When The Dust Settles

by The Parlor Soldiers

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credits

released 09 December 2011

Vocals, Guitar and Percussion: Alex Culbreth and Karen Jonas
Double Bass: Dan Dutton
Produced by Glenn Fink
Photography by Erica Hopson

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The Parlor Soldiers Fredericksburg, Virginia

Fredericksburg songwriters Alex Culbreth and Karen Jonas are joined by Dan Dutton on double bass as they play the usual tunes of heartache and heartbreak along with some more niche pieces about outlaws, sheriffs, hookers, and whiskey. Together they weave stories and harmonies that will make you pull your heart out of your chest and dance all over it. Figuratively. theparlorsoldiers@gmail.com ... more

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Track Name: When The Dust Settles
When the dust settles, once the storm has stirred
The bricks from the home we'd built
See, flesh and bone was all you'd known
Till our stars got crossed, but still
When the dust settles I will find the nerve
To call you once again
When the dust settles, my friend

If I beat on our door, don't let me in
My sorrow and sobriety cannot last
Just leave your man, his head in his hands
Cold, dead flowers on the welcome mat
If I beat on our door, just let my shadow crawl
Like a ghost upon the steps
If I beat on our door, Elizabeth

But you were the first to rattle my cage
To let the bird inside escape
To kiss my skin, to do me in
With a long distance call from the Garden State
You were the first wild pony that ever I did ride
You were the first, my bride

When the dust settles, the other woman
I'll never breathe her name again
Or kiss her sailor's mouth, unbutton that blouse
That came undone at the Starlite Inn
When the dust settles, if it be your will
Like the wind I'll just blow along
And when the dust settles, hell I'll be gone

When the dust settles and all the stars
Have come dripping from the sky
Into your motel room with the ghost you knew
As you man lying by your side
When the dust settles, will you paint your door
With a desperate shade of blue?
When the dust settles, what will you do?
Track Name: Oh, Restless Heart
I’ve lived two years in Virginia and it’s not bad
But I’ve got this twitching in my feet
I’ve been looking into Texas
Or I might pack up my guitar and go to Nashville Tennessee

I spent a year in Pennsylvania
It was cold and dark and generally ugly
I’ve been rambling like a cowboy but it never seems to help
Is there a home somewhere for me?

Oh, restless heart stop traveling, let me stay a while
I’ve got dinner on the stove, I’ve got laundry to fold
I’ve got these babies to hold and you are wild.

Come in and sit down
Come on, let me hold your keys
You’re been running round and round, round and round,
Why don’t you settle down with me?

We’ve been working on the roof
We’ve been planting in the yard
These are the things that people do, do, do
Why is sitting still so hard?

Oh, restless heart stop traveling, let me stay a while
I’ve got dinner on the stove, I’ve got laundry to fold
I’ve got these babies to hold and you are wild.

You’ve got a highway where your house should be
And wings instead of hands
You’ve got the patience of a gypsy,
A proverbial “ants-in-pants”
You see I had a couple kids
And went and bought a house
I can’t keep running like I used to
Won’t you slow down?

Oh, restless heart stop traveling, let me stay a while
Track Name: Body in The Quarry
Well, Billy Prescott was a boy of some great renown
In our sleepy, small farming town
Yeah, his mama was good looking
And his daddy straight shooting
Seemed like the cottonwoods was calling his name

Well, I hear there's a body in the quarry
And I'm loaded and restless and high
You take Route 49 to where the river runs dry
Would you like to go see him tonight?

He smoked reefer and went swimming
And his body went missing
Yeah, the undertow was stronger than he
For fourteen days they was searching
Till all hope was broken
Yeah, his mama only wanted to see him again

Well, I hear there's a body in the quarry
And the liquor has hit me just right
Drinking Kentucky Red by the dry riverbed
And hope we see him tonight

Well, Mary Jo and me was driving
Like Carolina lightning
When I tried to get under her shirt
With whiskey burning our throats
We parked by the road
And made it down to the water's pale light

Well, I hear there's a body in that quarry
And there's a harvest moon out tonight
And if the stars are too bright we can shoot out the lights
And join him in the quarry tonight
Track Name: Sinner
Yea I've got a story not the kind I like to tell
No one winds up looking really good it doesn't end well
But listen up now I'm gonna set the record straight
About how I sealed my no good two timing husband's fate

