The Year of the Cow

by Sam Russell

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05:36
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04:46
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credits

released 30 October 2012
Sam Russell-vocals & guitar
Kate Noson-vocals
Ken Nottingham-upright bass & harmonica
Michael Spaly-fiddle, mandolin, banjo & vocals

Dave Forrester-percussion on 1,3,5
James Apollo-piano/harmonica/vocals on 1,3, 5,7
Allison Tulloss-vocals on 1,3,7, ukulele on 1
Shelby Earl- backing vocal on 3/harmony vocal on 5
Nathan Wade-National on 1, vocals on 1,3
Noah Strom-piano/pump organ on 3, 5, 6, percussion on 8
Scott Andrew-vocals on 3,8
John Tomlinson-accordion on 3,5,6
Isaac Chirino-snare drum on 3
Johnny Sangster-Hammond on 3
Barb Hunter-cello on 1,3,
Evil Cow-vocal on 5
Rev. David Moore- backing vocal on 8.

all songs by Sam Russell
except “Whatever’s Left” by Zoe Muth
Recorded on by Johnny Sangster @ Crackle & Pop, Seattle, WA. and James n' Sam's house
Mixed by Johnny Sangster @ Avast! Studios
Bonus Track "Whatever's Left" recorded and mixed at Studio V by Charles Bork, with Daniel Walker on piano
Mastered by Ed Brooks at RFI Mastering, Seattle, WA.

Special thanks to Johnny Sangster and Kate Noson

and thanks also to Justin Roeser, Brett Josephs, Carey Rayburn,
Carlos Tulloss, David Delmar, KEXP, Rick & Rachel @ RFI, Lincoln Barr, Lulu Gargiulo, Mike Prince, Rebekah Clinger-Prince, Angie Prince,Cassie Hibbert, Allison Ormsby, Elisabeth Aker, Kayleigh Kleiva, everyone else

and thanks especially to Linda Webb & family, Sean Lambrecht and Mom, Dad, Nathan, Liz, Kathryn, Dennis, Wyatt, Austin, Hank, Ernie
& Jack

Cover photo by Catherine Michalski. Layout and design by Tom Pappalardo for Standard Design.
c)KMV Records 2013. Made in Seattle. All Rights Reserved.

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about

Sam Russell Seattle, Washington

Sam Russell preaches the gospel of heartbreak and decadence via The Blue Moon Bible, an in-progress series of 8 albums, backed up by his combined band and choir collective of The Harborrats. Folk, soul, doo-wop and everything in-between add to up a version of rock n' roll that searches to find divinity in love instead of God, as sung by a failed Christian and his fellow heathens. ... more

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Track Name: Gun to the Head
gonna run a marathon
get body lean and strong
help grow and focus
not slide back and regress
by laying around, wishing
so sad and wondering
about years already gone
gonna run a marathon

gonna run a marathon
no longer be a pawn
find the moral that’s fair
abandon formal prayer
create ceremony
that means as much to me
as church I used to belong
gonna run a marathon

I was a Christian until I became a man
had to leave superiority, compassion understand
keep purity of faith I had when as child in my bed
fear I had of hell’s flame was like a gun to the head

gonna run a marathon
cue up the starting song
train through all the dark days
that always come my way
for once fight being sick
and just be done with it
wake up and face the dawn
gonna run a marathon

gonna run a marathon
and keep on turning off
these memories in the head
from times all gone and dead
over and over words
arise and try to hurt
instead they’ll strengthen bond
gonna run a marathon

I know they got in way sometimes of what we have
but I remember so I won’t make same mistake again
same age you were when we met was when I escaped instead
of seeing the world from up on cross with a gun to the head

it was like it was like a gun to the head
it was like it was like a gun to the head
it was like it was like a gun to the head
it was like it was like a gun to the head
terror everyday was
fed of disappointing God and
them, eternal pain always
mentioned like a gun to the
head, you came along and that was
when, you said it could be
different, life can be lived free of dread
without a gun to the head

gonna run a marathon
run the road that is long
think of life as a race
where no step should go to waste
pace myself for long haul
hold onto you, not fall
until we reach the lawn
gonna run a marathon
gonna run a marathon
and prove the voices wrong
that said it couldn’t be done
ever since I was young
they say you’ll be alone
never have a happy home
but with you I could belong
gonna run a marathon

