Heart In A Mason Jar

by Alex Culbreth & The Dead Country Stars

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credits

released 07 December 2012

All songs written by Alex Culbreth

Vocals, guitar: Alex Culbreth
Fiddle, vocals: Eddie Dickerson
Banjo: Jimbo Carrico
Standup bass: Joanna Smith
Drums, vocals: Ryan Hale
Piano: Jenna Kole
Vocals: Rachel Childress

Cover design: Jeb Carter
Artwork: Sherri French

Recorded and mastered by Thomas Seim at Deep Woods Collective
Mixed by Alex Cloud at Deep Woods Collective

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Track Name: Heart In A Mason Jar
Do you remember when we first met?
The barroom stank of beer and clove cigarettes
The place was empty but I burned through my set anyways

My blood was flammable as pure gasoline
You wore black eyeshadow and a grudge it seemed
Against them boys who bought you everything you ever wanted

She keeps my heart in a Mason jar
Filled it with whiskey at the Lonestar Bar
Formaldehyde and cheap cigars

Do you remember when we first kissed?
Out in the alleyway while some drunk was taking a piss
I blacked out but I couldn’t forget you, baby

You hailed a cab, I got sick in the back
The driver kicked us out on 7th Ave.
We found a motel and we wrecked the bed for hours

(Chorus)

Just last December, you up and left
Leaving me all the bills and a burning itch
A destructive pattern I was bound to repeat again and again

(Chorus)
Track Name: Drinkin' Bout You
Girl, you've been up all night on Benzedrine
You got looks from your mama, your daddy taught you to drink
My tolerance is low, my memories are few
But darlin' tonight I'll be drinkin' bout you
Yeah darlin' tonight I'll be drinkin' bout you

Well, your perfume's enough to sober me up
And the taste from your lips, it used to get me drunk
But now what do I drink when the liquor store's closed
And this empty bottle is all I have to hold?

Well, the city's in shambles as the seasons shed their skins
And you've been making drinkers out of sober men
I got some rotgut wine that I’ve been nursing all day
It's in a brown paper bag, it tastes better that way

Girl, you've been up all night on Benzedrine
You got looks from your mama, your daddy taught you to drink
My tolerance is low, my memories are few
But darlin' tonight I'll be drinkin' bout you
Yeah darlin' tonight I'll be drinkin' bout you

In the town of my kinfolk, the riverbed's dry
But I've heard tales of a stream that runs whiskey and wine
I had a dream last night of a mountain town
Where I found that stream and drank till I drowned
Track Name: Where Will My Troubles Go?
Where will my troubles go when they go?
Will they burst like a firecracker from within my soul?
Will they tumble like that old oak tree that the crows all called home?
Where will my troubles go when they go?

I been drinking corn liquor just to get drunk quicker
And drown this lovesick heart
Cause my girl's been seen running round on me
With every man with an electric guitar
But I'll do that woman right
I'll call her sister up tonight
I'll take her from her daddy's farm and then I'll take her out behind the barn

Where will my troubles go when they go?
Though I work and plow, they're like a crop that just won't grow
But I feel them cold winds blowing, boys, the country's calling me home
Where will my troubles go when they go?

I’ve been playing Patsy Cline and sipping strong moonshine
For seventeen nights and days
And all my kinfolk are praying and the preacher man is saying
I should change my sinful ways
But I'll bet this broken heart can mend
On liquor, lust, and sin
It's my saving grace and I'll be damned if I'll be led astray

Where will my troubles go when they go?
Will they no longer burden this lonesome, broken soul?
Will I hear that freight train coming, boys, when it's bound to carry me home?
Where will my troubles go when they go?
Track Name: I'm Going To Nashville
Taste the beer and cigarettes in these songs that I sigh
In a town of merchants with nothing to sell but my pride
I’ve been strumming sandpaper chords and singing like a crow
All these wasted songs that I lived on the road

Goddamn the labels and the tapes they returned
And goddamn these cities and all the bridges I've burned

I'm going to Nashville, I'm going to Nashville
I hope it's as bright as it's been in my dreams
I'm going to Nashville, I'm going to Nashville
As kind as them country songs led me to believe
I'm going to Nashville

I used to drink corroded wine till my heart would go numb
And swallow ink for hours, hoping for the words to come
But now I'm doing better and keeping sober as I play the bars
And catching stories from barflies in my Mason jar

Goddamn these chemicals that are still in my bones
And goddamn the miles that have kept me from home

(Chorus)

Back in Carolina, the city's closed down by five
And my mother's singing, keeping all those hymns alive
Some nights my chest feels hollow after I play the show
Cause my heart's still beating in my sweet, southern home

Goddamn these songs and the long, snaking roads
They've never killed the longing that I feel when alone

Hope it's better in Nashville, hope it's better in Nashville
I hope it's as bright as it's been in my dreams
Cause I'm going to Nashville, I'm going to Nashville
As kind as them country songs led me to believe
I'm going to Nashville
Track Name: Rattle Them Chains
Rattle them chains for your drunken father
Rattle them chains for the scars
You’ve been moving like molasses, like the Mississippi River
Rattle them chains from afar
A couple pretty women shedding crocodile tears
On the day that he bought the farm
He had to rattle them chains

