Thirty Minutes with Christian Williams

by Christian Williams

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about

The fifth album by Christian Williams, "Thirty Minutes with Christian Williams" is his most personal.

A protest-folk autobiography, it finds Williams applying the moral lessons he's learned to combat religious and patriotic fanaticism and the capitalistic way of life. It's his effort to weather the storm by finding shelter in the simple life and personal relationships he values most.

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"Williams digs into bluegrass in its most basic form, shedding all layers of mannered affectation to create a work that's enormously affecting in its simplicity. To the legions of guy-and-a-guitar albums, he adds one that's mostly about a man and his banjo." - Slant Magazine

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released November 4, 2008

All words and music composed, performed and produced by Christian Williams in Lawrence, KS.

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about

Christian Williams Lawrence

Christian Williams is a self-taught musician, experimental composer, and visual artist. His passion for expression has led him to dabble in a wide variety of music styles, ranging from dark acoustic folk music inspired by the American prairie (his early work), to abstract sound art utilizing acoustic loops and field recordings (his most recent work). ... more

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Track Name: Apple Tree
When I was just a boy the Lord said to me, “Don’t go near that apple tree – secrets hidden in that apple’s meat. Your eyes are 20/20 but your mind is blind so listen to your heart let it be your guide. Your questions will be answered in due time.”

I grew a little more the Lord said to me, “Look up in that apple tree. Look up there and tell me what you see.” I said, “Strong limbs that I long to climb, shade from the sun in the summer time, and apple’s that I fear will make me die.”

When I became a man the Lord said to me, “Climb up in that apple tree. Your faith has earned the answers that you seek. The apple in your hand will reveal the truth and make you reconsider all you thought you knew. So blind or sight: which one will you choose?
Track Name: Holy Roller
Living in the house of the one true Lord is the picture of a king with a long broad sword. The glass is many colors but the king’s skin white, and sheep surround the throne to the king’s delight.
He listens to the word and he understands the plan: God’s given him the world, better use it while he can. He holds out his hand with a smile so bright but there’s fire in his eyes as he squeezes tight.
She listens to the word and she knows her role: Be faithful to her man and the rest will follow. Eve’s mistake was she thought for herself and her sinful choice cast wide the gates of hell.
They listen to the word and they fill up every pew. They’re proud to be among the ones known as the chosen few. They spend their days complaining and looking to the sky, waiting for the holy glow to leave their clothes behind.
Track Name: Same Song
Poor folks holding out hands for bread, sure does make you think: Is their need just greed or a lost paycheck? Will they eat or will the drink? Do you drop them a dime or do you walk on by? Do you trust your best instinct? Well, everybody’s right and everybody’s wrong because everybody’s trying to sing the same damn song.

War’s going on gotta find a real man, sure does make you think: Should he stand flag-wrapped with a gun in his hand or in a suit using words of peace? Do we call the man yellow if he can’t kill a fellow? Should he shoot and never blink? Well, everybody’s right and everybody’s wrong because everybody’s trying to sing the same damn song.

World’s been changing, weather’s strange, sure does make you think: Is it human fumes, factory plumes or nature that’s to blame? Is a tree-hugger’s wish just an evil myth or are we headed for the brink? Well, everybody’s right and everybody’s wrong because everybody’s trying to sing the same damn song.
Track Name: Thin Ice
When the only mirrors that mattered were in our mother’s eyes, and the only words that flattered came from father’s full of pride, success in life was graded by how hard we showed we tried.

When trust in those around us could be garnered by a smile, and we laughed at their disguises like a lonely only child, we lived under umbrellas rigged to flutter inside out.

When faith was more that sleight of hand, and we could clearly see that anything imagined could become reality, we breathed life into legends that won’t die so easily.

When rules were all we needed to determine right and wrong, and gray was only wielded to paint clouds and write sad songs; authority’s been fed by our fears all along.
Track Name: Chaos
Can you hear the people screaming? Listen close you’ll hear them say: We must take the war them – they won’t forget who made them change. We will fight!

Grab your bricks and black bandanas, raise your fist and hide your face. Lock your doors if you’re not with us, revolution’s on its way. We will fight!

Organized thoughts cast aside by hands cuffed to chaos. Who’s strong enough to turn the tide? Who cares enough to save us? Who will fight?
Track Name: Empire
Outpost of a distant crown when taxes made revolt break out; once tyranny, now liberty, conspiracy to make us free. A nation built by those who dreamed of hope and opportunity from fields of slaves to factory graves to soldier’s with their trust misplaced.

Open land where bison roamed, sliced and diced by devil’s rope. Compromised and privatized till concrete boxes block the skies. Dreams once built on banker’s loans: broken, vacant, left, foreclosed. Rich are twitching with the mission to turn it all to subdivisions.

