Live from the Appalachians to Austin

by Andrew McKnight



Recorded live Feb. 9, 2013 at the Austin Acoustical Cafe in Austin TX, the concert captures every facet of an Andrew solo show - the great singing, finely crafted songs, deft guitar work, and the engaging and amusing anecdotes and stories between songs. With nods to traditions, and to people who work with their hands and hope something better waits ahead, the rustic poet rolls easily through this 16-song set with touches of Native American flute and African djembe in addition to some fancy flatpicking.


released October 1, 2013

Audio and video recorded and edited by Chris Green.
Audio downloads edited by Les Thompson and Shawn Hatfield at Cabin Studios, Leesburg VA
Graphic design by Sue Gaines
Cover concept by AM & Gail Anderson

All songs written by Andrew McKnight, ©Catalooch Music BMI
Except "Made by Hand" (A. McKnight, C. McCoy & L. Thompson), Wildwood Flower (trad.), and The Old Hundred Road (J. Arey & A. McKnight). "Crossroads (Revisited)" adapted from original (R. Johnson).

All songs previously released except for "One More Year". For more Andrew McKnight CDs and music, visit



all rights reserved


Andrew McKnight Lincoln

Nationally-acclaimed singer/songwriter and guitarist celebrates rural America, weaves masterfully crafted songs, humorous stories and poetic drama into a musical soundscape sketched with shades of Appalachia, tasteful slide and jazzy blues, feisty anthems, and rustic folk. 5 solo CDs heard on many public & community radio, plus NPR "Art of the Song" & "River City Folk" and XM/Sirius. ... more


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Track Name: Western Skies
Words & music A. McKnight, ©1999 Catalooch Music, BMI

Verse 1
Climbing on this big jet plane, headed into, a western sky
if I had a rearview mirror, that's how I'd pass the time
looking back on, leaving I've done, should be old hat by now
do I want too much, lingering touch, did I hold her too long

Eighteen hundred miles, from the Chesapeake to this Great Divide
Eighteen hundred miles, separate me from the truth inside
and I am lonesome, lonesome under western skies

Verse 2
Drive these roads that long ago, echoed with hooves, Arapaho
and as I pass these ranches I almost feel their ghosts riding along
never cared for, conquistadors, plundering mountains for gold
so please don't fear, I haven't come here, to prospect for love or reward


Verse 3
50 West, beckons like an old friend, leading me to, parts unknown
and I draw gallons of cold comfort, knowing this road, can lead me home
is it my heart, missed her from the start, or just thin air getting to my head

Track Name: One More Year (A Farmer's Prayer)
Words & music A. McKnight©2011, Catalooch Music, BMI

Verse 1
Verse 1
Coffee’s hot, though it’s not yet dawn
Autumn geese, call out their winter warning song
Seeds I’ve sown stand 6 feet tall, waiting in that morning sun
Fertilized with pain and prayers that this day would come

These rolling fields, rich with soybeans, wheat and corn
A treasure chest, most every year since I was born
Cycles of the seasons, and the rhythms of the dirt
If we can’t make it work no more, I can’t tell you how that’d hurt

So give me, one more year before I have to face the facts
Our golden days they ain’t never coming back
There’ll still be food on your table, but will you know where it comes from
When my farm on down the road, is up and gone

Verse 2
The winter wind, each year gets harder on my bones
Can’t blame my sons, plant roots in, nice suburban homes
That real estate agent, each Christmas at my door,
Each year I close it wondering, if I can take much more


Verse 3
a gambler man, knows the odds before he rolls
but farmer’s plans, are acts of faith that take their tolls
begging of the bankers, pleading with the bureau man
or taking checks for fattening hogs, ain’t living on the land

When my farm on down the road, is up and gone
When my farm's gone down the road
Track Name: Bad News
Words & music A. McKnight, ©1999 Catalooch Music, BMI

Verse 1
Telephone rings, pulse picks up the beat,
got no explanation for, my rising body heat
guess I'm, expecting bad news

Verse 2
My least favorite words, are "we gotta talk"
they're usually followed by, a long and lonesome walk
cause' I'm, expecting bad news

When the mailman comes, let the dog run loose,
I won't shoot the messenger but, delivery refused
call me irrational, but I won't lie to you
cause' I'm, expecting bad news

