A Hand Full Of Songs

by Jim Page

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about

“A Handful of Songs” is a poignant collection of songs, which continues Page’s keen observation of the world around him. As Page tells it, “I had a handful of songs that I wanted to record and all the musicians and the studio time was booked. Then Trump was elected and the world shifted and I wrote a few songs in response to that. I believe that artists have an obligation to speak out, to not be silent. I put the political pieces in the middle so that the listener could walk into a room full of music, get into the stories, and then have the reality get real, then emerge slowly back into the daylight. In that sense it’s like a journey through our times.”

credits

released October 5, 2017

all songs copyright Jim Page, Whid-Isle Music, BMI
except Shady Grove, traditional with new words and arrangement by J Page
recorded April 11, 12, 13, 2017
at Studio Litho, Seattle WA
mixed at Garey Shelton Studios, May 2 and 3.

Jim Page – acoustic guitar and vocal
Orville Johnson – acoustic & electric guitar, mandolin, electric bass and dobro
Mark Ettinger – acoustic bass
Jon Parry – fiddle
Grant Dermody – harmonica
Barry Sless – acoustic guitar

This project produced itself with input and critique from all parties. Engineered and mixed by Floyd Reitsma. Special thanks to Katy Keenan and Ava Lani.

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about

Jim Page Seattle, Washington

Named by Seattle Metropolitan Magazine as “One Of The 50 Most Influential Musicians In Seattle History.” Originally crom California Page has called Seattle and the Pacific Northwest “home” since 1971. Songs covered by The Doobie Brothers, Christy Moore, Dick Gaughan, Michael Hedges, and Roy Bailey. Utah Phillips: “If you’re ever going to get the message, this is the messenger to get it from.” ... more

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Track Name: Questions and Answers
Questions and Answers


in the morning when the dream dissolves
and all that you recall
is that it felt so real
if it even was a dream at all
and your lover and companion
still asleep inside her own one
maybe the same the same one
that you just woke up from

are there any answers
yes there are answers
but when you find the answers
all the questions change

there are those who demand
to know the answers to it all
like why they don’t fly off the planet
and why the sky doesn’t fall
they have the right to ask of course
and someone will reply
for each and every answer
there’s a question standing by

are there any answers
yes there are answers
but when you find the answers
all the questions change

you may question my integrity
and question my desire
like I question your intentions
as you step into the fire
it’s all open to investigation
nothing is secure
we may invest in our predictions
but how can we be sure

I asked you what your name was
and I asked you where you’re from
and you asked me where I lived
and was I with someone
and I asked if you like movies
would you like to see one now
you said why don't we go walking
we'll find a way somehow
and our walking went for miles
and the miles went on for days
through all contradictions
of a million different ways
until we reached our destination
where the distance disappears
and we are still together
after all these years
Track Name: Put It Down
Put It Down

we all live behind fences
we all lock our doors
nobody trusts antbody else
if they don't know what they're trustin' 'em for
everybody’s all got problems
bad news on the wire
somebody did somethin’ to somebody else
set the whole place on fire

(chorus)
put it down
it's only givin' you bad dreams
think of all the good dreams
that you’re leavin’ behind
let it go
try to write a better rhyme
we got a lot to do
and we don't have a lot of time

I hear my neighbors
they fight all the time
they scream and they argue
and they're crossin' that line
but come tomorrow mornin’
I know just what I’ll see
walkin’ around like nothin’ happened
just like you and me

I go down by the park bench
watch the children play
kinda remind me of myself
back in my childhood days
and the rules that we played by
made enemies of our friends
but we’re older now
we no longer pretend

you and me, babe
we got some fences to mend
we got some roads to travel
so much distance between friends
but if it means that much to you
to mean this much to me
then maybe we can make it
if we keep tryin’ to see
Track Name: Landlord
Landlord

yonder come my landlord collecting his rent
with his greedy yellow eyes and his tongue all bent
with his padlocked pockets and his bad luck nose
come sneaking around my doorway and going through my clothes

how could you treat me so cold
you got a mortgage on my body and a lien on my soul

