"Solace in the Grain"

by Ed Tom

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For this album, I traveled around Indiana for a few weeks and went to a bunch of really cool places I never knew were in this state. I wrote the songs for the disc as a reflection of the trips I took, then I recorded the album in my basement over the course of the next few months.


released December 18, 2010



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Tuba Bloomington, Indiana

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Track Name: Adam and Eve
Adam and Eve were born when God was young as you or me
Well God moved them to and fro
But he dropped them down between the Wabash and the ‘Hio
The Ohio

From the silent waves where the North wind blows
To the scarlet rim of the Ohio
The story of a man and his woman friend
And what went down when they started to sin

Adam and Eve had two sons

When the pioneer brave scouted the land
From the hills down South to the Northward sand
They reported that the bison roamed the fields
And everybody came from around to see

Adam and Eve took their guns

With the Bible and the clothes that was on her back
My grandma took the flatboat the westward track
Up from the hot suns of Carolina
To the cross-roads of America

My grandma’s family took their guns (down the trail they go)
But everybody wanted more

Adam and Eve got in the boat and made for the Westward pier
Adam and Eve got in the boat but they left me here
And as the bison goes and the silence grows
I will disappear
Track Name: Solace in the Grain
You go to work, you go to bed
You don’t let the silence fill your head
You go to school, get educated
Reminds you of all the things that you hated
About your hometown

You call your mom, you’re obligated
Brought up a guy that you may have dated
She said “Well, you better call him up,
If you feel like you lost your luck.”
So you called me
And here’s what I said:

I ain’t here to tell you ‘bout all the things I did
When I was a younger and more foolish man
I just wanna tell you ‘bout why I’m here today
I wanna tell you ‘bout how I found my solace in the grain

So let’s stop, and talk a while
If you feel like it you can smile
Cause all your problems done washed away
Cause I’m gonna show you how to get
Through the grain
Oh, and by the way:

I ain’t here to tell you ‘bout all the things I did
When I was a younger and more foolish man
I just wanna tell you ‘bout why I’m here today
I wanna tell you ‘bout how I found my solace in the grain
Track Name: Nancy Hanks (the Mother)
Nancy Hank lived in a house with her two kids and man
They were just a frontier family trying to make a living on a road
Straight and free of toll
But everyone knows a road like that don’t go nowhere fast

Her kids recalled a later day their mom she loved them all
Walking around singin’ them Bible verses kissing Pa on the lips
She moved her hips
The youngest boy grew straight and tall til he touched the sea

From ballet to bullet her son fought the war
And just like his Mama told him he fought til he reached God’s shore

Nobody knows where the mother drank the milk
Poisoned by the white snakeroot
To the grave she was sent

On the grave raised by the spirit of her martyred son
It reads, “Here lies many secrets left unknown,
And they have grown
Who could have known the stars look so bright here from underground?”
Track Name: Grandfather Tree
Grandfather tree comin’ down on me
My head is in the sand

It’s cold here at night
But hot during the day
Can’t find no clothes to wear

The grass is thick and I wade in it
I saw a raccoon that died in it
Track Name: The Baler and the Bird
Did I ever tell you ‘bout the baler and the bird?

One day a man was out bailing hay
Like he’d done everyday
Since he was a boy

That day the sun was shining high
Not a cloud was in the sky
Bluer than the feathers of the bluest blue jay

The man he wiped the sweat off of his brow
He looked back at the house
With his kids a’playin’ round

Then he looked behind him
What did he see?
A flash of lightning blue
On the old oak tree

There was a blue jay lookin’ at him
He looked back at it and it looked back at him

And the bird said:
“Today when you were out bailing hay
Little did you see
You took my life away from me
With your big machine

Now my friend, listen fast
To what must be done
Will you cease that chirping in the trees
And feed my two young ones”

And as soon as he had come the bird faded into blue
And as one walking through his dream
The man went in for some food

The baler never told no one about that old blue jay
But he fed them birdies every day until the flew away
Track Name: Solace in the Grain (Part Two)
My brother lives for the city nights
Where people drink, they make love and they fight
I went to see him, we walked the streets
Went to a party, found something to eat
And I was happy, but unsatisfied

