy glass broken beneath his feet 
And a bottle in his hand 
This world was just too much for him to stand 
This world was just too much for him to stand 

Drowning, David drowning out his doubts 
Singing, “Nobody knows you when you’re down and out” 
His blues harp cast on the cold, cold ground 
No ink left in his pen 
All his songs won’t bring his child back again 
All his songs can’t bring his child back again 

Cursing, Joseph cursing his new wife’s name 
He didn’t do it, and someone’s to blame 
“It must’ve been the farmer, or maybe the priest” 
He mumbles as he aims his twenty-two 
At the dove eating bread by the statue 
At the dove eating bread by the statue 

Lying, Queen of Eternity lying on the sand 
You touched my eyes with your water-glazed hand 
Then whispered in my ear, as if I couldn’t hear 
“I know the Truth, follow me to find it out” 
But angel lady, the Truth isn’t what counts 
But angel lady, the Truth isn’t what counts


Ashes All Fall Down

I can see the future in your eyes it’s on fire 
And the buildings are burning to the ground 
You are so somber as if nothing is to live for 
And the ashes are all falling down 
The ashes all fall down 

A thousand men marching as one beating heart 
To the rhythm of a common progenitor 
Where manmade borders were touched by the soldiers 
It began but don’t anybody ask why for 
The day it was darkened with bullets and bodies 
And the joy in the world grew less 
There you were, expecting your ruin 
When rain led the iron sky to rust 
Fragmented thoughts floated inside droplets 
Of crystal silence falling one by one 
Like an ocean for an imagination 
Clotting just like blood before the sun 

My child have you lost your innocent yearning 
To find out what it is to exist? 
Have you forgotten the whirlwind you’re caught in 
Is as fleeting as the memories you miss? 

I heard you say yesterday 
“Nothing matters anyway 
All is made to perish in time 
And the world is spinning its demise” 
Well if that’s true and I were you 
I’d enjoy it all while it lasts 
And not worry about the future or the past 

Even the dreams of a prophet like you 
Could not foresee the darkness of this night 
I can only wonder where you are at this moment 
Beyond the scope of this stargazer’s sight 

A candle flame dances to the orchestra wind 
Playing sharp through a cracked window 
I guessed not you would go so soon 
And leave me here conversing with the shadows 
As the ashes are all falling down 
The ashes all fall down


Upon The Earthen Floor

Welcome to the masquerade ball 
Come inside before the rain begins to fall 
Meet the Jack of Hearts, the Queen of Spades 
Give your coat to the butler, your hat to the maid 
Grab a truffle, chocolate, caviar 
Listen to the blind man play guitar 
And the Jews sound the fiddle and the cymbals all night 
We might be bad but the world is all right 
As moments flying across the room 
Are buried in the earthen floor 

Little Boy Blue leaps onto a table 
Lets everybody know that he’s young and able 
Swears the age of silver souls is over 
As samovars steam-dance right off the stove 
Rain is rapping and candles are lit 
Gregory the butler is losing his wits 
Girl in the corner on an easy chair 
Softly sips champagne and stares 
At her reflection in a crystal vase 
Broken on the earthen floor 

In flies the Falcon to find his bride 
Looking like Jekyll, feeling like Hyde 
He spies her in the corner of the room 
Wearing a black butterfly costume 
And Madame Bovary is pouring tea 
Telling Othello what she wants to be 
The chorus sings of diamonds and pearls 
A fool dancing the mazurka twirls 
One too many times and falls 
Hard upon the earthen floor 

Hollow men whimper as cards are dealt 
Candles on the table melt 
The Jack and Queen watch the game unfold 
Everyone squints at the stacks of gold 
Bets are placed and aces call 
Glasses clatter out in the hall 
The loser calls the winner a cheat 
Kicks and punches and the winner is beat 
A full house falls at the bruised man’s feet 
Cold upon the earthen floor 

