Angela Easterling BlackTop Road
Produced by Will Kimbrough.
Recorded by David Henry at True-Tone Studio, Nashville, TN
11/10/08 – 11/21/08
Mixed by David Henry
Drums & Percussion: Ken Coomer
Bass (#1, 3, 4, 5, 9, 12): Tim Marks
Upright Bass (#2, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11) Dave Jacques
Mastered by Jim DeMain at Yes Master, Nashville
Songs ©2009 De L’Est Music, ASCAP.
Photo shoot by Coke Whitworth, 01/19/09
at Hammett farm and Hammett Bridge Rd., Greer, SC
Graphic Design: Eva Crawford
Website: Thomas Valle
1.) American I.D. (A. Easterling)
AE: Voc., Acoustic, BGV;
WK: Acoustic, 12 String, Electric, Organ, Percussion, BGV
On the night train to Copenhagen, I fell into a restless sleep. Woke up in a foreign city, where every stranger looked like me. Way back home in Carolina, even in my family, I see the mark of many nations, it’s our American ID. Where every face tells me a story of some soul yearning to be free. But we still fight and we still struggle for our American ID. When I grew up I left my hometown, came out west to stake my claim, Brought my ancestors journey ‘cross these rivers and these plains. I know it’s their restive Spirit, their same blood inside my veins Makes me leave what is familiar to seek an unforgotten name. Where every face tells me a story of a dreamer and a dream. But we still fight and we still struggle for our American ID. I get so angry at my neighbour; on so much we disagree. I decided to surround myself with those who think like me. But all these colors that divide us, all these differences we spite, Maybe form our true foundation, and in the end will seem so slight. Every face tells me a story that’s part of my history. But we still fight and we still struggle for our American ID
2.) Better (A. Easterling)
AE: Voc., Acoustic; WK: Mandolin, Banjo, Dobro; DH: Cello, BGV;
Fats Kaplin: Violin
I wanna be warm tonight. I wanna know if it’s alright…Can I come over now before I take my flight, And rest my weary head down on your arm? I wanna feel that good. Wanna have something I never could -Can I be your girl? Can I be understood, And safe inside the haven of your heart? I sleep better in your bed than I do in mine. I look better in your eyes than I do in mine. When I want to feel free, when I want to feel fine, Baby your place is better than mine. Tomorrow will be different, I know. Tomorrow I’ll be back out on that road. What is it about this gypsy life that makes me wanna go to every lonely heartbreak that I find? But some night when I’m lost and all alone, some night when I hate my damage done, I’ll look deep inside and see your love to light my way back home. Baby, you’re my North Star in the sky.
3.) A.P. Carter’s Blues (A. Easterling)
AE: Voc.; WK: Acoustic, Mandolin, 12 String, BGV; Anne McCue: Lap Steel; Fats Kaplin: Pedal Steel
I’ve been haunted by a Spirit I can’t seem to lose, Since I got that old Clinch Mountain dust upon my shoes. I stood up at his grave and I thanked him for his song. But when I walked back down that hill, I didn’t walk alone.I been searching this whole world for just where I belong, Wondering if anyone will miss me when I’m gone, The only heart I’ve ever loved is lost and so untrue, Seems I’ve got ol’ A.P. Carter’s blues, oh lord. Yes I’ve got ol’ A.P. Carter’s blues. I awaken in the night to a sound that isn’t there…A shadow moves behind me and it trembles on the stair…Is it just the working of my lonely, restless mind? Or a little bit of sorrow from that valley he left behind?
4.) BlackTop Road (A. Easterling)
AE: Voc., Acoustic, BGV; WK: Acoustic, Piano, BGV; DH: BGV;
Anne McCue: Lead Guitar, Lap Steel
They’ve got telephone poles where our trees had been, They ripped up our pasture, put a sidewalk in, Yeah, the big voice of Progress said, “You’ve gotta go!” “We’re gonna lay us a black-top road, We’re gonna lay us a black-top road” Well they tore down the house my great granddaddy built, Where my grandpa was born and my Mama took her first steps. But nobody cared about the stories it told, The spot was just right for a black-top road, was the perfect spot for a black-top road. Black-top road, black top road, they’re gonna lay them a black-top road. Don’t you try to complain, you just do as you’re told, get out the way of that black-top road. Grandma planted these flowers back when she was my age. And they still bloom here every year, ‘though she’s gone to her grave. But they won’t be here tomorrow and that I know, They’re gonna pave ’em right over with a Black-top Road, Cover ’em over with a black-top road. We cried, “This can’t happen in the U.S.A”. They said, “You’d better shut up or we’ll take your farm away” But then they’d thought they’d be friendly, maybe throw us a bone: They slapped our family name on that Black-Top Road. Now our family name’s on that Black-Top Road.
5.) The Picture (A. Easterling)
AE: Voc., Acoustic, BGV; DH: BGV; Al Perkins: Pedal Steel
WK: Acoustic, Electric, Baritone, Piano, Organ, BGV
Daddy, why’d you have that picture of that Black man in the tree? I found it here with things you left me. Horror my eyes can’t bear to see. I’ll tear it into a million pieces, I’ll burn it with a thousand flames, But the history revealed here… doesn’t change. Were you too young to make a difference? Or just too late in passing by? Did you take it to remember events we’d just as soon deny? ‘Cause I always knew you as a good man, standing righteous, strong and tall. But here’s the chance I never knew you… at all. And you sang Holy, Holy, Holy every Sunday, Sunday morning, But how could you stand there in God’s sight, with what you did Saturday night? You walked this earth for 90 years and you were my Dad for 63, In all that time, you never told me; a whole life lived beneath the seams. And now I wish the Jordan River could come and wash away the stain, But the blood upon my white hands… still remains. Daddy why, Daddy why, Daddy why, Daddy why. Oh Daddy, oh Daddy, Daddy why?
