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about

After recording Maintenance for Mood Swings I figured I needed to do a record that was more concise, or at least with just one drummer. I recall telling Dave Rizzuti, “Man, I need someone who sounds like Levon Helm. You know, simple, with a lot of character”. Then Dave says, “Why don’t you just get the man himself?” Yeah right, real funny, Rizzuti. But it turns out Dave had recently done a session with him. Call it fate or divine intervention, Levon Helm became the drummer for “Spend It All”.

Mr. Helm drove down in a sketchy ice storm from Woodstock, NY to Boston (his usual driver, Bruce was involved in a little accident and couldn’t make the gig). As I peered out a window from Mad Oak Studios I noticed what I thought was a little old man pulling a kick drum out of the back seat of a Saab; sometimes giants are deceiving.

That afternoon with Levon Helm was the only thing that went smoothly during the making of this record. He played his ass off, and mostly just one take was it. I was like, "Hey Levon, you get that demo I sent ya?" "Nope." "Well, umm... here's how it starts, here's the chorus, end it any way you like" and bang! that was it. Here is a guy who's lucky to be alive (he survived cancer and a hell of a lot more), in his sixties, and nailing first takes on songs he didn't even know.

credits

released November 1, 2006

Featuring Levon Helm on drums
Produced by Bow Thayer
Session with Levon Helm produced with David Rizzuti
Mixed with Pete Weiss at Mad Oak Studios
Mastering done by Pete Weiss at Verdant Studios
Recording Engineers: David Rizutti, Jon Lammi, John Ship, Ian Kennedy, Stan from Florida

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about

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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Track Name: Got My Attention
The news, it came in like a wake up call
You were going away
You start a fire but you can’t save the spark
They float into thin air
I never meant it, even though I should'a said it
You really really really meant a lot
You got my attention by breaking my heart
I should have took you out on the town
But I was cheap and mislead
I wrote the book on how to bring you down
Then I made you read it
I never meant it even though I should'a said it
You really really really meant a lot
You got my attention by breaking my heart
It was a cold December, blanket of snow
Another twelve months down the road
That stinging ringing on that old telephone
Man it left me so cold
That’s when you said it
I swear to god I’ll never forget it
You had me in your site and took a shot
You got my attention by breaking my heart
Track Name: Thinner
Please don’t ask for it all
what we once had now is gone
There were too many hands in the jar
Now I don’t think that we’ll get too far
Not at all

We had friends up on top
we had a life in the stars
There was just a small world down below
That place were we came from

But babe we had more than we needed
And we could barely see it
As the lies were getting thicker
we kept getting thinner

Back in the world of make believe
things were not the way they seemed
We were always hanging out on a limb
And things went from bright to dark to dim

But babe we had more that we needed
And we could barely see it
As the lies were getting thicker
we kept getting thinner
Thinner
Thinner

Pleas send out for the doc
I do believe my heart just stopped
Throw me in that big white car
I don’t think that we’ll get too far
Not at all
Track Name: Wingless Angels
Between now and then seems like such a long long time
I’d duck beneath the radar and sneak across that line
I’d stop off in St Albans, then up to Montreal
I’d make pretend I didn’t know what was being bought and sold

Now I’d met a lot of strange folk in this dirty game
One was so evil I won't even say her name
She had me from the first time around
She held me so sweetly as she pinned me down

And it felt so real, it felt so right
All we ever did was eat and drink and fuck and fight
Then the deal it got thin she turned me in
I ‘d duck beneath the radar and was on the road again

Now I’m strong of muscle, strong of will
But I’m weak of the heart on top of that hill
Up there one could rule for miles around
But humble is the man who walks back down
The road is rough; it’s hard to see
Got to slow down the pace, have some faith in destiny
I hear these sirens calling me
Amongst the wingless in unbridled clarity

So I dip my head in holy water, tip my crown of thorns
And stumble down off that hill with the cross I was hung on
Now and then I drift back in time
And think about the love and lust that I left behind

And its goodbye gun goodbye rose
Hello to that virgin land where I belong
I hear these voices calling me
Amongst the wingless angels in perfect harmony
Track Name: The Way That It Swings
Well it wiped out the stairs
As it came through the wall
You know I was blindsided by that wrecking ball
Well I’ll be all right
I can live with that night
I’ll just buy a one-way ticket on that get-over-it flight

And that’s the way that it swings
With the weight of the world
I’ve been waiting for her
Waiting for her
That’s the way that it hits when I’m waiting for her
It’s been a long cold January

The dishes pile up
Got the wash in the sink
She’s leaving her new home and every thing behind
To were the lights are on bright
And the music is loud
I lost my little mama to that late night crowd

And that’s the way that it swings
With the weight of the world
That’s the way that it hits when I’m waiting for her
It’s been a long cold January

So show me it lil’ angel
Your good time smile
Show me you lil’ devil you ain't got no secrets to hide

That’s the way that it swings
With the weight of the world
That’s the way that it hits when I’m waiting for her
I’ve been waiting for her waiting for her
That’s the way that it hits when I’m waiting for her
It’s been a long cold January
Track Name: Snake Bite
I went down early in a dirty fight
I woke up with a bad snake bite
A brand new wife with a forked tongue knife
That back-stabbing brunette was just my type

