Tools For Working

Making my tools for working
To keep my mind from hurting
And my heart boldly serving
The fate that guides the way

Making my rules for bending
‘Cause the world keeps on spinning
Barely comprehending
But that’s gonna change

Making my truth for knowing
Plant my seeds for growing
Keep my river flowing
Out toward the waves

Poem by Ryan Hughes

Put Down What You Don’t Need

Put down what you don’t need
They make your hands bleed
Feeling topsy-turvy
As they put you to sleep

Put down what you don’t need
You were born to be free
Not running ’round in circles
Begging mister can you please

Put down
Put down
What you don’t need

Put down what you don’t need
Take what you can leave
Locked up in your mind
And easy to believe

Put down what you don’t need
Pray your soul to keep
Instead of listening to
Every demon in your dreams

Put down
Put down
What you don’t need

Put down what you don’t need
You can tame the beast
Living in your heart
Making love a disease

Put down what you don’t need
Don’t forget to breathe
Try to help your neighbor
And practice what you preach

Put down
Put down
What you don’t need

Lyrics by Ryan Hughes

Somebody Else

All I ever want to do
Is get high in the afternoon
Sleep the morning away
And forget about my blues
But there’s just too much hassle
Everyone’s waiting for their death
So they pretend to be somebody else

They all know what you’re good for
But that’s not what they expect
They talk about their freedom
But they don’t give no respect
They can be killed with kindness
That’s true I guess
But pretend to be somebody else

I expect an honest answer
But your words sound insane
Your smile is deceiving
And mine is just the same
I would tell you what I think
But you’d say I’m going to hell
So we pretend to be somebody else

You’d like to listen closely
But there is nothing to hear
I know you want a reason
But there isn’t one to give
Hope is just a word
Even when your soul is for sale
So we pretend to be somebody else

Time is like laughing
But when its gone the jokes on you
Nothing lasts forever
Except telling the truth
Love is good to some
But forgets whoever is left
To be pretend to be somebody else

Never knowing what to believe in
Because the truth is so complex
Once you get your peace of mind
You don’t want nothing else
Just be good to all mankind
And forget about the rest
But we pretend to be somebody else

Tomorrow is a long time
Yesterday is now a dream
You find a little wisdom
But today it can’t be seen
Life is never easy
And that’s the story I’ll tell
So why pretend to be somebody else

Lyrics by Ryan Hughes




Down In The Hole

This is an old video of me and my friend Paul Linden on harmonica performing a Tom Waits tune, “Down in the Hole.” No matter your view of Satan as a literal or metaphorical being its still important to know that evil exists within all of us and we can accept it and conquer it with the forces of good. Singing about these feelings is a great way fight back against them.

Down In The Hole written by Tom Waits

River Take My Heart

River take my heart
Flow me to the sea
Turn away my weakness
Twist away my grief
Roll me down the mountain
Rest me on your shore
Hold me in your comfort
Cleanse me evermore

River take my heart
Many miles from here
Ripple my reflection
Wash away my fear
Hide me in your darkness
Cover me with your soul
Wind me on a path
That will make me whole

River take my heart
Caress me in your dreams
Smooth away my edges
Break me at the seams
Bind me in your power
Release your love within
Test me in your sorrow
So I learn how to live

Poem by Ryan Hughes

Fathers and Mothers

My fathers father was abandoned it seems
So in turn my father abandoned me
My mother left stranded by the edge of the sea
A sea made of anguish and misery

And the waves they roll
Both night and day
And they took my soul
When I came of age

My mothers mother was always in need
So in turn my mother was the best she could be
Me and my brother heard how she screamed
And prayed at the altar for him and me

And the prayers they call
Both night and day
They take their toll
Then fade away

Poem by Ryan Hughes

I Believe

I believe in the white line on the highway
I believe in the light that shines the way
I’ll rest when I get to the horizon
Make my bed on a hillside in the shade

I believe in the chaos of surrender
I believe in the faith that takes its place
I’ll help when I get there my companion
Take a breath and hold you in the rain