Well all you know my husband Billy loved them bottles of old crow
I used to try to keep him sober but that ended long ago
So Billy left the house about ten o’clock to sit at Cady's bar
And by three he was so loaded Cady sent him back to his car

That old Chevy didn't stand a chance when Billy's out his mind
He clipped a half a dozen cars then he flew through a traffic light
Well I don't know where he was headed but the sheriff caught his scent
That sheriff knows that old Chevy like his own two hands

It was a short chase Billy landed in some brush
The sheriff said hey Billy tell me buddy tell me what's the rush?
Now Billy knows me and the sheriff used to have a little fun
So instead of putting up his hands he pulled out his gun

He was indecent he was dirty he was never home by twelve
And let me tell you how it broke my heart the way he'd sleep around
He never stepped foot in a church he was the scourge of the town
So tell me how is it a sin to shoot a sinner down

Now in his stupified state Billy wasn't much a shot
The sheriff knocked him to the ground then he dragged him to his truck
Billy said you are a dead man, you've been messing with my wife
The sheriff said you better shut it boy I'll lock you up for life

He was indecent he was dirty he was never home by twelve
And let me tell you how it broke my heart the way he'd sleep around
He never stepped foot in a church he was the scourge of the town
So tell me how is it a sin to shoot a sinner down

Now when he hadn't had to much to drink he was a clever man
I was calling on the sheriff when Billy split the can
I saw him walking toward the front door but I didn't hear the bell
I knew it wouldn't end well

He brought his pistol cocked and loaded I was in my dressing gown
I ran back into the bedroom but the sheriff had stepped out
There were footsteps in the hallway I dropped onto the ground
Then I grabbed the sheriff's gun and shot my old man down

He was indecent he was dirty he was never home by twelve
And let me tell you how it broke my heart the way he'd sleep around
He never stepped foot in a church he was the scourge of the town
So tell me how is it a sin to shoot a sinner down

So be gentle when you judge me I was only saving myself
Tell me how is it a sin to shoot a sinner down
Track Name: Pacing Through The Garden
Pacing through the garden waiting for something to bloom
For the roses to bud, for someone to give them to
For all those love songs I wrote to come true
Pacing through the garden waiting for something to bloom

Waiting on an angel, one with dust on her heels
A waitress from Decatur in a motel south of Mobile
But the phone ain't speaking, the only ringing's in my ears
Waiting on an angel, one with dust on her heels

Pacing through the garden praying for the light of day
For the talent I once had but pissed all away
Baptized in hellfire, the bottle led me astray
Pacing through the garden praying for the light of day

I've had to live out these songs one too many times
Just drinking down sorrow as cheap as bad wine
They used to come so easy, now I wrestle every rhyme
I've had to live out these songs one too many times

Pacing through the garden waiting for something to bloom
Just clawing at the soil by the dead light of the moon
But it's getting late in the season, the last days of my youth
Pacing through the garden waiting for something to bloom
Track Name: The Old Plow
The old plow is coming his teeth break the earth
The last winter frost beats you down breaks you down
The weatherman sounds from your old radio
Says it looks like rain

The old plow is coming his teeth break the earth
And seeds fill the scars that will heal into rows
The weatherman knows on your old radio
There will be rain

The old plow is coming his teeth break the earth
And no one would grow without a tear in your heart a tear in your eye
In the hardest of times does it help you to know just a little more rain
And you could grow
But you just grow old
Track Name: Mess
He was sitting with a cigarette trying to get a light
He was flirting with the waitress like he does it all the time
he was telling her that anarchy's a personal decision and he's right

he was drumming all his fingers on his dirty levis jeans
he had a little extra energy for shuffling his feet
he didn't see me in the shadows but he was almost sitting close enough to reach

I can't stand it any longer I pretend that someone's calling
I get up and walk right by him but he doesn't seem to notice me
I'm looking at my phone, I didn't see you till I ran into your beer

That'll get me noticed, oh yes they'll all notice what a mess I am
And feel a little sorry and a little bit embarrassed
I'll be running, hoping that my wet white t-shirt
doesn't expose my broken heart

but you got to go back, oh yes, I got to pay the tab
oh no, and remember how I left my bag and jacket
and my phone's dead, all wet, I can't call for help this is bad, and so sad.