Well everything eventually came to a head 
Nobody knows exactly what was said 
But the Falcon was slapped and spit and swore 
Barreled his way to the broken down door 
Over the fool on the floor he tripped 
Knocked the fiddler’s bow from his grip 
It landed on a candle and set to flame 
All of the cards in the gambler’s game 
The whole place burned from the chimney top 
Right down to the earthen floor


Take This Scarlet Thread

Take this scarlet thread and bind it fast 
To this table so I can escape at last 
Out the window, down the tower 
Through the metal garden gates 
God knows why they’re open 
But there is no time to wait 
I must run, run away from the light 
Out of this garden to fulfill my appetite 
Across the burning cities of the plain 
Over the mountains to finally regain 
The sickness, the war, the death of my youth 
The cold satisfaction of knotting the noose 
Far from this place of unending elegance 
Inside a cave of fire and deliverance 
Where the drums beat and the woman in red 
Takes me hand in hand to join the dance 

As I grope through this grove of fruit long forbidden 
I long to grip what the gardener has hidden 
Under the rock’s rising red shadow 
Over the river’s sinking sick yellow 
Haze staining pillars forged with salt 
And melting halos down into asphalt 
Where the sailor lies with pearl eyes 
By the bones of the prophet who dreamed his demise 
And the hangman himself without disguise 
Hangs out with the butcher among the flies 
Moaning, “How many more do you need? 
How many more do you want me to bleed?” 
And the drums beat and the woman in red 
Takes me hand in hand to join the dance 

You let me get to the edge of the mount 
I started to think I was finally out 
As I entered the darkness of a distant land 
And reached out to touch it with trembling hands 
It was then that the brass began to blow 
Echoed the mountain, eclipsed by your shadow 
And your voice brought me down to my knees 
Stitched my hands together to plea 
As the drums beat and the woman in red 
Forced my eyes wide to watch you dance 
Selah!


Where Could It Be?

In the beginning there was God, then Eden, Adam, Eve 
At least that’s what you used to tell me you believed 
Those were the days when death never came 
And no one did anything anyone else could blame 
That was the first and last time everybody got along 
And even then it didn’t take too long for everything to go wrong 
The blood Cain tasted was bitter but it was free 
Now we have no choice but to bear the agony 
Oh where, oh where, could it be, that long lost harmony? 

The sentimentalists are searching among the wreckage of the past 
As if anything they find they will really want to last 
And the godless claim they’re clever but know that they are not 
Because they’ve lost all direction without any ‘should’ or ‘ought’ 
You are still waiting for Him to return with the law 
But I heard He already came back and didn’t much like what He saw 
What good is hell, my brother, for crimes already done? 
Why wouldn’t a good God prevent every single one? 
Oh where, oh where, could it be, that long lost harmony? 

In the end nobody knows but now everything means so much 
I guess that’s how it goes when you’ve got this human crutch 
You say you feel a presence deep down forever unknown 
Well some things are better when they’re left alone 
And while nobody is listening, brother let me tell this to you 
I have no idea if anything I’ve ever said is true 
But when I’m beneath the cypress tree all dirt and bone 
And you come singing softly like a river over stone 
Oh there, oh there, it will be, that long lost harmony

Ancient Fire
I stand still in the cathedral square 
The muddy ground, the brutal air 
The lamppost lights the notebook page 
A poem placed inside a cage 
Between me and the widow’s house 
The vagabond, the church’s mouse 
And from an open door I hear 
Someone whisper, “The end is near” 
A nervous laugh, a slipping tear 
The silence falling over fear 
And for a moment it is almost clear 
The crackling sound so very dear 
That ancient fire, that one desire, within 

Just beyond the lamppost light 
Three nuns are walking through the night 
Muttering memorized liturgy 
Dried up psalms and eulogies 
A sidewalk child folds a paper rose 
A prisoner quietly changes clothes 
On a nearby bench a blackbird looms 
The wind carries a maiden’s perfume 
Into the widow’s smoke-filled room 
Illuminated by the moon 
And through the crack of a forgotten tomb 
Leaking like static at a faint volume 
Comes that ancient fire, that one desire, within 

