Tucumcari, New Mexico and Other Songs

by Billy Wallace and the Virginia Blues





released 20 November 2012

The Players:

Billy Wallace - vocals, guitar, piano, organ, harmonica, accordion
Matt Hemingway - guitar, bass, drums
Jon Weidenbacher - guitar, vocals
Mike Saylor - bass
Alexandra Frederick - vocals
Tim Colina - drums
Matt Mitchell - trumpet, flugelhorn
Jasmine Poole - banjo, vocals
Will Dueese - acoustic bass
Shannon Anderson Lewis - vocals
Additional gang vocals - Brenna Rondeau, Brian Dees, Paul Schroeder

All lyrics written by Billy Wallace except for “A Love Song for Johannes Kepler”, written by Billy Wallace and Britney Scott.

This record was recorded by Billy Wallace and the Virginia Blues in a bunch of different places in Cincinnati, OH and Covington, KY. It was mastered by Mike Montgomery at Candyland Studios in Cincinnati, OH.

The cover art was designed by Brian Dees.



all rights reserved


feeds for this album, this artist
Track Name: Bury My Burdens
I’ve lost my taste for war, I won’t study it anymore
I have lost my taste for war
If the river dries up, you know we’ll find somewhere else
Where the waters flow
We will rise up and lay our burdens down
There’s a golden ratio I feel the need to know
There’s a golden ratio
If the river rises, this old boat is gonna do it’s best
To keep us afloat
We will rise up and watch our burdens as they drown
In my sleep she’s still my lover
In my sleep I don’t make mistakes
In her sleep, she is waking up
And her hair has turned to grey
When the river levels out, you know
I’m gonna be on the banks, I’ll be watching it roll
As I bury my burdens there in the tender ground
Track Name: Tucumcari, NM
I can’t dodge many more bullets, so I guess I’ll unload my guns
We can beat them into plowshares; plant a garden to share
With everyone we love, and though I love I love you
I understand your need to run
I have worn those shoes, just leave your key in the door when you go
Time slowed down and then stood still when I was on that red-eyed flight
I needed all of what you had to bring me down from my jetlagged high
You said the hangovers can be brutal and, baby, you were right
I got lost amidst apocalyptic billboards, wind farms, and women
Who wanted their lovers with the spirit of the high desert
All painted petrified and pure as gold
But now all I want is to keep some of my secrets safe with you
It makes me feel quite sure I never will grow old
And that’s a good thing, babe, I just want you to know
I know I’ve paid my money down, but I can break that fucking lease
because I don’t need California the way I need you next to me
And I’ll bury my hatchet in Virginia if that’s where you long to be
But if you need to go alone, that’s ok, just tell me so
There’s something wicked in this town and I hate seeing your soul conform
I’m worn out on roughshod east coast winters, but I love keeping you warm
And giving you the deepest cover whenever you feel like it’s gonna storm
I know you were there for me when I was out of my damn mind
When I felt the need to map some things and find myself in desert springs
But I totaled my car in Tucumcari, New Mexico
And in the moment between the brights and blood, I swear a voice said
“Boy, get home. Quit being hard. Stop trying to grow old.”
And I dreamt of you as I slept on the side of the road
It was a good dream, babe, I just want you to know
We’ve got a good thing, babe, I just want you to know
Track Name: Noel's Blues
There’s a sweet Virginia dogwood growing up in Brooklyn town
Oh, my sweet Virginia dogwood, her roots are set in Brooklyn town
And I’ve gotta get back and see her before the city chops her down
She fancies herself a poet and I tell her all the time she’s right
Oh, she fancies herself a poet and you ought to read those words that she writes
But, goddammit, she’s a poet and all the poets have lost their minds
Noel, I know we ain’t lovers but there are sometimes I think we ought to be
Oh, Noel, I know we ain’t lovers but there’s something there and I think we ought to be
For if you could keep my heart honest then I believe you just might find some cover under me
So tonight we’re making plans to get as high as the rent she pays
Oh, tonight we’re making plans and we’re gonna get as high as the rent she pays
We’re gonna keep each other up all night; whatever it takes to keep those wicked blues away
Track Name: Smoke and Glow
We’re lost in the smoke and the glow of the barroom
filled with people thinking they’re in love
They’re all strangers claiming to be looking for truth
when all they want is to live out their fictions
Because the truth is their truth ain’t worth that much
So when you climb up on that stage tonight
I want to hear that drunkard’s gospel soft and sweet
The irony ain’t lost on me
when you’re singing those songs about Jesus
Baby, I know we ain’t playing for keeps
