Quasi​-​Hymns, Murder​-​Ballads, and Tales of How the Hero Died

by Stagbriar

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03:25
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04:45
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03:27
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10.

credits

released May 10, 2013

Stagbriar is:
Alex McCollum (vocals, guitars, banjo, mandolin, harmonica)
Emily McCollum (vocals, guitars, banjo)

Additional Performers:
Brandon Edwards (drums, percussion)
James Gibson (contrabass)
Bobby Hatfield (piano)
Kenny McWilliams (guitars, bass)
Patrick O'Neil (cello)

Recorded at Archer Avenue Studio; Columbia, SC (12/31/12 - 01/11/13)
Tracks 2 and 10 recorded at Alex's house.
Mixed by Kenny McWilliams at Archer Avenue Studio.
Mastered by Dave Harris at Studio B Mastering; Charlotte, NC

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Stagbriar Columbia, South Carolina

Sibling duo, Alex & Emily McCollum, backed by a band of spacetime manipulators from Columbia, SC.

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Track Name: Tom
Tom was a damaged man with a cracked heart, a beat-up truck, and a streak of bad luck. He got fired from work and came home early. Tom found the front door hatched, odd sound, the bedroom latched. Found his anger in the shape of a seven-inch blade and gave the neighbor a brand new tattoo.

And he said, “I know you wanted metal, but honey, you’ll have to settle for a shovel and a bucket of sand. Call a strong-willed lout or a cocained snout can smell the gold in the carbon wind. You know that heavy fees and a speed-infested breeze can spread you thin. Yeah, even the dead smell the carbon wind.”

Tom paid a third party a whole bunch and for once got lucky. Left like a leather-weighted bullet out a cannon called Kentucky. Said he had a plan or somethin’. Tom ran like the devil to Georgia, found a hole somewhere to bury his head, said writin’ a letter might make him feel better, but he wrote her a song instead.

He said, “When you were in the kitchen on the telephone, I was all alone. Honey, if I'da known that only you were gettin’ off while I was gettin’ stoned I’da showed ya cold-minded feet, heat-stricken bone. Too drunk to drive this thing alone. I need a hand.”

Tom ran like the devil to Georgia.
Track Name: The Hero Dies
All busted ties.
So I know the hero dies.
Have I got dust in my eyes, or am I too old to cry?

Find my head.
I am too wired to sleep and too tired to make my bed.
Sick of treadin’ the same line.

I held it in,
but I am fine if they tape me trying to escape my skin.

And I heard a song
tangled up like a giant, but I could not hear him fall.

Cold whistle blown,
but I heard laughter,
and I should have known when I heard drums;
old skin and bone, lay down beside me ‘til the cavalry comes.
Track Name: Deepest Leagues
Hey, Hey. Whatcha know?
None of us has much to show
in either of the hands the dealer dealt.
Say to me you know it best.
Corrected by the chips at rest.
A toast to the full house we’ve packed to death.

Sorry sir, your time is passing quickly.
In a hurry hushed and no one’s listening.

You smell the blood.
You are the shark lurkin’ ‘round these darker parts.
Leave us floating in the deepest leagues.
Sand-castles made of mortar fall.
Your teeth chip like a wrecking ball.
Anchored, sinking; oh God, I can’t breathe.

Bridges burn until you fall into a valley less of land.
Taken back that the match is in your hands?
I don’t think I’ve ever seen you a lesser man.

And I was once in love with a golden gorge; a silver stone.
I alone, the river run right through to be thrown in a stock.
Oh, you’ll show the flock how it feels to be head-over-heels for a rock.

And I’ll stay out of town to keep my end of the bargain.
And if a wave can break you down, could a sound make you crack?
Track Name: Forgot the Sun
I split the world wide open, put her heart inside her mouth.
I changed her north to south.
Stole her water, and poured it out.
And I tried to piece her back together
but she’d been undone.
I gave her night, but I forgot the sun.

So tell me, do you think that you’ll wake up?

Do you know if you’ll wake up?

And I tried to let her sleep, ya know?
I thought she needed rest.
And I cried to let her know I tried my best.

Until she sees the day,
she won’t be safe but she’ll sleep sound.
The things you most ignore could turn your world ‘round.
The storm she cannot hear will blow her house down.

I’m tilted, but I’m spinnin’.
Two tides blown by the same wind.
Sea of salt, heart of stone,
and I don’t know if you’ll wake up.

Do you know?
Track Name: The S.S. Here We Go
So, do it for your sons and daughters.
Throw your thieves to their watery grave.
Red light--you’re gone in a flash,
but you’ll be as bright as a brass band plays.

Be a swift and simple motion.
Fall asleep in a floor-less ocean.
It’s quicker to panic, ya know,
than to brace for a titanic blow;
the S.S. Here We Go.

And I'm on the rise like the poorer folk,
‘til I’m all but a crack where the engine broke.
You can find me up where the stars explode.
Or am I goin’ down with the sinkin’ ship,
with the two of my feet no worse than both my lips?
Just a fumblin’ fool up where the ice gets slick.
And a fog runnin’ thick.
I just cannot call it quits.

So take 'em both: the frothed and festered.
And treat 'em like your old-school records.
You know every crack in the spine.
You love every song,
but you ain’t got time to listen to them anymore.