I believe in the living and the dying
I believe in the tune that hums and fades
Tame my heart with a calm, cool feeling
As I sing sweet songs of your embrace

Poem/Lyrics by Ryan Hughes

Memory of You

My memory of you is one where we never met
My path to you is one without regret
I wade through the water and I feel the sand
Slipping away through the palm of my hands
My memory of you is one where we never met

My journey to you is one where I don’t pretend
To be someone else instead act like myself
I move through the shadows and call out your name
Only to find that I’m in a dream
My journey to you is one where I don’t pretend

The pain I feel comes from something I said
Without your love I know I just don’t exist
I reach through the darkness to find empty space
Right there beside me where you used to lay
The pain I feel comes from something I said

Poem/Lyrics by Ryan Hughes

Nothing’s Free

Set me on solid ground
Make a home and lay me down
I want to feel like I’m living now
But I keep wondering how

When I pray
I’m not really me
In this life
Nothing’s free

Break my bones and test my soul
Left alone to slowly grow 
I want to feel like I know the way
To get along with what I say

When I rage
I’m not really me
In this life
Nothing’s free

Poem/Lyrics by Ryan Hughes

To Be A Man

He’d go from laughing to crying then screaming in vain.
Then stand up and say trying to proclaim that he’d never do it again.
Then he’d forget or just couldn’t quit ’cause the next day he’d do the same.
He does what he can to understand trying to be a man. 

He’d turn and say I wish I could play and remember what its like to be a kid.
So much time has passed that the memory doesn’t last so he keeps those feelings hid.
Then his heart turns cold and his hands won’t hold anything that could help him stand.
He does what he can to understand trying to be a man.

He deals with the pain of mistakes he’s made by thinking of what went wrong.
With each step he takes he contemplates whats already written in stone.
He wants to be kind and find peace of mind and tries hard not to pretend.
He does what he can to understand trying to be a man.

Poem/Lyrics by Ryan Hughes

For Justin Townes Earle

I saw you in the light
A couple different times
Not a pretty sight
But I hung on every line

You sang about the pain
Of living a hard life
Waiting in the rain
For something to work out right

I left feeling ready
To take on the world
But my hands weren’t steady
And my mind wasn’t sure

Who am I to say
What you should’ve done
Something in the way
That kept you on the run

Nothing’s gonna change
The way I feel about you now
Your guitar kept the pace
But your heart slowed it down

Poem by Ryan Hughes
Based on my memory of seeing Justin Townes Earle perform

Cravings

Having cravings to be wild and crazy
Go out raging with no question of maybe
Stake my claim on a certain kind of lady
Bury my dreams because nothing can save me

The things I used to do
Still give me the blues
So everyday I have to choose
Between living a lie or telling the truth
Its up to me not up to you

Having cravings to be drunk and lazy
Go out stumbling with no direction or safety
Take the blame for everything that is shady
Hurry my schemes so everyone will hate me

The things I used to do
Still give me the blues
So everyday I have to choose
Between living a lie or telling the truth
Its up to me not up to you

Lyrics by Ryan Hughes

Roll Away The Stone

The story I will tell
Has been around forever
But I never knew it well
So I’ll do my best
To describe the endeavor
Of a man trying to conquer hell

Cause you know what its like
To walk the hill of Calvary
And you know what its like to walk alone
Here I stand with a wish
Of laying down beside you
But I’m left to roll away the stone

The glory that he shared
Can keep us all together
Even though we removed the nails
I’ll do my best
To keep my soul tethered
To a man and the promise that he kept

Cause you know what its like
To walk the hill of Calvary
And you know what its like to walk alone
Here I stand with a wish
Of laying down beside you
But I’m left to roll away the stone

Lyrics/Poem by Ryan Hughes

Light and Dark

To live in the shadows
And forsake all that matters
Will burn your soul to dust
To live in the sunlight
Redeemed by whats right
Can turn your soul to love
But you can’t pull apart
The light and the dark
Only know that they’re infused
From here to the sun
And the great beyond
We’re made of the same things too