Solo (over bridge)

Verse 3
If you've got issues, I don't want to know
here's some advice for you, just pack them up and go
you can keep those letters coming, call me if you choose
but keep your secrets, if you're bearing, bad news,

I just, can't take no more bad, news
Track Name: Shenandoah Moon (with intro)
Words & music A. McKnight, ©1996 Catalooch Music, BMI

Verse 1
It was the summer of 30’, in that broad river valley, where 2 kids fell right into love,
Sara Jean’s dad’s bank failed, and James’ farm went for sale,
but those kids found good in hard times

Chorus 1
the dance at the grange hall, when they heard the band call, a Virginia waltz lilting tune
slipped into the night air, two shadows without care, bathed in the light of, a Shenandoah moon

Verse 2
In 42’ the great war came, and James signed up his name, to stare in hell’s face on the line,
while the lovers were apart, he broke his purple heart,
and came home the shell of a man

Chorus 2
Parades and nightmares, a young warrior must bear, but Sara Jean had healing hands
and out in the porch swing, two lovers hands holding, and that river she sings under, a Shenandoah moon

Three children later, and 8 grandkids greater, it’s funny how time flows on by,
survived the tornado, and all the hardship they’d known
and in 50 years, how strong love had grown

Verse 3
On Sara Jean’s deathbed, no tears, smiles instead, by morning she’d see James again,
like corn in July heat, each taste so sweet,
but all good things meet their earthly end

Chorus 3
and that band of angels, plays an old Virginia waltz, while 2 kids twirl through eternity
through heavenly meadows, that gentle river flows, and 2 smiling faces shine, from a Shenandoah moon
Track Name: Chemical Voodoo
Words & music A. McKnight, ©1998 Catalooch Music, BMI

Verse 1
The moon sweats with fever, wet with clouds blood red
in a dark patch of bayou swamp, where angels fear to tread
pipes long forgotten, from beneath refineries
and chemical voodoo, hangs like heat from hell
the swamp keeps dark secrets, cause no one’s returned to tell, of chemical voodoo

Verse 2
the legends come in whispers, his name they will not speak,
one night his pirogue vanished, in a thick tangle of cypress trees
that he met his Maker, that much is certainty
cause’ chemical voodoo, hangs like heat from hell
the swamp keeps dark secrets, cause no one’s returned to tell, of chemical voodoo

Verse 3
the halo of the factory lights, cannot penetrate the trees,
the air dank with evil, the wind blows like disease
under eyes of industrial skies, so far from St. Evangeline
it’s chemical voodoo, hangs like heat from hell
the swamp keeps dark secrets, cause no one’s returned to tell,
it’s chemical voodoo
Track Name: Wishing (with flute intro)
Words & music A. McKnight, ©2003 Catalooch Music, BMI

Verse 1
Condor soars, on outstretched wing,
from that altitude I bet you'd see a lot of funny things
red rock low, neath desert skies
I hope way up there's a place where our souls collide

Verse 2
Gravity, it holds me down,
keeps my orbit safe and low enough to ease the blow when I hit the ground
while angels dance, and prophets laugh
this flightless rustic poet stumbles blindly down the path

In the blinking eye where dreams take flight
it's deafening in the quiet under these restless stars so bright
if I wish on their falling light
I'd wish I didn't need to make a wish tonight

Verse 3
Whooping crane, his joyful dance
he's so unaware of all the perils of his new romance
with one wing high, one leg kicks
as ten thousand fathers before guide his way through this

Track Name: These Shoes
Words & music A. McKnight, 2006©Catalooch Music, BMI

Verse 1
In the darkness, in the desert
searchlights glare, and there's gunshots and shouting but
somehow I slipped by, only God knows why,
the trucker dropped me at the Arkansas line

Verse 2
Where I come from, is where the drugs run,
and the men come with money and lust
for honest living, I hope God's forgiving,
for I left my family for this one chance at hope

And I, have dreams just like you
If I, let you walk in these shoes
would you be here

Verse 3
Scars and scratches, chemical rashes,
no one trusts me to do more than clean but,
I've got secrets, I've learned English
someday the name on the door will be mine



Verse 4
For all the politicians, state their positions,
collecting campaign cash to build a wall behind them but
I do work you won't, dirty jobs you don't,
and all I ask is the right to be human