So one more time tonight I wanna see you get up on that stage
I wanna get happy off of wine and the mandolin
The irony ain’t lost on me
when you’re singing your songs about Jesus
And all it does, baby, is make me wanna sin with you
In the smoke and the glow of the barroom
Oh my god! I think that I am in love
With some stranger claiming to be looking for truth
when all I want is to live out my fiction
Because the truth is my truth ain’t worth a fuck
Track Name: O! Be Joyful
For years you’ve been my blackbird
You’ve always taken wing over me
But now I hear you screaming in your sleep
and I can’t tell what the hell it means
You say we’re growing fatter like the pigeons in the alley everyday
Annoying strangers at the bar with our desperate repartee
You say the winter’s full of poison and you’ve run out of reasons to stay
But if you load that gun or walk down that road
I swear I’ll open your grave and I will desecrate your bones
That ain’t no way to leave me here, so cold and alone
That’s a fucking way to leave me
You know I can’t live here alone
I know that we have tied some knots before
and I know I ain’t the one to lead you true
But like it or not, darling, you’re gonna heal
and I’m gonna stick around until you do
We’re get a hotel somewhere warmer and overtip the valets
Empty bottles O! Be Joyful and overflowed ashtrays
We’ll pull the poison from the winter, babe, and set it free
So don’t you whisper to me about how bleak it seems
or the length of rope it takes to reach the attic ceiling beams
You may be a lesser light to some but you shine like the sun to me
A lesser light to some but you’re the sun to me
So don’t you mention no names or the bursting of seams
or the length of rope it takes to reach the attic ceiling beams
You may be a lesser light to some but you shine just like the sun to me
A lesser light to some but you’re the sunlight to me
Track Name: Amy's Interlude
Amy, Amy, you waited like a fool
and blamed me, baby, for being bolted to a barstool
You say it’s a shame but me, I believe we never had the tools
and I believe I’ve fallen out of love with you
Don’t you know?
Sweet Amy Lynn, that was long ago
And though you look like the Mayday Queen
an old cigarette ad in a magazine
I believe I’ve fallen out of love with you
Track Name: Dear Lynn!
Dear Lynn,
Sometimes I am afraid that I’m no good anymore
that I’m soiled like those sheets we stained and the marks we left upon the floor
After hours in that bookstore when we were lying as low as we could
as our love grew more than anyone could stand
I’ve still got pictures of the old shop looking at me from the wall
and sometimes those back rooms haunt my mind; you were my closest call
We were surrounded by a choir that sang gossip as their tune
We were all the news that mountain town could stand
When we would hide away as thick as thieves and find a place to lay you down
To this day I ain’t sure how we never burned that fucker to the ground
as I died and was reborn inside of you
You were full of life and wonder when I fled from Roanoke
and you hopped a train looking for pieces to the hearts that we broke
and though your postcards from the Badlands proclaimed our love as truth
the ones from the Redwoods said the wheels fell off
Yet they were stacked up in my mailbox chronologically reversed
and when I read them out of order it was like some gypsy curse
that resurrected up our love inside my head
On your side it was dead and blue and cradled in the cold, cold ground
Now I’m waiting gently and I’m looking out for my Marie
You know her lease is up this summer and if she moves north to the city
then I swear to god I’ll do my best, I will treat her like a queen
Just like the way I hope your new man looks out for you
We’re gonna get high every evening and we’re gonna make love everyday
and I plan to be a better man no matter what the choirs say
about the love that you and I lived through
Track Name: Henry Flowers' Homesick Blues
So this is what you must have meant by homesick
I always thought that idea was fool’s gold
But now summer is blooming back in the ghetto
and I wanna be there and I wanna watch it unfold
I ain’t much in the mood for reunions
because, baby, we’re not the same folks we’ve been
I will not waste the time to resurrect gods I’ve crucified
just to spit in their face with my sins
But I found a picture of me dancing on a rooftop
so slow with a girl I swear I’ve never seen
and now I still ain’t convince that I can’t find an end
to justify my wicked means
Do you remember the last time you loved me?
It was Bloomsday of two years ago
When you said, I will be your sweet Molly Tweedy
if you be Henry Flowers and I’ll watch you grow
But I will cut you down when it’s all over
You see, I have other suitors to tend to
But know I took your mundane and I turned it to epic
so be grateful I made time for you