Because I drove up to Chicago to see the midnight city bright
But the streetlamps stole the beauty from the morning light
So I drove back home again ‘neath the Indiana skies
And I went to bed with a peaceful head ‘neath the Hoosier sunrise

You take the high road and I’ll take the low road
I’ll be in Scottsburg before you
Well me and my true love will never meet again
Cause my baby drank the water from the Wabash
Track Name: Indiana Water Witchin'
Indiana water witchin’
Raise your kids on superstition
Dousing rod goes up and down
It kneels and holy battleground

Tecumseh and the Prophet, his brother and his kin
Built themselves an army to defend their skin
But Governor Harrison and all his army friends
Didn’t like the challenge to their power at Vincennes

So when Tecumseh went away
On one cloudy autumn day
He left his people leaderless
But Harrison was very shrewd
He gathered up his troops
And marched to Tippecanoe

Tecumseh left in charge his brother the Prophet
And if a fight started he was supposed to stop it
But in the morning light he broke his command
He led his people to the battle where they made their last stand

Harrison burned down the village
And pillaged
The last hope the Indians had
I guess Harrison and Tecumseh
Were the same men
Just trying to defend their land

But as for the Prophet, Tecumseh’s brother
Who couldn’t suffer glory given to any other
Deceiver of his people, betrayer of his kin
Their last hope lost to the folly of men
Track Name: Life to me is a Cornfield
Life to me is a corn field
It grows most everywhere
Look out onto your back porch
I bet it’s growing there
You look north, south, east, and west
Try, my little baby, just try your best
But it’s easy, girl, I bet you’re gonna find a cornfield

Well you’re comin’ home from work to a plate of cold
Chicken and an ear of corn that looks like gold
Wake up in the morning to the early church
That’s alright, whatever works for you
But when you get home, I know what you’re gonna do
Open up the fridge, and heat up last night’s corn for you

Life to me is a corn field
It grows most everywhere
Look out onto your back porch
I bet it’s growing there
You count one, two, three, and four
Try, my little baby, just try some more
But it’s easy, girl, I bet you’re gonna find a cornfield

Well you take your little baby out on Saturday night
Pick her up at seven, she looks alright
Take her to the most romantic spot
But it looks like there’s not a whole lot to do tonight
Except maybe watch the cornfields chase the morning light

Life to me is a corn field
It’s growing out of my teeth
It grows up high above me
And it grows down underneath
My arms, hips, ears, and feet
Far better than oats, far better than wheat
Cause life is easy, girl, when life is only a cornfield
Well life is easy, girl, cause life is only a cornfield
Track Name: I Suggest It
I’ve been on mounds so high I thought
Thought that I could touch the sky
I’ve been in ravines so low
I didn’t know where to go

I thought my tree was growing tall
Immune to the sharpest saw
But the autumn breeze
Shook my branches above

So I looked down to my roots
Saw that they were weak
If I did not dig
I would soon fall down

So I digged down,
Down into the earth
For what I found, it was worth it
And I suggest it

Now my roots grow ever deep
Safe like the fortress keep
And the autumn breeze
Don’t chill my soul no more
Track Name: By the Banks
By the banks of the dirty Ohio
I watch as the boats go rolling down the stream
I see them
But I doubt that they see me

If I dove out in the stream
Would it feel the way it seems from the shore?

By the banks of the dirty Wabash
I see an eagle catching fish on the gentle stream
I see him
And I’d guess that he sees me

Well I dove out in the stream
And I didn’t feel a thing at all
Track Name: Spindles and Thread
Have you ever seen the light
In places no other souls will go?
Places under New Harmony snow
Deep inside the grain

Have you ever followed the way
Your shadow paves on a sunny day?
Listened to the words the snail has to say?
Or followed the circles in his shell?

I’ve traveled around my state
Seen things I thought nobody shows
Learned things I thought nobody knows
Just beyond the grain

Impulses led by strings and thread
Spindled about my head
Well gravity holds my body here
But it tears my mind apart