I got a rundown room on a dead end street
it takes a lot of struggle just to make ends meet
big money comin’ in all over town
people like me are gettin’ shuffled around

how could you treat me so cold
you got a mortgage on my body and a lien on my soul

but hey you landlord I know you well
you spend a lot of time hangin’ in a Trump hotel
playin’ games with the money on the fat of the land
I’ll put on a pair of gloves before I shake your hand

how could you treat me so cold
you got a mortgage on my body and a lien on my soul

you go watching through windows what you got no right to see
knocking on doors when you got no right to be there
your legs are weak, you been telling lies
and some day somebody’s gonna get wise

how could you treat me so cold
you got a mortgage on my body and a lien on my soul

you’re gonna get evicted out on the street
with no food in your belly no shoes on your feet
you’re gonna walk around from door to door
but nobody’s gonna want to see you anymore
you’re gonna wake up at the crack of dawn
you’re gonna look around and find that your land is gone
you want to be cold as cold as you please
come next winter we’re all gonna freeze

how could you treat me so cold
you got a mortgage on my body and a lien on my soul

yonder come my landlord collecting his rent
with his greedy yellow eyes and his tongue all bent
with his padlocked pockets and his bad luck nose
come sneaking around my doorway and going through my clothes

how could you treat me so cold
you got a mortgage on my body and a lien on my soul
Track Name: 338 Dollars Behind
338 Dollars Dehind
for Karen Lee Batts


the snow is so beautiful
it floats like the birds
and it softens the sounds
of discouraging words
it’s Christmas and New Years
snowmen and sleds
beautiful children
asleep in their beds

she lived in a building
where it wasn’t so bad
they gave her medications
for the voice in her head
oh but life is so hard
and what can you do
they put her outside
when the rent was overdue

in the parking garage
when the temperature froze
hypothermia
she took off her clothes
and she lay down to sleep
like a rag on the floor
and she never woke up
anymore

that’s how it is, like it or not
when barely enough is all that you got
338 dollars behind
and that was the end of the line

in this game of life
some people stand tall
some people are invisible
and don’t count at all
some people make big noise
and some not a sound
how can we live
in this kind of town

it’s an old story
you’ve heard it before
the rich get richer
the poor stay poor
and it’s only a song
and it’s only snow
until it gets cold
and there’s nowhere to go

that’s how it is, like it or not
when barely enough is all that you got
338 dollars behind
and that was the end of the line
Track Name: Jim's Song
Jim’s Song

first time he came to Seattle he was ridin’ in a box car
he was a little bit disheveled, he didn’t even have his guitar
Vietnam was in the mirror, he was tryin’ to make it fade
just another lost soul in life’s forlorn parade

next time he came to town he was wearin’ a clean pair of pants
and he was not alone this time, for life had taken quite a chance
he had a wife and family, children one and two
and they gonna make a go of it, that’s what they were gonna do

and the wheel goes round and round
sun goes up and down
and you’ll know when it’s time to settle down

so he wore his best dressed and he showed up to work on time
and she got the kids to school and they saved up every dime
they had pancakes with water for supper and cigarettes for tea
and life was good, just the way it oughtta be

but still there was that edge that just would not blunt
his tongue could be a razor whether he wanted it to or not
they say the truth will set you free but it’ll also get you fired
and that’s when he got inspired

and the wheel goes round and round
sun goes up and down
and you’ll know when it’s time to settle down

so he took his guitar and he went downtown and he started to sing
and autumn turned into winter and winter turned into spring
and his voice got stronger and the songs began to soar
and he found what he was lookin’ for

and he sang about politics and he sang about love
and there was nothin’ so low down that a song could not rise above
and he sang to make you laugh and he sang to make you cry
and he sang because a song could not tell a lie

and the wheel goes round and round
sun goes up and down
and you’ll know when it’s time to settle down

then one day America went to war against Iraq
and every nightmare he ever had came back
for every veteran of every foreign war
there just was no sleeping anymore

and when the streets filled up with people he was out there too
he did everything he could think of to do
sometimes he even thought he could stop it with a song
if he could just get everybody to sing along

but history is a cannonball and it just keeps rollin’
and you can’t unring that bell when that bell starts tollin’
and there’s only so much that anyone can take
we just didn’t know how hard his heart would actually break

and the wheel goes round and round
sun goes up and down
and you’ll know when it’s time to settle down

he came a long way from that dirty box car
to a wife and a family and a song and a guitar
from an anonymous shadow on a downtown street
to bein’ someone that almost anybody would want to meet

somebody said, and it’s a word to the wise
you can mourn if you have to but you better organize
sharpen up your tongue to come out swingin’
‘cause you never know when you might have to start singin’

and the world goes round and round
sun goes up and down
and you’ll know when it’s time to settle down

yes, the world goes round and round
sun goes up and down
and you’ll know when it’s time to settle down
settle down
Track Name: As the Wheel Spins
As the Wheel Spins


and the rain blows
against my window pane
and then the thunder comes
and the daylight wanes
but it’s only the weather
changing as the wheel spins
and I know that when it it gets dark like this
it’s gonna get light again

