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Western Holler

by Jordan Robert Kirk

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1.
I remembered how the game was supposed to work, I walked up to the pretty girl in the skirt, offered my hand and led her out on the floor. Held her close but not too tight, it was a little too much for this heart of mine, I’d come here tonight for one dance more. She two-stepped closer with a tear in her eye, I didn’t know she’d been hurting inside *So I held her all night so she could hold it together, with a little small talk about the weather. Sometimes she’d hug me tight, didn’t mean to make her buckle shine. She’d glance around like she’d seen a ghost, I’d say it’s alright and I’d hold her close. She thought she needed me that night, but she’s the one that saved my life. I was unsteady it’d been a long time, holding a woman so sweet and kind, but it’d been 5 years since I’d lost mine. I thought the pain would never dull, I’d planned to leave at the end of a rope, but she held me soft and just wouldn’t let me go. I guess two broken hearts can make a whole, and a lovely, lonesome woman can help you find your soul. * I couldn’t help but notice she was well-endowed, but I pushed that thought away for now, she bit her lip and looked into my eyes. I looked away and felt her tremble, I’d never seen lonely look so beautiful, we slow danced 'til they turned on the lights.*
2.
The Candle 03:50
I hang my head waiting for a second wind that’ll never come. Every ounce of grit that I can muster, to work 'til the morning sun. And the weight on my shoulders shows no sign of letting up. So I double down and say a prayer, only God knows what. *Burning both ends of the candle, I’m willing and able, to do what I gotta do for my family. When I fly off the handle, while we’re sitting at the table, oh Lord come and sanctify me, burning both ends of the candle. Fighting fear of failure, I got no time for feeling blue. When you love someone you’ll do anything, to make their dreams come true. She taught me that, and knew I’d come around. She would lift me up, though I’d put her down.* I may never sleep 'til I’m dead. The good book says only a fool will waste away in bed. The American dream may be to work yourself to death, by God, I can only do my best.*
3.
One More 03:16
I hang my head waiting for a second wind that’ll never come. Every ounce of grit that I can muster, to work 'til the morning sun. And the weight on my shoulders shows no sign of letting up. So I double down and say a prayer, only God knows what. *Burning both ends of the candle, I’m willing and able, to do what I gotta do for my family. When I fly off the handle, while we’re sitting at the table, oh Lord come and sanctify me, burning both ends of the candle. Fighting fear of failure, I got no time for feeling blue. When you love someone you’ll do anything, to make their dreams come true. She taught me that, and knew I’d come around. She would lift me up, though I’d put her down.* I may never sleep 'til I’m dead. The good book says only a fool will waste away in bed. The American dream may be to work yourself to death, by God, I can only do my best.*
4.
Worn out belt buckles and a ring with the weight of the ages. Mama said give it to a girl, that keeps you turning the pages. Now you’ve left it here with me, in this house all alone. I never knew how heavy it’d feel, such a simple stone. *So why don’t you say, you long for the thrill of the chase and at your age, still got every man looking your way. Honey just know, it ain’t the one you dance with, it’s the one who takes you home. I’d fight any man if you’d let me, to win back your heart. Saying you sometimes still want me, only deepens the scar. There ain’t nothing better than loving the one that you love. Chasing the fire of a fling, will never be enough.* I tell myself there’s a reason, you still come around. But the high can only wake up, to the coming back down.*
5.
*I'm living inside an old, old story, I go there each night in my mind. Then I wake up this side of purgatory, the truth alone is keeping me alive. I can see my kitchen, mama turning out the lights, a vision so clear, that's my only alibi. That's the last thing I recall, and it's their word against mine. I was sleepy but I know I made it home that night.* The jury box was packed, play your hand as it lies, two witnesses both said they saw the blood on mine. I tried to wash it off, I even smelled the lye. I'd never seen that woman or that house in my life, and for all I knew that blood could've been mine.* Well the warden is kin to the judge, and the warden was the groom to that bride. But the warden don't know my mother came for visitation, and my mother was there that night. But they threw her off the stand, cause they framed the wrong man, and the warden had a skeleton to hide. So I stare at four walls and creep towards madness, and now I wait for them to take my life. Then there won't be nothing to hide.*
