Texas Dust

by Nathan Evans Fox

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about

Many thanks to: the Kelley’s for opening your home to the unglamorous and noisy parts of this process; Mike for playing and being upright in all things; Lindsay for harmony on the road and on the mic; Greg for bringing cohesion to the mess; Olivia for giving wise words and thoughts when they are otherwise rare; Taylor, Bobby, and Noah for being along for the ride even when the driver is unsure of the destination; everyone who has shown up and shown love this first year—your time and support mean more than you know; the patients and families I served in Houston; Sarah for plumbing the noise and finding the lyrics despite an abundance of babel; Mom and Dad for lessons in music and life, and for letting me pick up the stories I’ve been handed; Maisie for being the treasure of soft, boundless love snuggled in the heart of Texas; Elizabeth for setting each word with care and meeting each journey with courage—you are my truest companion.

This album is dedicated to Pawpaw and the family who surrounded him. And to Mawmaw, the life she carries and the light she gives.

credits

released April 17, 2018

Nathan Evans Fox - vocals, acoustic guitar, mandolin, fiddle, percussion, keys
Michael Conner - bass, banjo
Lindsay Foote - vocals

All songs written, produced, and recorded by Nathan Evans Fox. All songs recorded in Cumming, GA and Glen Alpine, NC.
St. Louis co-written with Elizabeth Kelley.
Mastered by Greg Abate at Neon Audio.

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Nathan Evans Fox Atlanta, Georgia

Nathan Evans Fox is an Americana songwriter from Glen Alpine, NC. Growing up immersed in country, rock, bluegrass, and hymns, Fox synthesizes his musical roots to produce a sound all his own. Fox’s lyrics confront the difficulties of his cultural and religious heritage with quiet grief, incisive anger, and an unexpected wit. Fox is based in Atlanta.

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Track Name: Texas Blues No 7
TEXAS BLUES NO 7 - NATHAN EVANS FOX

I lost my taste for poetry,
Picked up my taste for gin.
When we headed out for Houston with no family and no friends.
We moved out here this time last year
Threw dirt on sparks that we held dear,
Oh send me an eastbound wind.

I traded in my walking boots
For a pair of polished shoes,
Took up a boss man’s Bible,
Led the dying to their tombs.
All the prayers that I’ve prayed here
Just payed my bills and bought my beer.
Oh, send me an eastbound wind,
Oh, send me an eastbound wind.

Intercede for me,
Sweet Saint Cecilia plead my case
To the rocks and trees,
This earth will understand.
Let all of heaven’s ears grow closed
Out where the burning dust all glows.
The only dust we will know,
We’ll wash from our feet.

I wrapped my faith in bubble wrap,
Made altars of moving vans,
I did my best to dodge them hammers swung by Christian hands.
But this fragile thing that we keep warm just might tire out before it’s born.
Oh, send me an eastbound wind.

Where it is my friends have been is where I want to go,
Where it is my friends have been is what I want to know,
I’m getting tired of holding smiles for memories of absent folks,
Oh, send me an eastbound wind,
Oh, send me an eastbound wind,
Oh, send me an eastbound wind.
Track Name: Texas Dust
TEXAS DUST - NATHAN EVANS FOX

I was raised by violent men,
My drinking daddy and Uncle Sam.
Nothing made quite good sense ‘til there were chevrons in my hands.
Odessa-born, Appalachian son, I raised Cain and grew up to run,
And “hell”’s the name we gave the ways you stick around for love.

Well my boots they set the paths we walked
From West Virginia down to Tomball,
When we dug that grave in Shreveport,
We lost it all.
And a love like ours that turns this bad’s
The kind you fight like hell to make last.
When we gave each other more than what we had,
Lies are all that’s left.

So when you find yourself missing
Who you wished I’d be,
And in your prayers I left my demons in them South Pacific seas,
I can’t change all my ways,
Can’t change the laws of grief.
Back when I was twenty-one,
I was Texas dust,
And you were Tennessee.

When your tears had lost a place to land,
They circled round and they drove you mad.
On a bargain phone we called back home
And packed our bags,
And we bought a piece of family,
On a dead end road made dead end plans.
And every smile that you sent me then
Had a Shreveport stamp.

So when you find yourself missing
Who you wished I’d be,
And in your prayers I left my demons in them South Pacific seas,
I can’t change all my ways,
Can’t change the laws of grief.
Back when I was twenty-one,
I was Texas dust,
And you were Tennessee.

And the father’s sins will reinvent themselves for the sons,
So I did my best to get away but lost my strength to run.
I came back from a foreign war,
Our money spent and my health turned poor,
And I knew we were done for.
I knew we were done for.

