Circus Girl (The Best Of)

by Gretchen Peters

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credits

released May 12, 2009

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Gretchen Peters Nashville, Tennessee

Gretchen Peters’ new album, 'Blackbirds,' features a who's who of American roots music: Jerry Douglas, Jason Isbell, Jimmy LaFave and more. But it's not the guests that make 'Blackbirds' the most poignant and moving album of Peters' storied career; it’s her ability to capture the kind of complex emotional moments we might otherwise try to hide and instead shine a light onto them. ... more

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Track Name: Circus Girl
I work the high wire in the center ring
Defying gravity, that's my thing
Guess I never wanted no regular life
I couldn't stand to be nobody's wife

Some people tell me that I'm livin' their dream
But things in the circus ain't what they seem
Believe me darlin' it's a lonely world
It ain't easy for a circus girl

Nobody knows you when you come to town
You're somebody's hero or you're somebody's clown
And you hope like hell that it'll be enough
Cause you're nobody's baby when the sun comes up

Bridge: You can dazzle 'em with beauty
Make 'em laugh until they cry
You can give 'em the thrill of a lifetime
But they always say goodbye

It's just that sometimes I get so tired
Of goin' nowhere on that little wire
I'd like to plant my feet on solid ground
But God have mercy it's a long way down

So I climb that ladder right on up to the sky
I don't look down and I don't ask why
And just for a moment I'm on top of the world
Just for a moment I'm a circus girl
Track Name: The Aviator's Song
you fell out of the sky when you were 21
your bomber took a bullet from a german gun
did you think about your wife
your brief and tender life
did you pray to anyone?

how does it feel when you’re falling
can you hear sweet angels calling
is it empty up in space
did you touch god’s holy face
did you tremble, did you cry
did you fall or did you fly

you fell out of your life when you were 43
you saw her and you thought she was your destiny
you wandered from the path
and we cursed your aftermath
but that’s ancient history
chorus

you make it so damn hard to love you
i don’t know why i even try
and all i ever wanted of you
to take me with you when you fly

you fell out of my life one last time today
i held your hand and watched you as you slipped away
you cast your pilot’s eye to the endless open sky
and i sent you on your way
Track Name: Sunday Morning (Up and Down My Street)
there’s a dog a’barking
there’s no sunday parking
no standing nine to noon
and the air is breezy
and the day breaks easy
and the traffic hums a tune

there’s a sunday paper
and a sleepy neighbor
and a cat curled at your feet
there’s a breakfast frying
and a baby crying
and your smile is all I need

and we’re talking (and i love to hear you)
and we’re laughing (and i love to see you)
and we’re taking time and making love so sweet
and the birds sing (i can hear them singing)
and the bells ring (i can hear them ringing)
and it’s Sunday morning up and down my street
 
where the sidewalk’s broken
there’s a cafe open
people spilling out the door 
and you’re softly hummin’
and the day is comin’
when we won’t be sad no more
Track Name: The Secret of Life
Couple of guys sittin' around drinkin' down at the Starlight Bar
One of 'em says, you know I been thinkin' - other one says that won't get you too far
He says this is your life and welcome to it - it's just workin' and drinkin' and dreams
Ad on the TV says "Just do it" - hell if I know what that means...

The secret of life is a good cup of coffee
The secret of life is keep your eye on the ball
The secret of life is a beautiful woman
And Marilyn stares down from the barroom wall...

You and me, we're just a couple of zeroes - just a couple of down-and-outs
But movie stars and football heroes - what've they got to be unhappy about?
So they turn to the bartender, "Sam, what do you think - what's the key that unlocks that door?"
Sam don't say nothin', he just wipes down the bar and he pours 'em a couple more

Cause the secret of life is in Sam's martinis
The secret of life is in Marilyn's eyes
The secret of life is in Monday night football
And Rolling Stones records and Mom's apple pies

Sam looks up from his Sunday paper - he says boys you're on the wrong track
The secret of life is there ain't no secret and you don't get your money back

The secret of life is gettin' up early
The secret of life is stayin' up late
The secret of life is try not to hurry
But don't wait, don't wait...
The secret of life is a good cup of coffee
The secret of life is keep your eye on the ball
The secret of life is to find the right woman
The secret of life is nothin' at all

