Little Grey Sheep

by Danny Schmidt

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released November 5, 2007

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Danny Schmidt Austin, Texas

Named to the Chicago Tribune's "50 Most Significant Songwriters in the Last 50 Years," Austin, TX-based singer/songwriter Danny Schmidt is considered a preeminent writer, an artist whose earthy poetry manages to somehow conjure magic from the mundane, with lyrical depth drawing comparisons to Leonard Cohen and Townes Van Zandt. ... more

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Track Name: Leaves Are Burning
Hold my hand, the leaves are burning
The leaves are burning, now hold my hand
Face the breeze of pages turning
The page is turning, now hold my hand

Close my eyes to watch the ocean
I watch the ocean and I close my eyes
Rise and fall of blind emotion
I fight the notion and I close my eyes

Clench my teeth to taste tomorrow
I taste tomorrow and I clench my teeth
Take today what once was borrowed
Until tomorrow, I’ll just clench my teeth

Stuff my ears, the bells are ringing
The bells keep ringing, now stuff my ears
I look around but no one hears them
No one hears them but the damn bells still ring

Spill my lungs of dirt and fury
Cause dirt and fury have filled my lungs
Kick my feet and spit my story
Of rage and glory, come clear my lungs

Tie me down to trees and mountains
Tie me tight and tie me strong
Bring me food then bring me down
When the fire’s all cleared and the smoke’s all gone
Track Name: Drawing Board
I’ve lived my life in two pursuits
To capture time and free the truth
I never asked for all your love
I only asked for you

But sometimes sunshine hits my glass
And answers ‘fore I have to ask
How the hell can rainbows
Show so many shortest paths?

Chorus:
But now I find it’s time
To take the lines and draw again
A blinding light, a climb to grace
To fall in love, to fall into the best of friends

Looks like I’m in love again
I see my heart outside my skin
And all the teardrops leaking out
As the dreams come sneaking in

It’s lovely, though, so I forget
That just to love is not to get
And hours of sweet nothings
Still add up to nothing yet

Chorus

A different time, a different place
Unembroidered, disembraced
A kiss upon the cheek
Leaves me defeated, not defaced

Roads diverge, and rise and fall
You hope, at least, the road still calls
Yours by way of Pleasantville
And mine, by Shambhala

Chorus
Track Name: Go Ugly Early
When the Porters sound the trumpet
For a gathering of friends
You can leave the hourglass at home
Cause you’ll have no need for sand

Half a pound of shrimp apiece
And half a quart of wine
I guess we came unwound a bit
Where the Shenandoah winds

Trading tunes for sips of whiskey
Sharing songs for gulps of air
And if I could even see to play
Then I’m sure I played my share

Chorus:
And while the river hums
Sweet southern harmonies
A father and a son

There were girls of all description
There were scenes of all disguise
As they filed by with plates of food
It was a feast for hungry eyes

Then a father, full of wisdom
Said I learned when I was young
That a pretty face ain’t worth the chase
Go ugly early, son

Chorus

And then loneliness conspires
Like old women over cards
To throw matchsticks at dry wood to see
If one might shoot back sparks

And there shines that certain moonlight
Seems to whisper in your ear
That the fire keeps you just so warm
As the closest girl is near

Chorus

But when you gaze at her beside you
You best rid yourself of pride
Til the colors of your feathers
They match the color of your hide

Cause in the question of the conquest
You might find it’s just as true
That the girl that you chose early
She went ugly early, too

Chorus

Now it strikes me more than memories
When I think back on that night
That a father could be quite so wrong
And still so deeply right

But you share the fruit you’ve gathered
Like you share the night in songs
Well ain’t it like a father’s words
To hold you like a son. Just like a son.

Chorus
Track Name: Cliff Song
A part of her lives in a room in her head
And part of her lives wild in the woods
I wanted to make love to both parts at once
But a part of me knew that I never could

Chorus:
But Cosima says we're too close to the edge
I can't help but be scared when she's scared
But she also agrees it's a beautiful scene
Life's valley through the mist and the fears
And life, oh life -- it sure looks alive from here.

I showed her her name engraved on my heart
She said there must be some mistake
I tried to invite myself into her room
But there were things that she was scared I would break

Chorus

We sang our song softly together
She swayed to the guitar I'd strum
But she was scared that her life might go dancing away
If three hearts all started to drum

Chorus

Well fear ain't nothing -- it's falling that's real
And to let the fear rule you's a shame
Cause dreams and memories can't warm me at night
And hugging pillows just ain't the same

Chorus
Track Name: Around The Waist
I’m gonna sit and wiggle
I’m gonna sing again
I’m gonna speak my heart and hope you can hear it
And I hope that you understand, understand

Sit and sniff the daisies
And pop the poppies, too
Breathe in and hold it, hmmm, don’t you know that
It’s kind what the kind buds do, the kind buds do

Hold me down. Hold me down.
Hold me down . . . around the waist

I’ve got a new friend
My friend’s a girl
She’s got hands like rain and legs like a river
She could carve up the whole damn world, the whole damn world

She made me breakfast
And I made her cry
She said: “What about the moon? What about the magic?”
Yeah, but what about the goddamn tides, the goddamn tides?

