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Introduction

 

The music and lyrics contained in this album tell stories of life along the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers. Many of the songs are inspired by real people and true events, at least in the hope that some sense of truth was found in the choices made, the actions taken, and the time shared.

 

River communities are defined by confluence, and crossroads, and change reminding us that our lives are consistently in transit even if we never reach beyond our home towns. The water brings us joy and pain, destruction and redemption, birth and death.

 

I have always found comfort in the constant flow of the rivers. They chronicle our past and chart our future, and they connect us to all we hold dear even when we can not see beyond the horizon. We are never too far from the water’s reach. It eternally waits our return.

 

 

Dedication 

 

To all young musicians who have allowed me to share in their journey;

To those gone too soon, to those that remain, and to those yet to come;

and

To Robyne. 

  

 

Carry On This Mighty Water * Gateway City * In The Morning * Dear Martha *

A Second Act * Undertow * Song for Maryanne * Lord Make Me Strong Enough

* I’m A Stone * Breaking Through * Up In Our Tree * Look What We’ve Become

 

All Songs Written by Brian Elder

widerivermusic.com

© 2017 Brian Elder Music

 

Produced by Brian Elder & Jacob Detering

 

Engineered, Mixed, and Mastered by Jacob Detering

Red Pill Studio

Additional Engineering (4,7,9,11) by Tony Barbata

St. Louis Drum Labs

 

Brian Elder: vocals (all songs), acoustic guitar (songs 1-11),

Mandolin (4,7,9,11), piano (2,5,12), keyboards (1,7,8,11), violin (1,5,7,12)

 

Featured Musicians:

 

Tony Barbata: drums (songs 1-11), background vocals (11)

Jake Brookman: cello (5,6,12)

Aaron Chandler: trombone (2)

Jacob Detering: melodica (11)

Nathan Hershey: organ (3,8,10)

Adam Hucke: trumpet (2)

Jim Peters: electric guitar & slide guitar (1,2,3,4,5,6,8,10)

Ben Reece: bass (songs 1-11), sax (2)

Lola Toben: vocals (8)

Emily Wallace: vocals (1)

 

Special Thanks

 

Mom and Dad; Sean, Sara, and Margot; All of my family and friends; My music teachers and mentors, especially Kathy Rollings who first put an instrument in my hands and inspired me to love music; Mizzou School of Music; Boston University College of Fine Arts; The faculty, staff, parents, and students at The Fulton School; My fifth and sixth grade teacher at Ridgeway Elementary, Mr. Colman (hopefully this counts towards what I owe you). 

 

To my wife Robyne, and our two boys Will and Charlie (words cannot express my thanks).  

 

 

Lyrics 

 

“Carry On This Mighty Water”

 

Missourah, Mississippi River

Missourah, Mississippi River

 

Idle hands would beg the task,

Give us cause to build this land,

Raise a bridge so we may pass,

There’s no place that we shall not go.

 

Missourah, Mississippi River

Missourah, Mississippi River

 

Crossroads spun our lives away,

Some bartered fortune for fame,

But, there is no price we would not pay,

To put this city back the same.

 

Carry on this mighty water,

To the place I call home,

Break these rocks and free her heart beat,

The time has come for her to show,

And let this river flow.

 

Our pain still cuts to the bone,

Lay down these passions of blame,

Lay down these reasons for shame,

We share in these waters the same.

 

There’s an arch beyond these shores,

A comfort in the blues we share,

A history we can restore,

This is the moment we dare,

This is the moment we dare.

 

Carry on this mighty water,

To the place I call home,

Break these rocks and free her heart beat,

The time has come for her to show,

And let this river...

 

Carry on this mighty water,

To the place I call home,

Break these rocks and free her heart beat,

The time has come for her to show,

And let this river flow.

 

Missourah, Mississippi River,

Missourah, Mississippi River



“Gateway City”

 

I spent five years with the A.P. news,

Going to places I did not choose,

It hollows you out, the things that I’ve seen.

 

I’m back in the brick near the south city line,

It looks a little different, but it still looks fine,

And I wonder if anyone still know my name.

 

I turned away but I couldn’t turn down,

And now I’m back in my home town,

Gateway City still has a hold on me.

It’s in my heart and it’s in my mind,

I tried to fight it, spent too much time,

Gateway City still has a hold on me...and I don’t mind anymore.

 

At Venice tonight they say the band is playing,

I can just hear what the doorman is saying,

I wonder if Alice is still working upstairs?

 

I left her behind and I didn’t look back,

If she knew me at all, she knows why I packed,

Somethings are better said never at all...never at all.