I couldn’t release cries inside all of these years stored
threat of shut out by my Father could never be ignored
you were a child at the party now you’ve grown and sped ahead
trying to catch up and not lose you is like a gun to the head

it was like a gun to the head…
Track Name: All These Passing Fields
on my birthday we boarded train and smiled at start of ride
fleeing routine for first time only you and I
untangled headphones soundtrack view that shifts as we stare
all the passing fields holding cows in fresh farm air

and I held your hand in motion pulling forward we couldn’t ignore
and I felt myself letting go of all that had come before
the weight lifting away in layers that your presence painlessly peeled
and we were reborn in a moment torn from all of these passing fields

in your hometown we stood on green where a shot once started a war
I’d search your face for all you wouldn’t say, hoping words would soon out pour
I couldn’t explain what separates us from where we couldn’t go
I’d only say something vague for the answers we didn’t know

and on Christmas, your mother welcomed me as part of you and
family
and after all the gifts were given out you just sat next to me silently
knowing that we were just pretending that what we had wasn’t
already ending
and soon you would have to yield and surrender to all these passing
fields

and I used to be the one saying it’s over
and I had nothing left to offer
and there you’d be in front of me crying
and I’d feel the emotion proper
when the doubt made me insecure
you were the one that always seemed sure
track would hold the turning wheels
that carry us through all these passing fields

when we first met, we lived so close and I’d leave as you’d start to
sleep
you’d say wait, beg me to stay but I had a lonely room to meet
when you awake, you’ll graduate and start your first real job
I’d sit you down carefully and say remember we’re just having fun

and yet we breathed in ceremony and saw our future in rising shapes
and you laid by me on my birthday, from our bodies we rose and
escaped
tapping into a higher power that together as one we could wield
and be the light that flows and to one source goes through all these
passing fields
Track Name: Monkey Trap
you can set a monkey trap
anytime you get lonely
and if you catch a monkey
you’ll have a friend so easily
you can set a monkey trap
in kitchen basement or your room
but if you forget trap is there
the trap won’t catch the monkey
the trap will trap you

Wyatt is the name of
a boy who lives near Washington D.C.
his best friend is a monkey
a monkey whose name is Monkey
now all around Washington D.C.
there’s monkey traps everywhere hidden
even if a sign says, ”No monkey traps here”
to every rule, there’s an exception

and then a big net will fall down, scoop the monkey up
he’ll be stuck inside, crying for help
but no one will come, he’s got to eat his dinner there
and learn to hang around himself

Daniel is the name
of an evil cow
evil cause he’s a boy
and most cows are girls you find around
he’s not so much evil now no no
as just misunderstood
he’s kind of selfish, kind of lazy
and though he’s not evil,
he’s not always so good

he visited his nephew
his nephew’s named Balloon
who lives near Washington D.C.
with Wyatt and a monkey named Monkey too
he says “I want that monkey”
Wyatt says “You can’t have him”
Evil Cow says “Gimmee that monkey
with me he’s coming back”
Wyatt says “But he’s my best friend”
Evil Cow says “I don’t care
I want a monkey of my own”
and Wyatt says to him “Evil Cow get out of here!”

and Evil Cow comes back disguised
as a chicken named Frank
and says “Hello my name is Frank
Wyatt I’d like to thank
you for taking care of Monkey
who belongs to me
he just fell in your monkey trap
but now I’ll take him back
and take him home with me”

but Wyatt’s not fooled
he sees the black-and-white spots
that many a cow gots
he know it’s Evil Cow he sees
with fake chicken beak
he says “No no no no no
Monkey belongs to me!”

then Evil Cow gets mad and sets a monkey trap
chases Monkey round the room, and yells out a MOO!
when he steps in his own trap, gets caught in his own net
and Wyatt says to him, “Evil Cow that’s what you get!”

if you try to be someone you’re not to get what you want
you’ll find that in the monkey trap you fell
if you try to take what’s not yours, the conscience will be
a monkey trap filled with guilt of to tell

Elizabeth’s the name of
my sis who goes by Liz
and Elizabeth’s the name of
my friend who goes by Beth
and all around there’s Elle, Libby,
Alexandra and Bobby Jean
many nicknames for Elizabeth
like Betsy and Betty
Biz, Sissy, Tibby,
Wizzy and Lizzy
so many Elizabeths,
makes you dizzy

and Katie is the name
of a girl that I once knew
when my sister Liz left home, I missed her so
Katie became like a sister too
and now Kate is the name of
the sister of my friend
but my friend is not a Liz no
my friend is Beth

Beth and Kate have a nephew
a brand-new nephew named Reid
Evil Cow says, ”Maybe they’ll give Reid a cow
and name it after me”

and Wyatt is the name of
my very own nephew
who will learn there’s monkey traps
in life that try to grab
and try and capture you

the world weaves a web, ties it around everyone we met
we’re all connected in some way it’s true
and the voices in your head of cows, family and friends
will help you put together all the clues

you can set a monkey trap
anytime you get lonely
and if you catch a monkey
you’ll have a friend so easily
you’ll go on adventures together
but if you’re not careful they’ll lead
back to monkey trap that snaps
and then you will be stuck hanging upright by your feet
back to the monkey trap that snaps and then you will be stuck
hanging upright by your feet
Track Name: I Am the Ghost
I am the ghost removed from the love
that you once held me in
I am the voice of the woman that
you wanted to be perfect

and now you have her, and now you have her
but you keep me hanging around
your dreams are a swinging door
that I drift in and out of