She don’t know -- the way I come and go
She swears she loves me, but I swear that she don’t know

Sunshine and sangria
So easy going down
Let’s lay with today and just hope for tomorrow
And love being here right now, here right now

So hold me down
Hold me down
Hold me down . . . around the waist
Track Name: Adios To Tejasito
I spent the night with Houston once
But I bet that she forgot
Cause Houston seems to think
That you’re important or you’re not
So I don’t give a damn for Houston
Or her Jr. High School prom dance state of mind
Wrap me up in Austin
You can kiss her mouth without kissing her behind

I dropped a quarter once in Dallas
It went rolling down the bluff
They arrested me for littering
They said I didn’t drop enough
They’ve got the cleanest cells in Texas
Even their jailbirds’ve got no soul
Wrap me up in Austin
Where at least when I’m locked up I feel at home

There’s nothing all that bad
That I could say about San Antone
Except for all its bark
There ain’t much dog meat on that bone
I mean it’s nice enough to visit
It’s nice enough to get back in your car
Wrap me up in Austin
I’ll remember Davy Crockett from afar

There’s snakes out in the desert
There’s fireants in dirt
There’s oilmen in Lubbock
And there’s bankers in Fort Worth
Now I’m scared to leave South Congress
They might kill me, or worse,
They might think that I’m with them
Wrap me up in Austin
Where a bum can wear his panties like a man

They say that it’s god’s country
Then they fill their cups with spit
Well maybe god felt sorry
For the Baptists and the hicks
I don’t give a damn for Texas
And I expect that she don’t give a damn for me
So wrap me up in Austin
And adios to Tejasito, we’d secede
Track Name: Tales Of Sweet Odysseus
It’s your birthday so I set about to makin something fine
A gift so bright that with it you might glow from time to time
But, alas, I’m less the artist than the dreamer, sad but true
So I gazed into the clouds and, look, I found a song for you!

It’s a tale of sweet Odysseus who thought it time to rest
From those adventures past and those that soon might come up next
But a siren called and beckoned, “There’s no adventure such as me”
Odysseus, her ears did burn -- the siren sang off key

The siren on his knees he sang, “I’ve not seen the likes of you
Born of steel and born of silk, and the contradictions of the two”
But Odysseus was silent, just this grin upon her face
Cause she either knew this song by heart, or she knew not what to say

The siren sang, “Odysseus, I’ll not keep you from your life
To go and live the stories of the men and of the mice
And I would not bind your feet for it is they that count the time
For your eyes to find the poetry and your hands to paint the lines”

The siren he seemed harmless so she told him he could stay
Beside her as she wandered through the landscape of the day
They found Homer with his muse and they found Isis on the skids
And they perched themselves like gargoyles, then they pounced upon the kids

And they walked along the tracks until they fell upon a cave
Where they talked of revolution and the first few plans were made
Through the tonic and the poison and the dwindling candle lights
They knew they’d fight together, though, they knew not who they’d fight

Well, adventure she’s a strange bird -- she’s brazen and she’s shy
She’ll swoop down unsuspecting, but she’ll fly off if you try
To catch her for her feathers, she’ll just show herself in scales
But close your eyes, she’ll brush your cheek with wings of fairy tales

So go and close your eyes now girl, and blow your candles strong
And keep your wishes true cause it’s to them that you belong
And take this song for what it’s worth -- what it’s worth is this, I’ll say
It’s just a smile upon your lips and a Guinness pint that’s raised
Here Here! . . . To many more m’dear.
Here Here! . . . To many more m’dear.
Track Name: Emigrant, MT
Immigrants to Emigrant, dusty as the road
Thankful as Wyoming’s plains to find the Yellowstone
Sit and watch her carve a slice of Paradise below
Making up the story as she goes

Picture window picture frame, proscenium display
Big sky, no wonder why the Crazy Mountains stay
The osprey and the prairie dogs, they do their dance all day
Spirited, and spirited away

I lay my line at suppertime, I throw my fly again
The mountain lets the river sip the snowmelt from its hands
Unlicensed and undisciplined and humbled in the end
I left the fish for bears and better men

Cherry pancakes, pecan pie, a table set for four
And company like paint pot steam, colorful and warm
Fireworks they light the Fourth, level with our eyes
Wildfire country kind of skies

Fresh to full the moon’s refilled to lead the night’s parade
Far more stars than I have words or wishes I could make
There’s church and then there’s Chico Springs or the river down to Pray
But me, I’m just a Teton man I’d say

Emigrants from Emigrant, home and back to home
With memories and all our needs packed up as we drove
Thank you very, thank you much, and thank you awful so
For Montana and a taste of Yellowstone
Track Name: California's On Fire
California’s on fire again
California’s on fire again
And the orange groves at night
Burn expensive and bright
Cause California’s on fire again

