Five Stories (2001)

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cd_five_photoCo-produced by Kris and drummer Billy Conway (Morphine), engineered by Steve Folsom (Melissa Etheridge) and mixed by Paul Q. Kolderie (Radiohead, Hole, Morphine), the songs on 2001’s Five Stories boast unconventional, richly-textured arrangements. By turns rootsy and haunting, velvety and rough-cut, the common threads are the intimate live sound, Kris’s spellbinding vocals, and lyrics which consistently extend beyond the ordinary.

Although backed by a full band, the record features almost none of the requisite electric guitar. Instead, that space is filled by a host of instruments including mandolin, banjo, cello, accordion, baritone sax, bouzouki, and trumpet.  Contributors include Andrew Mazzone (Kim Richey, Catie Curtis), Dana Colley (Morphine), Jennifer Kimball, Sean Staples, Jabe Beyer, Lori McKenna, Catie Curtis, and a parade of others.  The setting was Hi-n-Dry, the loft and studio space of late Morphine frontman Mark Sandman.


LYRICS

All songs ©2000-2001 Kris Delmhorst/Big Bean Music (ASCAP)


cluck old hen
capo 5 in G tune guitar to double – drop D
( D A D G B D )

D G F
once I had a heart like a mean old hen, kept her locked up in a chicken wire pen
D G F
cluckng at the walls, scratching at the ground, peck at anybody who would come around

then one day she didn’t sing, I listened close but I didn’t hear a thing
looking all around, calling her name, but that was the day my little hen went tame

G
cluck old hen, cluck and sing
D
ain’t laid nothing since way last spring
G
cluck old hen, cluck and squall
D
ain’t laid nothing since way last fall

well I made it clink and I made it clank, shook my heart like a piggy bank
looking for a yes, looking for a no, looking for anything down in that hole

cluck old hen, cluck and sing
ain’t laid nothing since way last spring
cluck old hen, cluck and squall
ain’t laid nothing since way last fall

once I had a heart like a mean old hen, bound to lose a finger if you stick it in the pen
made em yell, made em shout, made em cry like you read about

once I had a heart like a little child, once it was greedy, once it was wild
kicking like a mule, chewing like a pup, once upon a time you couldn’t shut it up

cluck old hen, cluck and sing
ain’t laid nothing since way last spring
cluck old hen, cluck and squall
ain’t laid nothing since way last fall


damn love song

C G/B Am F
How can I carve your name in the trunk of a tree that’ll be here long after we’re gone?
C G/B F
I can’t even write it in the steam on the mirror.
C G/B Am F
And with nobody listening, not even myself, it’s as much as I can do
G E Am
To whisper those words in your ear.

G C
After all of these years, look at me here
G C
With a love song stuck in my throat.
G C E Am – G
Got the weight of the world on my shoulders, I won’t let it go.

How can I dive right down in the deep blue sea and still hope to find my way home?
When I stumble on my way to the shore,
And when all of the airplanes, all of the cars, and all the miles in the world
Are sometimes not enough to quite reach your door.

After all of these years, will you look at me here
With this love song stuck in my throat.
Got the weight of the world and there’s not too much else I can hold.

G F C
And what if my chances run out someday,
G C
What if life’s not my batting machine?
G C E Am – G
What if it stops throwing pitches before I hit one clean?

How can I lie beside you night after night and pick at the lock on your heart?
When I never once opened my own.
Cause the last time it got free, it just cut & run like a stray out in the street
And it took just about all I had just to make it come home.

After all these years, is the time drawing near
When a love song flies from my throat?
Can I lay down the weight of the world by the side of the road,
Lay down the weight of the world and call myself home,
Lay down the weight of the world?


broken white line
in C capo 5

G D/F# C G
it’s been four years since that day when the news fell from the sky
G D/F# C D
you took Îuntil we meet again’ and turned it to Îgoodbye’
G D/F# C G
and I hope that you won’t rest in peace because that would bore you right to tears
G D/F# Em C G
you always made the richest feast of the dangers and the fears