Repeat first verse
Track Name: If Heaven
if heaven was an hour it would be twilight
when the fireflies start their dancin’ on the lawn
and supper’s on the stove and mama’s laughin’
and everybody’s working day is done

if heaven was a town it would be my town
on a summer day in 1965
and everything i wanted was out there waiting
and everyone i loved was still alive

chorus:
don’t cry a tear for me now baby
comes a time we all must say good bye
and if that’s what heaven’s made of
you know i ain’t afraid to die

if heaven was a pie it would be cherry
cool and sweet and heavy on your tongue
and just one bite would satisfy your hunger
and there’d always be enough for everyone

if heaven was a train it’d be a fast one
to take this weary traveler round the bend
and if heaven was a tear it’d be my last one
and you’d be in my arms again

chorus
Track Name: On A Bus To St. Cloud
On a bus to St. Cloud, Minnesota
I thought I saw you there
With the snow falling down around you
Like a silent prayer
And once on a street in New York City
With the jazz and the sin in the air
And once on a cold L.A. freeway
Going nowhere

And it's strange, but it's true
I was sure it was you
Just a face in the crowd
On a bus to St. Cloud

In a church in downtown New Orleans
I got down on my knees and prayed
And I wept in the arms of Jesus
For the choice you made
We were just gettin' to the good part
Just gettin' past the mystery
Oh, and it's just like you, just like you
To disagree

And it's strange but it's true
You just slipped out of view
Like a face in the crowd
On a bus to St. Cloud

And you chase me like a shadow
And you haunt me like a ghost
And I hate you some, and I love you some
But I miss you most...

On a bus to St. Cloud, Minnesota
I thought I saw you there
With the snow falling down around you
Like a silent prayer
Track Name: In A Perfect World
Baby i’ve been thinking
About me and you
Baby i’ve been dreaming
Like we used to do
Things ain’t what they used to be
I can’t change them anyway
But the world would be a better place
If I had my way

Superman would win the fight
Everyone would do what’s right
And i would always be your girl
In a perfect world

Maybe we were crazy
Breaking all the rules
Maybe we were dreamers
Maybe we were fools
Maybe it was madness
To believe that we could win
But boy I would give anything
Just to feel that way again

chorus

Maybe this is all there is
Maybe we just pack it in
Spread our wings and fly
But baby that don’t make it right
That don’t get me through the night
I still believe in a perfect world
chorus
Track Name: This Town
this town is a lot like me
sadder and wiser than it used to be
a little sprawled out, a little rundown
i wonder what’s gonna become of this town

this town has its highs and lows
and a hole in the middle where nobody goes
people come through but they don’t hang around
nobody wants to get to the heart of this town

this town has its own sweet charms
open your heart and it’ll open its arms
take you by the hand and show you around
there’s still a lot of life left in this town

all that i can see is lovers kissing in the street
swaying to the beat of a rusty radio
all that i can hear another late night symphony
the sound of traffic moving like an undertow

this town can’t get no rest
everybody thinks that they know best
they’re either building it up or they’re tearing it down
they can’t seem to love it like it is, this town

all i wanna do tonight is kiss you in the street
swaying to the beat of a rusty radio
all i wanna do is feel your arms around me too
pullin on my body like an undertow
 
this town is a lot like me
a little coat of paint & some TLC
and she’ll light right up if you come around
you know that you never wanna leave this town
Track Name: Picasso And Me
Picasso's in the kitchen stirring up a stew
He pours himself a bowl and then he fixes me one too
And we sit out on the terrace and the birds fly through the trees
And he captures them on canvas and I capture them in dreams
And we pass a lazy afternoon, as happy as can be
With the brushes and the turpentine, just Picasso and me

He picked me up in Paris; I was scrounging in the streets
He shared his cream for coffee, and I curled up at his feet
And ever since that moment I've been his confidante
He says that it's uncanny how I know just what he wants
But we both like our freedom, and quiet company
In the end we're not so different, Picasso and me

Sometimes he gets angry when they say he's just a fraud
And he curses at the canvas, and he shakes his fist at God
Who are these rogues - who are these fools?
Who made this game - who made these rules?

