© 2019 by Matt Heckler.

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HAW RIVER BALLAD

The rolling hills of The Piedmont 
Call out your name
Out to pasture in the sweetest refrain
I pulled into White Cross
And got to asking around town
In hopes that I could see you again

But you had gone up to the mountain 
Higher ground to make a stand
Perched upon a ledge with a rifle in your hand
Singing I don't need no man

*Do you miss all those days gone by
And long for those better times 
I wish I could ease your mind
Like the wind blowing wild
Through the long leaf pine

110 it felt like nothing on an august day
Down to The Haw to wash it all away
Hear the holler of the 10 point 
White tail caller
Circle left and promenade

Cicadas in the summertime cider in the fall
If I can't have the girl I love
Then I'll wont love at all
And I'll catch my own damn self when I fall

*

MIDNIGHT SUN

If I come back this way again
I hope to be the person everybody thinks I am
Pull the wool from out my eyes
Oh sweet heaven when I die

Where there's a will there's a way
Time goes on and it gets harder every day
Desperation a death to hope
Choking words caught in my throat

How will you tell the ones that care
I'd rather die by your hands
Then find new love anywhere

*Too late too rise
You've been down for so damn long this time
Dark days long nights
Midnight sun take the light from out my eyes

You've got me shaking all the time
And pining out for the life I left behind 
I cannot think I cannot breathe
I seek the end my sweet release

I feel the darkness coming in
St. Michael say a prayer
The dragons back again
Full of snakes like every man
This is a fight noone will win

I have lived on borrowed time 
Just waiting for a sign 
For redemption in your eyes

*

She pays $10 for the show
Makes her way through the crowd 
And cuts from throat to throat
Up to the front where the lights hang low
The dying crowd just wants one more

And now we stand there face to face
It all comes rushing back like it was yesterday
Love and tears hope and hate
Bergamot buckskin and lace

My trail ends in the pale floodlights
Neath the curtains and the smoke
With the blood the lead and love 
Still stuck I side my throat

*
MORNING BREAKS

Whoever's dear to you hold them close tonight
Cause you never know what will come
Morning breaks and it's just you and the shakes
If you made the right decision then your gone
Your broken promises are thrown out in the yard 
How they glisten in the dawn
And in the cold you feed your fiddle to the stove 
Screaming like a banshee all night long

*My hands are raw from working through the fall just to make my way back to you
If what it takes is to live out my mistakes
Then honey I will pay my dues
Hard to recall when did this world get so damn small
And my body so worn and used
It's harder yet to forgive and forget
When my memories are laced and blue

That broken record starts playing on it's own
Spinning out when noone else is home
And if you listen till the end it flips itself and plays again
All night long
It's not the songs or when the lights turn off and on or the screaming in my head that never ends
It's not your ghost that haunts me the most 
But the fact that we may never meet again

*
OLD NOVEMBER
Way up in the Northland
In the sweet cold and green
Turns the mill in those roving blue hills where
Three rivers do meet
Hand in hand we went waltzing
Through those old empty street
In my soul I always will hold those nights
So dear to me
*So lay back your head
Forget all your pain
The nightingale croons to the west 
And breaks free from her chains

Fare thee well to 

LANTERN SONG

At what point will I break
Here comes the storm to take me away
Will these shadows follow me
Down the road down the way
Just let me be
Down the road down the way
Where no man may breathe

*And there's one truth
That's yet to be
Down in your luck
Not on your knees 
Just getting by while the rest of the world 
Is so hard to please

With my lantern in my hand
And the water up to my knees
Always searching for dry land
Where I am going where I am bound 
It's too dark to breathe
Where I am going where I am bound no shadows may be

*
BLUE EYES DANCING

Don't leave me hanging

From the willow tree

Honey cut me down

Cause I can't breathe

I'm up the mountain

Ain't coming down

No you won't see me 

Around your town

 

I'm high and lonesome

I'm running dry

I've given up

On getting by

So come home honey

Don't you make me beg

Take out your fiddle Tune up and play

 