and I am
Tennessee, you’re now forgiven
for those men that you sent after me
because right now 12th St. feels just like heaven
The ghetto has washed me cleaned and I can’t stay angry
There’s no way I’ll be lonesome this evening
even though I’ve been desperate for such a long while
because my woman’s right there
I’ve got money to spare
and ‘round here the bars spread out for miles
Track Name: Seen the Light
Won’t you come back home to me? that gentle lover said
We can stay in for two nights, we never even have to leave the bed
For I know your back is weary, I know that troubles haunt your head
But learn to let it go
And she said I will help you rename your pain and I will teach your ballast how to softly sit
She said an anchor is meant to keep you steady, not to drag you down with it
And though your tongue says it’s all copesetic, I look in your eyes and they say you’re full of shit
So learn to let it go
And don’t fight against the tangles but sit still and take heart
For we have seen the light, my love, we ain’t allowed to choose the dark anymore
Sometimes time is a disease and it’s untreatable and it’s tragic
oh, but our bodies are vessels of the purest wild magic
And I know that they hold the cure if we can just tune out the static
and learn to let it go
And not fight against the tangles but sit still and take heart
For we have seen the light, my love, we ain’t allowed to choose the dark
or to kick against those tangles but be still and take heart
For once you’ve seen the light, my love, I don’t believe you are allowed to choose the dark anymore
Track Name: Teach You the Blues
There’s a proper mix that can mend our souls
It’s our golden ratio
Though it broke us down to leave that town
I know now why we had to go
My belly is filled to the brim
with apologies I owe to you
and, love, you must know
if you come back home
Baby, I’ll teach you the blues
You snuck into my head and my dresser drawer
Found a rolled up dollar bill there
You said, that sure is a funny way to store up your money
and a funny way to show that you care
I’ve let you down as a lover, dear
We both know that much is true
Though my redemption lies in your contented sighs
Baby, I’ll teach you the blues
Learning to be a stronger man
Darling, that was my prize
When I first fled from our mountain bed
and found the city’s lights in her eyes
But learning to be a stronger man
Lord, it ain’t what I was cut out to do
and if you decide to fight that good fight
Baby, I’ll teach you the blues
My belly is filled up to the brim
with apologies I owe to you
Love, you must know
if you let me come home
Baby, I’ll teach you the blues
Track Name: A Love Song for Johannes Kepler
When you were young the sun was the father
The sphere was the son
The intervening space was the holiest of ghosts
You had your formulas all figured
and your love on your arm
You had three days of sunshine with three more to follow
You got old and measured shadows
and talked to the walls
You paid your rent by reading soldiers their horoscopes
If I’m to die in battle, Johnny, leave that part out
Tell me three days of sunshine with three more to follow
Johnny, our love is motion
and it’s as big as the sky
Though the math might take a little while to get right
I will meet you by and by
So, Johnny, wake up and tell me
about those harmonies you found
Good lord, I’ve gotta know
Why we’ve got three days of sunshine
with three more to follow
Track Name: The Golden Ratio
Sweetheart, can you tell me what I need to know
about the mechanics of time or when it’s time to go
For our bodies are watches, but our watches run slow
We are builders, we are looking for the golden ratio
So long, Cincinnati; it’s been something else
You did your damndest to catch me every time that I fell
and I know I’ve been ungrateful, I know that I’ve given you hell
but though I was born by your river, I will not die in your well
Good morning, Virginia; won’t you let me turn on your lights
We always moved in the darkness and held our sins tight
I know we’ve had our problems but I didn’t come here to pick a fight
I get that I can’t keep you, but I can I just stay the night?
I know you’ve got your reasons for treating me this way
but it’s my god-given right to go a little bit insane
If you let me back in, I swear I’ll stay down below
and find a quiet place to work on the golden ratio
I’m a builder and I’m looking for the golden ratio
I’m going back to the city to find my Margaret and find my man
We’ll let him peddle his wares and buy all we can
then we’ll fall asleep laughing with our hearts in our hands
Tell all my friends that I ain’t coming home
because the word has changed so often that now the meaning is gone
and though Tennesse is lovely and though I miss Florida’s songs
I ain’t feeling clear so to stay would be wrong
No, my heart ain’t clear so to stay would be wrong