Live By Your Word released 2011

PERFORMERS
Eric Dahl – Lead Vocals and Acoustic Guitar
Ernie Durawa – Drums and All Percusion
Monte Mann – Lead Guitar and Backup Vocals
Larry Eisenberg – Electric and Acoustic Bass
John Hawk – Lead Guitar (Tacos)
John Keane – Steel Guitar (If You Say No) Slide Guitar
(Jarrell) Lead Guitar – (Sometimes the Trains Don’t Roll)
Floyd Domino – Piano (Book of Love)
Howard Kalish – Fiddle (If Time Was Made of Doors and The Dumbest Game)
Scott Walls – Pedal Steel (If Time Was Made of Doors and The Dumbest Game)
Sondra Johnson and Lamonica Lewis – Backup Vocals (Book of Love)
Artwork Design and Layout – Wes Sauer, Cider Press Media
Photos – Scott Miller (Cover and Hand on Stone)
Gavin Dahl (Coronado and Heifer) Bert’s Nikon
(Cactus House), Steve Garufi (Mississippi Bridge)
Bob Bissett (Live at the Saxon Pub)
Holmer Jones (Guitar) Anonymous (Tornado)
Wes Sauer (Tacqueria el Rincon, Rusty’s Auto, Socket Set)

PRODUCTION
Recorded at: Parrot Tracks Studio, Austin, with George Coyne
Sonora Recorders, Los Angeles, with Jeff Peters
John Keane Studios, Athens, with John Keane
Mixed and Mastered by John Keane
Sound Concept by John Hawk
Written and Produced by Eric Dahl All Rights Reserved

Album Backstory

Live by Your Word (Yew Lane Music 2011) ventures deeper into Texas scenes and personaliies with portraits of Austin characters and other natural wonders. The opening song is very plain in its country music style but more complex in its message about Austin’s redevelopment, which is described in parallel with a secret and failing love affair. The title song offers the perspective of a car mechanic who wryly observes that his real niche, what distinguishes him from others in his profession, is not a specialized automotive skill, but the fact that he is an honest mechanic. In “Sometimes the Trains Don’t Roll” another character explains his loyalty and unwillingness to join a group that is condemning a mutual friend. A character in another song, with a different kind of self-awareness, explains that although he is not a born gambler, he succeeds because he is good at finding “The Dumbest Game.”

There are also more private reflections in these songs — soliloquies of emotional depth spoken by unnamed actors in songs like “Find It” and “One Step Up.” Although this is a compilation dedicated to Texas subjects and musical forms, these two songs link to Dahl’s Alt Rock connections in the Pacific Northwest.

In terms of observing scenes in nature and bringing them to life with poetry, the best example in this collection is probably “If You Say No.” It describes a missed personal connection, with a backdrop of exquisite images from a longhorn ranch outside Bandera. The steel guitar of John Keane on this song is remarkably beautiful. Another example of visualizing and realizing the natural environment is “Jarrell,” which describes the overt physical consequences and extreme violence of a Tornado that tore apart a town in Tornado Alley, leaving a scoured and barren landscape.

The songs in the collection are quite varied in genre, with an eclectic blending of styles that has been a feature of the Austin scene for decades. Listening to this collection you will encounter folk, folk rock, country, outlaw country, Americana, Tejano, Blues and even a soul song (“Book of Love”). This diversity should evoke the sense of drifting from club to club in Austin, coming home at 3AM with very rich echoes rolling in the soul.


 

Lyrics

 

If Time Was Made Of Doors

© 2011 by Eric Dahl

If time was made of doors
Instead of walls and floors
There’s one door I’d walk through
To hold the timelessness,
the timelessness of you.
I’d be with you if time was made of doors.

I know it’s supposed to be through
Turning away was the only turn we knew
But the words I never could get right
Stumble through my head again
Lost back then tonight.
I’d be with you if time was made of doors.

Never told anyone, never told anyone
I just let it be true, me and you
When time was made of doors.