and the sunrise
makes the east get red
and when it’s time to go
it sets down in the west instead
like the arc of a lifetime
as it rises up to fly
in out great imagination
constellations in the sky

and I know I made a mess of things
I picked up that same big rock and I let it drop
and by the time I figured out whose foot was underneath
it was too late to stop

and as I get older now
I think back to when I was young
and how hard it was to get over
some silly stupid thing I done
always tryin’ to live up to
somethin’ I could never be
always tryin’ to be somebody else
somebody other than me
but all my skies turn to blue now
and all the fences open to let me in
seems like there’s nothin’ I couldn’t do now
thanks to you my friend

and the rain blows at my window
but I don’t get wet
and I don’t care which way the wind blows
‘cause it ain’t caught me yet
I turn up my collar and I go for a stroll
I roll it up and I let it unroll
just like a wheel when it spins
here's to you my friend
Track Name: Nothing Rhymes With Orange
Nothing Rhymes With Orange


you can see what they show you, you can hear what they say
but it doesn’t make sense when you do it that way
how many trees in the forest have to fall down and rot
before we all understand if it matters or not
the ones with muscle and flex of the fist
are never as strong as the ones who resist
it’s an old danger behind a new face
ain’t there ain’t nothin’ new in the same old place

so try to explain
how it went down the drain
but nothing rhymes with orange

from out of the depths of the television swamp
they came with the swagger and the brag and the pomp
with the 10 second memory trained to forget
so you never recognize who you already met
and they stood on the field all wrapped in the flag
saying “this is our country, it’s here in the bag”
and they ran up a candidate all rolling in gold
saying “there is your greatness, a sight to behold”

and the money is there
at the top of the stairs
but nothing rhymes with orange

some say “hold on now, give him a chance
you can’t judge a snake by a cursory glance”
oh but this reptilian familiar is known
for the size of his hands and the gilt of his thrown
for the wreckage that’s left in the wake of the storm
and the poisonous bite of the terminal norm
and there are no blinders will make it appear
any better than it did this time last year

so you cover your eyes
from the blinding surprise
because nothing rhymes with orange

fear is a door that’s always locked up tight
and it’s best not to open till the timing is right
till you get all your plans and your ducks in a row
step back and take cover, let the dynamite blow
and there’s no turning back now, events are in motion
tempers rising and so are the oceans
it’s only a matter of time until then
when either we sink or either we swim

and the life lines that are thrown
will be those of our own
because nothing rhymes with orange
Track Name: Collateral Damage
Collateral Damage


you loved your sweet country for all of your life
like your mother and father before you
and the land runs deep, so deep in your blood
your flesh and your bone and your sinews
descendants and ancestors, deep as it goes
a relative circle as far as your eye
it can all be undone in the flash of an instant
mechanical thunder that bruises the sky

goodbye to my relatives, all of my life
never again will I see
you won’t have a name when they fly the big airplanes
collateral damage is all you will be

from a faraway place where the language is strange
they come with their angry machines
and the clouds rain a metal that hurts when it falls
and it shatters the ground, making everything scream
and the children run crippled, the old people hide
the babies are caught in the rubble debris
but the strangers don’t know, you are only a number
under-reported on color TV

goodbye to my relatives, all of my life
never again will I see
you won’t have a name when they fly the big airplanes
collateral damage is all you will be

a mother is more than a number to a baby
who now has to grow up on it’s own
and a grandfather blinded and crippled at his age
is more than just a statistical drone
all of these people are human
and humans are more footnote
this cynical language of killing is killing us
caught like a bone in humanity’s throat

goodbye to my relatives, all of my life
never again will I see
you won’t have a name when they fly the big airplanes
collateral damage is all you will be

so if you see a ghost in the lonely wind blowing
like shrapnel the sound of the rain
and it’s speaking a language you don’t understand
but you know what it means just the same
it’s too late for innocence, all of that’s over now
don’t say that you didn’t know
when they come to collect for the damages owed
the collateral may be your own

goodbye to my relatives, all of my life
never again will I see
you won’t have a name when they fly the big airplanes
collateral damage is all you will be
Track Name: Masters Of Lies
Masters Of Lies


you masters of lies
who kill all the truth
who spread all the hatred
and poison the roots
who hide behind TVs
computers and spies
I just want you to know
I can see through your lies

you suck up all the money
and you leave us with crumbs
expect us to be grateful
but we’re not that dumb
you feed on the poor
and you leave them for dead
and we know that your hunger
can never be fed

how fine are your mansions
and your golf courses too
how rich are your relatives
you’ve got quite a few
your money uncountable
investments unknown
you’re a mystery
till your cover gets blown