6.
I was still wet behind the ears, naïve and not so stable, when I saw a good looking woman, dollar bill dancing on a table. I gave her my jacket and I took her hand and we headed out into the night. Left town behind so we could see the stars, she said it was her first time *She’s never been with any other man, she thinks That I hung the moon. I live by the rule of low expectations, gonna marry that girl come June. It was our second date, took her down to the tank, with peanuts in a pop bottle. Toting fishing poles and holding hands, had the country boy charm full throttle. I saw her bare back running down to the water, where had I seen this before? Like blowing ashes off of coals, can’t get much hotter, I don’t care I just want some more.* Put on your best dress so you can take off your best dress, pretty mama just say it with your chest. I wanna feel your breath wanna feel your caress, here’s my body can ya put it to the test.*
7.
Dirty Hands 04:28
My uncle's been cooking since before I was weaned, and he’s even still got some of his teeth. I prayed to God I’d get out before the financial share fell on me. Thumbed a ride to west Texas at age 17. Sometimes, to grow, you just have to leave. I still have the shakes but I think I’ll piss clean. That black gold’s gonna save my family. *I can’t understand how dirty hands help keep your nose clean. The vulture's still circle our house but now there’s no need. I miss my uncle some days, but he’s there in the yard where my sister's play. I’d break my back to keep that way of life, in the ground with him Money went dry with my uncle's supply, we just sat there on the couch, high. Too many debts to all the wrong guys, and they put lead between his eyes.* This tall city sure ain’t for the weak, makes you want to take the money and leave. Couldn't get out before it got me, this oilfield can break your mind and body. I thank God that dirty hands help keep a man clean. But the devil's there at the door, and now his name's codeine. I miss my uncle some days, but he's there in the yard where my sister's play. I'd break my back to keep that way of life in the ground with him.
8.
went to the gypsy, get my hambone done, gypsy said johnny now ya, sure need one. must I holler, must I shake 'em on down? well so tired, so tired and hungry, believe I'll shake 'em on down. woke up this morning with the risin' sun, train don't work gonna be some walkin' done must I holler, must I shake 'em on down? well so tired, so tired and hungry, believe I'll shake 'em on down. cream that corn, score the chard, work 'at churnin' til the butter come must I holler, must I shake 'em on down? well so tired, so tired and hungry, believe I'll shake 'em on down. I ain't good lookin' baby, ain't the clothes I wear. But good kind treatment sure take ya anywhere. must I holler, must I shake 'em on down? well so tired, so tired and hungry, believe I'll shake 'em on down.
9.
I have the Lord, and the sickness in my chest. Which one will prevail? Will they both send me to my rest? *When it comes my time, when it comes my time, I won't go gently, I'll put up a fight, I'll be ready when it comes my time. Does a man really live, if he's afraid to die? I ain't afraid of nothing, gotta get on with my life.* Tell my family, to live is Christ. I'd move heaven and earth for them, to keep them alive.* 'Til they all know my savior, I won't be ready to die. 'Til every knee bows, I just can't leave now, Lord use me in this plan of thine.*
10.
Some folks say that way of life is dead. But while they had the funeral, we branded 30 head. The water table's dry, no clouds in the sky. But somehow, we still get by. Like Don Quixote and a knight in shining armor, rodeo and a cowboy on the range, kid playing in his daddy's clothes, this western holler will never be the same.* They say I'm crazy, I think they're lazy, cause they'd never live out here with me. I just smile and shake my head, cause they don't see what I see. You can see for miles, dirt devil's in the sky, life's a gamble, don't call her bluff. It repels their kind, and they'll never see the diamond, cause life out here will always be rough.* We're the backwards cousin of the Lone Star State, we'll grow that tale even taller. We'll cut our nose to spite our own face, just so we can say "Long live the western holler"* This western holler will always be the same.

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released February 12, 2021

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Jordan Robert Kirk Idalou, Texas

Jordan Robert Kirk is a native of West Texas. Descended from pioneers who first settled Crosby County, and the son of a fourth generation farmer and cattleman, JRK's songs are products of life and heritage, looking adversity in the eye in the forms of drought and hail, dirt devils and tornadoes, dirt cheap commodity prices, and soldiering on year by year. ... more

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