Rattle your cage by the witching hour
Rattle the king from the throne
There's a crow perched upon a telephone wire
Rattle your aching, old bones
Battery acid and a crooked smile
The lonely are never alone
When they rattle their chains

Flutter your wings, outturned empty pockets
Rattle them pearly, white gates
St. Peter’s just bouncer and you’re not on the list
Rally them sinners and the saints
Nobody’s name gets remembered for sitting on their ass
They all had to rattle their chains
Track Name: Mercy Me
Mercy, mercy me
Turn up that radio, I want my ears to bleed
You hear the sound of the music, that’s the life for me
Cry me a river, mercy me

I was born in the back of a ’57 Chevy
With my daddy doing 90, my mama breathing heavy
Her water broke at midnight in the grocery store
She yelled, “Cleanup in aisle 4!”
Seems like all the girls in my town got hitched to Marines
Knocked up and settled by the age of eighteen
But I would not be tamed by some small town dame
I had one foot on the pedal, the other in my grave
In fact one time when I was fifteen
I sat a girlfriend of mine on the washing machine
My older brother told me though it didn’t make sense
“She’ll get the ride of her life for just 25 cents!”
I got a malt liquor tan from my old man
A busted-up hand me down old Trans Am
The rabbit in my blood, itch I shouldn’t scratch
The women on my mind and the monkey on my back

Mercy, mercy me
Turn up that radio, give me room to breathe
Crack open that bottle, roll a joint for me
Well lordy lordy, mercy me

I went down to the pawnshop and bought a guitar
A set of steel strings and an old chord chart
I stepped into my room and I disappeared
I didn’t come out for nearly three years
By eighteen the alimony had run dry
My daddy up and left my mama high and dry
She couldn’t keep on the lights waiting tables at night
So I thought I’d get me a job, play some music on the side
I looked old for my age so they didn’t ID
I played a bar down in Macon a couple nights a week
When I started strumming, the strangest thing happened
Women started staring, hollering, and clapping
And good goddamn I was sure impressed
That this old six-string could have such an effect
Like a woman in the backseat of my Trans Am
I popped the clutch a few times but she made this boy a man

Mercy, mercy me
Turn up that radio, fix me a drink
You see that woman, what she does to me
Well thank God I’m a sinner, mercy me

Some producer spotted me, now I play all the time
I’ve got a big tour bus on the record label’s dime
The drinks are always free, so are the pills
I grew a taste for them like I did pretty girls
I stopped sending mama paychecks long ago
You know the court costs are high and I’m deep in the hole
My first wife took my heart and she drug it around
My second wife took what they didn’t bolt down
And I tried getting clean, I tried going straight
But you can sell more records once you’re fresh in the grave
I'd give the drugs and the fame and the tour bus
To go back to when the music was enough
The judge can string me up but the rope it’ll snap
I’ve cut a deal with the devil and he cut me some slack
There’s no rest for the weary, I’ll sleep when I’m dead
I’ll leave note on the bureau and I’ll step out on the ledge

Mercy, mercy me
Shut off that radio, I think they’re playing me
You see this life I’m living, what it’s done to me
Cry me a river, mercy me
Track Name: Daisy
In the Brooklyn Psychiatric Ward
Plastic Jello cups and shuffleboard
The hospital’s such a scary place
But you’ve got such a kind face
In the Brooklyn Psychiatric Ward

In the looney bin, it’s so good to have a friend
Me and Daisy can go on talking for hours on end
I get so confused sometimes
I’m missing puzzle pieces in my mind
In the looney bin, it’s so good to have a friend

But the doctors say that you’re not real
It’s just a symptom of my condition that makes you appear
That medication can ease the strain of the neurons firing in my brain
But I was hoping that you wouldn’t disappear

Cause I’d hung my dreams out to dry
With the other patients’ clothes upon the line
I left a breadcrumb trail to find
The man I was but I left behind
I’d hung my dreams out to dry

They’ve been pumping me full of Thorazine
Hell, Daisy you’re the only good thing to happen to me
Now the visiting hours are through
And I ain’t seen hide nor hair of you
They’ve been pumping me full of Thorazine

(Chorus)

The doctor says they’ll let me out real soon
They lined me up a job in a Jersey tollbooth
I ain’t seen you in a while
God, I wish you could see me now
So I’m gonna flush the pills once they send me home
I’m gonna flush the pills, Daisy, I’ll see you soon
Track Name: Bang Bang
Sweet Savannah, you’re the only one
To leave me staring down the wrong end of a gun
A couple shiners and a whiskey haze
That's got the room spinning round
A whiff of cocaine and lightning in my veins
I told my mama that her boy ain't changed
I've got little white pills to give me the strength of thirteen men

You always loved that old Motown song
I smashed the jukebox, blood running down my arm
I couldn't feel a thing so we just laughed and sang along
Shots rang, bang bang bang, to the rhythm of the song
While James Brown sang
You've got a choice, pretty baby, that you've gotta make
To burn out and leave a beautiful corpse or just fade away

