An Hour Before Daylight

by Rob Williams

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credits

released October 27, 2017

Recorded April 2017 at Great North Sound Society in Parsonsfield ME
Produced by Jonathan Corey and Rob Williams
Cover photo by Vivian Wang

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Rob Williams Richmond, Virginia

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Track Name: The Old North State
My daddy was from Rocky Mount
My momma from Conway
They didn’t have a dollar between them
That’s not exactly true
They might have had a buck or two
Either way they made off for Virginia

That’s where I was born and raised
Those halcyon days
Growing up outside of Richmond
On holidays we’d drive
South I-95
And my parents they would stop at the state line (and I could hear them say)
Oh, Carolina, why did we ever go away?
Oh, Carolina, take me to the Old North State

My daddy was a preacher
Up ‘til I was born
I guess the devil in me showed him to the door
My momma, she taught history
To the seventh grade
Until history didn’t matter anymore (and I could hear her say)
Oh, Carolina, why did I ever go away?
Oh, Carolina, take me to the Old North State

My parents they grew old
About as old as they could be
Neither was afraid of the dark
They taught me to go see the world
The world I did go see
Now I would be like them if I knew where to start (and a voice in my head says)
Oh, Carolina, why would you ever go away?
Oh, Carolina, take me to that Old North State
Oh, Carolina, the sun is gone the hour’s growing late
Carry my old bones away and lay them in the Old North State
Track Name: Don't Want to Love You
She went off to the great Northwest
With nothing but a wedding dress
And what little might have been left of her virtue
Nothing I could say or do
Could prevent her from going through
Marrying the S.O.B. what asked her . . . first

I was left recounting days
And wondering how things might have changed
If only I’d have had the nerve to tell her
How fate had made us meant to be
My love for her and hers for me
Like Victorian poetry unspoken
I knew I had always loved her, I knew I had always loved her

She called me on her wedding night
A little drunk or little high
And asked if I had anything to tell her
I said you know you can’t be calling me now
You took his name and you said those vows
She told me in no uncertain terms then to hell with you
And she said I never really loved you
She told me I never really loved you
She said I never really loved the way you wanted me to

They settled down but not too well
Their ever after went straight to hell
Who cheated on who now it’s hard to tell and doesn’t matter
She called and asked if I remembered her
Said she’d like to go back to how things were
And just before I threw that goddamned phone into the river
I told her I don’t want to love you, I said I don’t want to love you
I told her I don’t think I can love you the way you want me to
Track Name: Blue
Go find a jukebox and see what I quarter will do
I don’t want to talk I just want to go back to blue
Feeds me when I’m hungry and quenches my thirst
Loves me when I’m lonely and thinks of me first

Blue is the color of night
When the red sun disappears from the sky
Raven feathers shiny and black
A touch of blue glistening down her back

We don’t talk about heaven and we don’t talk about hell
We’ve come to depend on one another so damn well
So go to confession whatever gets you through
You can count your blessings me I’m gonna count on blue

Blue is the color of night
When the red sun disappears from the sky
Raven feathers shiny and black
A touch of blue glistening down her back
Track Name: Broken
You come in here broken, cigarette lit
You come in here more often than you’d care to admit
Seeking spirits to heal you inside
Then the arms of a good man to hold you tonight
Because a good man wouldn’t break you
Even if he thought he could

A bouquet of flowers fresh in your mind
A head full of Xanax oceans of time
Will not begin to mend you inside
Like the arms of the good man you hold out to find
Because a good man wouldn’t break you
Even if he thought he could
But there’s no good man, there’s no good man
There’s no good man in sight
There’s only me here tonight

Someone somewhere, someone sometime
Must have wrecked your heart, messed with your mind
Left all the pieces broken inside

So you come to me broken weary and worn
You come to me naked as the day you were born
You come to me later than you’d like it to be
Letting go of beliefs that you once believed
Like a good man wouldn’t break you
Even if he thought he could
But there’s no good man, there’s no good man
There’s no good man in sight
There’s only me
And I’m no good man
Track Name: Butte, Montana 1885
The Butte Daily Miner front page for all to see
From accidents and violent deaths this town’s exceptionally free

Richard Olds was too young he didn’t leave anyone
When died down in the mine they said the fault was his own
Tibbett and Bray died the same day
Through their own carelessness the tunnel timbers gave way
That’s what the company said, how its report read
Guess it doesn’t matter now ‘cause when you’re dead you’re dead

The richest hill on the Earth
Made the poorest men in the town
Fight the copper man’s war
Down in the cold Montana ground

Fat Jack was found dead in his own bed
Drank himself to death that’s what the sheriff and the coroner said
Opium Jim who never made a friend
Met his maker at the hands of other men
McEvoy died one night from drinking lye
Guess he had to die from something after working in the mine

Chorus

The place they call Big Butte on the Continental Divide
Was the richest hill on Earth in 1885
Work was easy to find there were openings all the time
Take a job maybe your last breath down in the Alice Mine

Chorus
Track Name: Icarus Dreamt
Icarus dreamt if he could fly
He’d get out of this place, see the world from the sky
He would ask her to join him if she could dream too
Thousands of places they could fly to