They’re tearing down the Armadillo beams
All that’s left is the heartache
of salvaged dreams.
I’m walking down the one street I still know,
Leaving the future behind,
where else can I go?
I’d be with you if time was made of doors.
I’d be with you if time was made of doors.


 

Tacos

© 2011 by Eric Dahl

She was making tacos at the Taco Time
I was on the corner making dime after dime
Saw her through the window, flashing that smile
Across a cheese enchilada to a realtor with style —

Ambition’s a bitch, but I’m gonna get rich.

Hey mister better give me a dime
Don’t you come back to this Taco Time
The lady’s my sister, she’s underage
You shiny suited bastards send me into a rage —

Ambition’s a bitch, but I’m gonna get rich.

I took the dollar and I went inside
Give me two tacos with love on each side
If I had a future instead of this song
Would you take off that apron and come along?

So you’re making tacos at the Taco Time
I work the corner making dime after dime
Saw you through the window, flashing that smile
Across a chile relleno to a lawyer with style —

Ambition’s a bitch, but I’m gonna get rich.

Saw her through the window, flashing that smile
Across a chicken tostada to a doctor with style
When she was making tacos at the Taco Time
I’m still on the corner making dime after dime —

Ambition’s a bitch, I’m gonna get rich.


 

Could You Love Me?

© 2011 by Eric Dahl

Cold as hell in Singapore,
but at least I made some dough.
It was cold as hell in Singapore,
but at least I made some dough.
I could tell you all about it,
but you really, really don’t wanna know.

I was dreaming bout you baby,
all the way down on the plane.
I been dreaming bout you baby,
all the way back on the plane.
Maybe we should wait a week,
just to see if I’m still sane.

Do you think you could love me?
Do you think you could love me?
Could you love me?

I’d love to take you dancing,
bought you a new Singapore silk blouse.
I would love to take you dancing,
bought you a new Singapore silk blouse.
Is the Texas cactus blooming?
Is there bourbon in the house?

I don’t mean to take it lightly,
I know that I was wrong.
I don’t mean to take it lightly,
I know that I was wrong.
And I don’t mean for just one night or one week,
I mean for my whole life long.

Could you love me?

We could talk about the future,
you could bitch about my friends.
We could talk about the past and the future,
you could bitch about my friends.
I could even call your cutthroat family
and try to make amends.

Do you think you could love me?
Do you think you could love me?
Could you love me?

Or you could just love me, you could just love me.
Could you love me?

Baby could it be
you’re still in love with me?


 

Jarrell

© 2011 by Eric Dahl

When the cloud came down
just a few miles from town
It seemed to hang there,
hold there,
like a huge black bull,
Then it twisted ahead
Left twenty-seven dead
Awash in the shock and the pull.

Sirens wailing across central Texas
Children come inside.
We’re gonna be safe,
But it’s gotta come down somewhere.
God help those unfortunate people to hide.

It’s usually best not to run,
best to hold your ground
But this time it was so strong
it tore everything down.
Cowhide stripped from the flesh
like bark from the trees
Houses torn from concrete slabs
People waiting on bended knees.

People asking why
any god in the sky
Would cut down the helpless,
let so many die?
Two boys riding on bikes
trying to outrun the wind
They’ll be riding through my mind
Whether we leave this place behind
or build it back again.

Out in Jarrell gathered at the churchyard
People singing hymns, saying goodbye
As the storm tears invisibly
through the hearts of central Texas
And the wind blows soft again
under a calm and distant sky.


 

Book Of Love

© 2011 by Eric Dahl

You better tell yourself
if you want to fall in love
Tell yourself, “I want the right kind of love.”
Don’t have to say why.
Just say, “I wanna fall in love,
don’t know how or when,
maybe a few years from now,
maybe tonight.

Faith, hope and falling for someone, chapter 23,
No map on the road to happiness—it’s a mystery.

How can I believe when I feel this way?
How can anything change what I face day by day?
That’s a fair question,
let’s look it up in the book of love.
Believin’ is a deep-down obligation.
Without it there’s no opening up, no revelation.
You gotta believe. I believe.
I believe you’re headed for a transformation.