The critics criticize him and the women come and go
They'll never understand him; they don't know what I know
They're just too damned demanding, they just won't let him be
And I'm glad to see them go, and then it's back to him and me
And the lazy summer afternoons, the sunlight through the trees
And the brushes and the turpentine and Picasso and me
Track Name: When You Are Old
When you are old and tired and gray
And wear your overcoat on sunny days
When your brave tales have all been told
I'll ask for them when you are old

When you are old and full of sleep
And death no longer makes you weep
When your body aches with cold
I'll warm your heart when you are old

And you'll still be the same to me
A comfort and a mystery
And I will be old too, you see
I'll need someone to comfort me

When you are old and pale and gaunt
And a gentle hand is all you want
I will give you mine to hold
I'll be here when you are old
Track Name: Independence Day
Well she seemed all right by dawn's early light
Though she looked a little worried and weak
She tried to pretend he wasn't drinkin' again
But Daddy'd left the proof on her cheek
And I was only eight years old that summer
And I always seemed to be in the way
So I took myself down to the fair in town
On Independence Day

Well word gets around in a small, small town
They said he was a dangerous man
Mama was proud and she stood her ground
But she knew she was on the losin' end
Some folks whispered and some just talked
But everybody looked the other way
And when time ran out there was no one about
On Independence Day

Let freedom ring, let the white dove sing
Let the whole world know that today is a day of reckoning
Let the weak be strong, let the right be wrong
Roll the stone away, let the guilty pay
It's Independence Day

Well she lit up the sky that fourth of July
By the time that the firemen come
They just put out the flames, took down some names
And sent me to the county home
Oh, and I ain't sayin' it's right or it's wrong
But maybe it's the only way
Talk about your revolution
It's Independence Day

Let freedom ring, let the white dove sing
Let the whole world know that today is a day of reckoning
Let the weak be strong, let the right be wrong
Roll the stone away, let the guilty pay
It's Independence Day
Track Name: Tomorrow Morning
baby you just slipped right through my fingers
baby took the words out of my mouth
i could start all over but the thing is
you were never something i could live without

you were always looking for the silver lining
i was always waiting for the rain
every now and then i need reminding
love is never really love in vain

this night will end
this heart will mend
and i’ll smile again
tomorrow morning
as right as rain
as pure and plain
i will rise again
tomorrow morning

if i have a soul i’ve never seen it
if i have a prayer why can’t i pray
i say that i’m alright but i don’t mean it
what i really mean is i’m okay

chorus

i dreamed i was a sailor on the ocean
i dreamed that i was lost inside a storm
maybe i can find a fair wind blowin
somewhere in the dark before the dawn
Track Name: The Way You Move Me
it’s something like grace
the way you look at me
kinda like you see me
in my finest hour
it’s something like church
the way it’s supposed to be
when I get down on my knees and feel the power

it’s kinda like a wildfire
burnin’ up the mountainside
it’s kinda like a freight train
comin’ off the track
it’s kinda like a freefall
the way i feel inside
when there ain’t no turning back

if i cried a thousand tears
if i lived a thousand years
i could never find a way to make you see
i’ll never understand the way you move me

you left your words
all across my memory
you left your mark
like a burning brand
you left your fingerprints
all over me
and now you’re everywhere i am

if i cried a thousand tears
if i lived a thousand years
i could never find a way to make you see
i’ll never understand the way you move me
Track Name: Don't You Know
Don't you know
I'd get down on my knees for you
If you'd only ask me to
I love you so
Don't you know

Can't you see
That you and I were meant to be
Darling take a look at me
Doesn't it show
Don't you know

Can it be
That you don't care a thing for me
That I'm the one who doesn't see
Darling don't play tricks on me

Can't you tell
I've fallen underneath your spell
And here I thought you knew me well
How could you go
Don't you know

I love you so
Don't you know
Track Name: Nobody's Girl
She's a fallen angel
She's just flesh and bone
She's the rock of ages
She's a rolling stone

(She's nobody's girl)
She walks this road alone
(Nobody's girl)
She calls her soul her own
(Nobody's girl)
She knows she's on her own in this world
She's nobody's girl

She's some kind of devil
She's some kind of saint
And if her hands are dirty
Well her spirit ain't

(She's nobody's girl)
She walks this road alone
(Nobody's girl)
She calls her soul her own
(Nobody's girl)
She knows she's on her own in this world
She's nobody's girl

Now if the world don't claim you
It don't own you, too
She don't belong to me, no, no
She don't belong to you

(She's nobody's girl)
She walks this road alone
(Nobody's girl)
She calls her soul her own
(Nobody's girl)
She knows she's on her own in this world
She's nobody's girl