Kanoka

by Switchback

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about

Spread out a map of the United States and pick out the states that are generally considered the Heartland or the Middle West or the Old Northwest or more commonly the Midwest. These are the states from which the great American prairie sprang. These are the industrial states, the rust-belt states, the Corn Belt states. The great Mississippi River cleaves through the middle of this heartland. It is in this land where the farmer, the Native American, the lumberman, the boatman, the train engineer, the industrialist, and the immigrant merged and formed what is considered “the true American.” It is from this land that the music of Switchback is drawn. Brian FitzGerald and Martin McCormack have been playing their brand of Americana music for almost a quarter of a century. The two claim the Midwest as their home. Indeed, the Grammy-winning producer Lloyd Maines considers the duo one of the most important acts playing Americana music today.

Switchback's 10-year collaboration with Maines has resulted in the breathtaking album "Kanoka.” With the soaring pedal steel of Maines along with the boxcar-hopping harmonica of Chicago's own Howard Levy, Switchback has created a musical journey that will make every Midwesterner proud of the heartland and every non-Midwesterner longing for it.

credits

released 20 April 2013

Bass and vocals: Martin McCormack
Guitar and vocals: Brian FitzGerald
Drums and percussion: Jim Hines
Pedal steel, dobro and rhythm guitar: Lloyd Maines
Harmonica: Howard Levy
Percussion and vocals: Keith Riker
Album Sponsor: Dr. Mary Ellen Mitchanis
Executive Producer: Lloyd Maines
Produced by Switchback & Mike Hagler
Engineered by Mike Hagler
Recorded and mastered at Kingsize Studios, Chicago, IL
Keith Riker recorded at Studio at Bear Creek, Evergreen, CO
Photos by Jim Sundberg, Elizabeth Harvey
Album art by Erik Sundberg, Jim Sundberg

© 2013 WayGood Publishing/ASCAP
All lyrics by FitzGerald and McCormack
with exception of Bottom of the Bottle of Beer with Sean Cronin and High Plains Killers with Keith Riker

Switchback® is a registered trademark of WayGood Productions, LLC, registered in the U.S.

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about

Switchback Chicago, Illinois

As seen on PBS, Switchback’s music is energetic, soulful and versatile, combining elements of Americana-country, rock and Celtic. Showcasing a repertoire ranging from sentimental ballads to blistering rockers, Switchback’s superb songwriting and harmonies gained the attention of Grammy-winner Lloyd Maines, who chose to produce 3 of their albums. ... more

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Track Name: Kanoka
Kanoka

I had holes in my pockets
And coins in my shoes
Between living and dying
I wished I could choose
Then along came my friend
‘Twas a rollin’ round the bend

Chorus
‘Twas a southbound train
Southbound train
Southbound train
To Kanoka

Well this southbound train is
Gonna roll with the plains
And my feet won’t get dusty
Or cold when it rains
Wide are these miles
But not as wide as my smile

When I see my sweet
See my sweet
See my sweet Kanoka

Well Kanoka is a place
As a place oughta be
You can’t reach it by land, by air, by sea
It’s a one way dream on a one way team
Shootin’ sparks all its way to Kanoka

Don’t tear at the seams
If you can’t find your dream
And your team ran away in fright
Saddle your pain
Clutch onto its mane
It’s gonna send you
Send you in flight

Don’t tear at the seam
If you can’t find your dream
And your team ran away in fright
Saddle your pain
Clutch onto its mane
It’s gonna send you
Send you tonight

On your southbound train
I can see you a comin’
Through the pourin’ down rain
I declare you’re a runnin’
And it won’t seem in vain
As we’re whistlin’ with the train

On a southbound train
Southbound train
Southbound train
Southbound train
Losin’ ties on our way
To Kanoka
To Kanoka
Track Name: Pour Me
Pour Me

Well I was raised in a family
Raising the bar
Watching skinny Texans playing big guitars
Knew right then at a very tender age
I would be making my livin’
Taking the stage
Watching the girls sway to my rock n’ roll

Well the life of a player is always full throttle
Need a little help from the creature in the bottle
On my third tranny on my Dodge Caravan
400 dollars for a five piece band
1200 miles west of Chicago

