I Call The Living

by Samuel Lockridge

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about

"Vivos Voco" (Latin), from "The Song of the Bell," by Friedrich von Schiller (1798), and later the motto of the revolutionary peasant journal, Kolokol (1857-1867).

credits

released October 20, 2014

All songs written and performed by Samuel Lockridge.
Recorded by Zachary Dyke.
Mixed and mastered by Trevor Richardson.
Album photography by Laura E. Partain.
Nashville, TN, 2014.

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about

Samuel Lockridge Kentucky

Kentucky folk singer, Samuel Lockridge caresses his strings and lets fly his haunting voice to craft earthy soundscapes that are all at once gentle and powerful. His weeping melodies and soul-churning lyrics encompass the natural beauty of his native Appalachia and invite the listener into a meditative stillness. ... more

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Track Name: The Good Place And The Place That Cannot Be
These stones cry out to me of ages past,
These leaves are whispering omens in my ear,
And when the people rise like embers,
One voice, one song,
We will remember our home.

Well maybe it’s my pride or maybe it’s just rage
But I’d rather be a fool than just a number on a page.
Every promise they made me at the shopping mall
Has yet to be kept and I ain’t waiting anymore.
There’s a place I knew when I was small,
And I still believe in truth, all for one and one for all,
Come on!

Vivos Voco

Well I was cracking my whip
In the lobby of Park Avenue National Church.
The moneychangers and centurions said,
“I thought we crucified you long ago?”
So you know, they shaved my head
And zip-tied my wrists.
I think they thought I was a terrorist,
And anyone who questions them, I guess.

Vivos Voco

The lark and lily have fled the city,
Back to the garden, where it all started,
To a new Eden, Earth freely given.
Awake from sleeping,
I call the living!
Track Name: Go West, Young Man
Cain laid the murder weapon down
As the cornerstone of civilization,
Innocence to desolation.
And in 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue.

Now, Daddy here I am, working for the Man,
Trying to pay the rent, can’t you understand?
I don’t wanna die a slave, selling my soul for minimum wage.
Downtown Babylon’s a one-way street.
The stick and the carrot are not what they seem.
I’m waking up in a sweat from the American Dream.

Lincoln made a proclamation,
Indians got reservations,
Nixon signed his resignation,
If it’s any consolation.
‘Forty acres and a mule?’
Do you take me for a fool?

O, Mamma here we are, looking at the stars,
Weeping because heaven never felt so far
From our houses and our cars.
The truth that we seek is what we already are:
Victims of Manifest Destiny.
The world is coming apart at the seams,
And waking up in a sweat from the American Dream.

We’re still the same as our Cro-Magnon ancestry,
We’ve just got student loans, smart phones, and bachelor’s degrees.
Track Name: Loom
I wonder as I wander out under the sky
What song ‘neath our skin makes you and I cry,
“Oh my soul!” like wind in the fall?
It’s just the frailty of it all.

I carry your heart like clouds hold the rain.
I’ve poured you out and watered the earth with my tears
For so many years,
I no longer feel despair or fear.

O, we’re more than the sum of our parts!
And I’d give every beat of my heart
Just to know myself,
Just to know myself.

O, what can I do? Can’t live with or without you.
No words need we say the way the moon taught us to pray.

I know,
I know its time to let go
Of this masquerade pain I’m still wearing in vain.
The sun and the moon are singing, “don’t be afraid,
For in death and in birth all your fear will subside,
In life you’ll tremble so keep your eyes wide,
Or it will flash by like a thief in the night
Before you ever see the light.”

Spinning white cotton on a hummingbird loom,
Apart, together, all things are made new.
You and I wipe the dew from our eyes
To see ourselves for the first time.

(Chorus)

Should every star in the sky fall through the night,
I’ll find you in the darkness and I’ll run with you ‘til the end.
I wonder as I wander out under the sky,
Would I do it all again
Just to know myself,
Just to know myself?
Track Name: Orphans In The Orchard
At many a blood red moon I have howled as I recall the days
When we walked past the offices and restaurants
Where dreamers go to die alone.
You said, “Let’s never set foot on concrete again,
I don’t need all of this, I’ve got you, my friend.
We’re cultural orphans abandoned at birth,
With an economy where a soul should be.”

But that was a lifetime ago,
We were too young and naïve to know
That when a memo arrives from the big man upstairs
You’ve got to muzzle your pride and lower your eyes
As they shave your head
And replace the blood in your veins with oil.