 

I turned away but I couldn’t turn down,

And now I’m back in my home town,

Gateway City still has a hold on me.

It’s in my heart and it’s in my mind,

I tried to fight it, spent too much time,

Gateway City still has a hold on me.

 

I walk through the door and it’s something to see,

“It’s been a long time honey, but you still look so good to me.”

The years have gone by and some things have changed.

When you’re young you soak through the pain,

That comes from the loving, and the hurting,

With a hope you’ll find a way back to the things we believe in,

Do I still believe?

 

My first night home has been a grand return,

On the east side of town watching the chemicals burn,

Let’s hit the diner and close it out right.

 

As we are saying goodbye, still no one has asked,

“Are you staying for good, or are you just in the past?”

Some things are better said never at all...never at all.

 

I turned away but I couldn’t turn down,

And now I’m back in my home town,

Gateway City still has a hold on me.

It’s in my heart and it’s in my mind,

I tried to fight it, spent too much time,

Gateway City still has a hold on me

Gateway City still has a hold on me

Gateway City, Gateway City still has a hold on me

Gateway City, Gateway City still has a hold on me

But I don’t mind anymore.

I don’t mind anymore.

 

 

“In The Morning”

 

See the girl in the corner booth?

She’s the candy for my sweet tooth,

She’ll be everything, until the morning after.

 

I’m the jack, I’m the player in the house.

Sly as a cat, or quiet as a mouse,

But I play it well, until the morning after.

 

I can rewrite my book, take back the pages I don’t like.

I never get too involved, I’m a jack of all trades and a master of none.

 

The sun comes up, well I’m already gone.

I leave the scene before it all goes wrong,

Because you know that it will, in the morning after.

 

This one can burn, she’s a soul on fire.

Knows I’m a fool, she knows I’m a liar,

But she wants me just the same, until the morning after.

 

I can rewrite my book, take back the pages I don’t like.

I never get too involved, I’m a jack of all trades and a master of none.

 

The sun comes up, well I’m already gone.

I leave the scene before it all goes wrong,

Because you know that it will, in the morning after.

Yes you know that it will, in the morning after.

Yes you know it will...in the morning.

 

 

“Dear Martha”

 

Dear Martha waits for my return,

I see the setting sun burn.

Her dial is lining up the shade,

As gravel cracks beneath my rubber grade,

Dear Martha, I am home to you.

 

Taste sugar as we drink our southern tea,

Sweet summer when you’re sitting here with me.

And I know you think these moments pass,

You feel them slipping through our grasp,

But I’ll give you a simple peace of mind.

 

Hear me calling,

Hear me calling.

Oh, I could never leave you for too long,

For too long.

 

Dear Martha across the Finger Lakes,

Dear Martha until the morning breaks.

Blackberries and fall with apple pie,

I could just stay here until I die,

Dear Martha, I am home to you.

 

Hear me calling,

Hear me calling.

Oh, I could never leave you for too long,

For too long, For too long.

 

Martha, I am coming home to you,

Martha, I am coming home.

Martha, I am coming home to you,

Martha, I am coming home.

 

Martha, I am home to you.



“A Second Act”

 

I took a cruel page from yesterday,

I took a page I know.

I looked over the cuts that I made in you,

The ones that made you go.

 

I thought about that sliding door,

And the moment you walked out.

You stepped up from the guilt I used to bury you,

Were strong than I made out.

 

I’ve been spending my time accepting the things that I know I did wrong,

And now I know that I need you back,

All I need is a second…

A second act.

 

Contradiction slips down the winding road,

It’s part of who we are.

And I could cover and turn my back on you baby,

But I’d never get that far.

 

The past is the ground I’m standing on,

Your tribute still smells so sweet.

And where you are is the place I will find you,

In the future where our roads meet.

 

I’ve been spending my time learning the mysteries of a broken heart,

And now I know I can build it back,

All I need is a second act.

 

There’s not a lot of things in this world that you can hold on to lately,

But now I know, now I know, that I can be strong for you.

It took some time, but now I coming to find you baby,

Because when I was all alone, all alone,

Yours was the name I heard.

 

Contradiction slips down the winding road,

It’s part of who we are.

And I could cover and turn my back on you baby,

But I’d never get too far, never get too far,

No I’d never get too far away…

 

I’ve been spending my time accepting the things that I know I did wrong,

And now I know that I need you back,

All I need is a second…

A second act.

 

I’ve been spending my time learning the mysteries of a broken heart,

And now I know I can build it back,

All I need is a second act.

 

All I need is you, all I need is a second act.