C G D Em
it was almost fine, you were almost mine
G D/F# Em C G
it was you and me and love made three on a broken white line

well that night was long, there was one more song and then we were on our way
driving slow, no place to go and nothing more to say
and the rain came down around that car like we were underneath the sea
in the back seat, almost drowning, holding on to me

it was almost fine, you were almost mine
and from town to town we chased it down on a broken white line
D Em
looking in your eyes was just like staring at the sun
D Em
always thought that I’d go blind or end up all undone
C G D Em
and in the end I turned my face away from where you shone so bright
C G/B C D
now I wake in all this darkness crying for a little of your light

it’s been four years and now I find I’ve been living all this time
I built myself a little world of rhythm and of rhyme
but sometimes I take your picture and I turn it to the wall
because you are still a cliff and baby I still know how to fall

it was almost fine, you were almost mine
but day by day you slipped away down that broken white line

it was you and me and love made three


little wings

today I went flying in my favorite patch of sky
I circled and I circled above the world so high
and I thought to myself, what a lovely lovely thing
to be up here with the clouds, to be flying right out loud on little wings

then I met a 747, then he knocked me right out of the sky
he landed down beside me, he looked me in the eye and said
I don’t know why you even bother, I don’t know why you even try
I don’t know where you hope to get to, I don’t know how you hope to fly on those little wings
little wings
little wings
little wings

now I don’t want to be a jet airliner, I just want to be a little bird
I don’t want to rip the skies wide open, I just want my song to be heard
and I don’t want to be state of the art, I don’t want to get there overnight
I just want to be part of all this beauty, want to be part of all this flight on little wings

I’ll never be a flea in your circus, I’ll never be a prop up on your stage,
I’ll never be one more little songbird you can try to keep inside your cage,
you’re never gonna tell me where to fly, you’re never gonna tell me what to sing
and if I end up lost and all alone at least I know I got there on my own two little wings

I guess that you reap what you sow
I guess it gets lonely at the top
I guess it gets harder and harder
to ever really know just when to stop


words fail you

I’ve been dying this whole evening just to reach out for your hand
And I’ve been trying to keep believing that I might ever understand
Now the hour is getting late, and the moon is sinking low
You find yourself in such a state with so far still to go

And I know words fail you
Words fail you
I know words fail you
And I know sometimes I do too

Now this toyota is getting crowded with all the things that no one’s saying
And if I opened up my mouth now I think I would be praying
I watch you fight your demon, don’t know when to step in
You wrestle with your angel cause you hate to let it win

And I know words fail you
Words fail you
I know words fail you
Well baby sometimes they fail me too

You hatch your little fishes, throw them straight out in the cold deep sea
You’re hatching out a hurricane, trying to keep it all from me

and I know words fail you
Words fail you
I know words fail you
And I know sometimes I do too


just what i meant

you find me clenched and crumpled like a letter I wrote but never sent
you pull me up and shake me out and now I can stand here and say just what I meant
this is just what I meant. this is just

september rolling like a hurricane and I’m leaning over the rail
I dance a turn with a thundercloud and I’m surprised when I find I’m still
alive and telling the tale
I am telling the tale

I am telling you, like I always do, I am telling you

june bugs bump into the ceiling and the headlights are sweeping the wall
you take my breath so far away that I have to say that I don’t miss it at all
I don’t miss it at all
I don’t miss it at all


yellow brick road
in C

Am G C F
I’m off to see the wizard in his castle on the hill
Am G C F
And I never once have known him and I do not know him still
Am G C F
Because his face it is magnificent but you’ll never see his hands
Am G
And the way he throws his voice around I don’t know where he stands

I’m off to see the wizard with his curtain and his crowd
But my hands are not trembling and my head it is not bowed
Cause I’m not looking for any answers, no truths to be revealed
All that I am asking is to show me something real

C G/B Am F
I’m not on no yellow brick road, got a mind and a heart and guts of my own
C G/B F
I’m not looking for a one to set me free
C G/B Am
I’m not on no yellow brick road, I’ll find my own way home
F G C
I’m just looking for someone to walk with me

Hey you behind the curtain tell me what is it you see:
From where you sit does it appear that everyone is on their knees?
Their eyes are wide and hopeful and the line grows at the door
Do you sit up there and wonder how you’ll ever give them more?

Well I’m not on no yellow brick road, got a mind and a heart and guts of my own
I’m not looking for a one to set me free
I’m not on no yellow brick road, I’ll find my own way home
I’m just looking for someone

D G
Don’t say that it’s not lonely up above the crowd
D G
Don’t tell me you don’t find yourself longing for the ground
D F C
And when I asked him one more time won’t you tear the curtain down,
D G
He said don’t you know there’s nothing here but me,
Dm G
And I said baby who’d you think I came to see?