So, do it for your father’s fathers.
Take your deeds to their watery graves.
Kept up with my faults, once and for all,
ya swept them up into a clear glass ball.
Let it fall from a peak thirty-thousand feet tall.

So, do it for your sons and daughters.
Throw your thieves to their watery grave.
Do it for your sons and daughters.

And when you finally at last come home and the fires in the walls are gone, just you pretend you never knew another one.
Track Name: Bored Hands
Bored hands in a hurry to stay.
Lord, I pray I’m not a self-addressed note
or a boat in a parking lot.

And I know that your fingers are tied up,
but what if I offered you sacred lands?
Do you think you could break your hands?

Height of hope like a mountain gone black.
Does he cast his love like a shadow
into the pedal’s very veins?
And if I gave all my life to the falling-out,
I’d tape up my mouth and tie my temples to the tracks.
So do you want control?
‘Cause I don’t need control.
Somebody save my soul.

So, tell your friends you had enough.
Tell those fools ya pulled away
while I pushed my luck.
Tied down and wired;
chewed my strings and threw my things into the truck.

Cold feet in a hurry to go.
Oh honey, I hope I’m not a self-addressed note
or a place for your bones to rot.

And I know that your fingers are tied up,
but what if I offered you sacred lands?
Do you think you could break your hands?
Track Name: Eyes Alive
Named all solutions with my hands.
Oh, what am I to do?
Tell me, what am I to do?

I love you when you’re quiet,
but I hate you when the silence leaves with you.

And I lost my family underneath
the wires for the phone.
Tell me what you want to know.
Please, tell me all I need to know.

I am your chrome covered in dust
and I’d go home if I knew where the hell that was.

And I can’t call the top of a spun coin.
I’ve been ripped off and robbed at gunpoint.
Keep your eyes alive,
they’ll put the pistol down at some point.

And I’m tickin’ like a time bomb.
I’m relightin’ my own fuse.
Tell me, what am I to do?
Lord tell me, what am I to do?

I’m a self-destructive fire,
dirt-cheap morbid tale for hire.
Buy a few.

Pale blue sky, but I heard thunder;
And I should’ve known when I heard drums.

Old skin and bone, hold me under ‘til the cavalry comes.

All busted ties, so I know the hero dies.
Track Name: Letters to Canaan, etc.
Come out to the front porch.
You bring your wine,
I’ll bring my torch.
Stray your step from every sound.
We’re gonna burn this mother down.

Gather up all your greed.
We’ve got a fire to feed.
A guaranteed good time for all around.
We’re gonna burn this mother down.

Left my blankets in the basement ‘neath the floor.
Left my rifle away and retired behind the bedroom door.
Wrote my letters to Canaan,
told you all about the war and how you’re losing.

Last in me now,
these words and a crown
that could blow this town a million miles up.
Best we just keep them tied up.

Come out to the front porch.
I’ll bring my wine, I’ll bring my torch.
I’m gonna burn this mother down.
Might shoulda left you in the house.

Left my savings set ablaze inside the door.
Let my life get away and retired behind my own rapport.
Wrote my letters to Canaan,
told you all about the war and how you’re losing.
Track Name: A Streak of Bad Luck
So we tossed words around like a flickering flame.
Yesterday wild, when my fortunes felt tame.
If it feels like a chore to remember my name,
I hope you’re still copin’.

Leave it to frozen hard facts just to keep a kid warm.
There were 30k slain on the day I was born,
four clean decades before that mean south-eastern storm.
Whoever could’ve known?

Took the embodiment of a catamaran blown.
I’m ever fastened onto the trappings of the suits.
I noted every notch in the capsized boat I saw.

And I was outlawed like a thief with a pocket-less cloak
with blood in my veins and my head full of smoke--
to be choked in a glove
and to call the thing love like the punch of a joke.

Rush the waters, oh my soul.
I’m getting old and fragile.
Stones and valleys break me.
Consecrate me all the while.

Rush the waters, oh my lord.
I’m getting bored with this pattern.
Stones and static break me.
Consecrate me all the while.

I’ve the hope of a newborn child
or a ghost in a burned-down house.
If it be the damage far forgotten,
I noted every notch in the capsized boat I saw.

You smile; disaster.

What fractured?
Your broken jaw, or the last straw?

Rush the waters, oh my soul.

It’s getting old.
Track Name: What Happened (to the dead)
Bones are sinkin’ deeper into the ground
keepin’ the remains of the buried.
No one says a word in this ghost town.
What happened (to the dead)?

Bordin’ up the windows.
“Make sure to lock the doors,”
is what the paper read.
To do when things get this bad in this bed.

And oh, I guess that’s how it’s gotta go down.

Children line the pavement impatient,
climb the walls escaping their homes.
As my hair gets darker, my mouth turns to stone.

I’m alone.

Thank God, I’m alone.

And oh, I guess that’s how it’s gotta go down.

In for the night with the lights out.
Dirt swells, pourin’ passed out cries.
Stones floatin’, the grave starts to quiver
in quicker than the blink of an eye.

The big oak in the back starts aflailin’,
sends the foxes creepin’ into the ground.
And the whole world’s darker where the city starts to drown.

And oh, I guess that’s how it’s gotta go down.