Faith, hope and fallin for someone, chapter 33,
no map on the road to happiness, it’s a mystery

When things been going wrong,
got you down on your knees
There’s a one-word song, sing it: Mercy.
Remember how they sing it now,
Mercy, mercy, mercy, mercy, mercy.

Faith hope and fallin for someone, chapter 43,
no map on the road to happiness, it’s a mystery.

What are the odds that love’s gonna come?
Maybe you heard five million to one.
If you ask the sibylline oracle or the trinity,
Look em right back in the face and say,
It’s gonna happen to me, it’s gonna happen to me,
It’s gonna happen, yeah, yeah.

Faith, hope and falling for someone, chapter 53,
No map on the road to happiness—it’s a mystery.

Faith, hope and falling for someone, chapter 93,
No map on the road to happiness—it’s a mystery.


 

Sometimes The Trains Don't Roll

© 2011 by Eric Dahl

I’m not so sure
He’s wrong and everyone else is right.
You all sound so righteous and so pure
But I won’t choose sides tonight.

Sometimes the trains don’t roll
Sometimes the trains don’t roll
Sometimes things get out of control
And the trains don’t roll, the trains don’t roll.

Maybe he crossed some lines that bend
But he always stood strong by my side.
So now when his troubles just won’t end
Am I supposed to run and hide?

Sometimes the trains don’t roll
Sometimes the trains don’t roll
Sometimes things get out of control
And the trains don’t roll, the trains don’t roll.

I don’t think it’s anyone’s place
To take pride in another man’s loss
And I don’t like the cold smile crossing your face
As he falls down hard carrying his own cross.

Sometimes the wrong hand takes the nail
Sometimes the power lines fail
Sometimes when the wind blows too stale
The ships don’t sail.

Sometimes the trains don’t roll
Sometimes the trains don’t roll
Sometimes things get out of control
And the trains don’t roll, the trains don’t roll.


 

Find It

© 2011 by Eric Dahl

The sunrise shines through a closet door,
And your clothes light up like gods.
Will you be here tonight,
what are the odds?

I can’t fix it if nothing’s wrong
I can’t find it if nothing’s there
Been waiting but the wait is long
Gotta come up for air.

Once got this lost
Trying to find my way to a freeway.
Saw roads I knew
But I couldn’t let myself turn.
You can go the wrong way
If you’re headstrong
Across the whole city,
Saying the next light’s the one
The signs are all wrong
And these tears don’t burn.

I will mend you
With breakthrough medicine.
I’ll defend you at the dark edge of the sea.
I’ll pretend I know who I am
Disguised in my own clothes
So you’ll have someone strong as I should be.

Find it—what’s wrong?
Fix it—what’s there?
Been waiting but the wait is long
Gotta come up for air.
Find it—


 

The Dumbest Game

© 2011 by Eric Dahl

You look beat down taking it hard
Hoping it changes on the very next card
Deuce or double, it’s all the same.
I might not play the smartest hand
But I win sometimes because I understand
How to find that table with the dumbest game.

Was a time I said I’ll take the world
Line up the drinks, bring me the girl,
Give me the front page. I need the fame.
Kept coming back getting hit in the head
Till the father of one of my best friends said,
“Son, you better find the dumbest game.”

I lost time and I lost good money
Lost some friends but you know it’s funny
I won it back in the dumbest game.
I might not play the smartest hand
But I win sometimes because I understand
How to find that table with the dumbest game.


 

One Step Up

© 2011 by Eric Dahl

I

Disappointment wearing
Worn-out shoes,
You’re not talking
But it’s on the news.
Someone’s gotta pay,
Heads are gonna roll,
Even the sacrificial victim
can’t save a soul.

Why don’t you trust me tonight
To know what’s wrong and do what’s right?
You don’t have to fight it,
You can rise up some other day.

It’s one step up, two steps back
After love knocks you down
Like a heart attack.
What lifts us up
Is the selfishness and sorrow
Falling away.

II

This neon night is real, now is now,
Show you how to walk
If you wanna know how.
There’s a doorway round the corner
Where I fell on my face,
You know I never think about it
When I walk past that place.