I’m not on no yellow brick road, got a mind and a heart and guts of my own
I’m not looking for a one to set me free
I’m not on no yellow brick road, I’ll find my own way home
I’m just looking for someone to walk with me


Garden Rose
(In A – capo 2)

D-C G D-C G
I have lived as a garden rose, it is the only life I’ve known
D-C G D-C G
I’ve felt the touch of tending hands, I get my rain from a watering can

Now from the time I was a seed, I have had everything I need
And I grew strong and I grew tall, until the day I saw past the garden wall

C G
Now tell me something little wildflower
D-C G
Can’t you make some room for me?
C G
Cause I will climb out of this garden
D-C G
And put my feet down in the weeds

I always thought that my life was enough, till I saw your face so brilliant and so rough
You were shining right back up at the whole sky, handing out smiles, travelers passing by

Now tell me something, little wildflower
Can’t you make some room for me?
Cause I will climb out of this garden
And I will lay down in the weeds

Em C Em D/F# G-C
And if an acorn becomes an oak tree, caterpillar makes a butterfly
Em C Am D
Then tell me one good reason a rose should not become a weed by and by

Cause don’t the sunshine lay the brightest on the shoulders of the wild?
And don’t the breeze lay the sweetest on the face of its own child?

And tell me something, little wildflower
Have you made some room for me?
Cause I will leave this wall forever
A little wildflower I will be
Two little wildflowers we will be


mean old wind
in A capo 2

G C
I was born in the middle of an ice storm
G D
on the longest night of the year
G B C G
and that frozen rain on the old window pane
G D G – G7
was the first sound I ever did hear

C G
won’t you stand beside me darling
C G – D
so I don’t have to feel so alone
G B C G
hold me tight all through the night
G D G
when that old winter wind begins to blow

when the sky is turning grey and cloudy
weatherman is saying ten below
and the icicles drop from every rooftop
that’s when that old chill creeps into my bones

won’t you stand beside me darling
so I don’t have to feel so alone
hold me tight all through the night
when that old winter wind begins to blow

well it’s one thing roamin in the springtime
or in the long lazy days of july
I don’t care at all if you leave me in the fall
but in the wintertime I want you by my side

won’t you stand beside me darling
so I don’t have to feel so alone
hold me tight all through the night
when that old winter wind begins to blow


honeyed out
(to play this song tune both E strings down to D & then beat the
hell out of your guitar however it feels best. have fun)

your love is like too much sugar, too much sugar me to eat
nothing wrong with a little sugar but too much sugar’s too damn sweet

your love is like too much water, too much water all around
nothing wrong with a little water but too much water make a body drown

your love is like too much whiskey, too much whiskey in my cup
nothing wrong with a little whiskey but too much whiskey fuck you up

your love is like too much candy, too much candy on a stick
nothing wrong with a little candy but too much candy make you sick

your love is like too much honey, too much honey in my mouth
nothing wrong with a little honey but lately I’m just honeyed out


gave it away

you live in your prison, the one that you choose
you’d do anything to have nothing to lose
and you got scared of escaping just a little too soon
you give up your shovel and dig with a spoon

you gave it away, gave it away

oh no now you’re out in the cold
with your rockabye body, your butterfly soul
oh no don’t you grow old
you’re just finding your way

with the current behind you and a clear summer sky
you call yourself stranded, a boat by your side
and your fistful of wishes and your handful of hopes
you stash them away in the pit of your throat

you save them away, save them away

oh no now it’s taking its toll
on your rockabye body your butterfly soul
oh no don’t you grow old
you’re just finding your way, finding it

and I got a dream for you sometime, that you’ll admit to the tide
you’ll push out in the ocean and go for a ride

you’re sailing away, sailing away

oh no, don’t you let go
of your rockabye body, your lullabye soul
oh no, don’t you grow old
you just find your way, find your way, find your way
back to me
back to me


lullaby 101
in G

G D/F# C G G D/F# C
sleep you little soldier boy, with your ear against the wall
G D/E# C G G D G
you have held that rifle all of your life, now it’s time to let it fall

sleep you little alibi, with your reasons in a row
you have turned in circles all of your life just so your shadow wouldn’t show
D G D G Am G D/F#
dream with me, dream with me, we’ll wake in better days,
G D/F# C
and we’ll build a boat and we’ll hope that it floats
G D G
and then we’ll sail, we’ll sail away

sleep you little resume, with your head above the crowd
you have held your breath in all of your life just to make somebody proud

sleep you little reservoir, let your banks just overflow
no you can’t contain all of that rain, you’re gonna have to let it go

dream with me, dream with me, we’ll wake in better light,
and until we rise with open eyes, goodnight, my love, goodnight
yes until some sun wakes everyone, goodnight, my love, goodnight