when it's all gone, you come back
scheduled release: march 2010

all songs © shelley miller/whisper to a crowd music (ascap) except
hard love © shelley miller/whisper to a crowd music (ascap) and jeremiah birnbaum (ascap)



Buckle to Burn

There's a knock on the door, I'm counting my way back
From what I mean to what I'll say
There's a hole in the floor that I've worn with all this carrying on
I don't turn in the moon like you wanted me to,
But I shine like the sunniest steel
Buckle, burn just to hold you in

There's a nip in your thigh from the blue vinyl ride down the freeway
There's a scratch down the side
Where the porch took the paint out last week
There's a nest in the eaves, you're dodging and weaving
I don't have the words to say
'Fuck it', and 'I love you' all at the same time

Honey, how I tried to save you,
Honey, how I tried to be the one to fall holding you in
Funny, how I tried to save you, but the best I could be was the buckle
That burned your skin as you slid along
How do, how do
How do you do?

If beer can confessions were the same as affection,
I'd have married you five times this week
But the rings 'round my eyes don't come close to fitting on my finger
Now I'm playing the man, helping you stand
Just to lay you back down again
It's not a promise 'til you crack it open and see the light

Honey, how I tried to save you,
Honey, how I tried to be the one to fall holding you in
Funny, how I tried to save you, but the best I could be was the buckle
That burned your skin as you slid along
How do, how do
How do you do?


Blame the Sky

No one blames the little birds for flying off so fast
No one blames the words when they don't last
No one blames the sun when it's got somewhere else to be
So don't blame me, don't blame me

No one blames the leaves when they go flying off the trees
Leaving all their party clothes scattered in the street
Driving all the girls to laugh as they're running by
If you're gonna blame someone, blame the sky

'Cause I never said this would be nothing
Any bigger than what we already had
I don't blame you for wanting someone
To take your hand, but can't you see I'm not that man

No one blames a sunflower when it grows too tall to stand
And I don't blame that tightrope guy for wanting somewhere soft to land
I don't blame the snow when it starts sticking to my shoes
And I don't blame you, I don't blame you
I don't blame you, I don't blame you


Nadine

Climb the fence behind the high school where the bad boys go
It's too damn cold for them tonight
It's just you and me and the first fall snow

Clockwork of branches ticks the time away, you lay your story down
Skipping words like rocks across a river
Watch 'em close until they drown
Nadine
Nadine
Nadine

You say your father was a weapon and you the target of choice
We spread our coats like blankets over the fire of maple leaves
I curl into the smoke of your voice

Bookbag hard beneath my head, your fingers soft, cigarettes on my tongue
And there is no word for being
This strong and this undone
Nadine
Nadine
Nadine

Bells are ringing, no one's listening
The bells are ringing, no one's listening to you

Must have been a month before you skipped town
Yeah, about a month before
Those boys back there drowned


Hard Love

Snow rolling heavy across the plains
Six more inches by the break of day
Take off your boots and let them dry
You've no more need for them tonight

Smoke from the embers of pinon pine
Unroll the blanket tied with twine
The one you brought from the oil town
Quilted with someone's wedding gown

I know you're bound to leave again
When you kiss my cheek, I can hear the train a rollin'
Hold me and we'll slow it down, fire and snow the only sounds
To keep us from remembering that you're going
That you're going

Break out the whiskey bottled in bond
Sing another mournful traveling song
The one you learned up in C'oeur d'Elane
When the silver miners paid your way

But the mine's run out and your luck's gone dry
Say there might be something Arizona side
So raise your glass for one last round
Roll my stockings to the ground and oh...oh

I know you're bound to leave again
When you kiss my cheek, I can hear the train a rollin'
Hold me and we'll slow it down, fire and snow the only sounds
To keep us from remembering that you're going
That you're going

Cotton sheets and weathered hands
A hard luck woman and a hard love man
Lay your salt against my skin
So I can keep you with me

I know you're bound to leave again
When you kiss my cheek, I can hear the train a rollin'
Hold me and we'll slow it down, fire and snow the only sounds
To keep us from remembering that you're going
That you're going


All the Way Down

In a crooked little house, on a crooked little day
With some crooked little words, you sent my heart straight
Into leaning towards whatever love brings

Maybe it's okay to be okay for a while
In our clumsy little way, a little singing, little smiles
For the way the light catches the birds as they rise from the street