Embers and sparks filled the air
Embers and sparks filled the air
As my sister’s left hand
Touched the gold of the band
I swear that there were sparks in the air

Then a rain came to cool down the hills
Yes, a rain came to cool down the hills
And a blanket of smoke
Rolled itself down the coast
When a rain came to cool down the hills

And the water fell crystal and clean
Yes, the water it fell crystal and clean
Like the tears in my eyes
For my brother and bride
Yeah, the water it fell crystal and clean

But the soil drank reckless and hard
Yes, the soil drank reckless and hard
And it belched out a toast
And then slumped down the slopes
Cause the soil drank reckless and hard

Now it feels like I’m running through mud
Yes, it feels like I’m running through mud
Cause the faster I go
Seems the deeper the hole
Yes, it feels like I’m running through mud

It was all blue skies and birds the next day
It’s all sunshine and birds the next day
And there was nothing to do
But to bake and to bloom
It was all blue skies and birds the next day

California, she’s always a mess
California, she’s always a mess
And the here and the now is all she can vow
Cause tomorrow’s a mystery furled on her brow
And I swear that in time
She’ll repeat the design
Cause California’s a beautiful mess

But right now she’s on fire again
Right now she’s on fire again
And the orange groves at night
They burn festive and bright
Cause California’s on fire
Track Name: Song For Judy & Bridget
We’ve got two hearts that beat together
Got two rings, they’re intertwined
We’re all set then -- can’t beat the weather
A wedding march to lead the brides

Chorus:
I’ve got dirt and I’ve got water
The Acorn Inn -- it’s planting time
I’ve got my friends and I’ve got my family
And I’ve got my sunshine right by my side

They’ve come back home to sweet Virginia
To gracious ground and sacred soil
Wheres there’s no such thing as to live in sin, y’all
When it’s all in love and it’s all for joy

Chorus

Save the tears to fill the punch bowl
With water pure as hearts are clear
Cause through the years they’ll spill back tenfold
On friendships old as the friends are dear

Chorus

If love’s as rare as the invitation
To come and join in love’s parade
Well then I declare, it’s a fine conception
Arm in arm -- it’s a prominade

Chorus
Track Name: Company Of Friends
When I die, let them judge me by my company of friends
Let them know me as the footprints that I left upon the sand
Let them laugh for all the laughter
Let them cry for laughter’s end
But when I die, let them judge me by my company of friends

When I die, let them toast to all the things that I believe
Let them raise a glass to consciousness
And not spill a drop for grief
Let the bubbles rise at midnight
Let their tongues get light as thieves
And when I die, let them toast to all the things that I believe

I believe in restless hunger
I believe in red balloons
I believe in private thunder
In the end I do believe

I believe in inspiration
I believe in lightning bugs
I believe in slow creation
In the end I do believe

I believe in ink on paper
I believe in lips on ears
I believe what's shared is savored
In the end I do believe

I believe in work on Sundays
I believe in raising barns
I believe in wasting Mondays
In the end I do believe

I believe in intuition
I believe in being wrong
I believe in contradiction
In the end I do believe

I believe in living smitten
I believe all hearts will mend
I believe our book is written
By our company of friends
Track Name: Trouble Comes Calling
When I met Trouble she danced round the table
I met Trouble she danced round the table
She looked young and I looked able
And now Trouble keeps calling on me

She smells like smoke and tastes like desire
She smells like smoke and tastes like desire
And all I’ve got that’s all that she requires
Oh and Trouble keeps calling on me

But tell her I’m broke, ain’t got no money
Tell her I’m broke, ain’t got no money
And that a poor man’s jokes ain’t half so funny
Oh and Trouble keeps calling on me

Chorus:
Here she comes -- there she goes
Trouble finds what Trouble knows
First my body, now my soul’s. . . in Trouble

I know she’s no good and I know I know better
I know she’s no good and I know I know better
But she’s carved like flint and she’s cut like a feather
And trouble keeps calling on me

I’m damned if I do but I will if she lets me
Damned if I do but I will if she lets me
Cause it sure begs the question when the question comes beggin’
Oh and trouble keeps calling on me

Chorus

Trouble can dance and trouble can tremble
She’ll show herself seamless or watch herself crumble
And she’ll build you up big just to watch your ass tumble
Oh and trouble keeps calling on me

Trouble’s a maybe and trouble’s a sometimes
Trouble’s a desperate edge on the fun times
And the most beautiful bomb’s they’ve still got to blow sometimes
And trouble keeps calling on me

Chorus

As the years get long and my eyes get bigger
And the skinside and inside both pull the trigger
Well her’s ain’t a beauty I struggle to figure
Oh and trouble keeps calling on me

Now I call her Trouble and she calls me Weakness
I call her Trouble and she calls me Weakness
A sweet symbiosis of cause and convenience
Oh and Trouble keeps calling on me
Oh now Trouble she keeps calling on me
Oh now Trouble please keep calling on me

Chorus