The Zen of Snug

by Bow Thayer

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1.
Earthling 03:38
I believe it's just about time Coming up on the end of the line Just past another roadblock sign Leaning on its side Burning in the sunshine I take a turn for whatever it's worth Where the pavement turns to dirt Where the energy starts to perk And the words give birth to a new kind of earthling I believe it's time I believe it's time We redefine what's normalized I can take a scorpion sting I can hear the butterfly wings And the sound of the blackbirds singing Coming through a bullhorn Load and clear To my neighbors on the east side To my neighbors on the west side All the neighbors on the north and south side I think it's time we all look inside I think it’s about time I think it’s time We redesign what's normalized To all the souls who are graduating A whole new world is out there waiting Cause the old one is rapidly fading You’ve got the tools Go out and create it I cannot stress the importance To defeat and tear down the forces Of the hate and the threat that t poses If you choose love than you already know this There's a whole lot of brothers and sisters Unable to hear all our messages Who got a raw deal and feeling breathless it's just fear, and fear’s defenseless It is time Just about time We redesign what's normalized There's a call to the young and the old There's a call to the meek and the bold A brand new story about to be told about a dying world and how we fixed it I believe it's time I believe it's time I believe it's time We redesign what's normalized We redesign what's normalized
2.
3.
Where did the mind's eye come to be It must have been a big blink I want to know what you think Searching for some happiness In a lonely time in a sea of darkness I’ll take the comfort as it comes Forget about the doldrums If only for a moment Whatcha gonna do when your screws get loose Whatcha gonna do with a loose screw Whatcha gonna do when your screw gets loose Hey you in the tool shed Whatcha building Drink the water from the rose Never to be thirsty Never to be rusty Things like flowers smartly wired Right into the fabric With little threads of magic Feel the ground breathing on my bare feet Glad I swept up all the nails From that rotten handrail Holler in the key of seize and squeeze Follow with a lower frequency In the afternoon I'll catch ya on the downstream The heat in me noggin’ gonna need some coolin’ I don't mind the rain at all It has a natural certainty like every small eternity I don't mind the black flies buzzin’ It keeps me on my toes it keeps me up and running And I never been a slave to a long deep freeze but this winter just might break me This winter just might break me This winter just might break me Won't you skate away with me I'll catch you on the downstream Just a small eternity Just a small eternity…
4.
Race to Lose 04:02
There's a whole lot of screaming Coming in to my ears You couldn't print enough money To make it disappear There's a hole in the bottom of the tub It makes it hard to keep it all filled up Oh grey water keep me clean Simple as the days spent in between the dreams and the waking scenes Seamless and lucid Are you in this race to lose Do you wanna race to lose What's your hurry better slow down Are you in this race to lose Got to find a way to cool it down Got to find a way to a common ground That red hot knife got us split in two There ain't no stitches, no there ain't no glue Some one tell me what went wrong Somewhere in the twilight Was it somewhere in the dawn Somewhere it's midnight Somewhere else it's noon Somehow it's all synchronized to pace the days in a steady grace Seamless and fluid Are you in this race to lose Are you in this race to lose What's your hurry better slow down Are you in this race to lose
5.
For those who are willing To roll down the hill And swing in the valleys Of the underworld And not cling to the things That have fallen ill There has always been grief and there always will be So you want to fly easy Through the open skies You want to believe in the side that is right... so do I There will be a nightmare in heaven A springtime in hell I can hear the water laughing in the wishing well All the little people and their crazy extremes Will slide from left to right and meet up in between So you want to fly easy You better learn how to fall You want to believe in this thing called God Where we all belong... don't we all Any day gonna come around again Any day gonna come around Any day is gonna come around Any day gonna come around…
6.
Elinoire 04:57
The springs broke in two and the chassis hung low Stuck in the mud on what used to be a road Spitting and a cursing just to keep from crying What is this business that’s got me dying Whatcha gonna do with that diamond ring Will it lift you up, will it let you sing To tell you the truth it don't mean a thing It's just another rock in a pile of dreams It could never be like it was before Elinoire Nothing will contain this bucket of joy The sides gonna split out and fill up the void It’s dark as the night on that third of July Between the flash of fireworks up in the sky If I had my way I'd spend my last dime on a basket for flowers and dandelion wine I’d look forward to the memory, I’d keep it close by As something to lean on and not hide behind I’d walk on gilded splinters til my feet were sore For Eliniore If I had the means to go back in time I’d make sure the springs were tuned and aligned Then I’d build up a house framed in northern white pine Adorned in red maple with laser straight lines Then I’d swallow the key and kick down the door For Elinoire
7.
I spent the twilight Looking through hindsight Eyes in the mirror A window to spirit I spent the morning Rolling and groaning Growing The mind's eye kept going and going Lazy by midday Napping while stargazing Shadowed in blue cheer Drifting as I hear a calling Where you come from You are not unknown Where you come from You are not unknown You are not unknown You are not unknown...
8.
Born to swim, born to swallow Learn to sink, learn to follow Can you hear the news, can you hear the guns Through talking heads and different tongues Bigger problems, bigger fences All perceived through different lenses Hey there look your shoe’s untied Don't you worry, don’t you mind Bend your knee, take a stand Pray your mama take you by the hand Here comes POTUS, here comes Judas Been shooting craps with old Confucius We’re bellied up and we doubled down And the Russian roulette wheel goes round Welcome to the panic room Brought to you through network news You decide if it is true It’s up for grabs, it’s up to you Chisel through the status quo Chips are flying off that stone Tear it down, tear it down We got no use for it no more We don't need it anyhow Got no use for it no more But I don’t know what’s real no more I don’t know what’s real no more We gotta tear it down, tear it down We got no use for it no more We don't need it anyhow I don’t know what’s real no more I don’t know what’s real no more Gonna tear it down, tear it down We don't need it anyhow I don't know what's real no more...
9.
I picked up my peavy I turned that log around Big old timber rattler jumped right off the ground Off the ground If it wasn't for my steel toe boots Ya know he would have stung me Hey there Mr. Timber Rattler Pardon if you please If you please Reminded me of a time When I was young Got thrown into a jailhouse I done nothing wrong Nothing wrong Well there I was With a man big as hell Snoring in the only cot In that sorry cell Long about midnight They threw in another rogue With whiskey yellow eyes like two piss holes in the snow In the snow Ya know I saw it coming Tried to make myself small He woke that sleeping rounder with fists like cannon balls Cannon balls There was blood on the ceiling There was blood on the walls It would have been mine if I hadn't been hiding behind that steel commode Steel commode Well my Mama always told me Let sleeping dogs lie When it comes to jailhouse drunkards the same rule applies It applies So there you go Mr. Timber Rattler That's all I have to say So I’ll tip this log back over and I'll be on my way On my way On my way On my way…
10.
Sins of Man 04:23
There's a weight on the people There's a weight on the land There's a faith that cuts deeper Than any blade sharpened by hands You might ride the white winged pony A chariot forged in light Spin the wheel, ride the story Whatever guides you through the night There’s a weight on the people There's a weight on the land There’s a wave washing over Gonna wage the sins of man Gonna wage the sins of man
11.
I wake in the moment Right on time Hurray for the funny dreams Remaining chaos trailing behind Then I’m gone from here Gone back to the woods And if I stumble across another wonder world of slumber Could it be as good Would I be let down Would I be let down Won't be let down Won't be let down A taste of corona On a sunless dial I pray for a better means To failing payoffs impaled on my mind Then I’m gone from here Gone back to the source And if I stumble across another wonder world of slumber Would I be lost Would I be let down Would I be let down Won't be let down Won't be let down This time around is all that really matters now

