Something Worth Standing For

by Andrew McKnight

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about

"Stretching across the landscape of American folk music is a highway paved by Guthrie and Dylan... now Virginia native Andrew McKnight takes his turn smoothing down the blacktop" (Performing Songwriter)

"has complete command of a variety of styles, but his overall approach brings to mind the Indigo Girls: impassioned, acoustic, rooted in folk but influenced by rock. He’s got an instant classic in 'These Shoes,' a sharp appraisal of how mainstream America treats the immigrant worker." (Victory Review)

"can also evoke spooky backwoods Appalachian ghosts with his bluesier numbers...adds up to one fine album of insightful music" (The Muse's Muse)

"With this outstanding new album...continues to enlighten, as well as entertain.... pleasing vocals complement well-crafted lyrics and strong melodies" (Palo Alto Daily News)

* * * * * * * * * *
Recorded with the help of longtime friend and original Nitty Gritty Dirt Band member Les Thompson, Something is a coherent and compelling musical portrait of contemporary America while drawing inspiration from legendary musicians like The Carter Family and Woody Guthrie. Spanning haunting blues, feisty anthems, rustic folk, and a bit of swing, the 16 cuts showcase McKnight painting many colors with his dynamic and supple tenor voice, his tasteful slide and flatpicked acoustic guitar, and the occasional rocking Americana electric guitar.

Something reflects the maturity of a veteran songpoet and seasoned musical artisan. He focuses on threads in the American tapestry through the lens of illegal immigrants, of ordinary people clinging to lost treasures of their past, and of those praying for loved ones to safely return from war. Notable are the rollicking Cajun-meets-Clapton title cut, “Times We’re Living In,” a haunting indictment of the forces that coalesced behind Katrina, “Wind Whispers Your Name,” an a capella elegy for a fallen soldier, and “Bridges,” a beautiful meditation on the cycles on parenthood co-written with Mary Chapin Carpenter’s keyboardist Jon Carroll. And honoring the “folk process,” McKnight updated lyrics to the traditional “Worried Man Blues” as well as to Robert Johnson’s “Crossroads,” the spooky solo slide blues that closes the album.

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released February 1, 2008

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about

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: Times We're Living In
words & music A. McKnight, 2006©Catalooch Music, BMI

Verse 1
Hurricane flags, flutter in warning
the highway to high ground, unmoved all morning
the least of the least, phantoms in plain view
begging a ride, begging for rescue

From under the bottom line, onto the TV
they're suddenly seen, looking through you and me,
born like each one of us, naked and crying,
somehow left behind, hope sputtered and dying

Scattered like matchsticks, floodwaters preordained
tempest filled teacup, the driftwood of Pontchartrain
call out for mercy, but there's no answer
when we ask how it went so wrong

Chorus
Can you believe, these times we're living in (3X)

Verse 2
Somehow overheated, the road to Salvation
as we lose our grip with each revelation
of unholy deals, fleecing the faithful
shattering vows, cracking the crucible

To steal from the people, was that Jesus teaching,
we recite the words, but lose their meaning
the princes and pundits, cloaked in theocracy
while thieves in the temple, are looting our liberties

Is this what it comes to, power and preference
executive privilege, for or against us
wrapped in the flag, discredit dissenters,
while they tear down all we hold dear

Chorus
Can you believe, these times we're living in (4X)
Can you believe
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

Chorus
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

Chorus

Break

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: Worried Man Blues
Traditional; new words and music by Andrew McKnight, 2007©Catalooch Music, BMI

Verse 1
Went across the river and I lay down to sleep
went across the river and I lay down to sleep
suddenly, felt shackles on my dreams

Verse 2
Twenty-one links of chain around my heart
twenty-one links of chain around my heart
and on each link, an initial of my name

Chorus
It takes a worried man to sing a worried song
takes a worried woman to sing a worried song
I worry now, but I don’t know for how long

Verse 3
I asked the lawman, tell me what I’ve done
I asked the lawman, tell me what I’ve done
I don’t look like you, but I have hurt no one

Verse 4
I begged the judge, for mercy on my soul
I begged the judge, for mercy on my soul
but I got none, he sent me to the hole

Chorus

Guitar verse

Verse 5
I woke up, a stranger in my land
I woke up, in a stranger land
now I believe, that I must make a stand

Chorus
Track Name: Something Worth Standing For
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

Chorus
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

Chorus

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

Chorus
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: Hour of Darkness
Verse 1
In my hour of darkness, before the morning light
that's when the demons stalk me, in the dying night
for all their rage and anger, fuel flaming my fears
drive a man to desperation from the doubt that he hears