A little bit of Jameson’s
Never hurt anyone
And it won’t kill me
A drop of the Creature
That’s her finest feature
Pour Me, Pour Me, Pour Me
Another round

Well I love my wife, I miss my family
That’s when the Creature gets a hold of me
Now I’m in a juke joint
North of Salina
Chasing a bar maid
Where is my brain?
Driftin’ its way back to Chicago

A little bit of Red Breast
Has me thinking of her party dress
Let’s party!
The sins of the Creature
Don’t tell me you’re a preacher
Pour Me, Pour Me, Pour Me
Another round

She’s got me laughing as she drives me mad
Creature likes her good boy bad
Northern Ontario, Saturday night
Now is this a private or a public fight?
We don’t give a damn back in Chicago

A little bit of Jack Dan
Makes me a fighting man
Round 13!
A double of the Creature
Don’t mind if I do, sir
Pour Me, Pour Me, Pour Me
Another round

A little bit of Tullamore
Only makes me want her more
Yes indeed
A bottle of the Creature
Has me slidin’ out of my chair
Pour Me, Pour Me, Pour Me
Pour Me, Pour Me, Pour Me
Another round!
Track Name: Van Tassel
Van Tassel

Highway 20 stretches out like a beggar’s hand
East Wyoming it is home for this weary man
I stop my car, lean on the hood, taking in the sight
Van Tassel population nine
In the fading light

The moon rides over the brown buttes
Rounding up the thunderheads
I’m riding cloudy memories of faces and things said
Ah, let them run
Run into the night
Through the sagebrush of Wyoming
In the fading light

Van Tassel you’ve seen better days
Are there better ones left to come?
Do you long to see better ones come along?
Weather beaten, hanging on, we’re such a pretty sight
Hoping for the dawn
Knowing we’re just fading light

No light left in Van Tassel, no light left in my heart
We had a chance to dance Van Tassel
Now it’s time to gracefully depart
Bones for the prairie, you and I
But we’re still living, in the fading light
Yeah, we’re still living
In the fading light.
Track Name: Rope As I'm Riding
Rope As I’m Riding

Hurling rope as I’m riding this baffling terrain
On a ranch 18 miles north of Boonesboro
I’m the man in the saddle with the tight-fisted reins
Chasing moon calf and lune cattle on the loose again.
As soon as I’m up I’m back down
I’m as black and blue as Kentucky ground
I’m ready for a hole in that ground

When I hold you it’s possible, once again
To be a grown fool, responsible
Doing what he can

Well my brow-sweatin’ head can make my hat weigh like lead
From crotch down to my knees I feel blistered-bit
Well my ass is so sore I’ve given up keeping score
If this horse bucks once more she’ll be bridled whipped

Well my body wants bread
And all my daydreams take place in bed
Wish these boots I could shed

When I hold you it’s possible, once again
To be a grown fool, responsible
Doing what he can

Home, where horizons never die
Home, kitchen fire is cauldron high
Home!
I’m on time! Hear the chimes! Can hardly wait for that pie!

When the night’s dark descends to find the bloodhounds upwind
Near stalks the hairy tread of old grizzly-foot
With a taste for fine swine he’s got the pick of the sty
I hear the cries from bedside
At once I’m in pursuit
But even the hounds up ahead
Know the night’s chase always ends
With that bear fleed and fed

Let me hold you, if possible once again
I’ll be your grown fool, responsible till the end
Track Name: Wrong You Can Write
Wrong You Can Write

Nuptials in the morning
Reception at noon
Finally over
None too soon

His tux too tight
Her train too long
Wrong you can write
In a country song

Foreseeable endings
Come and gone
This B flick existence
Rolls on and on
The guy that plays the husband and his wife
Both wrong
Wrong you can write in a country song

Wrong put the distance
In the room
Wrong meant trouble
For the bride and groom

Source of inspiration
Source we writers use
Not necessarily
Ours to choose

I tried to cure the block
Tried to cure it with the booze
Then along came Wrong to be my muse