about

Bow Thayer is still searching for his wider audience. When you live in the mountains of central Vermont, it can be hard to find. But being a songwriting musician in relative isolation has its perks - Bow has been able to dedicate his professional life to making music, and he has the time and a self-built studio, The Woodshed, to make a lot of it. Since the 2018 release of Better Version of the Truth, his last album to feature bass protege Alex Abraham, who passed away suddenly, Bow has moved forward by doing what he knows - writing songs on various hybrid stringed instruments. Over the course of the pandemic he has put out seven singles and six improvised “Soundpaintings” from his Choirs of Aether project, released a double album with his old timey, non-traditional string band The Benders, and co-written an album under the name Beau Bow de Lune, out March 5, 2021, with in-demand guitarist Val McCallum (Jackson Browne, Lucinda WIlliams, Gregg Allman).

Bow’s newest solo record, The Zen of Snug, was written during this same time, and explores pressing questions many of us have, such as how to find togetherness in this time of great division, and how to survive an encounter with a concealed snake. It also serves as the best representation of Bow’s entire twenty five years of making music in Vermont, blending elements of Appalachia, blues, cosmic americana and progressive rock to form a sound that is now uniquely his own. Backed by his longtime drummer Jeff Berlin and bassist Jeremy Dryden, and with signature contributions from Val on guitar/vocals, Dana Colley (Morphine) on sax, and Chris McGandy (Perfect Trainwreck) on pedal steel, Bow has made a poignant album with his longtime production partner, three-time Grammy Award winner Justin Guip (Levon Helm, Larry Campbell, Hot Tuna), that needs to be heard.

credits

released April 2, 2021

All songs written by Bow Thayer (Elbop Music (SESAC)) © 2021
Produced and arranged by Bow Thayer and Justin Guip
Mixed by Justin Guip at Milan Hill Studio, Red Hook NY
Mastered by Alex McCollough at True East Mastering, Nashville TN

Bow Thayer - vocals, banjos, guitars, mandolin, bojos, bass, synth, organ, Fender Rhodes, percussion (recorded at The Woodshed, Stockbridge VT)
Jeff Berlin - drums, percussion (recorded at Chateau Berlin, Barnard VT and The Woodshed, Stockbridge VT)
Jeremy Dryden - electric and acoustic bass (recorded at Peddles Productions, Somerville MA)
Val McCallum - electric guitars, vocals (recorded at Vamps Laboratories, Los Angeles CA)
Chris McGandy - pedal steel guitar (recorded at Spirit Goat West, Petaluma CA)
Dana Colley - saxophones and penny whistle (recorded at Third Floor Music, East Somerville MA)

Cover photo by Vincent Freeman
Layout by Margo Strauss
Managed by Battenkill Music (battenkillmusic@gmail.com)

For Doug

Special thanks to Bob and Peggy Magner, Stuart Blain, and Joe Defino whose generous donations made this album possible.

www.bowthayer.com

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Bow Thayer Vermont

Bow Thayer's music features his custom Bojotar and fuses experimental elements with Americana, rock, bluegrass, and folk, resulting in a singular, progressive sound that has earned descriptions ranging from “Green Mountain soul” to “modern backwoods music.” American Songwriter says this "onetime Levon Helm compatriot is the best artist to come from New England in recent years." ... more

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