We took a walk down to cheaters creek
Cheaters creek, where the water runs deep
The water runs deep down in cheaters creek
I pushed her in for her Maker to meet

I got a mean grip
I got a voice that’s loud
I got snakebite
That I can’t reach to suck the poison out

River run road I’m driving my truck
Driving my truck and it got stuck
It got stuck and it started to flood
Like a river of guilt running through my blood

Well I like my liquor hard like my sugar from the shack
I take all my money and go down to the track
The horse goes round my heart stands still
Stick my winnings in a bottle of will

I got a mean grip
I got a voice that’s loud
I got snakebite
That I can’t reach to suck the poison out

So I’m sitting here thinking 'bout heaven and hell
Where I want to be when they ring that bell
Heaven and hell is a mighty fine line
A little bit of both gonna suit me just fine
Track Name: Stoned Kid
He almost had a car
He almost had a car
He almost had a car
now its up on blocks
Now he’s always walking

He almost had a job
He almost had a job
He almost had a job
he got fired on the spot
Now he’s always begging

It ain’t hard to see
He’s living in a dream
There was nowhere he could lean
He won the lottery
Now he’s just a stoned kid

He almost had a girl
He almost had a girl
He almost had a girl
but she went to see the world
Now his heart is broken

He had a good idea
He had a good idea
He had a good idea
but it was kinda weird
Now he’s always joking

It ain’t hard to see
He’s living in a dream
There was nowhere he could lean
He won the lottery
Now he’s just a stoned kid
Track Name: 10,000 Beer Cans
10,000 beer cans they litter my room
And I ain’t done my laundry since early last June
and my good friend just left
for heaven too soon
I got that ol’ feeling I’ll be joining him too

But I’m still searching for that crazy whim
So pick myself up and dust myself off
Look at my hands and I look at my face
I’m wondering how did this all begin
And I wait for them walls to cave in

Time is standing still says the clock on the wall
Last time it worked I just can’t recall
Just when I feel like I’ve gotten use to it all
I’m in my favorite seat in that down towner bar

But I’m still searching for that crazy whim
So pick myself up and dust myself off
Look at my hands and I look at my face
I’m wondering, how did this all begin
And I wait for them walls to cave in

Well the police they're trying to run me out of town
I guess my toast always falls on the butter side down
So I’ll save my goodbyes for the next time around
By this time tomorrow I’m sure to be gone

But I’m still searching for that crazy whim
So pick myself up and dust myself off
Look at my hands and I look at my face
I’m wondering, how did this all begin
And I wait for them walls to cave in

I guess I’m a good friend to misfortune
I guess I’m a good friend to misfortune
I guess I’m a good friend to misfortune…
10,000 beer cans they litter my room
Track Name: Nor'easter Snow
You should’ve seen that Nor'easter snow
Could’ve put out the fire in hell below
We were just watchin’ that wind come down
As it took that old timber frame to the ground

Splinter by splinters left the nails to rust
Now momma don’t talk unless she’s spoken to first

Oh Oh it got so cold
The hickory snapped and the birches bowed
Oh Oh the whole place froze
From Maine to Lake Ontario

The Dorian Grey was mighty fine ship
She took to breachin’ when her engines quit
We could see her lights bouncin’ in the waves
Before they disappeared into a watery grave

I hear the voices of the mariner’s wives crying
They were too late to save and too soon for dying

Oh Oh it got so cold
The hickory snapped and the birches bowed
Oh Oh the whole place froze
From Maine to Lake Ontario
Track Name: Road To Oblivion
I don’t know much about religion
But it’s a good nurse to the soul
And it’s sooner forgotten once the bandage is removed
Follow footsteps of misfortune to a king with paper crown
A fortress without foundations
Is sure to crumble to the ground
And the last exit lies ahead to Babylon
As we follow along the road to oblivion

The road to oblivion
The road to oblivion
The road to oblivion

Hollow are the trees of knowledge
Where broken branches never grow
Tap-roots milk the bitter soil
And they fall down row by row
And nothing feels better
Than feeling nothing at all
Deep inside the walls of Soma
Forego the storm before the calm
And the last exit lies ahead to Babylon
As we follow along the road to oblivion

The road to oblivion
The road to oblivion
The road to oblivion

Smile on young restless pilgrims
A brave new world is on the rise
Shout a long with bloodied soldiers
And try to drown the battle cries
‘Cuz the last exit lies ahead to Babylon
As we follow along the road to oblivion

The road to oblivion
The road to oblivion
The road to oblivion
Track Name: Jewel
I wish I were in New Orleans for breakfast
Just one more day
Before the rain took it all away
Before the rain took it all away

I wish I was on a distant deserted island
In a lazy way
Underneath a palm in a cool blue shade
Lazy in the cool blue shade

I wish I was in a farmhouse up in Calgary
In a blinding snow
With a ham radio playing Coltrane
A ham radio playing Coltrane low

I wish I was way up in the galaxy
In a vacuum
In a brand new space suit with a view of the moon
A brand new space suit in a vacuum

I wish I was in New Orleans for supper
Just one more day
Before the rain took it all away
Before the rain took it all away