In the dark of the night I have upturned my palms,
I have cried in the street ‘til my voice was gone,
As I recalled the songs we sang and the plans we made
For the world we said we’d change one day,

Until the levee broke and we drowned in all the lies
We swore to take no part in for the rest of our lives.
You held my hand as I watched you die.
You said, “It’s not too late. I’ll see you on the other side.”

But that was a lifetime ago,
We were too young and naïve to know
That when a memo arrives from the big man upstairs
You’ve got to bite your tongue and take it as it comes,
Because struggle makes us stronger you know.

I walked to the orchard where we fell in love,
Where the blackbirds in the corn and the autumn sun
Made us new, made us new,
And I thought of you.
Track Name: Song Of Myselves (The Father, The Monk, And The Warrior)
If I were a different kind of man
I’d work for the sake of the task.
By the sweat of my brow
I’d water and plow,
Not for the fruit but for joy.

But my soil is dry
And there’s no sign of rain in the sky,
Just what my tears provide.

If I were a different kind of man
I’d love without being loved back.
I’d lift my hands up,
I’d drink from that cup,
And I’d give up my body for you.

If I could give the love of a father
For his children I’d give it all to you.

If I were a different kind of man
I’d take no more than what I need.
I’d water that seed,
I’d use it to feed,
Every street corner poet I meet.

But the tide it will rise
And recede in my heart as it will.
Nothing true remains still.

If the material world is just a disguise
Whose mouth and whose eyes does it hide?
But why wear the mask?
O, why the disguise?
Is there even a face there to hide?

Or is the mask in fact the face itself?
Are you out there, or right here inside myself?

If I were a different kind of man
I’d never let up asking why.
With courage inside,
The black banner raised high,
For the cause I would bleed myself dry,
To keep a few men from living at the top
Off the cost of this cross,
Cause if God’s laissez-faire,
They say they don’t have to bear their fair share.
Famous last words right there.

But the warrior who stands alone,
He will find his heart has turned to stone.

So, if my will is free,
It’s on me.
Which man will I be?

Yes if my will is free,
It’s on me.
Which man will I be?
Who will I be?
Track Name: We'll Always Have Paros
Your hair was longer then,
When you poured that first cup of tea
On your kitchen floor with me,
And we spoke ‘til morning.

The wild oregano
And the swallows seemed to know
Some thought your face could not quite show
When it was time to go.

The ink and paper
We folded to capture
Some piece of the rapture
Turned to ash in our palms.

San Francisco
Was so different from Paros,
From New York, and all those
Kitchen floors in between,

In the throws of
Youthful longing
For belonging,
And for something,
Anything, anything at all
To be true.
I really hoped it would be you.

The reddest wine,
The bluest sky,
Can’t answer why
You loved an idea,
Not a man.
But if there’s an island
In some ancient sea,
Where we can just be,
I’ll meet you on that shore.

We were infinite,
Or so it seemed.
Was it even real,
Or just a dream?
It makes no difference to me.
Track Name: Walnut Heart
Though it breaks my heart,
Home is where you are.
You are where I am.
Your ghost holds my hand.
How far must I go
To run away from home?

Whatever the moon has always meant,
Whatever the sun will always sing,
Is you.

The deepest secret nobody knows,
The sky of the sky of a tree called life,
The wonder that keeps the stars apart:
I carry your heart,
I carry your heart.
Track Name: The Ballad Of The Broken Idealist
I’d give you my heart, but it’s rusty
From being left out in the rain.
I’d give it a home and a name
If I understood the point of this game.

You see, I’ve got this thing called “idealism.”
It’s not a big deal, but it hurts.
The doctor gave me some booze for the pain
And said, “you’ve got to die of something someday.”

O, but my soul, it cries out to the Earth every night
‘Til morning light.
I’ve got a cynical mind but a mystical heart.
All these “-isms,” they tear me apart.

What good is a branch with no fruit?
What hath all our toil produced?
One golden mountain surrounded by valleys of ash!
Why not separate the wheat from the chaff?

If capital “T” truth exists,
Is this the best of all possible worlds?
It’s sure not the one I had in mind,
But uncertainty is less brutal with good wine.

O, yes my soul, it cries out to the Earth every night
‘Til morning light.
Though it kills me, still I must believe!
Track Name: The Don Quixote Of The Suburbs, Mariner Of Modernity
I have dressed for adventure every day of my life,
My tin helm on my head and wooden sword at my side.
I went running half-naked through the neighbors’ front yard,
And I still don’t understand what manmade borders are.

I remember the song Kentucky taught me to sing
Before the coal and gas men took Kentucky away from me.