Here in the winter you can see the sun go all the way down
Without leaves, the trees are a windowframe
The sky is a house that we're building with words we don't know
We'll make 'em up as we go

The air fills with busses then the singing of girls
Trailing laughter behind them like scarves
They'll leave in the snow when it's time to go home

Chase me down through the blankets of white
We'llt trace our names in the trees, they'll be gone
When the wind blows, and no one will know

Here in the winter you can see the sun go all the way down
Without leaves, the trees are a windowframe
The sky is a house that we're building with words we don't know
We'll make 'em up as we go
We'll make 'em up as we go
We'll make 'em up as we go


Fool for Loving You

Fell out of the house and into your hands
Diamond promise of the promised land
I took it on faith, I was too young to wait

I was just trying to keep myself warm
Went looking for fire, found a summer storm
It blew me down south, knocked the words from my mouth

I don't know where I'm going but I know that I can't stay
Seven years is more than long enough to try and look the other way
I'd rather be broken-hearted than broken down with you
You call me a fool for leaving, better than a fool for loving you

We built a little house of stone and lies
Just 'cause it's not what I hoped for don't mean it's a big surprise
To watch you set 'em on up, drink your words from the cup

I don't know where I'm going but I know that I can't stay
Seven years is more than long enough to try and look the other way
I'd rather be broken-hearted than broken down with you
You call me a fool for leaving, better than a fool for loving you

Every answer has a question, somewhere down there in that well
Throw your pennies in the fountain, buy your ticket out of hell
Every answer has a question, somewhere down there in that well
Throw your pennies in the fountain, buy your ticket out of...

I don't know where I'm going but I know that I can't stay
Seven years is more than long enough to try and look the other way
I'd rather be broken-hearted than broken down with you
You call me a fool for leaving, better than a fool for loving you


It was Billie

It was late, it was Billie, it was the color of the room
Had us walking, maybe stumbling, surely flying through the room
Fall in the same old chairs, throw the same old cares to the wind
That's how this begins, Mama told me,

'Bout dark stormy nights and the wolf at the door
But she didn't say nothing 'bout looking at someone
I've seen a thousand times before
How the red in the wine might bring out the blue in his eyes
Leave me wanting more, and more, and more, oh, oh, oh

Cold comfort is the company I've come to understand
But if you should find yourself wanting a better friend
Lie here, listen to the music, let me know where you want this to go
'Cause I can't keep pretending you don't know
No, I can't keep pretending anymore


5 a.m. Western Ave.

Standing on the corner, waiting for the morning to find me
Lean my head on the bus stop 'til the wind winds me up
And I can speak the way I should, the way you wish I would
When I come to you, when I come to you

It does no good to grieve if you never leave the past behind
It does no good to leave if I never get you off my mind
Keep packing boxes just to take 'em on down the line
It's good sometimes to cry
Baby, it's good sometimes

Standing on the corner, waiting for the morning to find me
Lean my head on the bus stop 'til the wind winds me up
And I can speak the way I should, the way you wish I would
When I come to you, when I come to you

Have it out again with a ghost behind the bar
Turning riddles, dripping whiskey on the floor
Sometimes you come undone no matter how hard you tie the knot
It's good sometimes to want
Baby, it's good sometimes

Standing on the corner, waiting for the morning to find me
Lean my head on the bus stop 'til the wind winds me up
And I can speak the way I should, the way you wish I would
When I come to you, when I come to you

Try to say my name but the words all come out wrong
You're tired of playing games, well which side are you playing on
Tried to pick the lock but the card slipped on through
It's good sometimes to lose
Baby, it's good sometimes to lose
You know it's good, it's good sometimes to lose
You know it's good sometimes

Standing on the corner, waiting for the morning to find me
Lean my head on the bus stop 'til the wind winds me up
And I can speak the way I should, the way you wish I would
When I come to you, when I come to you


Figure it Out

Find the time to spend the dime and pace the floor
Find your heart's got an old expiration
Pat it down and plot the line from where you're crying
Right across all the stars in the pavement

All your broken relations are laying their bets
In veiled exhaltations and forgivenesses too cruel to forget

You've got to figure it out, you've got to figure it out
No expectations, no worries, no doubts
Figure it out

Wind the twine around the time it took to say goodbye
Tie the knot and pull it like a toothache
In the blurry afternoon, the yellow living room
Reminds you of the times that trip you like a suitcase

All your packing and leaving and pretty regrets
It's a fine line 'tween grieving and learning you didn't know best

You've got to figure it out, you've got to figure it out
No expectations, no worries, no doubts
Figure it out

Where you running to now?