So I walk into the bathroom where I try to recompose
Could I be a little tipsy soaking beer up through my clothes?
I smell like a distillery I'd really like to leave but oh no, oh no

So I gather all my wits, I walk back into the bar
There's a man there with a mop who I'm trying to ignore
I'm looking straight ahead, I slip in my own puddle and I'm crashing to the floor

That'll get me noticed, oh yes
They'll all notice what a mess I am
And feel a little sorry and a little bit embarrassed
I'll be crawling, hoping that my wet white t-shirt
Doesn't expose my broken heart

So I get my jacket and my bag, pay the godforsaken tab
And walk with all due haste to the door
I didn't know you were behind me but you tapped me on the shoulder
And said "honey, be careful driving home"
You must have a weird sense of humor, you must watch romantic comedies
I must have had a slight concussion because I find myself handing you my keys
Track Name: Long Gone
Well, you're my black-eyed Betty, girl
I'm your uptown boy
I'm your primary income, sugar
You're my pride and joy
I'll leave the money on the bureau
Split before your red dress is on
I'll be gone, long gone, baby, long gone

I ain't always been no black-eyed Betty
I had a sweetheart when I was young
But the war took my man
And the bank men took my home
Now it's pubescent Casanovas like you
And wannabe Don Juans
But one day I'll be gone, long gone, baby, long gone

Well, you're my black-eyed Betty, girl
I'm your hundred-dollar man
Well, your senses must be crackin', that ain't no heat that you're packin'
Boy, you ain't worth a damn
If you keep on flappin' your lips
I'll call the sugar daddy downstairs with the gun
And you'll be gone, long gone, baby, long gone
Track Name: The Slightest Breeze
I was young when the bank men took our land
Sold it to some richer man
Out of Baltimore

And so my father and his second wife Annette
With a newborn at her breast
Could barely weather the storm

You never know what you have till it's gone
The right words till you've said it wrong
The slightest breeze to blow along
Can knock you down

Now Bernadine, she was a tomboy from up the road
We'd catch cicadas and skip stones
Count the passing railway cars

Hell, she was wild as them ponies up by Kemper Creek
Beautiful and free
No man could tame her heart

You never know what you have till it's gone
A broken heart till you've loved someone
The slightest breeze to blow along
Can knock you down

My father found work at a meat packing plant further north
His family to support
Still barely scraping by

I would dream of rusted skies and sparrow calls
Bernadine in torn overalls
Her hand in mine

You never know what you have till it's gone
The truth you've known for so long
That the slightest breeze to blow along
Can knock you down

And I spent years in a town of smoke and steam
Till I got word that Bernadine
Had taken ill one day

So I took a train to find the farm that the bank men stole
Stripped for a laundromat and liquor store
And the nurse at the hospital
Said I was too late

You never know what you have till it's gone
Some ponies don't stay wild for long
And the slightest breeze to blow along
Can knock you down
Can knock you down
Track Name: Lawless
I swore I'd burn this town with a single match
That I'd brew my coffee with the embers and the ash
I swore I'd burn this town with a single match

[I'll keep the engine running] And I'll stick up the clerk
Just put the money in the bag, little man, and nobody gets hurt
We'll see if Lady Luck's a debutante or a flirt

Cause when the money ran thin there weren't enough to go around
The rich still got richer and let all us poor folk drown
Now when you're penniless and hungry it ain't hard to understand
What makes a lawless woman and a lawless man

Back in Calhoun County a bullet grazed my cheek
But we made it out the back door by the skin of our teeth
We been losing ground and I been losing steam

If you were thinking of quitting I think you missed your chance
We been seen in three dry counties and there's seven lawmen dead
I couldn't let ‘em put a price on your pretty head

And when the mercy ran thin there weren't enough to go around
We couldn't steal enough money to buy our wretched souls back now
We saw no riches or glory, how could you reprimand
This here lawless woman and this lawless man

Let the Lord forgive me when my days are done
If I was born into luxury I would have never hurt no one
Let the Lord forgive me when my days are done
Track Name: Don't Let Your Dreams Get You Down
Don't let your dreams get you down
You've gone too far to turn back now
Just put your shoulder to the wheel and if it takes a hundred years
Don't let your dreams get you down

If your heart is heavy and you feel it start to rust
And like some crooked Midas you kill everything you touch
Just plant a seed in the ground from the bitter fruit you've found
And see what rises from the dust

Don't let your dreams get you down
Just wipe the sweat from your brow
Put your shoulder to the wheel and if it takes a hundred years
Don't let your dreams get you down