6.) Field of Sorrow (A. Easterling)
AE: Voc., Acoustic; DH: Cello; WK: Banjo, Dobro, Pump Organ, Percussion; Fats Kaplin: Violin
Brother will bear a heavy burden and late at night he still calls my name. He wants to throw his arms around me, no one can know my brother’s pain. Father will bear a heavy burden and late at night he still calls my name He wishes somehow he could have saved me, no one can know my father’s pain. For I’m bound to leave this field of sorrow, my work is done and it’s time to go. But where I’m headed, you may not follow. There’s still a seed here that you must sow. Mother will bear a heavy burden and late at night she still calls my name. She longed to see me grow to a woman, no one can know my mother’s pain. But my dear, dear family, I’m all around you. I hear you when you call my name. I’m in the whispered breath of morning, the gentle touch of evening rain.
7.) One Microphone (A. Easterling)
AE: Voc., BGV; WK: Acoustic, Mandolin, Baritone, BGV;
Fats Kaplin: Accordion
See there’s on microphone, used to be two. One was for me, one was for you. Now I stole the heart of the singer, but you broke the heart of the song, I won’t look for a reason to linger: when I take my exit, I’m gone. Still, I hope someday you find, you’ve changed your mind, you’re tired of playing alone ‘Cause now I’m just Melody, you were my Harmony. You’ll find me out on this stage with just one microphone. See there’s one lone guitar, used to be two. And those old happy chords all sound so blue. Was the music that brought us together the music that ended our song? Did we need it more than each other? Or did we just play it all wrong?
8.) Helpless (Neil Young) Broken Arrow Music Corp. (BMI)
AE: Voc., Mandolin; WK: Electric; DH: Cellos, Euphonium, Loops;
DJ: Alto Horn
9.) Birmingham (A. Easterling)
AE: Voc., Acoustic, BGV; DH: BGV;
WK: Acoustic, Electric, Organ, Piano, BGV
Stars shine bright in the sky tonight, like I’m waking up from a dream. Followed the lines in the true design to the genesis of me. Birmingham, I’m coming back, A thousand miles by the railroad track. And my heart counting every one. On my own, no yellow brick road, No one else can bear the load, Say who I am, but in Birmingham, I’ll know . Cracks in the clay, but I’ll be okay. This red earth looks a lot like me. ‘Cause it’s where I’m from and I’m not done. My life pursues light imperfectly. I just want to be loved, I just want to be needed. I just want to be loved like I was in Birmingham.
10.) Big Wide World (A. Easterling)
AE: Voc., BGV; Fats Kaplin: Fiddle
WK: Acoustic, Electric, Baritone, Mandolin, Organ, Percussion, BGV
He says I just sing leaving songs, I never let him hold me long, I know he speaks a truth I can’t deny… Well, I just don’t know how to be the woman that he needs from me, While I find a way of living my own life. ‘Cause there’s a big wide world turning round, And I can’t stop or slow it down. So I’ll just hold on tight and I’ll take a ride on this Big Wide World turning round. He thinks I should jump at the chance to give myself all to romance, But there’s part of me that he can’t understand. ‘Cause I’ve never dreamed of being tamed and I wasn’t born to change my name, It’s nothing I would ask of any man. Now for 40 years we’ve had this conversation; I can’t believe that it’s still happening to me! Every time I must provide an explanation…As a woman who is happy being free…Yeah that whole thing just don’t seem right to me!
11.) Stars Over the Prairie
Written by Eugene Easterling (Angela’s great-grandfather)
New lyrics and arrangement – A. Easterling
AE: Voc.; WK: Acoustic, Archtop; Fats Kaplin: Fiddle, Pedal Steel
Stars over the Prairie, where the sunset ends, out where the West begins, When the shades of night are falling, seems I hear a coyote calling, My heart enthralling, do you hear him too? And each dream of Stars Over the Prairie, brings a memory of home and friends so true. How I long for open spaces, those old familiar places, Oh and Stars, how I’m lonesome for you.
12.) Just Like Flying (A. Easterling)
AE: Voc., Acoustic; WK: Harmony Vocal, Acoustic, Wurlitzer;
Al Perkins: Pedal Steel
I hopped the last flight from Nashville to L.A. And caught a daydream of his kiss to take me away. I slipped off of that airplane and into the air. There was never a worry, never a care. Just the wild, western wind in my hair. ‘Cause falling in love feels like flying. Falling in love… Just like flying. And oh how I miss him when he’s gone. But the ache is as sweet as a sad song. Anticipating the sound of that knock at my door, And the moment his arms surround me once more…My feet slip away from the floor. When I see his face, how I tremble inside. It’s the pull of gravity, I’m leaving earth behind. So should we soar too close to the sun. And watch our wings fall away one by one; I will never regret the decision to try. And every time I look back on my life, I’ll know that I once touched the sky.
13.) Un Microphone (bonus track)
Translation by A. Easterling and Marianne Bessy
AE & DH: BGV en français
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