Figure it out
You've got to figure it out
No expectations, no worries, no doubts
No expectations, no worries, no doubts
No expectations, no worries, no doubts
Figure it out, figure it out
C'mon and figure it out


Wait for You

Someone's gonna weep, someone's gonna wait by the phone
Someoone's going down on her knees, someone's going out for a smoke
Someone's gonna drive too fast
Try and lose a love that was never there for the asking
Someone's gonna slow down and wait for you
Someone's gonna slow down and wait for you

Some say they have all the answers, some have nothing but time
Some love for the danger and some for the kindness they're trying to find
Some are trying to lose the past
Some are trying to make their losing thing last
Someone's gonna slow down and wait for you
Someone's gonna slow down and wait for you

Some day, we're all gonna learn how to shine
Some day, it won't hurt this much
That you couldn't be mine

I don't know any secrets, I don't know any signs
Mostly, I just try to keep to the softer side
'Cause I know I'm going to fall far more than I fly
If I keep running towards the truth
And I know that someone will wait for you
Someone's gonna slow down and wait for you
Someone's gonna slow down
And wait for you


I Don't Mind

Tell a little secret, tell a little lie
Take it easy, take your time
I don't mind, I don't mind
Kiss me like that, honey baby, I don't mind

You say you don't know what we're doing
Well, I can give you a little clue and tell you
I don't mind, I don't mind
It might not be forever but it sure feels good tonight

You and me, all night long
Singing each other silly songs
When the morning comes, the sun will jump in bed with us and fill us up
With more love, more love

Then we'll sit out on the stoop
Watch the pigeons fly off the roof
And I won't mind, I won't mind
I could sit anywhere with you, baby, I wouldn't mind

You and me, all night long
Singing each other silly songs
When the morning comes, the sun will jump in bed with us and fill us up
With more love, more love

Then we'll sit out on the stoop
Watch the pigeons fly off the roof
And I won't mind, I won't mind
I could sit anywhere with you, baby, I wouldn't mind
It might not be forever, but it sure feels good tonight
And I could sit anywhere with you, babe
And I wouldn't mind


Texarkana

When I was a young man, I set fire to my veins
Made love to every neighbor's girl through my bedroom window
And after all the lights went out, me and all my friends
We'd go flying out of town

Dig myself a grave so deep, ain't no one gonna find me
Pray the lord my soul to keep with the devil right behind me
And there ain't no angel gonna give me wings tonight
If I fall down

Texarkana dirt beneath my fingernails
Tired highway razoring my arms
Going ninety-five with nowhere left to get to in a hurry
We were young, we were something, we were ours for a little while

And I learned to smell trouble from a long way off
I just never thought to pay it much attention
Always turned to fight instead of look the other way
In truth, I never quite got that damn monkey off my back

Tearing hard out of every parking lot
Keep it hidden, it's not the way I thought it would be
Living just to mark the passing time
Until I fall

Now I'm holding onto everything with nothing in my hands
Keep feeling for my angel wings,
There's nothing but the mattress and the wind
At my back, as I go flying out again

Ooh, yeah
Ooh, yeah
Ooh, yeah


Love's Not Crazy

Love's not crazy, love's not cool
Spends most of his nights spinning on a barstool
Spitting out the seeds of whatever he had with you

Love's not patient, love's not kind
Not kicking his feet up, finger on the rewind
Remembering the good times
Most of the time, he's watching the news

Not all those sunny days before you swore him off
How he'd hang around your head like a moth
Skirting the traps
You couldn't catch him so he flew

Love's not blinking, love isn't changing
These days, love's not doing too much rearranging
It's the same old stories, same old furniture, same old blues

Oh, but love isn't looking, love isn't finding
Any reason to beg you to remind him
Love's just out there doing whatever it is love has to do

All those sunny days before you swore him off
How he'd hang around your head like a moth
Skirting the traps
You couldn't catch him so he flew

Love's not crazy, love's not cool
Spends most of his nights spinning on a barstool
Spitting out the seeds of whatever he had with you