Chorus
And I crumble, like stone into sand
life blows like dust from my hand

Verse 2
The showdown approaches, at high noon desert sun
on the barren plains of truth ain't nowhere to run
they say if a man should wander, long enough in the heat
and he survives the solitude, his soul he'll meet

Chorus

Instrumental

Verse 3
The final hour is upon me, as twilight claims the sky
to darkness I surrender, for no peace I find
so dig my grave gently, upon a tall tree hill
though my body's lost the battle, know my soul never will
Track Name: Ansel Adams
Words & music A. McKnight, 2007©Catalooch Music, BMI

Verse 1
Will there be another Ansel Adams, American original
sculptor of shadow and light
will another have the patience, to await the perfect moment,
when the elements and angles are just right

Verse 2
Ansel Adams was no hero, cursed with pride and foible,
but like any Einstein you find, take everything you can
seraphim of film and format, wizard of the lens,
freezing magic in a frame of stone and sand

Chorus
In a range of light a gentle man revealed his heart
showed us treasures God in plain sight hid
and in a sacred setting, shutter clicking on the wind
let us see like Ansel Adams did

Verse 3
A moment is so precious, in our hurry rush-rush lives
seems the only way to save it, is hang it over the TV
our modern generation, focused on the destination,
is it still a thing of beauty, if we move too fast to see?

Chorus

Verse 4
I'm a man who chases shadows, been known to talk to ghosts
and I strain to hear echoes of the past
his reflections in still waters, spires soar into the sky
all remind me that this heartbreak will not last

Chorus
Track Name: Bridges
Words & music A. McKnight and Jon Carroll, ©2007 Catalooch Music, BMI and Ordinary World Publishing, ASCAP

Verse 1
1964, the summer I was born
2 black boys went to Jesus neath the Mississippi moon
knock on the door, hearts sink through the floor
and a flood of mothers tears run fast for souls taken too soon
while my parents far from harm, new babe safe in their arms
must have wondered at the hands that twist such fate

Chorus
The call comes in the night, a hand fumbles for the light
is it joy or tears that come with curtains drawn
the river gives and takes, our hopes and our heartaches
they rush by, and round the bend and then they're gone
leave us letting go or holding on too long

Verse 2
under this highway night, galaxies burn bright
in conversation with a face I cannot see
a sudden shooting star, I wonder who you are
I hope the life we give you is everything you wish that you could be
like my parents must have done, wonder what this world's become
do I dare to think it's fair we're blessed with you

Chorus
The call comes in the night, a hand fumbles for the light
is it joy or tears that come with curtains drawn
the river gives and takes, our hopes and our heartaches
they rush by, and round the bend and then they're gone
leave us letting go or holding on

Bridge
Across the generations, every parent's trepidation
the leap of faith to take our place within the flow

Verse 3
I await the news, you're now a parent too
as the current carries all this old man's learned
despite our best intent, and fortunes heaven sent
sometimes we must swim waters spanned by bridges that we've burned

Chorus
that call comes in the night, hands fumble for the light
will joy or fear come with curtains drawn
the river gives and takes, our hopes and our heartaches
they rush by, and round the bend and then they're gone
leave us letting go or holding on
Track Name: Count Your Blessings
Words & music John Rickard and A. McKnight, ©2001 Short Hill Music, and Catalooch Music, BMI

Verse 1
Count your blessings, don’t count your gold
don’t need money, when you’re lying cold
you can’t buy your way, into heaven I am told
count your blessings, don’t count your gold

Verse 2
Count the good deeds, that you’ve done
lend your hand, to help someone
Saint Peter’s got his list, he’s checking everyone
count the good deeds, that you’ve done

instrumental over verse

Bridge
In spite of all your troubles, all you need is on your back
believe in all your blessings, don’t worry bout all you lack

Verse 3
Count on Jesus, to be your friend
stick with you, right to the end
he’ll be by your side no matter how you’ve sinned
count on Jesus to be your friend

instrumental over bridge

Verse 4
Count the lessons, you learn each day
let them guide you, show you the way
follow the word, you won’t go astray
count the lessons, you learn each day

Repeat Verse 1
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: Surveillance
Words & music A. McKnight and Les Thompson, ©2007 Catalooch Music and Les Thompson, ASCAP

Verse 1
These are dangerous times, and devious minds
lurk in shadows everywhere
so I’ve been authorized, to search and scrutinize
and you won’t even know I’m there