I am the girl that you missed for so long
and gave up on in your youth
when you met me finally as a man
fantasy became the truth

you said you loved me, you said you loved me
and forever by me you’d stand
then you let your grip slide away and
I slipped right through your hands

I am the ghost that keeps reciting words
over and over she once said
I am the sadness you let linger on
to recall a love that’s dead

and now you have her and now you have her
so leave me be and with her move on
or else she’ll be the ghost that’s haunting you
if you don’t admit I’m gone
Track Name: The Lexington Waltz
I stepped in the party, you were there by the door
you too had come early, drinks for us were poured
we sat together in circle but I didn’t have the gall
to ask you to dance and do the Lexington Waltz

there’s Lexingtons in Kentucky and in Massachusetts
the girl I love came from Northeast to the Northwest
I try to be romantic but she calls effort schmaltz
but I’m just warming up to do the Lexington Waltz

you couldn’t do the things other children could do
you were stuck inside your mom keeping an eye on you
and slowly but surely, you learned not to want
what you couldn’t have from the Lexington waltz

you had to swallow the pill, swallow for her
your mother who says you must without water
she says water and me won’t always be on to call
you have to be by yourself to do the Lexington waltz

you hold the Elmo she gave you, his face stuck in a scream
you’re gonna get to walk, you’re gonna get to dream
and your two different feet that others may taunt
just means you’ll be good at the Lexington waltz

arise, arise, one foot on the floor
with the first step the pain you’ll learn to you ignore
soon you’ll be skipping and singing out Double-Dutch
when you master the steps of the Lexington waltz

now couples must fight and couples must sometimes shout
how to do it at first we couldn’t figure out
Coach and Tammy in Texas embraced in the hall
to make-up like we should with the Lexington waltz

when the hurt’s crippling and truth brings agony
please let one who loves you at your side be
if you can’t respond right now, it’s OK I’ll move on
as soon as we’re done with the Lexington Waltz

but if you want to run, you can still run through me
new beginning will come when ceremony’s complete
you’ll be in heart when I run and I swear I won’t fall
I’ll be in your’s as we do the Lexington Waltz
Track Name: Too Far in the South (featuring Kate Noson)
not the obvious choice, hidden in plain sight
the one you keep looking back on in all the lonely nights
when you’re feelin’ lost on of one life’s rural routes
call me up to save you from being too far in the south

you were twenty-two, she was just eighteen
summer ended, you hadn’t yet left and suddenly in her saw me
when you moved away, you declared love in letter sent
you’d take train back, she’d pick you up from station with her boyfriend
after the funerals you thought it was your place
to keep her innocence intact and keep her free from all heartache
you wanted so much to hear my words from her mouth
I need your help, I’m broken down and stuck too far in the south”

as a man you sat by bonfire in the county
in the backyard of the family that hosted the church gatherings
in their house you saw a picture of me on the wall
the little blonde girl you once played with and since tried to see in
them all
she’s a single mom now tending bar in the city
you want to go right out and find her and see if in her you see me

but I left her body to drift in air, become
the one you wanted when the one you had just wasn’t enough
the girl forsaken, soul saved in memory
only one possessed in present could ever be your destiny
you’ve failed to hold onto then and ever since
keep letting me break your heart even though I don’t exist
crying out to me in your weakest state of doubt
“I need your help, I’m breaking down and stuck too far in the south”

maybe you’ll end up with me after all
I’m the reward to be reached
after a lifelong slow crawl
put the seed in soil and watch the tree grow tall
in the backyard that will fill up
with all the brightest leaves to fall
Track Name: The Year of the Cow
can’t find piece of puzzle
sick of being frustrated
hating all our little patterns
you first loved but then felt trapped in

you’re so scared of the future
you’re so scared of the here and now
when you wonder why we are together, you don’t try
to believe in the year of the cow

when we’d try to talk about death
you’d get angry and your opinion wouldn’t defend
in desperation you can’t admit to
a sign that could tell you we could make it through the end

but your sister’s hero, your sister’s hero
was the same as my own
and I prayed for a youngest sister
to forget the one that wouldn’t come home

back to the church
that inside did replace
back to the church
with those lovers I did create
with an alter to burn
to wait for her return
back to the church