Why don’t you trust me tonight
To know what’s wrong and do what’s right?
The scene running through your head
Is one you never play.

One step up, two steps back
After love knocks you down
Like a heart attack.
What lifts us up
Is the selfishness and sorrow
Falling away.

One step up, two steps back
After love knocks you down
Like a heart attack.
What lifts us up
Is the selfishness and sorrow
Falling away.

It’s one step up,
One step up,
Take one step up,
One step up.


 

If You Say No (The LH7 near Bandera)

© 2011 by Eric Dahl

I know that you were up at dawn, your horses they don’t wait
They whinny and they paw the ground, telling you you’re late
Orion’s hanging by your trailer, you’re nowhere to be seen
You don’t hear me cause you’re dead asleep
As I whisper through your window screen.

If you say no, and I walk along the pasture to my car
If you come outside for a cigarette, just the way you are
Sitting on that steel step
Would you just think about waving goodbye?
Sometimes things don’t work out, nobody’s asking why.

There’s a band in town at the Cabaret, they know how we feel
There’s a guitar player from Houston, there’s a ghost on pedal steel
There’s a San Antonio drummer,
There’s a Louisiana woman in jeans,
And an old coyote who sings like a dog lost in his cactus dreams.

If you say no, and I walk along the pasture to my car
If you come outside for a cigarette, just the way you are
Sitting on that steel step
Would you just think about waving goodbye?
Sometimes things don’t work out, nobody’s asking why.

Out on the Medina River there’s a place I love to go
A longhorn ranch with a sun-baked tack house
And a shady bench where I sing my show.
I swear to God there’s one old steer, horns clear out to the moon
He listens close till I screw up, and he leaves if I stop to tune.

If you say no, and I walk along the pasture to my car
There’ll be no one back there waving goodbye
That’s just the way you are.
Sitting on that steel step as the tail lights drift by
Sometimes things don’t work out, nobody’s asking why.


 

Live By Your Word

© 2011 by Eric Dahl

Got a friend, he’s a car mechanic
Says fixing broke-down cars is not his niche
There are so many mechanics
and he’s not trying to get rich.
He’s an honest man, that’s a lifelong position
His niche is being an honest mechanic
He says there’s no competition.

These are some broke-down days
In case you haven’t heard.
Gonna get confused and lost in the maze
Unless you live by your word.

Came here looking for a job,
stranger said she’d get me on track.
When she called with work, I was so grateful and surprised
She said, “Did you think
I wouldn’t call back?”
I said, “Maybe I’m not used to
people doing what they say.”
She said, “In these parts
you better do what you promise
Or you have to move away.”

These are some broke-down days —

The way you waited to attack
until I’d given all I’ve given
And the way you went blank
as you knifed me in the back
Are the true signs of the times we live in.

These are some broke-down days
In case you haven’t heard.
Gonna get confused and lost in the maze
Unless you live by your word.


 

What About the Friends I Left Behind

© 2011 by Eric Dahl

There was a guy shouting into a pay phone
As I scraped the red clay and the tar
At the carwash last night
Wiping the water off of my car.
He was saying, “Baby that’s not good enough —
What about the friends I left behind?”

It happens to me everywhere, good times come to mind,
Driving an unfamiliar highway, good times come to mind,
But that’s not good enough, what about the friends I left behind?

Let all acquaintance be forgot,
bring me champagne, the best vintage
As the century goes down in Vicksburg, Mississippi,
like water under the bridge
But that’s not good enough,
what about the friends I left behind?

I started north from Marble Falls to Waco,
crossed the cotton fields of Corsicana
And in the refinery lights and the casinos of Shreveport
Good times came to mind.
Crossed the river at Vicksburg about midnight.
What about the friends I left behind?

Pulled off twenty through Lawrence, Newton
and Chunky Mississippi,
Good times came to mind,
But I keep hearing this guy at the car wash
Shouting into a pay phone:
“Baby that’s not good enough —
What about the friends I left behind?”

Contact Eric Dahl for interviews.