All I need is you, all I need is a second, all I need…

Is a second act.



"Undertow"

 

It’d take a long time to reach the other side,

This rushing river so very wide,

But I could make it if I decide to just go

 

A second son, a second look,

At the same path that my father took,

The last chapter of a tragic book to just go

 

Fighting up from the undertow,

It’s bringing me down, but I’m still coming up to breathe

The light gets blurred while I’m below,

It’s bringing me down, but I’m still coming up to breathe

 

Mother said I had an angel’s voice,

And I should let it flow if I had the choice,

A clear note to break through the noise and just go

 

What is this place? What is this time?

Is it all just I, me, mine?

I’ll swim away on a separate line and let go

 

Fighting up from the undertow,

It’s bringing me down, but I’m still coming up to breathe

The light gets blurred while I’m below,

It’s bringing me down, but I’m still coming up to breathe

 

Away from shore I feel nothing,

No sound, no pain, there is nothing

And in the calm I can hear the sound of Grace,

I can see a familiar face, I can see…

 

Hold me in a picture frame,

Sing my songs and spread my fame,

I held the spark and then touched the flame,

And let go

I let go

I let go

 

Fighting up from the undertow,

It’s bringing me down, but I’m still coming up to breathe

The light gets blurred while I’m below,

It’s bringing me down, but I’m still coming up to breathe

 

Fighting up from the undertow,

It’s bringing me down, but I’m still coming up to breathe

The light gets blurred while I’m below,

It’s bringing me down, but I’m still coming up,

Yeah it’s bringing me down, but I’m still coming up,

Yeah it’s bringing me down, but I’m still coming up…

 

to breathe...

 

Gateway City still has a hold on me.




“Song for Maryanne”

 

Maryanne step outside, (don’t look back, don’t look back)

You’re more than a wife to a common man, (don’t look back)

You’re on your own, at least it only went this far,

You got nothing left to take with you but the scars.

 

Like a Dylan song we were tangled up, (don’t stop now, don’t stop now)

And I saved our place near River Park, (don’t stop now)

I’ve waited so long, dreaming of that one night in Georgia,

So many things I know now I should have told you.

 

I held the line, I played it safe,

It was my greatest mistake.

The moment passed, and a curse was cast,

And that night slipped into the past.

 

Maryanne in the Sunday sun, (all alone, all alone)

But I’m still here when the daydream is done, (all alone)

All I can do is think of her beneath the autumn trees,

Do I dare remind her of our memories?

 

Maryanne I need your touch, (tell her now, tell her now)

But before I speak I’ve said too much, (tell her now)

Before she’s gone, it looks like I waited too long,

She’ll never know my feelings were so strong.

 

I held the line, I played it safe,

It was my greatest mistake.

The moment passed, and a curse was cast

And that night slipped into the past.

 

Maryanne married on, (Mary’s gone, Mary’s gone)

She’s shining like a new found star, (Mary’s gone)

Up in the sky, and all that remains for me,

Is a vision of love I couldn’t let her see

 

I held the line, I played it safe,

It was my greatest mistake.

The moment passed, and a curse was cast

And that night slipped into the past.

 

 

“Lord, Make Me Strong Enough”

 

Lonely eyes can tell my tale, shades of blue under the fading light,

It’s been so long since I’ve set sail, I pray in the distance that you’re there this night.

I’ve grown familiar with my circumstance, day by day I thought I knew what was true,

But I’ve been holding back something deep inside, all this time it was always you.

 

Lord, make me strong enough,

When the storms come crashing in.

To have the faith that my hope will return,

That’s when I’ll be home again.

 

The jagged rocks are sharp my friend, and the shore has tasted my blood,

But all the tears, all the tears that we send, they only warm the sea and rise the flood.

I know the light can blind the eyes and you can feel it deep in your bones,

But there’s no need to change or disguise, all this time you were never alone.

 

Lord, make me strong enough,

When the rain comes falling down.

To have the faith that my hope will return,

That’s when I will be found.

 

Reach for me, take away my pain,

Heal me and make me complete.

Save me, and make me believe again,

And I will be home.

 

Now I’m returning on this lonely night, but all my grief I’m going to leave behind,

I’ve been restored with the gift of sight, who knew redemption could feel so kind.

Everyday will have its circumstance, everyday the test is true,

But now there’s something carrying me deep inside, all this time it was always you.

 

Lord, make me strong enough,

When the storms come crashing in.

To have the faith that my hope will return,

That’s when I’ll be home again.

 

Lord, make me strong enough,

When the rain comes falling down.

To have the faith that my hope will return,

That’s when I will be found.