Wrong put the discord in the tune
Wrong meant trouble
For the honeymoon

At the final chorus, Wrong will set the hook
With a change of heart and a second look
With a change of heart and a second look
Wrong
Wrong
Track Name: Water Through Sand
Water Through Sand

Took a few chapters from Grandfather’s book
Got down the eyes, the face, the look
You’re swinging his lantern, drinking his beer
Selling a line of three legged chairs

Water Through Sand

All of the apples in your basket are good
You hand-picked beauty as no one else could
The basket’s too heavy, you put too much in
The pressure’s the worst at the bottom of the bin

Water Through Sand

Children are wisdom, they’re not taken in
Poison leaches through delicate skin
Watch out Precious! Look out Few!
Get off the tracks! There’s a train coming through!

You took a few chapters from Grandfather’s book
Got down the eyes, the face, the look
You’re swinging his lantern, drinking his beer
Closing a deal on your last breath of air
Track Name: High Plains Killers
High Plains Killers

Sun beats down on Kansas
High Plains heat
Thunderheads boil
At 30,000 feet
Radio crackles
Spotters near Great Bend
Funnel clouds forming
Starting to descend

Where will they go?
Where will we lie?
They fall from the sky!
High Plains, killers
Tear stars from the skies
Tear stars from the skies

One touched down near Oakley
One’s headed for Hays
Radio crackles
They’re coming your way
In the stillness of this moment
No one’s assured
Stillness broken
By the rumble of the ancient herd

Where will they go?
Where will we lie?
They fall from the sky!
High Plains, killers
Tear stars from the skies
Tear stars from the skies

Ah-tear stars from the sky!
Ah-tear stars from the sky!

In the stillness of this moment
The storm’s moved on
Radio crackles
Greensburg is gone
The rumble of the ancient herd
The rumble of the ancient herd
Track Name: Rocky Mountain Express
Rocky Mountain Express

Rocky Mountain Express
Deep in the mountain
Deep in the mountain pine

Rocky Mountain Express
Rolling down
Going down that line

She waits for me
Beyond the stream
Above the trees
Where eagles soar so high

Down rocky peaks
‘Neath timberline
Where foothills meet
The plains begin to rise

Ooh, I can hear you calling me home

How can I express
Spring-fed tears
Spilling over my smile
How can I express
Memories strung along the mile

Torn away I was so afraid
I‘d have to stay
Far away from you
There remained a flickering flame
The only guide I had to get me through

Ooh, I can hear you calling me home

Ooh, calling me home

Rocky Mountain Express
Deep in the heart
Deep in the heart of mine
Rocky Mountain Express
Coming home
Home for good this time
Home for good this time
Track Name: I'll Be Damned
I’ll Be Damned

If I show you who I am
Will you stand beside me?
If I let you see my scars
Will you trace them with your finger?

Cause I’ll be damned
If I go into battle again
With my back exposed
To the enemy
I’ll be damned
If you’re not my Morrigan
Who will go to war
And make love to me

If we walk among the graves
Will you tell me, “I know you?”
Will we speak with our eyes,
Our lips and our hearts?

Cause I’ll be damned
If you’re big on big plans
That watch on your wrist
Baby, it’s been worn for me
Yes I’ll be damned
If I rest on your breast
And awake to find
My hair shorn from me.

If you glimpse my soul
Will you stay with me forever?
If I rumble and I crash
Can you last through my storm?

Cause I’ll be damned
If I have to go through this again
See my flag captured in treachery
Yes I’ll be damned
If that ring on your hand
Is another piece
Of your jewelry.
Track Name: Bottom Of The Bottle Of Beer
Bottom of the Bottle of Beer

Cigarette butt, at the bottom, of the bottle of beer
Left a bad taste, this morning, when I found you weren’t here
I’m a bottle on the ocean
With a desperate note inside

You were nimble, but not too quick, when you bumped my candlestick
Left the linen, spattered, you buried the wick
I’d rather handle a ball of fire
Than to smother deep desire

There’s a cold draft from the front door you opened, but never closed
A porch light left burning from dusk till dawn
I’d face an ice storm on the barren plain
Than to feel this numb again

Cigarette butt at the bottom of the bottle of beer
Cigarette butt at the bottom of the bottle of beer