Chorus twice
Track Name: How High the Mountain
Words & music A. McKnight, 1999©Catalooch Music, BMI

A cappella Chorus
How high is this mountain, that I've fallen down
how far have I tumbled to be here
how long must I climb, to see sweet sun again
out of this valley of despair


Verse 1
How heavy is the cross, that I'm bound to bear,
how long an uphill march lies ahead,
how will I keep my heart, from turning to stone
lift my face to the light instead


Verse 2
How far must I roam, to find the Promised Land,
how many miles more to Calvary
how many lonesome nights, til I find my star
set my course straight and true again

Track Name: Made by Hand
Words and music 2009© A. McKnight (Catalooch Music, BMI), Chance McCoy and Les Thompson (ASCAP)

Verse 1
Granddad was a union man, worked deep beneath the ground
said a prayer in the morning, and again to see the sun go down
day from night by lantern light, to earn enough to eat
by Saturday moon on the mountainside, the fiddle moved their feet

Verse 2
Went in the mines at fourteen, took a wife at twenty one
raised five kids in the holler, like his daddy done
the company cut costs and corners, everywhere it could
still every Sunday they gave thanks, that they had it good

I know that times are changing, they say progress is good
but do we honor honest work, like my granddaddy would
the eagle soaring high, would he recognize this land
built upon the sturdy backs, of those who made by hand

Verse 3
my daddy left these mountains for the mills of Ohio
rolled the steel that won the war, far away from home
back in grandad's holler, big timber stripped the land
laid railroad tracks that can't bring back, the lives they'd made by hand



Verse 4
I long for West Virginia, her hard blue rolling hills
memories of childhood, I hear those echoes still
our family stories vanished, no trace I could find
they even tore the mountain down, where Grandad used to mine

Track Name: Diary
Words & music A. McKnight, ©1998 Catalooch Music, BMI

Verse 1
Jefferson writes, "Dear diary, what have I done?
I have crossed the line, beyond shadow of a doubt, for the shadow that’s her skin, that I can’t live without

Across this great divide, between black and white, our hearts they have touched, we are the same inside
Between wrong and right, between flesh and blood, we cannot make a stand, but in here it’s safe to hide"
(He said) "you are both a prisoner and a princess"
(she said) "you're a man of principle and means,
(duo) but this is not our time, this is not our place, and so we cannot be"

Verse 2
We can only guess, how history will judge, what it cannot understand,
Archaeology, can provide them only hints, to these artifacts of love, and how I stood up to my neck, in this ocean of sin
Instrumental Break
Verse 3
Quietly she said,
"I believe in God, I believe in providence, and I do believe in love, in whatever shape it's sent
you could not invent, you could not engineer, love such as this, no architect worked here"
Last Chorus
(He said) "you are both a prisoner and a princess"
(she said) "you're a man of principle and means,
(duo?) you cannot change this time, you cannot change this place, (duo) so we cannot be"
A slave woman dreams, "Dear diary, you would not believe"
Track Name: Rust on My Halo
Words & music A. McKnight, ©2003 Catalooch Music, BMI

There is rust on my halo, there are stains on my soul
all the lessons I learn so slow, will someday make me whole

Verse 1
See that man, on the side of the road
shoulders bowed under heavy load
praying for change at the stop sign stand
cardboard letters and a soldier's hands
where did I learn not to believe, that he needs love like you and me


Verse 2
see that girl, babies in her arms
who's gonna keep them safe from harm
mean streets full of guns and greed
how can she give them what they need
where did I learn not to believe, she needs respect like you and me


Verse 3
I was born, to be a man
take my place in the master plan
the stack of things that I've done are good
is a whole lot shorter than the things I should
where did I learn not to believe, there's always hope for you and me

Track Name: Crossroads (Revisited)
Original words and music Robert Johnson, © 1990 MPCA King Of Spades (SESAC), new words and melody A. McKnight

Verse 1
Came to a crossroads, no sign marks the way
Came to a crossroads, no sign marks the way
there's great darkness gathering, I know I can't stay

Verse 2
Stand at the crossroads, don't know where to turn
Stand at the crossroads, don't know where to turn
feel the heat at my back, while our house burns