 

Lord, make me strong enough,

To make it home, Lord, make me strong enough.

To make it home, Lord, make me strong enough.

 

 

“I’m A Stone”

 

Enter softly, I’m here waiting for you child,

Through the valley, beyond whispers of the past.

Share with me your sadness, and you will know it’s just a dream,

A love like ours takes patience, and I am here,

A stone beneath the stream.

 

With the blue skies there’s a blessing and a curse,

Among the daisies with brown eyes searching for the truth.

Share with me your happiness, even when it’s just a dream,  

A love like ours takes patience, and I am here,

A stone beneath the stream.

 

Come when the days flow on into the ocean,

When you feel the weight, just let it go.

Come where the flowers rest deep in devotion,

And I will be your strength,

I’m a stone.

 

In the moonlight there’s a hope for the waiting,

So carry on child, I’m rejoicing for you.

Share with me life’s sweetness, yes it’s more than just a dream,

A love like ours takes patience, and I am here,

A stone beneath the stream.

 

I am here, a stone beneath the stream,

I am here, a stone beneath the stream.

 

Come when the days flow on into the ocean,

When you feel the weight, just let it go.

Come where the flowers rest deep in devotion,

And I will be your strength,

I’m a stone,

I’m a stone,

I’m a stone,

I’m a stone waiting just for you.

 

 

“Breaking Through”

 

Wake me up, I’m coming back, the wait is over,

The morning sun has overcome the shadows cast while I was sleeping.

I hear you cross the bending wood, and I’m feeling good,

I’m feeling good enough...

 

I’m breaking through, through all the mystery that surrounded me,

I’m breaking through, I know that I can’t wait any longer.

 

Looking out at the pavement cracks lying in my past, the course that I’ve run,

I was lost and drying out, not a moment too soon for you to come,

Be with me, stay with me, I’m feeling good,

I’m feeling good enough...

 

I’m breaking through, through all the mystery that surrounded me,

I’m breaking through, I know that I can’t wait any longer.

 

The park looks beautiful through the haze,

It’s a perfect view beneath the Jewel Box shade.

And all I needed was that simple phrase, the love that you gave,

All from you...and I’m breaking through.

 

Light the fire under the moon it’s a cool summer night, but I’m not tired,

I feel the warmth of a new beginning, and I can be a man stronger for you,

Be with me, stay with me, I’m feeling good,

I’m feeling good enough...

 

I’m breaking through, through all the mystery that surrounded me,

I’m breaking through, I know that I can’t wait any longer.




 “Up In Our Tree”

 

Oh Charlie,

You brought a little joy to us all,

Like late flowers in the fall,

Up in our tree.

 

Oh Charlie,

Turn your face towards the sun,

The great big world has just begun,

For you and me.

 

Nestled in we’ll watch the colors change in the leaves,

As winter, spring, and summer, they all come floating in the breeze,

For you to see, up in our tree.

 

Oh Will,

You’re climbing on the big branches now,

Peaking your head above the clouds,

Up in our tree.

 

Oh Will,

You’re making your mom and daddy proud,

The higher you go above the ground,

Up in our tree.

 

But take your time as you go, it’s a slow steady climb,

And if you lose your way a helping hand is never too hard to find,

Just look at me, up in our tree.

 

From father to mother, mother to child,

Sisters and brothers, it’s amazing this wild thing called love,

A tree of love.

 

Oh Robyne,

Circle high in the sky,

Teach your children how to fly,

Up in our tree.

 

Oh Robyne,

You were the one that bore the seed,

A gift of love for you and me,

Up in our tree.

 

Everywhere a seed takes root a new tree grows,

What started with a single bloom now goes beyond a view,

That we can see, from up in our tree.

 

From father to mother, mother to child,

Sisters and brothers, it’s amazing this wild thing called love,

A tree of love,

Up in our tree.

 

 

“Look What We’ve Become”

 

We built sand castles near the river’s edge,

That’s where I asked if you would be my friend,

I had no clue where the story would end,

Darling, look what we’ve become.

 

Time doesn’t tell you when you’re in too deep,

He sneaks up softly while your in your sleep,

Kindly taps your shoulder and says, “Boy, move you’re feet,

Go find out what you will become.”

 

But, oh that happy feeling,

Anytime you’re near.

We’ve got the world spinning wild around us now,

Somehow I have no fear.

 

It’s sometimes hard along the river’s edge,

To stay unbroken you have to learn to bend,

I still don’t know where the story will end,

Darling, what will we become?

It’s a mystery to me…

 

I just know it’s better when you’ve got a friend,

Darling, look what we’ve become.