Poem by Ryan Hughes

At the Hands of Men

Broken blinds on the window
The grass is turning brown
It ain’t rained in a month since Sunday
Folks are leaving town
If you got some money
You got a place to run
But I’m stuck here in the country
‘Cause I ain’t got none

A story was told long ago
I can’t remember when
About how at the hands of men
The world would end
Nobody wanted to listen
They looked the other way
Only to live knowing
That death they can’t escape

I hope I see tomorrow
These days you can never tell
The devil burned down the church house
Jesus went to hell
I don’t remember being angry
Or ever being scared
But now I know we were wrong
And there is no love to declare

The train don’t run through here no more
Its dead and destroyed
The town preacher stole its gold
And blew up everyone on board
It made a lot of folks mad
But I wasn’t surprised
I would have done it myself
But gold ain’t worth people dying

Nature has no fear
Even while she dies
We take too much from it
And leave nothing behind
Maybe there is an answer
But will come when we’re gone
This war fought with a nuclear bomb
The next with sticks and stones

My grandpa built this house
Many years ago
And its been many years
Since he walked the earth
I want to keep it alive
Its stronger than it ever was
But the wildfire is moving north
And that is where we are

Everybody is praying
And hoping too
That what they’re seeing
Ain’t coming true
Everybody gathering
Two of everything
Flood moving across the land
But of fire and not rain

Poem/Lyrics by Ryan Hughes

Belly Full

He fills his glasses to the brim
He gets his belly full
He throws his money all around
And calls everyone else a fool

He never questions what he says
Because he’s never wrong
He never questions what he thinks
Because there’s nothing there at all

He speaks of noble deeds
Has superstitious ways
Turns his head at the woes of man
And calls it all fair play

He is a master of war
And we are his warrior slaves
Sent out to handle the treacherous world
While he lies at home in his bed

He owns the world and all it brings
And throws it from his hands
Never closer to himself
Or any other man

Poem by Ryan Hughes

Nothing to Lose

Nothing to lose, but losing
Nothing to choose, but freedom
No time to waste
I know you can relate
Nothing to lose, but losing

I can raise hell in this town
I can stay home and be loud
I can run away
Or sing and play
Nothing to lose, but losing

You can gain the whole world
All its gold and its pearls
Women and men
At your command
Nothing to lose, but losing

All that flows is flowing
The world turns without knowing
All that ends
Somewhere else begins
Nothing to lose, but losing

Nothing to lose, but losing
Nothing to choose, but freedom
No time to waste
I know you can relate
Nothing to lose, but losing

Poem by Ryan Hughes

Something Tells Me

Something tells me I’m doing good
The sun is shining like it should
I wouldn’t change it if I could
Something tells me I’m doing good

Something tells me its alright
To sleep all day and play all night
Stumble home in the morning light
Something tells me its alright

Maybe its luck
Trying to last forever
Maybe its the gods and fate
Trying to work together

Something tells me I’m doing fine
My heart is beating and keeping time
My mind is looking for all the signs
Something tells me I’m doing fine

Maybe its a dream
Trying to last forever
Maybe its love and hate
Trying to work together

Something tells me I’m doing good
The sun is shining like it should
I wouldn’t change it if I could
Something tells me I’m doing good

Lyrics/Poem by Ryan Hughes

Ready and Waiting

Ready and waiting
Don’t hesitate saying
Whatever comes to your mind
I’m lonely and listening
‘Cause I’ve been missing
Your lips touching mine

Ready and waiting
I’ve been praying
Our love will turn out right
Tearful and broken
Stuck on the notion
That you’ll be coming back tonight

Ready and waiting
Anticipating
Whatever brings me delight
Prideful and shameless
Reckless and aimless
It was you who showed me the light

Poem/Lyrics by Ryan Hughes

Until

I never was polite
Or knew a saving grace
I never knew sight
Until I saw your face

I never was grateful
Or found a peace within
Always feeling hateful
Until I let your love in

I never knew magic
Or believed in a soul
Life was always tragic
Until you made me whole

I never knew fun
Or how to ask for help
Always on the run
Until you saved me from myself

Poem by Ryan Hughes