The Ballad of Ed Tom Bell

Sheriff Ed Tom Bell in “No Country for Old Men” spends a lot of time talking about what’s wrong with the world, and making a lot of sense.

Please note: I’m apolitical. I see a lot wrong with the whole world, not just one country, and the ‘country’ McCarthy referred to in Bell’s monologues was the region he lived in, not a geopolitical entity. I’d hate for anyone to think I had a bone to pick with any particular person, place or thing. But if you read Cormac McCarthy, stuff like this is bound to leak back out eventually.

I intentionally sang it in too low a key to get the sound I wanted.

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Water Over Stone

When writing about deep emotional trauma inflicted by those we should have been able to trust it helps to keep abstracting until there are no emotion words left, only the images they evoked.

Late last year memories of some childhood trauma surfaced and messed me up for a while.

Music is a safe way to rage at people.

http://www.freeimages.com/photo/river-1258831

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First Rodeo, Last Ride

A friend who has worked with everyone from Commander Cody and Buddy Guy to Aaron Copeland and Tina Turner is teaching me some slide.

I recorded 6 choruses of a 12-bar blues in a D tuning on my acoustic. Shuffled things around a bit after I came up with the ‘first rodeo/last ride’ idea, then whipped together some lyrics and there ya go.

it’s hard to find the words
to say how it hurts
bet it all on that bull and I lost my shirt
thought I could take him
but didn’t have enough inside
well this ain’t my first rodeo
but it might be my last ride

didn’t see eye to eye
that bull and I
and I was laying there looking at the great big sky
it was mutual
we each wanted some of the other one’s hide
well this ain’t my first rodeo
but it might be my last ride

when you hit the gate
better do your eight
I had more than I could handle on a bull sized plate
partly my fault
a fact I’ve never denied
well this ain’t my first rodeo
but it might be my last ride

I make a mess of things
and it really stings
outrageous fortune and all its slings
get knocked down
but I try to take it all in stride
well this ain’t my first rodeo
but it might be my last ride

performance notes
open D
12 – 5 – 7


storyteller

There was a whole story in my head when I wrote the chorus and a few snippets about a year ago. I guess it’s gone, I don’t know.

I love The Man from Snowy River. In one scene, Jim says to one of his mates, “You’re welcome at my fire any time.” Seemed like a real cowboy way of expressing your respect for someone.

storyteller

he had the kind of a face most folks wouldn’t even notice
they weren’t noticing now as he stood there in the blazing sun
made to walk by, but he caught my eye
and said “I could tell quite a tale, if you’d just buy me one.”

we stepped inside and I saw all the usual faces
the lonely, the losers, the lost, and me
he sipped at his ale and he told tale upon tale
and he took me to places I never thought I would see

“it’s a great big world, under a great big sky
a man can get lost, be hard to find”
with a look in his eye that made me hope it was true, he said
“You’re welcome at my fire any time”

couldn’t tell if he was looking at me or through me
and since he started talking, I hadn’t said a word
as we sat in that booth I learned a lot of truth
and he told me every story I’d ever heard

“it’s a great big world, under a great big sky
a man can get lost, be hard to find”
with a look in his eye that made me think it was true, he said
“You’re welcome at my fire any time”

he told stories that sounded like long lost letters from home
after while I wasn’t sure if they were about him or me
all the places I’d been he took me there again
then he leaned in and tapped me on the knee

“it’s a great big world, under a great big sky
a man can get lost, be hard to find”
with a look in his eye that made me know it was true, he said
“You’re welcome at my fire any time”