Verse 3
We're leaving this crossroads, a mighty hill to climb
Leaving this crossroads, a mighty hill to climb
Set these burdens down, never look behind

Guess I'll have to trust my soul
Track Name: The Road to Appomattox
Words & music A. McKnight, ©1999 Catalooch Music, BMI

Verse 1
Grew up on our mountain farm, down Nelson County way,
wish I'd live to see it again, but that is not my fate
for on my 16th birthday war marched all around our land
I joined Virginia's volunteers, and Robert Lee's command

Verse 2
Two days passed upon the march towards Yankees and the front,
I knew my trusty rifle, the difference was the hunt
we smashed into their backside up Loudoun County way
I'll not forget three boys in blue, I sent to early graves

On the road to Appomattox,
where bullets whine like bees, cut blossoms from the trees
on the road to Appomattox.
turned boys into men, men into memories

Verse 3
We fell back from Gettysburg, with calloused feet and heart
saw most of my company fall, in Pickett's cursed charge
Winter spent on Valley farms, with little food or warmth
hellfire came with spring advance and the smell of burning corn


Verse 4
Perilous nighttime retreat, the fall of Petersburg,
the city burned around us, the Federals charging hard,
I heard them call the chaplain, they heard me call on God,
whate'er reward awaited me, was not far off

Verse 5
There were battles won on both sides, the history books confirm,
but no one ever wins at war, the last loser asks for terms

Track Name: Wildwood Flower/The Old Hundred Road
Traditional melody, words by A.P. Carter; Jeff Arey, ©1998, arranged by A. McKnight

no lyrics, instrumental version
Track Name: Something Worth Standing For
Words and music 2007©Andrew McKnight, Catalooch Music, BMI

Verse 1
An old man mowing grass on a levee
drenched in sweat in the noonday sun
his back seat stacked with stuff he's picked up
his beat-up car barely runs
Got a million miles worn upon his face
but smiles as he walks my way
lights a half smoked cigarette as he sits down,
before I can leave he turns to say

Gotta haul all you need from the river
build your temple up from the floor
be grateful for every gift you get
and find something worth standing for

Verse 2
I've been down in the shadows bout the shape I'm in,
a mess made with my own hands
I could write a book with the lessons I've learned
and hard luck that made this man
I've walked in the valley of darkness
I've known heartbreak, I've known loss
but I'm still standing on these two feet
amazed at all they got me across


Instrumental Hook
Instrumental Verse

Verse 3
Before he turned to leave he said “now hear me son”
I could talk til my face turns blue
what matters ain't the words you say
it's all the little things that you do
don't be afraid to help another
when your time’s up there's nowhere to hide
and the walls we build to keep us safe
are prisons that trap us inside

So haul all you need from the river
build your temple up from the floor
be grateful for every gift you get
and find something worth standing for
Track Name: Dancing in the Rain
Words & music A. McKnight, ©1995 Waves of Mountains/Catalooch Music, BMI

Verse 1
All my years I’ve lived here, it’s the only way I know
run the family farm with the grace of God above and the fertile soil below,
summer’s gone eleven weeks, of searing stormless choke
fifty thousand dollars worth, of dreams going up in smoke

Verse 2
Sacrificed another field today, to keep the other’s growing
had to sell my milking cows, to keep the bankers going away
that line of clouds across, the skies
might bring the winds of death, or raindrops to my eyes

My wife she’s out there dancing, in her checkered kitchen dress
droplets running down her brow, and her blond hair’s getting messed
Iowa can be a place where fertile famines drink
this year just poured life down from the brink
and I’m dancing in the rain

Verse 3
Before today my luck had gone, a hard left towards the worst
enough to make an honest man think a farmer’s life is cursed
remembering tales on my granddad’s knee, of soil that sprouted wings
it’s taken thirty years for me, to appreciate these things

Heard it on the radio, Dakota wheat fields won’t survive
my cousin Jack up there will find some way to stay alive
Mother Nature’s fickle ways might someday do me in
but I’m on my knees, in gratitude, cause it’s raining

Verse 4
Next year we might stare at this, same mess right in the face,
this old white house and apple trees, keep me fighting for this place
facing up to troubles that, my children might not know
when you’ve got your generations on, the farm all in a row