He’d grown tired of his labyrinth days
Year after year winding through the great maze
Only to find himself starting again
Where he’d started before and had always been

Icarus knew one day man would fly
He saw his escape and called out to the sky
He said, “Waiting for centuries won’t for me do
If man is to fly, well, then I’m a man too”

He would ask her to join him if she could dream too
The world would look different from a bird’s view
The big things, the obstacles all would be small
From high above not like big things at all

She closed her eyes and saw evenings in Rome
Bright sandy beaches, places far from home
The Gardens, Colossus, a bright shining light
She saw in her dreams but she could not see his flight

So Icarus took off, he flew all alone
Above sandy beaches and evenings in Rome
Over gardens and statues, a lighthouse fire
Flying alone he flew higher and higher

Until Icarus flew too close to the sun
Those who saw him fall say his dream was undone
But there’s one simple truth they cannot undo
It was not a dream the day Icarus flew
Track Name: Tired and Poor
Give me your tired and your poor
I’ll open up the door
Give me your huddled masses yearning to breathe free
I’ll lift up my light
Let it shine all through the night
And be the hope I hope the world someday to be

Yes, we’ll open up this land
I know you’ll understand
Your father’s father’s father before
Needed a new home
From the one he’d always known
When the old one didn’t want him anymore

He and the girl that he loved
Saw mountain majesties above
Worked the land from sea to shining sea
Drove the highway ribbon wind
Sang this land is yours and mine
Fought the wars to keep the whole damn world free

(Repeat Chorus)

He worked until the work was done
Up an hour before the sun
His calloused hands knew no better way
Told of a city on a hill
Went and found it for himself
Lived it, worked it, breathed it each and every day

So if the light begins to fade
Hearts become afraid
Of the tempest tossed knocking at the door
Keep your faith undeterred
Lest these words become just words
Be the light that shines to every distant shore
(Repeat Chorus)
Track Name: Lucy, You're Lovely
Lucy, you’re lovely
More than just bones
Gathered from rest
Beneath desert dust and stone

Perhaps not the woman
We thought you would be
Lucy, you’re lovely
That much I can see

Why do we think after all that we’ve done
You are any less human than what we’ve become

You never once sought out
Fortune or fame
Those things don’t define you
You’re more than your name

While we search the heavens
Our place in the stars
Lucy, you’re lovely
Just as you are

Why do we think after all that we’ve done
You are any less human than what we’ve become

You travel the world now
A world you never knew
Lucy, you’re famous
We envy you

Gathered from rest
Beneath desert dust and stone
Lucy, you’re lovely
More than just bones

Why do we think after all that we’ve done
You are any less human than what we’ve become
Why after all that we put you through
Do we claim to be any more human than you
Track Name: Hide and Seek
Ready or not here they come to find you
You could hide well enough but then what good would that do?
It’s just a game though maybe it means more
Might be the way they remember you after you’re gone

And it feels almost dreamlike
Found by smiling faces, two faces at the same time

Ready or not here they come they found you
Took them a while but it’s worth the big smile they show
I can’t remember the last time I laughed out loud
Give up your hiding place it’s no surprise you’ve been found

And it feels almost dreamlike
Found by smiling faces, two faces at the same time

Their day feels so long
Fading into nighttime then bedtime ready or not

And it feels almost dreamlike
Found by smiling faces, two faces at the same time
Track Name: Rhythm of the Sunset
Tapping my toes to the rhythm of the sunset
Counting my blessings listening to the river flow
When she told be ‘bout a place called over the horizon
And said no matter how far you run you can never go

I was down for the challenge so we loaded up the wagon
Running on fumes and a busted old radio
Trying to sing along to Chinese Translation
Circling the want ads hoping we could pan for gold

There were days we thought we may never
Make it past these Great Smoky Mountains
See the lights of Nashville, Tennessee
Life sang to us and we sang along ‘til we run out of road

We found a little luck across the Mississippi
In the shadows of the horseheads along the Oklahoma plains
Greeted by the golden California coastline
Staring up at the moonlight of San Simeon on the hood of this Chevrolet

Repeat Chorus

Came across a preacher somewhere along the highway
His work it was to try to save a soul
He told me the story of Samson and Delilah
And said, “Man, you better make a plan, she’s up to no good, ya know”

I said, preacher, you may not believe this but I’ve already
Been across the Great Smokey Mountains
Seen the lights from sea to shining sea
When life sang to me I sang along ‘til I run out of road
Track Name: Goodnight, Illinois
Goodnight, Illinois
Wish I could stay
A lonesome star in the Western sky
Wished upon fades away
Tonight I make my way home

Goodnight, Illinois
I leave with you a dream
There on your front porch
‘Neath the moonlight and silhouetted trees
Hand in hand face to face
And if I’m wrong
I’ll be wrong one more time
And dream of you, Illinois, goodnight

Goodnight, Illinois
Although the road
We choose to walk down
Is not the only one there is to know
So many times I’ve been told
But if that’s wrong
We’ll be wrong one more time
And I’ll dream with you, Illinois, goodnight

So many ways I’ve been wrong
So if I’m wrong
Then I’ll be wrong one last time
And I’ll dream of you, Illinois, goodnight

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