THE 

CALL

"Wilderness. The word itself is music." —Edward Abbey. I've found the reverse is just as true. Music, the word itself is wilderness. In my own rugged explorations of songwriting, and the great fortune of a few key mentors, I have wandered into untamed terrain. Here, and only here, I offer up sketches of song and poetry, wild and unfinished. 

STUDY OUT THE LAND

Study out the land, my love

write about all there is to find

Go wherever your heart goes

push out the horizons from your mind

You are wild and you are rare, my heart

beat until the end of time

 

Be everywhere you’re meant to be

bleed the colors of everything you see

Turn the stones beneath the stones

say the words and you shall be released

You are wild and you are rare, my heart

beat until it sets you free

 

Study out the wilderness

may the word itself be music to your ears

Dance out where the shadows dance

and the stars upon the water fall like tears

You are wild and you are rare, my heart

beat until love conquers all your fears

TRYING TO MAKE A FIRE

A candle flickers in the corner of the room /  A single flame trying to make a fire /  The light cuts the darkness ever so slightly  /  Thin as love and persistent as desire  /  A lonesome mood consumes the room /  And in a flash we're down to the wire /  A tangle of trees twists naked in the breeze  /  While the shadows on the walls just grow higher  /  Just then a pane refracts the light reflected off the moon  /  Everything I see's a thin blue line /  There is no sound, there's no one else around  / But I feel your presence in this bend of space and time  /  Take my hand, Babe   /  Take my hand and show me the way  /  Take my heart  /  Take my heart and take my breath away /  Take my eyes  /  Take my eyes and show me a better place  /  Take my hand, Babe  /  Take my hand and show me the way

Trying to Make a Fire - S. Batterson
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2012. Lyrics and music: S. Batterson 

This is an original demo recorded at the elusive House of Tone.

 

 

KINGFISHER'S KIL

Winding back and forth

brushing on the wing

Waves, they are the colors

of the pictures that I dream

A low whistle’s cry

whipping through the grass

Screaming through the trees

a risk worth the chance

 

Never see it coming

but it always will

Best to keep your wits about you

on the Kingfisher’s Kil

 

In a skin-stinging desert

pining for the pines

Glowing are the daggers 

that set fire to my mind

A quick, fleeting hum

streams across the sand

Flashing like a star

a scar upon the land

 

Just across the river

two suns are setting down

One's shadows cross the mesa 

One darkening this little border town 

Hanging in the balance

a beat, like a snare

Sand shining in moonlight 

like a promise, or a dare 

 

Never see it coming

but it always will

Best to keep your wits about you

on the Kingfisher’s Kil

IN ANOTHER WORLD

In some other time,

in another world,

your heart was the only beat I hummed to.

GIT IT

I got a rabbit on the fire, got some beans on to boil /  Got a rabbit on the fire, got some beans on to boil  /  Gotta git it while it's hot so the blood don't spoil  /  Got to git it while it's hot so the blood don't spoil  /  I got a turtle in the pot but his blood won't boil  /  Got a turtle in the pot but his blood won't boil  /  His shell is smokin' hot and he's a-soakin' up the oil  /  His shell is smokin' hot and he's a-soakin' up the oil  /  I got a donkey in the stall but he ain't no mule  /  Got a donkey in the stall but he ain't no mule  /  Try to hit him with a switch, he'll git the switch on you  / Try to hit him with a switch, he'll git the switch on you  /  I got a spark in the piston but the carburetor's cold   /  Got a spark in the piston but the carburetor's cold  /  Gotta fire it up to git on down the road  /  I got to fire it up to git on down the road

Git It - S. Batterson, F. Reyes, D. Herrero
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2012. Lyrics, vocals and piano: S. Batterson 

Resonator guitar and stand-up bass: F. Reyes

Drums, growler and screen door: D. Herrero

This is an original demo recorded at the elusive House of Tone.

 

These are a couple of the mentors I mentioned. Felix Reyes and Dave Herrero. These guys have really shown me how to shape raw material into song form while always letting me feel it out as I go. I'm fortunate for that. This was us just messing around in the studio. Once in a while, with some good BBQ and some good whiskey, you git some good shit. (You can decide if this was one of those times.)

 

MANISTEE

for Jim Harrison

Still 

dark.

Blood, and the smell of fish

hanging.

We are anxious and insatiable 

animals. 

THIS LAND

The land up north is flat and white /  Lo, it shimmers 'neath the blue  /  It reminds me of your tender skin  /  Haunting as the surface of the moon  /  The land down south is blazing gold  /  Lo, it burns to gaze upon  /  It reminds me of your fiery lips  /  Bright as the brilliance of the sun  /  The land out west is iridescent  /  Lo, it breaks into the sea  /  It reminds me of your emerald eyes  / Tempting as the realness of a dream  /  The land out east is rolling green  /  Lo, it's home to Liberty  /  It reminds me of your fearless heart  /  Fragile as the truth of living free

This Land - S. Batterson
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2017, Lyrics and music by S. Batterson. 

This is a rough, original demo recorded in my makeshift home studio in Chicago, IL. It was written over the last few years on trips to Colorado, Iowa, New York and Wisconsin.

THE LAND OF VERY BAD THINGS

for Craig Johnson

I feel the shudder under my feet, 

shifting low and violently.

Leaving scars no one else can see, 

an endless river in the depth beneath.  

I beat for you in the heat of forever.

I long for you in my dreams. 

 

You're off on the continent of honey and sheaves.

I'm lost in the land of very bad things.

 

I’ve witnessed a sickness killing this town, 

growing slow and painfully.

Like a hunger it seems nothing can feed, 

an affliction like my addiction to thee.

I call for you in the night.

I watch for you in these streets.

 

You're off on the continent of honey and sheaves.

I'm lost in the land of very bad things.

 

I walked the jagged road out of the city, 

winding, worn and weathering.

Beyond the edge of all the eye can see, 

the sparkling twilight of a fading galaxy.

I come to you longing for truth.

I ask of you, set me free.

 

You're off on the continent of honey and sheaves.

I'm lost in the land of very bad things.

BREAK MY HEART ONE MORE TIME

2013, Lyrics and music by S. Batterson. 

This is an original demo recorded in a room at the Frontier Motel in Marquette, IA. 

 

I will sink my teeth into your flesh if you'll sink yours into mine  /  I will dig my claws into your side if you'll dig yours into mine  /  I will ache for your love  /  I will ache for your love  /  I will ache for your love if you'll break my heart one more time  /  I will curse your name beneath my breath just to hear you whisper mine  /  I will lie to your face with my dying breath if you promise to lie to mine  /  I will ache for your love  /  I will ache for your love  /  I will ache for your love if you'll break my heart one more time  /  I will nail your hand upon the cross if you'll drive the nail through mine  /  I will stand in your shadow when all is lost, in hopes you won't leave me behind  /  I will ache for your love  /  I will ache for your love  /  I will ache for your love if you'll break my heart one more time 

Break My Heart One More Time - S. Batterson
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2013, Lyrics and music by S. Batterson. 

This is an original demo recorded in a room at the Frontier Motel in Marquette, IA. 

This is a Buckeye Tree Production
© 2018  S. Batterson. All rights reserved.