Lyrics & Notes

CD

HEAVY ON MY MIND

THE BAND:

  • Matt Arthur: Vocals and rhythym guitar
  • Don Bratland: Electric guitar, harmonica, backing vocals
  • Doug Bratland: Bass guitar, backing vocals
  • Joel Beithon: Drums
  • Pete Christensen: Hammond organ

WITH GUESTS:
Angie Talle – Backing vocals
Jonathan Rundman – Piano, Harmonium
Dave Mehling – Piano, Rhodes
Randy Broughten – Pedal steel
Green Bouzard – Violin
Hilary James – Cello
Ted Vig – Slide guitar
Jordan Taylor – Harmonica
Tim Hollinger – Backing vocals
Michael Morris – Acoustic guitar, percussion

Produced by Michael Morris for Rice County Records.
Recorded by Tyler Cook at The Barn (Northfield, MN).
Mixed by Tyler Cook & Michael Morris at The Barn (Northfield, MN).
Mastered by Derek Almstead at Pixel Studio (Athens, GA).


Listen, download, or order a CD at the Rice County Records website.


1. Old Friend | 2. A Little Ray of Hope | 3. Don’t Forget You’re Mine | 4. The Way I See It | 5. One of These Days | 6. It Was Really Worth it All | 7. I See a Darkness | 8. Woke Up This Morning | 9. Put Down Your Rifles | 10. Lonesome Dime Waltz

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Old Friend

It took us a long time to consider this song “finished,” since it rambles through six verses and a couple instrumental breaks without ever arriving at a chorus, or even crossing a bridge on the way. But when we got into the studio and added the Hammond and the Rhodes, a good ol’ fashioned guitar solo, and all that sweet pedal steel, we realized it wasn’t missing anything at all! (Watch a video of “Old Friend.”)

Well, old friend, I hear you’re leavin’
I sure hate to see you go
I don’t blame you much for runnin’
There’s nothing here to hold you, this I know

When I first came down to this town
It felt so good just to hang around
But time has a way of changin’
Now I feel like I’m a stranger in my own town

Like you I hear that whistle blowin’
It’s calling me to roll on down the line
If just to see where that train’s goin’
Find somewhere to rest my worried mind

It’s funny how you think you’ve made it
Then suddenly you run into hard times
And something says it’s time for leavin’
You just gotta tell this old town goodbye

Well I wish you good luck, old buddy
I sure hope to see you again
I’ll remember all those good times
And the crazy trouble we got in

Now I’m thinkin’ about my life
I wonder if I’ll find a home that’s mine
Or maybe I’ll just keep right on ramblin’
And let the sun set slowly on my time

Matt Arthur: Vocals, acoustic guitar
Joel Beithon: Drums
Don Bratland: Electric guitar
Doug Bratland: Bass guitar
Randy Broughten: Pedal steel guitar
Pete Christensen: Hammond organ
Dave Mehling: Rhodes

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A Little Ray of Hope

“A Little Ray of Hope” is one of our favorite new songs, and we thought it would be the album’s opening track. But—like a lot of other assumptions we had going into the recording process—we were wrong. It’s a beauty, though, with strings and harmonies and a whole lot of sweetness and light.

As I travel down life’s lonesome highway
I see trouble everywhere I go
So many people need to be uplifted
They’re forever searching for a little ray of hope

I wonder how I’ve managed to keep on rolling
Could it be because of something someone said
That gave me the strength just to keep on going?
Yes, I was given just a little ray of hope

A little ray of hope that’s shining down on all our lives
To help us realize we’re all still together in these times
In this crazy world it’s so easy to think only of ourselves
We all need just a little ray of hope

When will we try to make some changes?
Can you reach out to a stranger as a friend?
We must put all war and clouds of fear behind us
Light up this world with a little ray of hope

A little ray of hope that’s shining down on all our lives
To help us realize we’re all still together in these times
I believe we can really make a difference
If we’ll give this world just a little ray of hope
Let’s all shine with a little ray of hope

Matt Arthur: Vocals, electric guitar
Joel Beithon: Drums
Don Bratland: Electric guitar
Doug Bratland: Bass guitar
Pete Christensen: Hammond organ
Hilary James: Cello
Green Bouzard: Violin
Angie Talle: Backing vocals

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Don’t Forget You’re Mine

Awash in heart-rending pedal steel and classic country piano, “Don’t Forget You’re Mine” is a timeless tearjerker that the titans of Nashville wished they were still capable of crafting. The lyrics are not only the source of the album title, they’re also a true story.

“Baby, Don’t forget you’re mine”
That’s what I heard him say that night
Lord, I knew I was in trouble
I thought my heart would surely die

I don’t know what I was thinking
Should’ve known I couldn’t win this time
When I heard those words he told her:
He said: “don’t forget you’re mine.”

She was such a pretty angel
Like I hadn’t seen in a long time
And I’m a lonesome guitar picker
Singin’ these sad songs I write

Will I ever find true love
Or did it up and pass me by
I hear those words that he told her
When he said: “don’t forget you’re mine.”