I am I, the Don Quixote of the suburbs!
I call the living, I mourn the dead.
Cause the talking heads on the TV
Told me freedom isn’t free,
And I said, “hell, it used to be!”
But not in this economy.
So if the market’s our new king,
I’m gonna let freedom ring
When I run out of words to sing.

Like a doctor with no sick and dying to save,
Like a soldier with no noble war to be waged,
All the world-weary wait for their lives to begin
While the Earth, ever onward, continues to spin.

But I remember the shiver I felt in my spine
Before I spent all my money on California wine.

So I’ll stumble blind down to the harbor
Where I keep all my escapes.
I’ll leave the bottle where I found it
And brave the white squall and the waves,
In a sailboat called “Lonesome,”
Across a sea called “Redemption,”
Bound for a land of milk and honey,
Where I’ll leave that sailboat at the shore
Cause I won’t need it anymore.

I am I, the mariner of modernity,
What stranger tides are there than these?
Track Name: Georgia Bound
Georgia bound in the half-light,
Never felt so right.
Autumn mountains rising in the window,
Burning like they know
Our broken hearts were broke clean through.
They burned in me and they burned in you.
So we joined in their song.
I don’t mind if the drive is long.

Windows down, laughing like a clear creek.
No need to speak.
Felt like we were really going somewhere,
November in our hair.
I keep that feather on the windowsill
To remind we why it’s worth trying still.
And we cry every time we sing about that drive,

For there are things we can’t forget,
There are tears we cannot shake,
But we learn to hold those memories with grace,
And remember there are bigger things at stake.

Settled down for the night,
Firelight.
Frost was forming on my knapsack,
Midnight, bright black.
The hayfield bed and the brittle air
Were freezing cold, but I didn’t care,
Cause at least I had you,
And at least you had me.

In the morning, walking through the forest,
Tea and oranges.
You said you were glad you came along.
I said, “I’m sorry I was wrong.”
And I cradled you like an old guitar,
And we thanked the road that brought us so far.
And I still don’t understand what rose up in us then,

But the things we cannot know,
The things we cannot comprehend,
Whether they are false or not, my friend,
Are the truest things about us in the end.

Here’s our exit, almost over.
Or if you want to, we could just keep going.
Track Name: Nullius In Verba
Nullius addictus iurare in verba magistri,
Quo me cumque rapit tempestas,
deferor hospes.
Nullius in verba
Amen

Translation:
Being not obliged to swear allegiance to a master,
wherever the storm drags me to,
I turn in as a guest.
On the word of no one
Amen
Track Name: I Have Been To The Mountaintop, But It Wasn't There
Harvest moon so near above my eyes,
Greet these singing embers as they rise.
Mountains stripped for gold as black as sin,
Love and rage, my heart ablaze within.

My gaze into the river not returned,
Blackened by the ancient stone they burn.
One hundred years is long enough to learn!

I look to the hills but they’re shrinking fast,
And my love runs cold, and the water runs black,
And I’m gasping for oxygen as my lungs fill with ash.
Even here, you know, where no wild things grow,
You still reap what you sow.

You haul sixteen tons and what do you get?
Another day older and deeper in debt.
St. Peter, don’t you call me, cause I can’t go;
I owe my soul to the company store.

Digging faster won’t outrun disaster.
The servant will bring justice, not the master.
Flesh and blood, not false but not quite true,
Hides that you are me and I am you.

O, dear flame, make ashes of these bones,
‘til man and land at last together groan,
“There’s a time to gather and to scatter stones!”

(Chorus)

You haul sixteen tons and what do you get?
Another day older and deeper in debt.
St. Peter, tell the people to gather their stones;
We’re taking back our souls from the company store!

Gather the stones! Gather the stones!
Scatter the stones! Scatter the stones!
Track Name: Ex Imperium
What masters have I? What idols in the sky?
None , save what my conscience keeps.
None, save what my conscience keeps.

What laws have I? What stone tablets to abide?
None, save what my birth gave me.
None, save what my birth gave me.

What nation have I? To what flag do I pledge my life?
None, save earth, and sea, and sky.
Twixt you and I there are no lines.

Vivos Voco
Track Name: Hawks In The Vineyard
Rain falls on the vineyard,
We the branches growing on the vine.
Where and when don’t matter,
We hold everything we’ll be inside.
Such great winds will shake us,
Such a storm we’ll see before we die.
Such strange hope unites us.
One day it will crush us into wine.

But I’m not afraid to die,
I’m afraid of living without being alive.

We rise and fall
Time and time again
Like two hawks, talons clasped,
Tumbling through the air.

We’re born and die
To share the breath of life.
Between love and fear,
The living linger here.

Vivos Voco