One To The Heart, One To The Head

by Gretchen Peters with Tom Russell



released February 1, 2009



all rights reserved


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: Prairie In The Sky
I ride a big blue roan
I carry all I own
In the pouches of my saddlebag
With my bedroll tied behind

There’s a prairie in the sky
I’ll find it by and by
Hills of brown and yellow
To make a soul unwind

Let the music take me home
To where a heart may roam
I’ll fly across the meadows
Touch the tall grass as I go

Let the gentle western wind
Stay with me til the end
Beside me til the day is done
And the sun is setting low

Leave the ponies to run free
Far as the eye can see
I’d ride the range forever
To see them once again

Let the wild flying things
Soar above me on their wings
And the stars fill up the night sky
And the moon light up the plains
Track Name: Billy 4
There's guns across the river about to pound you
There's lawmen on your trail like to surround you
Bounty hunters are dancing all around you
Billy, they don't like you to be so free

Camping out all night on the veranda
Walking in the streets down by the hacienda
Up to Boot Hill they’d like to send you
Billy, don't you turn your back on me

Playing around with some sweet senorita
Into her dark chamber she will greet you
In the shadows of the mesas she will lead you
Billy, and you're going all alone

They say that Pat Garrett's got your number
So sleep with one eye open, when you slumber
Every little sound just might be thunder
Thunder from the barrel of his gun

There's always another stranger sneaking glances
Some trigger-happy fool willing to take chances
Some old whore from San Pedro will make advances
Advances on your spirit and your soul

So hang on to your woman, if you got one
Remember in El Paso once you shot one
Yeah and up in Santa Fe one time you bought one
Billy, you've been running for so long

Gypsy queens will play your grand finale
Way down in some Tularosa alley
Maybe in La Rio Pecos valley
Billy, you're so far away from home
Track Name: Blue Mountains of Mexico
I found a postcard from long ago
in a drawer yesterday
come back to Tucson, I miss you so
it was warm here today
northern Rockies all deep in snow
clear down to the Sangre de Cristo
Blue Mountains of Mexico
will be always alone, still out there on our own

Time like money just disappears
no one knows where it goes
you spend it so recklessly
when you’ve got nothing but time
warm sun on adobe walls
we kissed in the desert dawn
Blue Mountains of Mexico
will we be always alone, still out there on our own

If we meet down the road somewhere
would we know what to say
or has the river flowed too many miles
now we're too far away
to get lightening back in a bottle
like old lovers trying to stop the hands of time
Blue Mountains of Mexico
will we be always alone, still out there on our own
Track Name: These Cowboys Born Out of Their Time
He’s a cowboy, he was raised in Ohio
He got married and moved further west
Showed up on time for a few awful years
And one night he got drunk and he left

Drove a truck for awhile up in Fargo
But he never got used to the smoke
He once tried to settle and get some ahead
But he’s still just as wild, just as broke

The range has been settled for years now
The old wranglers passed on with their kind
But every now and again you run into these men
These cowboys born out of their time

For some change he’ll remember your birthplace
Cause there’s hardly a town he ain’t been
And you can get up and leave any time that you please
For that’s one thing that he understands

He lives out his days now in Denver
His best friend is a bottle of wine
And you don’t need to ask anything of his past
It’s asleep in the back of his mind

And as the sun rises over the Rockies
It’s so strange that he don’t even care
When it burns out and sets down in Kansas
He takes the fences round Larimer Square
Track Name: Guadalupe
There are ghosts out in the rain tonight
High up in those ancient trees
And I have given up without a fight
Another blind fool on his knees

And all the gods that I’ve abandoned
Begin to speak in simple tongue
And suddenly I’ve come to know
That there are no roads left to run

Now it’s the hour of dogs a’barking
That’s what the old ones used to say
It’s first light or it’s sundown
Before the children cease their play

When the mountains glow like mission wine
Or turn grey like a Spanish roan
A thousand eyes will stop to worship
Then turn away and head for home

She is reaching out her arms tonight
And, yes, my poverty is real
I pray roses shall rain down again
From Guadalupe on her hill

And who am I to doubt these mysteries?
Cured in centuries of blood and candle smoke?
I am the least of all your pilgrims here
But I am most in need of hope

She appeared to Juan Diego
She left her image on his cape
Five hundred years of sorrow
Cannot destroy his deepest faith

So here I am, your ragged disbeliever
Old doubting Thomas drowns in tears
As I watch your church sink through the earth
Like a heart worn down through fear.
Track Name: Sweet and Shiny Eyes
Your sweet and shiny eyes
Are like the stars above Laredo
Like meat and potatoes to me

In my sweet dreams we are
In a bar and it's my birthday
Drinking salty margaritas with Fernando

Young and wild, we drove 900 miles of Texas highway
To the Mexican border as the day was comin' on
We crossed the Rio Grande river
And we swore we'd have things our way
When we happened to walk in to Nuevo Leon

Your sweet and shiny eyes
Are like the stars above Laredo
Like meat and potatoes to me