Maybe I was born a loser
Meant to walk a lonesome road through time
Could it be I’ll never realize
Something that is really mine?

Lord, I wish I could find happiness
For the blues is heavy on my mind
I hear those words that he told her
When he said: “don’t forget you’re mine.”

I still hear those words that he told her
When he said: “don’t forget you’re mine.”

Matt Arthur: Vocals
Joel Beithon: Drums
Don Bratland: Harmonica
Doug Bratland: Bass guitar
Randy Broughten: Pedal steel guitar
Pete Christensen: Hammond organ
Michael Morris: Acoustic guitar
Jonathan Rundman: Piano

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The Way I See It

This one is the oldest original song in our repertoire. It was the title track on Matt’s 2003 solo gospel album (though it’s the only non-gospel song in that collection), and we often refer to it as “Matt’s theme song.” We always wanted to record it with a full band, and now—with pedal steel, cello, violin, and Hammond—we’re finally ready to do it justice.

I am just an ordinary man
I’ve had my share of dreams and goals, ambitions and plans
And in my life I’ve walked many a hard road
I’ve had some people ask me: “How do you do it without your sight?”

Well, you don’t see with your eyes, friend, you see in your mind
And do you really care about your life?
You gotta stand up for your rights, and all that you believe in
You’ve gotta never be afraid to be a force to reckon with always

Yes I was born a blind stubborn man; I’ll always be a blind stubborn man
Right till the day they lay me in that ground
And I’m not backing down; I won’t be spun around
I stand for all that I believe is right
Yes, I’ll sing my songs, right or wrong
Until I’m gone

As I walk the streets of this old town
I see all the do-good people and the so-called “trouble crowd”
They’re all friends of mine. Yeah, I’ll talk to them all out loud
And in their time of problems I’ll take some time to listen out
Because I’m a free man; I believe in god’s plan
It’s being a friend, that’s what it’s all about

Folks, take a look at yourself. Ask: “are you living well?”
Or are you merely living in some kind of disguised hell?
You got one life to live; you better make the best of it
While you still can

Matt Arthur: Vocals, electric guitar
Joel Beithon: Drums
Don Bratland: Electric guitar, backing vocals
Doug Bratland: Bass guitar, backing vocals
Randy Broughten: Pedal steel guitar
Pete Christensen: Hammond organ
Hilary James: Cello
Green Bouzard: Violin

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One of These Days

“One of These Days,” is the most stripped-down song on the album, with just Matt’s voice and acoustic guitar, recorded live in the studio. We might revisit it as a full-band song someday, but we didn’t want to get in the way of the power of simplicity this time around. This one started out as a gospel tune, but then Doug got ahold of the lyrics, and took it elsewhere.

One of these days I’m gonna’ be leavin’
Yes, and I will be gone to stay
I don’t know just where I’ll end up
But I know it will feel like home on that day

One of these days we’re gonna’ see some changes
No haze of fear, no fog of war
I can already imagine the sunshine
And the peace I will feel forever more

One of these days, yeah one of these days.
Our voices will blend and in harmony we’ll sing
Yeah, one of these days we’ll all stand together
Everyone will be free to live in peace, one of these days

With no ignorant hate, no “me against you”
Our song will rise up, and this dream will ring true
Yes, the time’s drawing near; a change will come soon
One of these days, yeah one of these days….

Matt Arthur: Vocals, acoustic guitar

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It Was Really Worth it All

This is another song that started out as a gospel tune, and we’ve long had trouble finding the right groove for it. But now it’s a poster child for what a difference a keyboard player can make for a band. Before Pete joined us, you’d never guess we could pull off a Velvet Underground-y vibe to save our lives.

As I travel this highway of life
I think of all the friends I’ve known in my time
There are those still running; others who have said goodbye
But through it all, man, it’s been quite a life

It’s a real adventure, down these twisting, winding roads
With oh so many exits I don’t always know which way to go
But you know you’ve been with me every step of the way
You showed me kindness and mercy even when I up and walked away

Now I just want to thank you for what you’ve done for me always
For being patient with me while I lived out my crazy days

When I should come to the end of my time
And I must look back upon this life of mine
And if someone should ask me: “was it really worth it all?”
The pain and sorrow, and the hard times I saw

Let me tell you friend, yes it really was
Worth all the trouble, even the times when I was really off the wall
All the songs I’ve sung, and the ones that I’ve lost
Let me tell you, buddy, it was really worth it all

Matt Arthur: Vocals
Joel Beithon: Drums
Don Bratland: Electric guitar
Doug Bratland: Bass guitar
Pete Christensen: Hammond organ
Michael Morris: Shaker, Tambourine
Jordan Taylor: Harmonica

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I See a Darkness

By Will Oldham. © 1999 Royal Stable Music (ASCAP).
If there’s one song that really sums up the whole recording, it’s this one, and, ironically, Matt didn’t write it. “I See A Darkness” is a tune by Will Oldham from the 1999 Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy album of the same name. Johnny Cash covered it a year later, but it was always meant to be sung by Matt Arthur.