*I know it's hard when the sun goes down

To be alone on shaking grounds

Go get some matches and kerosene

Well burn it down honey

Burn out and leave

 

I'll bleed out slowly

In my Sunday vest

When you come around

In that Sunday dress

With your blue eyes dancing

Drawing me in

And sideways glancing

Honey where you been
 

*

THE GREAT DIVIDE

Mamas crying in the back room 
She won't let nobody in
There's Bill's go pay and mouths to feed 
And Daddys drunk again
Rain comes through the trailer roof
And fills the buckets to the brim
Between the death and cigarettes
A childhood gives 

In and out of trailer parks 
And foreclosed homes
I cut my teeth so bittersweet 
Out on the road
But now I'm getting old
And it's so hard to settle down
Leave another low down city
To another goddamn town

Lay down upon the barren earth 
And rest your weary eyes
Dive deep I to your memory 
And lock yourself inside
Remember how the Rose's grew
When watered with sweet tea
Those southern nights those golden days
You played yourself besides

Me in m bound for better days  
In hope these wounds will heal
Cause scars last till the bitter end
When flesh breaks under steal
At night I like awake 
And wish I would've stayed
Out on the banks and lowman road
Till the end of my days

*You'll find a new way and a life in truth
And you finally will see dear god let me be
You go your way and I'll go mine
I won't cross the great divide 
Although sometimes
In the morning when it hurts the most
I hear you calling me
Dear god let me be
You'll find a new way and a life in truth
And you finally will see
Dear god let me be

So if you see my darlin won't you send my love
Six months the to the day and she is all in thinking of
See to it she's got a coat against the winters cold
A fireplace to keep her warm and rest her weary

Souls are bound by blood and fire  until the very end
Two hearts are that are bound by wild desire
Will not give in
So lay yourself down easy in the bitter root and pine
Let the trials of this world make you stronger 
Or pass you by

*

LEAVING HEAVEN

Leaving heaven far behind 
For fine women and fine wine
And a chance you will find
A new way
No more silver trimmed with gold
No more glory to behold
You will find no comforts today

*Let em roll let em go
Take me down down below
You won't get to heaven
With blood on your trail
I have tried and failed

With the devil on the rise
And the fire from his lungs
Damn his heart damn his eyes 
And damn his lying tongue
Let this fever break tonight
Let these miles mask the pain
There'll be no home a waiting
When you return again

*
I TRIED

For a day for a night
If I could only set things right
And leave out of town 
Part ways with the darkness
And step into the light
From the silence to the sound

Of an old time mountain band playing 
All the songs I know
Marching me to the gallows high 
I step up to the rope
Where both my hands are tied
And I'll sing out before i die
Tell everyone I love that I tried

A breeze crept through my house today 
And j knew that it was you
It came to my bed and so softly said
Be kind and I'll be true
But a bed of broken vows is all that I have now
And I tend to lose
I slip down to the river to get some peace of mind
But you are gone and the rivers dry
Tell everyone in love that I tried

ONE MORE DOWN


One more down
Do you ask yourself 
when there's no one else around
Looking back my friend
does it all just bring you down
In the end with no good times to recall
Penned in blood are the horrors that you saw
The horrors that you saw 

One more down
I had lost all hope as you stood out in the rain 
Screaming nothing could ever ease your pain
And it grieves me to see you letting go
At a loss my dear o'or how you'll never know
How you'll never know

*Facing boldly into the storm
Looking so lost and hard weather worn
And if death shall be your bride
I'll meet you on the other side

One more down 
The days did come and fall
Living wildly with your back turned to the wall
And your words fell so short of complete
He died with his face turned to the city
His face turned to the city

5150
*5150 and nowhere to go
Lost in a struggle and losing control
I'd lend you a hand brother
But I've severed the tendon
5150 and no way to heaven

So load up your dice
And shuffle your cards
Bet on your life and sleep neath the stars
Each roll brings the same number
Each deck deals the same hand
5150 again and again

You go to sleep hungry 
And wake up to war
There's knocking all night
A brigade at your door
They say lend us a hand brother
And well cut through the tendon
5150 no means for an ending

*