So when you find yourself missing
Who you wished I’d be,
And in your prayers I left my demons in them South Pacific seas,
I can’t change all my ways,
Can’t change the laws of grief.
Back when I was twenty-one,
I was on the run,
We were not in love,
I was Texas Dust.
Track Name: St Louis
ST LOUIS - NATHAN EVANS FOX

It’s been a full year in St. Louis,
And we still ain’t getting used to it,
Cast all our worries down the river to Tennessee.
It’s been a while since I seen mountains,
Chased moonshine ghosts through valleys,
Now I’m dreaming ‘bout that boat that’ll take me where I wanna be.

Back home our families are getting older--
There’s money in the bank for a plane trip home.
Pray my next trip to Carolina ain’t with black suit and tie
For tombstones and roses and drafts of eulogies.

We marched around Jericho about this time a year ago
Singing songs our fathers stole ‘bout where they wished we’d be.
And it’s a dangerous thing to entertain
That I ain’t got reasons for going my way.
Now I’m dreaming ‘bout that boat that’ll take me where I want to be.

Every garden has its apple,
Every apple has its Eve,
And I am still deciding which of them I wanna be.
The one to curse our staying
Or the one to make us leave,
And I am
Still deciding
Which of them I wanna be.

It’s been a full year in St. Louis,
And we won’t ever quite get used to it.
Now I’m dreaming ‘bout wherever it is that we’ll soon be.
I miss them lonesome mountains,
I miss them moonshine valleys,
Now I’m dreaming ‘bout that boat or those wheels or that steam.
Track Name: Grief Song
GRIEF SONG - NATHAN EVANS FOX

I don’t want to know what life will be like.
I don’t want to know what comes after you.
I don’t really know what exactly God does,
But I don’t want to know what comes after you.

We met at thirty-three,
Lavender in a Texas breeze,
The age of Jesus on that tree.
There ain’t a cancer in your soul,
Just the ways that I’ll grow old,
Living what’s left of life alone,
Living alone.
Who am I to cry?
Who the hell am I
To not be the one in that bed tonight,
To not be the one in that bed tonight?

Seems like life’s a five and dime without you here,
And all my dreams are made of straw and wind.
I don’t want to know what life is like without you here.
Track Name: Great Sky
GREAT SKY - NATHAN EVANS FOX

Great sky don’t fall down
When there’s no one to hold you up,
And the arms of these saints are just too bruised up.
No clouds above us,
And the witnesses are bankrupt,
And I lost my religion every place it was stored up.
And I lost my faith in Sunday grace,
And I left my religion in that offering plate.

And the songs we’d sing,
And the ghosts we’d keep,
And the lies we’d tell about ourselves until we believed.
And the wrongs we done
For those we loved.
Well the words of these prophets, they’re all used up.
These works of love,
They don’t mean too much.
What new invention will gather us up?

What more do I seek from this heaven upon me
Than a horizon to give rise to all this earth’s dreams?
What more do I seek from the weight of heaven’s glory
Than the sacred veil of darkness to come and cover me?
Track Name: Texas Blues No 4
TEXAS BLUES NO 4 - NATHAN EVANS FOX

How are you love with the starlings and doves?
Tell me how are you sleeping at night?
I’m a little bit restless but life with you’s no different
Than dreaming of living back home.

But I’m doing fine, how are you love of mine?
How are you passing the time?
I’m taking it slow like the blue bonnets grow
Whatever we love will take it’s own time.

When your feet grow tired from these country-long miles,
And Texas tries to annex your smile,
And that big gaping hole where that moonshine should go
Keeps telling you that things here are fine,
We’ll share what we love, babe, what’s yours is what’s mine.

Where you been looking, tell me where do you go,
What trips do you take in your mind?
Babe, I stay right here, couldn’t be anywheres
Where you weren’t going with me.

Tell me what would like, name your own price,
I’ll do the best that I can.
Well, babe, I don’t need nothing,
You’re all of my somethings.
What more could I ever want?

Babe, you won’t ever let me down
My love for you won’t ever run out.
With a couple of bucks,
A good pinch of luck,
We’ll settle for anywhere where we can settle down.

How are you love with the starlings and doves?
Tell me how are you sleeping at night?
Well, babe, you’re here with me, and that’s all that I’m asking,
That you keep on loving me fine.
Track Name: Corn Whiskey
CORN WHISKEY - NATHAN EVANS FOX

We set off at sixteen for an outlaw’s dream,
And headed for them hills of East Tennessee
With your daddy behind us and the recipe,
Just two hungry souls with two mouths to feed.

Corn whiskey will take you just as you are,
Flowing down from the stills hid in heaven’s stars.
Run like lightning when they find you and the sheriff comes
With axes and hammers to jail up your sons.

The big wigs and white suits got drunk off our stuff,
And the smoke from our altars filled up heaven’s lungs
With the sweet smell of corn and the flavors of love.
Their bellies got full, but their pockets stayed flush.