In my sweet dreams we are
In a bar and it's my birthday
And we're having our picture taken
With Fernando
Track Name: Wolves
January's always bitter
But Lord this one beats all
The wind ain't quit for weeks now
And the drifts are ten feet tall
I been all night drivin' heifers
Closer in to lower ground
Then I spent the mornin' thinkin'
'Bout the ones the wolves pulled down

Charlie Barton and his family
Stopped today to say goodbye
He said the bank was takin' over
The last few years were just too dry
And I promised that I'd visit
When they found a place in town
Then I spent a long time thinkin'
'Bout the ones the wolves pull down

Lord please shine a light of hope
On those of us who fall behind
And when we stumble in the snow
Could you help us up while there's still time

Well I don't mean to be complainin' Lord
You've always seen me through
And I know you got your reasons
For each and every thing you do
But tonight outside my window
There's a lonesome mournful sound
And I just can't keep from thinkin'
'Bout the ones the wolves pull down

Lord keep me from bein'
The one the wolves pull down
Track Name: Snowin' on Raton
When the wind don’t blow in Amarillo
When the moon along the Gunnison don’t rise
Shall I cast my dreams upon your love babe
And lie beneath the laughter of your eyes

Snowin’ on Raton
Come morning I’ll be through them hills and gone
Snowin’ on Raton
Come morning I’ll be through them hills and gone

Mother thinks the road is long and lonely
Little brother thinks the road is straight and fine
Little darlin’ thinks the road is soft and lovely
I’m thankful that old road’s a friend of mine

So bid the years goodbye, you cannot steal them
You cannot turn the circles of the sun
You cannot count the miles until you feel them
You cannot hold a lover that is gone

Tomorrow the mountains will be sleepin’
Silent ‘neath the blanket green and blue
And I shall hear the silence they are keepin’
And I’ll bring all their promises to you
Track Name: Old Paint (traditional)
I ride an old paint, I lead an old Dan
I'm goin' to Montana to throw a hoolihan
They feed in the coolies, they water in the draw
Their tails are all matted, their backs are all raw

Ride around, ride around real slow
the fiery and the snuffy are rarin' to go

Old Bill Brown had a daughter and a son
One went to Denver and the other went wrong
His wife, she died in a poolroom fight
and still he keeps singin' from mornin' till night

When I die, take my saddle from the wall
Put it on my pony and lead him from his stall
Tie my bones to his back, turn our faces to the west
And we'll ride the prairie that we love the best
Track Name: My Last Go Round
What sweet love have I come by
On my last go round
Soft caresses, tender sighs
Have my heart unbound

I have stumbled, lost and wild
Onto sacred ground
But I have loved just like a child
On my last go round

Riding down rusty rails
On my memories
All those honky-tonks and whisky rivers are
Flowing back to me

We drank the rivers and we rode the twisters
We tumbled down to the ground
But we wake and rise, spend our glory
On the last go round

When my wandering soul shall rest
And my last song gets sung
I’ll find the brightest and the best
On my way back home

And all my long lost friends and lovers
Once again they will be found
And I’ll kiss all their shining faces
On my last go round

I have stumbled, lost and wild
Unto sacred ground
Ah, but I have loved just like a child
On my last go round
Track Name: If I Had A Gun
If I had a gun, you’d be dead
One to the heart, one to the head
If I had a gun, I’d wipe it clean
My fingerprints off on these sheets

They’d bury you in the cold hard ground
Fistful of dirt would hold you down
They’d bury you in the cold hard ground
It’d be the first night I’d sleep sound

If I had a gun no one would cry
No one would mourn the day you died
I’d leave you there wearin’ your ring
I’d leave your name, I’d leave everything

They’d bury you in the cold hard ground
Fistful of dirt would hold you down
They’d bury you in the cold hard ground
It’d be the first night I’d sleep sound

If I had a gun, I’d drive away
I’d drive away, I’d drive away
Track Name: Prairie Melancholy
The moment we said good bye
Silence tore across the sky
The riverbed lay wide and dry
As far as I could see
And someone said
My ghost was found
Laying her burden down
Taking the long way around
Underneath the moon

Somewhere on the prairie,
A little cross is mine
A simple wooden marker
With a plastic rose entwined
And in the stillness of the twilight
As the tumbleweeds wind
I am crawling like a scorpion
across the melancholy time

so shred the poems
let the wild birds chase them in the breeze
let them make their nests
from words like please
put those dreams to rest
throw them at the moon
blow the confetti across
the golden west

I was the fragrance in the wild flower
Opening for only you
In the delicate hour
Before the cold shot through
Ten thousand years from now
You'll put your hand in mine
Remembering a fragrance
Full of melancholy time

You see those ravens breaking the prairie sky?
We used to go where ravens fly
Our giddy laughter made the angels cry
to fly as free as you and i

somewhere on the prairie
a cross, a rose, a shrine
standing for true love
gone before its time
there goes your shadow down the highway
out that road I could't find
while I crawl like a scorpion
slowly to the new world
across these miles of prairie
full of melancholy time