I know who you love
and who you despise
you love yourself first
with a narcissist’s eyes
and you despise anybody
who calls out your game
well I’m calling you now
so take your best aim

you were born into money
so how would you know
we’re just here to be used
for your revenue flow
like a fist full of numbers
like something to earn
but some of those numbers
are starting to turn

like a baby in swaddling
you suck on your thumb
but your thumb is a cell phone
that’s how it gets done
with your midnight explosions
your rants and your bile
is it any wonder
we’ve become so reviled

go out in the world
see what who we are
a laughing stock nation
under a dangerous star
armed and unstable
with a tyrant’s design
it’s come to this, yes
it’s the end of the line

and I hope that you fall
and you fall so hard
that you cannot be saved
from your dead house of cards
with your memory buried
so no one will know
how this once great nation
could fall so low

we will go on without you
yes, we will survive
on into the future
our beauty will thrive
with our face to the sun
and our back to rain
and no one will ever
remember your name

with our face to the sun
and our back to rain
and no one will ever
remember your name
Track Name: Shadow In the Room
Shadow in the room


the news is bad, it always is, it shudders down the line
people close their eyes and ears and leave their minds behind
and the only answers taken are what they already know
and the shadow in the room begins to grow

the death toll mounts on either side for every face a name
everybody points the finger says the other one is to blame
and vengeance is a hungry thing it cannot be satisfied
and the shadow in the room won't take a side

the right of gods to give and take is taken for the law
by those who stand to gain the most from such a fatal flaw
and religion is to justify what would otherwise be moot
and the shadow in the room is absolute

there’s a meeting in a secret place you won’t find on any map
where the world is a chessboard move the pieces up and back
and the ones who gain the most are those who use the biggest guns
and the shadow in the room knows how its done

there’s another pretty pop star with easy melodies
everybody loves the ballgame but it saps their energies
and it’s better to be entertained than it is to have to think
and the shadow in the room becomes distinct

the shadow like an animal has been there all along
an elephant or an albatross whatever fits your song
whatever you won’t look at because it interrupts your game
and it will never disappear without a name

its the knot inside your thinking, its the shadow on the sun
its whatever you have to deal with before you can get anything done
its what your enemy's been trying to tell you all along
and it’s the only thing worth singing in a song
Track Name: My Old Home Town
My Old Home Town

in my old home town
where there was a winding stream
and we could walk for miles and miles
beside the hills so green
underneath the sky so blue
when I was in love with you
that’s the way the world went ‘round
in my old home town

but life goes on
and we sing the song
and the verses get deeper in time
and the roads we take
may make our hearts break
but you have your way and I have mine

and life goes on on
and we sing the song
and the chorus gets better over time
and our voices rise
as we harmonize
but you have your melody and I have mine

in my old home town
where there was a winding stream
and we could walk for miles and miles
beside the hills so green
underneath the sky so blue
when I was in love with you
that’s the way the world went ‘round
in my old home town
Track Name: Same Train, Different Track
Same Train, Different Track

the day Merle Haggard died
I found a quiet place to hide
let the songs paint pictures in my mind
of a different place and time

pictures of a broke down oil town
where dust bowl memories abound
prison walls on either side
and a soul so deep and wide

same train, different track
you ride away, you don’t come back
one road to disappear
one song to sing it here

one jukebox for your time
sing me yours I’ll sing you mine
in some honkey tonk saloon
somebody’s always leavin’ soon

we all have songs that we can sing
just like the birds do in the spring
they will help us carry on
life’s hard enough without a song

same train, different track
you ride away, you don’t come back
one road to disappear
one song to sing it here

one jukebox for your time
sing me yours I’ll sing you mine
in some honkey tonk saloon
somebody’s always leavin’ soon

yes, in some honkey tonk saloon
somebody’s always leavin’ too soon
Track Name: Shady Grove
Shady Grove


Shady Grove my true love
Shady Grove my darlin’
Shady Grove my true love
I’m goin’ back to Harlan

I wish I had a big white horse
shoulders deep and wide
Shady Grove along with me
around the world we’d ride

we’d ride away to Israel
ride away to Spain
and everywhere the people sing
“Oh the wind and rain”

Shady Grove my true love
Shady Grove my darlin’
Shady Grove my true love
I’m goin’ back to Harlan

it’s apples in the summertime
peaches in the fall
if I can’t have my Shady Grove
I won’t have none at all

Shady Grove my true love
Shady Grove my darlin’
Shady Grove my true love
I’m goin’ back to Harlan

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