Well, you’re my friend (that’s what you told me)
And can you see (what’s inside me)
Many times we’ve been out drinkin’
Many times we’ve shared our thoughts
But did you ever, ever notice the kind of thoughts I got?

Well, you know I have a love, a love for everyone I know
And you know I have a drive to live I won’t let go
But can you see its opposition comes rising up sometimes
That its dreadful end position comes blacking in my mind

And then I see a darkness
And then I see a darkness
And then I see a darkness
Do you know how much “I love you”
Is a hope that somehow you
Can save me from this darkness

Well, I hope that someday, buddy, we’ll have peace in our lives
Together or apart, alone or with our wives
And we can stop our whoring, and pull the smiles inside
And light it up forever, and never go to sleep
My best unbeaten brother, this isn’t all I see

Oh, no, I see a darkness
Oh, no, I see a darkness
Oh, no, I see a darkness
Oh, no, I see a darkness
Do you know how much “I love you”
Is a hope that somehow you
Can save me from this darkness

Matt Arthur: Vocals, acoustic guitar
Joel Beithon: Drums
Don Bratland: Electric guitar
Doug Bratland: Bass guitar
Pete Christensen: Hammond organ
Hilary James: Cello
Green Bouzard: Violin
Jonathan Rundman: Harmonium, piano
Angie Talle: Backing vocals

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Woke Up This Morning

Traditional African American spiritual (ca. 1750–1875)
This is an old, old tune that we discovered through a fantastic 1936 recording by Blind Roosevelt Graves and Brother. Since we do it as an a cappella stomp, we usually save it for that nearly-inevitable point in our live shows when Matt breaks a guitar string, or when we really want to change gears and shake the crowd up a bit.

I woke up this morning with my mind stayed on Jesus
Hallelu, hallelu, hallelujah

I’m sayin’ my prayers with my mind stayed on Jesus
Hallelu, hallelu, hallelujah

I woke up singin’ with my mind stayed on Jesus
Hallelu, hallelu, hallelujah

I woke up this morning with my mind stayed on Jesus
Hallelu, hallelu, hallelujah

Matt Arthur: Vocals, claps, stomps
Angie Talle: Backing vocals
Don Bratland: Backing vocals, claps
Doug Bratland: Backing vocals, claps
Tim Hollinger: Backing vocals, claps
Pete Christensen: Backing vocals, claps
Michael Morris: Stomps

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Put Down Your Rifles

Matt wrote this rousing protest song back in 2008, though it sounds like it could be a hundred years older. We’ve recorded it before, but Dave Mehling’s barrelhouse piano playing gives this version exactly the feel the song really needed.

I call upon all soldiers:
Put down your rifles
Set down that rifle
Lay down your rifles
I call upon all soldiers:
Put down your rifles
And let’s put an end to these wars!

What a better place this old world would be
Without these conflicts
Don’t these wars just make you sick?
We just don’t need any more of it
What a better place this old world would be
Without these conflicts
So let’s put an end to these wars!

Bibles and rifles
Don’t go together, now
God don’t like killin’ anyhow
No one wins in a holy war!
Bibles and rifles
Don’t go together, now
So let’s put an end to these wars!

All this old world really needs
Is everlasting peace
Wouldn’t that be good for you and me?
Peace can be more than a dream!
All this old world really needs
Is everlasting peace
So let’s put an end to these wars!

I call upon all soldiers:
Put down your rifles
Set down that rifle
Lay down your rifles
I call upon all soldiers:
Put down your rifles
And let’s put an end to these wars!
Yeah let’s put an end to these wars!

Matt Arthur: Vocals, acoustic guitar
Joel Beithon: Drums
Don Bratland: Electric guitar
Doug Bratland: Bass guitar
Pete Christensen: Hammond organ
Dave Mehling: Piano
Michael Morris: Tambourine

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Lonesome Dime Waltz

The newest song on the album, this one didn’t actually come together until we were in the studio, when Don reworked the lyrics and came up with a bridge. Ted Vig’s slide guitar and Don’s opening guitar lick give it a taste of southern outlaw flavor that we might have to explore a bit more on the next recording.

It’s quite a road that we’re walking
These sure are some wild times
I just spent my last dollar
I’m down to one lonesome dime

Sometimes trouble comes up risin’
Sometimes I barely get by
But don’t expect me to give up
You can’t win if you never try

Is the grass really greener
When you reach the other side?
I’m gonna find for myself
If they’re really right

I don’t have all the answers
But don’t try to tell me what’s true
I may look like I’m losing
But just watch me and see what I do

When you say I can’t make it
I’m leavin’ your tired lines behind
Yeah you can all watch me fly
Right on by….

Matt Arthur: Vocals, acoustic guitar
Joel Beithon: Drums
Don Bratland: Electric guitar
Doug Bratland: Bass guitar
Pete Christensen: Hammond organ
Jonathan Rundman: Piano
Angie Talle: Backing Vocals
Ted Vig: Slide Guitar
Michael Morris: Tambourine