I wasn’t trying to convince you
of a deity ruling above
it’s just that toy we made up voice for
is same creature as the year we fell in love

I’m come to see you and I’d grab him
make him dance and sing to make you laugh somehow
I escaped with you, I blocked voices with his to use
in what became the year of the cow

I question each belief I hold
to make sure I’m not still just doing what I’m told
the church kept relating there’s no missionary dating
you can’t love with purpose of trying to save a soul

but your sister’s hero, your sister’s hero
wrote the hymn to what you became to me
more than just a youngest sister
by choice not by destiny

we are the church
say the voices in the head
we are the church
they say always reminding
of a death to answer to
and a heaven we could lose
without the church

every night when the towers came down
me and Sean would go to Lenny’s Lounge, hold ground
close the place with George, out on I-94
between a Day’s Inn and Denny’s, a dive bar ignored

if you went up the jukebox and played Springsteen
and the song that came on was “Bobby Jean”
George would take break, pour beer, sit at end of the bar
and sip slow while starting to stare off far

and say ”I wish I had a Bobby Jean
someone to go back to in my memory
and long to be with and long to see
and say oh how I miss my Bobby Jean”

but those that don’t exist reside with the dead
they haven’t had chance to come to life yet
they’re kept there by path blocked, both so far from reach
you say, ”I wish I had a Bobby Jean”

coincidence can be a virtue
tell us things we do not know
put more than one of them together
you got yourself a miracle

but you won’t let evidence sway
or let your world revolve around how heart is wowed
you don’t have to believe in a God for me
just believe in the year of the cow
Track Name: Mirage
if you don’t take me back I’ll have to believe
that all love is just a mirage
if you don’t look in my eyes and love there see
then all love is just a mirage

it’s a mirage that nothing bad is happening in the world
it’s a mirage that all that matters is you lost the girl
it’s a mirage that you must solve your own problems first
before solving a bigger one that’s worst

my best friend loved someone who tied a noose around his neck
they had to wake him up in the dead man’s bed
when he was told his lover went to where no one from returns
he heard song outside from a passing bird

go away little sparrow, spare me your barrage
I know all you really are is a mirage

if you don’t read what I write, I’ll have to believe
that all words are a mirage
if don’t read letters I leave, at your door I will believe
that all words are just a mirage

it’s a mirage that everything broken will be fixed
it’s a mirage that truth and lies never will be mixed
it’s a mirage that people will always be around
it’s a mirage those we love won’t let us down

when your mother got sick, I asked my best friend for advice
he had to watch his mother too slow from cancer die
the problem isn’t the sickness is what my friend said
problem is ability to know the end

go away little sparrow, spare me your barrage
I know all you really are is a mirage

if you don’t show feelings well then I guess that it means
that all hope is just a mirage
but if there’s some of left you know, please let them be shown
or all hope is just a mirage

it’s a mirage that everything is going to be better
it’s a mirage that we are all going to live forever
and you will admit we could be happy
and you’ll say again you love me

I’m sad to think of you and what you’re going through
and that my comfort you cannot use
but pain felt between partners can’t just be turned off
even if the pain you say is a mirage

go away little sparrow, spare me your barrage
go away little sparrow, spare me your barrage
go away little sparrow, spare me your barrage
I know all you really are is a mirage

I understand now how life can just seem just like darkness
covered by mirage after mirage
but maybe thought of death as a peaceful end
is really by itself a mirage
Track Name: Whatever's Left (Bonus Track, Zoe Muth cover)
(Z.Muth)

take me down to the back side of town
down by the railroad tracks
I don’t want to see what they are trying to show me
I want to see what’s slipped through the holes and the cracks
and you can take what is new
all I want it something true

you can block the sun you can stand still while we run
And make better time with every step we take
I thought I could live on what I had to give
but now you tell me I’ve made some mistake
am I the one who’s been misled
holding on to the hopes that the others left for dead

what will we do when our strength and our money’s been spent
will our love survive by some strange accident
I want to hear you say
when something is broken or something is bent
I want to hear you say
we can make do with whatever is left

we swore on the buttons of our coats
And the laces of our shoes
our backs to the wind a broken world ours to mend
we didn’t have much else to lose
just a song to sing
If we’ve still got that well ain’t that something?

what will we do when our strength and our money’s been spent
will our love survive by some strange accident
I want to hear you say
when something is broken or something is bent
I want to hear you say
we can make do with whatever is left

take the old make it new
make it over, make it do or do without
take what you find from what others left behind
the ashes and the bones and the echo of that shouted word
that I still don’t know
but somehow I still cannot let it go

what will we do when our strength and our money’s been spent
will our love survive by some strange accident
I want to hear you say
when something is broken or something is bent
I want to hear you say
we can make do with whatever is left