This kinda living ain't good for your soul
You get a taste and you lose control
Crash your Cadillac into a red oak tree
Tom Petty blasting on the radio, “I won’t back down”
Bottle of red, a case of the blues
Bloodshot, burnt out, battered, and bruised
I looked into the mirror
And the face that I saw was not my own

(Chorus)
Track Name: Let's Send the Politicians Off To War
Let’s send the politicians off to war
To fight for what younger men have been dying for
They all don’t know shit, they’ll be the first to fill their drawers
Let’s send the politicians off to war

Let’s send the politicians off to fight
Drop them in Afghanistan and ask them if it’s right
If their cause is worth risking their own lives
Let’s send the politicians off to fight

That’ll be the day when old men fight their wars
When they put up or shut up, instead of keeping score
Their political agendas won’t mean nothing anymore
If we send the politicians off to war

I bet they’ll all be shitting in their pants
Instead of out of their mouths for once, I guess
Bring the boys back home and ship out Congress instead
I’ll bet they’ll all be shitting in their pants

(Chorus)

Let’s send the politicians off to war
Cause we ain’t gonna stand for their bullshit anymore
If it’s true that the pen is mightier than the sword
Then send the politicians off to war
Track Name: The Wretched and the Righteous
The wretched and the righteous
The pushers and the pious
No one is forsaken in the end

The tycoons and the poor
The sweetheart and the whore
No one is forsaken in the end

There must be a place where they walk together
Where all's forgiven, every man your brother
Be it the straight and narrow or the primrose path
We all fall short of the promised land

The politicians and the preachers
The loudmouth in the bleachers
No one is forsaken in the end

The drunkard stumbling home
The orphan all alone
No one is forsaken in the end

(Chorus)

The wretched and the righteous
The pushers and the pious
No one is forsaken in the end

Not Caesar or Brutus
Not even Jesus and Judas
No one is forsaken in the end

(Chorus)
Track Name: Turpentine Blues
I don't need your liquor, boys, don't need your wine
Cause I get more loaded off of turpentine
I been buying funny shrooms off of cowboy June
And just burning out my eyes from that Colorado moon
Like an anarchist in Texas that I used to know
I’ve got a wine jug grin and a kerosene soul

Boys, I'm through with them turpentine blues

I’ve been writing all these songs on my dead flaking skin
With a freight train voice that's off the tracks again
There's a black mountain angel and I sometimes like to see her
Singing something sweet down by the river stream
The women south are easy, boys, it's just my luck
They're like apples on the orchard waiting to be plucked

Boys, I'm through with them southern belle blues

I’ve been strumming on these dead strings instead of doing time
For bootlegging whiskey mixed with turpentine
Back home my woman's waiting with a pot of possum stew
A suicide novel and a loaded .22
Cause the girls all go rabid in the morning when I crow
With my steam engine heart and my Oklahoma soul

Boys, I'm through with them turpentine blues
Track Name: West Virginia Nervous Breakdown
Singing these songs is my salvation, my death sentence, and my damnation
All night diners and filling stations
They’ll swallow body and soul
Like the graveyard with its teeth of alabaster stone

But for now it’s brown liquor, burnt rubber, interstate signs
A man needs a little sumpin’ sumpin’ on the side
I’ve got nothing to lose but to lose my mind and my money to get myself a honey
Negotiations in the parking lot of a Parkersburg Denny’s

Snakeskin sweaty boots, cottonmouth blues, my mama didn’t raise no goddamn fool
I heard Gabriel’s trumpet ‘neath a seasick moon
I awoke behind a liquor store
Hell, it was only my head resting drunk on the horn

Sometimes I feel like I just can’t take it, got a premonition and I just can’t shake it
Dead like Elvis on the toilet bowl naked
These dreams, they’re never what they seem
Like 25 cent rubbers from vending machines

Singing these songs is my salvation, my death sentence, and my damnation
Following visions and hallucinations
Broke, I can’t carry a note
Hell, I’m as rusty as the razor held up to my throat
Track Name: By and By
All the gamblers seem to come from Odessa, lady luck wrapped round their arms
With a nudie deck and railway whiskey as strong as southern charm
But I don't mind it much, I just grin and bluff with four queens hid in my sleeve
Till one lays down his hand, it's the royal family, he takes a swig and says to me

Boy, take it slow down the dusty roads and you'll get there by and by
Take your soul and sell it for scrap to any fool that's willing to buy
Find yourself a woman with a hundred-proof heart that can drain any bottle dry
And when the going gets tough, you'll make it by and by

Well, the hounds they bayed on the night I was born in the spring of 1904
And Jonesborough stayed as sweet as summer fruit, as old as Alabama folklore
He said, "I bottled the nectar of the Appalacian and I sold it through Tennessee
You've got the strongest liquors west of Roanoke and the prettiest women I've seen"

(Chorus)

He said, "Son, Odessa's got a golden-haired beauty who once gave her love to me
But she's betrothed to a Philadelphia lawyer with prospects and property
And so I traveled the South, hopping passenger trains to get just as far as I could
Without a penny to your name, a heart of gold just ain't no good."

(Chorus)