Verse 2
All quiet along the Potomac tonight
but while that power city sleeps,
suspicious silhouettes among the monuments
trade secrets dark and deep

Chorus
So I’ve got to keep you under surveillance
I’ve got to know every move you make
I can tell by the way you whisper when you walk
I’ve gotta keep an eye on you

Verse 3
With terror in our midst, your profile’s on my list
shapely charm can’t erase your trail
through the wi-fi café, same time every day
I bet you’re getting more than mail

Verse 4
To the library, so anonymously
avert any attention you’d arouse
slip between the stacks, cover up your tracks
but I watch everywhere you browse

Chorus
Guitar solo over verse/fiddle solo over chorus

Verse 5
You weave a tangled web, of mixed messages
but I am a patient man
I’m looking over, your boss’s shoulder
you can’t escape my scan

Chorus
Track Name: George Washington
Words & music A. McKnight, ©1996 Catalooch Music, BMI

Verse 1
The sign says George Washington lived here,
now there’s a guy who had a couple of good ideas
but I wonder what he’d say
to see this thing he started in the state it’s in today

Chorus
We don’t get our way, we’ll go to court and that’s just fine
we'd love to know our neighbors but haven’t got the time
I don’t know if it’d be better anyhow,
if George Washington lived here now

Verse 2
Driving in my car the other day,
a rich lady in a Jag she cut me off and flipped the bird my way
there's anger everywhere we turn
we've got no need to listen when we've nothing left to learn

Chorus

Break

Verse 3
They say we don’t need the family farms no more,
we’ll subdivide, suburbanize, we’ll plant seeds and grow chain stores
locked safely in our cul-de-sacs,
we're hollering at the TV and the TV’s hollering back

Chorus
Track Name: The Fox
Traditional
Track Name: Cedars
Words & music A. McKnight, ©2007 Catalooch Music, BMI

Verse 1
The unmarked blacktop winds back in time,
remembered ways I've known and left behind
the signs have changed but the way is clear
it's been so long since I've been here

Memories point past that sycamore tree
make a left where the Miller's red barn used to be
the gravel gently gives beneath my wheels
and I remember how it feels

Chorus
A rusted tractor rests among the cedar trees
a pause between the past and what's to be
ten thousand houses don't leave any space
this was home, when this was a different place

Verse 2
These windows watched three generations grow old
silent statue stands to times long ago
when they say you can't go home again, I know what they mean
I still see those fields of green

Chorus

Verse 3
Now open red clay wounds weep every time it rains
castles grow instead of acres of grain
I wonder if those kids will know where food comes from
and if someday they'll ask where we have gone
Track Name: Safe Home
Words & music A. McKnight, ©2007 Catalooch Music, BMI

Verse 1
In the shadow of this dark mountain, where the sun but rarely shines
blessings fair, are hard to come by, in the cold black damp Kentucky mines

For there ain't nothing to hold our young ones, since this mountain's heart ran out of gold
there's no future here in this holler, so we wave when they leave down that road

Chorus
But the same moon shines wherever you are
So I'll listen when the night wind starts to moan
I'll light a candle when darkness falls
and pray til you're safe home

Verse 2
Mountain boys they love their country, and they never shy from a fight
but it's so hard, to let our daughters, answer the call to glory's light

For every mother hopes her children, will someday have more than she’s known,
but in these hard hills, hope is precious, and a better life is a gambler's throw

Chorus

Instrumental Verse
Instrumental Chorus

Verse 3
My only daughter gave her body, when duty called, to desert sands
now the bloodroot and dogwood blossoms, can't hide the work of war's evil hands

Chorus
But the same moon shines wherever you are
So I'll listen when the night wind starts to moan
I'll light a candle when darkness falls
and pretend, that you're safe home
Chorus
Track Name: Wind Whispers Your Name
Words & music A. McKnight and Randy Barrett, ©2007 Catalooch Music and Jolly Mountain Music, BMI

Verse 1
There's a hole in the sky, where the sun streams through
as the storm gives way to its flame
where thunder and tears have soaked green earth
and the wind still whispers your name

Verse 2
There's a hole in the choir, where your voice once rang
but the melody sustains
in God’s Great House, the notes linger on
while the wind still whispers your name

Verse 3
There's a hole in the flag, two boots turned back
twenty one guns of honor and pain
a purple heart and a silver star
but the wind still whispers your name

Verse 4
And a whole world grieves, in the gathering night
a mother's loss is the angel's gain
and a new star gleams, and flickers to life
while the wind still whispers your name
while the wind still whispers your name
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