We stayed up late every night and prayed
For heaven’s blessing on this love that we made.
Prayed for heaven’s love to give us a son
Born with the taste of corn whiskey on his tongue.

They shot her in the holler for running that stuff,
And we buried her deep in that Tennessee mud.
When the corn comes up golden like the locks of my love,
We fire up the altar and we offer her up.
Track Name: South Pacific
SOUTH PACIFIC - NATHAN EVANS FOX

Your feet were fit for the South Pacific,
Brought that West Texas dust between your toes,
And your hands were shaped for battle rifles
And shovelling that West Virginia coal.
Her arms were strong for carrying daughters,
And her face shown just like heaven’s glow.
The ugliest thing that life ever brought her
Is that name etched in Shreveport stone.

I wonder what roads we will wander along
Til our fevers burn red with these blues.
I’ve grown content my love,
Content on loving you.

Come the verdicts of gossip on the fruits of grief
To hand down a sentence on this family tree.
In an empire of whispers, your tears prove you weak,
And they send for her family, and they cause you to leave.
Grief’s a piece of land that you pay for
At the crooked end of a dead end street,
And the ugliest thing that life ever brought her
Is the man that you’ll soon turn to be.

What demons will find you
And turn you mean,
When you’re trapped at the end
And there ain’t no retreat.
Seems you gave up on loving when you decided to leave
When that last bag was unpacked on that dead end street.
Track Name: Morning Light
MORNING LIGHT - NATHAN EVANS FOX

Don’t stand in that doorway and plan your escape,
I have other lovers but I swear that I’ll change.
What was left of my leaving was left when we ran away,
There’s another woman back in New York state.

I’ll lay you down in the morning light
And bargain off demons on borrowed time.
When your bones grow impatient, I’ll share what is mine,
And measure my judgements against the morning light.

I’ve stood in that doorway and planned my own way,
When your lover is in Atlanta and that distance won’t change.
I have seen your sideways glances looking off to the east,
Love him how you want to just as long as you love me.
Love him how you want to just as long as you love me.

You’ll lay me down in the morning light
And bargain off demons on borrowed time.
When my bones grow impatient, you’ll share yours with mine,
And measure your judgements against the morning light.

When we lay down these bodies to surrender each day
And dream of lovers in these distant states.
I will hold onto you darling if you will hold onto me too,
As long as you’re loving someone, I will always love you.
As long as you’re loving someone, I will always love you.

They’ll lay us down in the morning light,
And bargain off demons on borrowed time.
When our bones grow impatient, they’ll lend theirs to ours.
We’ll measure our judgements against the morning light.
We’ll measure our judgements against the morning light.
Track Name: Quicksand
QUICKSAND - NATHAN EVANS FOX

I’m praying to be quiet while we’re out here on our own,
I pray to find the peace of mind to be content alone.
Our neighbors all have fences, land of houses with no homes,
And it’s hard to find a place to go with more tires out here than roads.

I’ll walk through quicksand,
Chase eastbound trains and
Hold onto love’s hottest flames with both of my bare hands.
I’ll love you again,
Even after Texas winds,
But I want you to know, babe, that I love you still.

I lost that gentle feeling,
I lost that gentle tone,
But as long as we’re still staying here, I’ll keep on holding on.
It ain’t right to live with demons I ain’t ever asked you to own,
What’s it mean to be half a man if I can be a whole mountain stone?

I want you know, babe,
I want you to know, babe,
I want you to know, babe
That I love you still.

I could blame it all on Texas
Or on the state of my own soul,
I could pawn it off on demons
Or the truths my daddy told.
But all this flatland living’s just a flatline that I postpone,
As long as you’re still with me here, I can still feel heaven’s glow.

I want you to know, babe,
I want you to know, babe, that I love you still.
Track Name: Kindling Bridges
KINDLING BRIDGES - NATHAN EVANS FOX

Let apathy grow on me
Like whiskey warmth and a mother’s mind,
I’m growing tired of
Singing hymns for fickle friends,
Spending hours on my knees for someone else’s sins.
Ain’t no starting over, ain’t no picking up pieces
That were handed to me already broken.
If I forget my religion, did it really go missing--
All these kindling bridges were built for burning.

Were we ever really born here or were we just found?
These tongues of fire, Lord, in my kerosene mouth.
Seems we started at our endings,
When they put her in the ground.
We ain’t nothing but West Texas dust
And a kernel of corn for the moonshine poor
In the good Lord’s South.

Let the dust grow on every hymn and song,
Every memory branded by a Bible verse,
the faithful and sure, the well-intentioned, my pious kin’s,
And I seek no deliverance
For my feet grow deep in muddy creeks.
The tongues of these altar, they’ve forgotten
The taste I offered of sweaty knees,
Of praying prayers with bloody cheeks
For these ghosts we keep.

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