Trace their path from trail to rail, the frontier pushed by souls for sale. Compassion tried for native tribes: “Assimilate, or soon you’ll die! We answer to a higher voice, we’ll take it all you have no choice. It’s still God’s plan for every man who’s blessed to be American!”
Track Name: McCall's Luck
Two men gambling in Puddler’s Hall; one named Gage, the other McCall. And Gage’s cards were hot, McCall’s were not. A man asked Gage, “How you win so much?” Gage said, “skill” McCall yelled, “luck” as the chips stacked up to make a monstrous pot. And just before the winning cards were shown, McCall asked for a most peculiar loan: “Would you lend your luck to me for just one day? You name the price and damn it, I will pay!”

Well Gage sat still and he thought a bit how to make the most off this dimwit, but all he saw were bags ’neath loser’s eyes. McCall just never caught a break, he could kill a cow but he’d burn the steak, and Gage had sympathy for his sorry kind. So he reached down deep in the pocket of his coat and he found the charm he used to boost his hope. Though he knew the badger tooth held no real power, “It might change McCall’s demeanor for a while.”

Gage threw the tooth into the pot said, “You win this hand, my luck you’ve got” and McCall’s pathetic smile lit up the place. “Gage, my friend, you are a fool, because the hand I’ve got will never lose: Gravedigger’s Flush– spades to the Ace!” As McCall stood up to rake in all he’d won, a stranger dressed in black readied his gun. He screamed, “McCall – you owe me for my luck!” And McCall fell dead in a pool of chips and blood.
Track Name: Bowersock Dam
When evening comes I’m heading out, won’t be back until morning. The water’s moving fast for sure and will take you without warning. The air is muggy as a swamp, the stars are prime for wishing, tomorrow we’ll be eating well as long as I keep fishing.

My bait is on the river floor, my line is taut and waiting. And when I see that rod tip bend, no time for hesitating. I hear some action near the dam and then some voices louder. I’m jealous as it’s soon announced, “He caught an 80 pounder!”

My back is stiff so I lay down, my tackle a pillow. The river’s rush lulls me to sleep beneath a weeping willow. And then the rod begins to bend, the hook is set for reeling; I always catch the biggest fish whenever I am dreaming.
Track Name: Free State
It was May 25 back in 1856 when five men paid the price for their hate. John Brown and his sons made a stand for freedom and they cut down those five men with their blades. In those bloody Kansas days, whole towns were set ablaze by some thugs from the state of Missouri. They made money off their slaves while their energy they saved to make sure black folks were never free.

Good men made up their minds to work for their own dimes and made Kansas, their home, a free state. Then the lazy men next door found a cause worth fighting for, but the Jayhawkers showed their mistake. Bushwackers made their mark with a man who had no heart – Bill Quantrill was a scoundrel first class. They took Johnny Reb’s side for with the South they sympathized, but they were just a murderous, thieving band.

It didn’t take too long before Quantrill was gone having met a rather bloody fate. And the Union boys in blue did what they had to do and now everyone lives in a free state!
Track Name: KK Bridge
Hot steel rolling on the river’s flow, drawbridge up makes traffic slow, shirt-sleeves short on a summer’s day while a pigeon couple lounges underneath the gate.
Blue-collared men working down below, guiding the wheel and watching the load; white collared men complain in line while the pigeon couple struts with the bell in time.

Big Poppa pigeon and his watchful eyes keeps tabs on Momma, it’s no surprise. But she’s wandering from her mate and flirting with the wrong side of the gate.

The load below is moving right quick but the suits up top are having a fit. One throws his phone on the seat in disgust, mutters to himself and starts to cuss.

While men in cars loosen their ties, Momma pigeon has her eyes on the prize. It doesn’t take long before she finds that gap and jumps in between it looking for a snack.

Before Poppa figures out something’s wrong, the gap closes up and his lady is gone. Slabs come together and the bridge is flat when Poppa figures out where his lady’s at.
Track Name: A Breeze Between Two Trees
Listen to me my flesh and blood these words full of hope once gave sight to the blind who wandered less to see straight past the grave:

Depend on the ones who come in love, be sure that you keep them close. Know that the places they’ve come from were left so that you may grow.

Believe in these roots when you are young to guide you as helping hands but don’t look for them to lift you up - you must trust yourself to stand.

Reach through the clouds to touch the sun and learn from the burn it makes. Stretch out your arms just far enough to know where they might break.

Defy your fears, deny your doubts – they’ll keep you from growing tall. And though the ground will take you back, the truth is we never fall.

Listen to me, my flesh and blood, these words full of hope still give sight to the blind who wander less and know that we long shall live.
Track Name: Born Again
Sometimes I think of the summer that you took a chance on me, saw what the rest couldn’t see. I worried you’d find out my secrets but you said you already knew – the past didn’t matter to me. So I opened my heart one more time and you filled the lonely holes inside. You showed me the world through a new pair of eyes. What once was dead is now alive.

Maybe that makes you my savior, though you’d never say you’re that. You make me a better man. And now that we stand here together, before we say I do, these promises I make to you: I’ll defend and protect you with all that I am; Whenever you’re down, I’ll help you stand; When all you need is an ear, I’ll give you that and my hand; I’ll honor you more than any other man can.

I love you, I love you, I love you – I do. I’ll love you, I’ll love you, I’ll love you – I will.