I went to the river’s only bridge 
Below a shivering black image 
Upon each breath a silent dare 
Water flowing past in prayer 
As if this life repeats eternally 
I will live accordingly 
For deeper than the vagabond’s leather stare 
The widow’s longing and despair 
Brighter than the lamppost glare 
Stronger than the child’s first nightmare 
Quiet as the mouse underneath the stairs 
The ceaseless hiss of decompressing air 
It’s that ancient fire, that one desire, within


Away With The Rain

Oh, how fortunes change like lightning strikes 
And consequences roll like thunder 
In the flashing darkness wind licks my lips 
Whispers in my ear to go under 
And from on top of the hill I hear someone say 
“If you go you must be your own savior” 
And the voices of hammers pound in the night 
And the stars and the flag wane and waiver 

But I will not throw down my cup 
Until the last drop has been drained 
Only then I’ll climb the hill one more time 
Lie down and wash away with the rain 

The bricks beneath my knees are still cold and wet with fog 
Like these thoughts that I can’t quite get a hold on 
It’s been dark for a while and my hands are hard and worn 
But I think I finally see the first steel shade of dawn 
And as I make out the lines of my shadow I know 
That I am still a stonemason’s son 
And I will lay and play my path and part 
Under blood and sweat and sun 

And I will not throw down my cup 
Until the last drop has been drained 
Only then I’ll climb the hill one more time 
Lie down and wash away with the rain 

The sun is shining in the amber sky 
Onto Spanish fishermen who row 
Toward seagulls circling the horizon 
Toward a promise that will be fulfilled tomorrow 
From the shore comes the voice of my father 
Nearly overtaken by the shadows 
Singing “If I Forget Thee Jerusalem” 
And the waves crashing just like a piano 

And I will not throw down my cup 
Until the last drop has been drained 
Only then I’ll climb the hill one more time 
Lie down and wash away with the rain


Greater Things

There was a woman running naked 
In my dream last night 
Through a field of wheat and wind 
One hand holding a branch of fruit 
And the other grasping a sword 
She came to the edge of a cliff 
And fell down on her knees 
And in one final act of rebellion 
She hurled them both into the sea 

And she began to sing... 
“We shall see, greater things 
They will come to pass I know” 

A tavern of drunks in Mokroe 
Was having its nightly feast 
Some were babbling on about Babylon 
And some about chess and chance 
In rode Death on a clay-red horse 
And everybody hit the floor 
And in six swift sweeps of flashing steel 
He reaped what the sinners had sown 

As they sang... 
“We shall see, greater things 
They will come to pass we know” 

There’s a forest full of frozen oaks 
High above the coastline 
The leaves hang heavy like dreams 
That were struck down in their prime 
I went there just before morning 
To make sure no one would see 
And then I cast aside most my beliefs 
To make room for eternity 

But still I’m singing... 
We shall see, greater things 
They will come to pass I’m told 
But if they don’t 
And I’m not saying that they won’t 
I’ll keep stumbling on


One Hundred Twenty Years

Farewell, you are guiltless though you were born 
It took a desert howling waste to convince you of scorn 
Climbing black walls and stepping through thorns 
Waves crashing and raven claws gripping the morn 
This is the mountain road up and down 
This is the ocean to swim in and drown 
This is the tension tuning beautiful sound 
It took one hundred twenty years but I have found it 

The stranger, the fatherless, the widow at my window 
Seven drops of blood dripping silent and slow 
Standing in mud Mississippi water flow 
Eyes closed listen to its rhythm, its tempo 
This is the broken body that mends 
This is the beginning, middle and end 
This is on what everything else depends 
It took one hundred twenty years but I have found it 

Good angel come kiss me undress my heart 
Seven sages, seven kingdoms could not keep us apart 
Walking through graveyards of ancient art 
I have waited for wisdom to talk and impart 
This is the wind that turns fire to sandstone 
This is where flowers throw heads back and groan 
This is the hill where the roan stallion roams 
This is the lantern in mid-morning streets 
This is the unknown life beneath my feet 
This is the circle whole and complete 
It took one hundred twenty years but I have found it 
It took one hundred twenty years but I have found it