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by Christian Williams

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I think of Charlie, every now and then. He was a simple man and he was my friend. Loved the Lord read his Bible everyday. But then his wife died and he began to change. They lived happy in a shack along the creek. Their love enough to plug the holes and leaks. But then her runny nose became a nasty cough and Charlie prayed to heaven up above: "Dear Lord, I love you - please don't let her die! I'll be alone without her at my side! I'll be your servant, I'll worship every day. Just please don't take my Summer Breeze away!" Two days later, he put her in the ground. He never left his house, never came to town. From reports of many passerby, Charlie's pain rode above the pines. One stormy morning, Charlie let me in. His shack a mess and he muttering, "The Lord give, the Lord take away, the Lord will bring my Summer Breeze, back to me today!" And then a rumble, shook the shack apart. And Charlie stood with wide open arms. A twisting finger, came down from the sky and that's the last time I saw my friend alive.
Broken boards were bobbing. The notes hung in the air, he dropped the red ax handle while with lifeless eyes she stared. He closed his eyelids softly, his mind began to race. The pain throbbed unrelenting like the waves against this place. He met her on the mainland, about two years before. Her eyes were like the ocean - deep, restless and at his door. He asked her hand in marriage, her heart she freely gave. He tended to his duties but the boredom, he couldn't take. He bought her a piano, and dragged it up the rocks. He thought one song would suit her but her fingers never stopped. He heard her notes while working. He heard them in his sleep. He went as mad as she was counting spiders, flies and fleas. She sensed he wasn't sleeping and she told him to relax. She tried to help by playing and he thanked her with his ax. He stared into the ocean and then he closed her eyes. Walked that crooked staircase and he leaped into the night. It stands on the horizon, a light to the distressed. But inside there is darkness and a song that never ends.
Who am I to call you out? Who am I to try? I whisper when I should talk loud and laugh when I should cry. My humble aspirations drown when my lips drip with pride. So, who am I to call you out? Who am I to try? How can I earn your trust when I don't know where I stand? I throw the rope to hold you up but it's me stuck in quicksand. I know my words aren't enough when it's action you demand. So, how can I earn your trust when I don't know where I stand? Who am I to know the truth, to claim the only way? The path that's clear for me, for you, is blocked by barricades. The obstacles that I've passed through may be the peace you've made. So, who am I to know the truth and claim the only way? Who am I to ask about the secrets that you keep? Who am I to pull your mask and show what's underneath? You hold a mirror up in your hands that reflects right back at me. So, who am I to ask about the secrets that you keep?
Henry May 03:54
When he saw the sun was shining and the sky above was blue, he spent the day under the shade and dreamed about the moon. When he woke up to the crickets and the sky above was black, he claimed it was his wife to blame for the day spent on his back. Oh, Henry May - pushed his luck one time too much that summer day. When he sat down at the table and all he saw was corn, he took his heel and pushed the meal clear across the floor. When his wife started crying and her heart began to ache, she took the gun he used to hunt and blew his head away. Oh, Henry May - used his head to paint the kitchen red that summer day. When he reached the gates of heaven and saw the line was long, he bitched and moaned with such a tone he ruined the angels' song. St. Peter heard the ruckus and screamed out through the gate, "Make no mistake, I know a place where you won't have to wait!" Oh, Henry May - it suit him well to burn in hell that summer day. When he stood before the devil and bitched about the heat, a sulfur breeze made him sneeze and knocked the devil off his feet. Ol' Hank was such a nuisance that the beast gave back his soul and sent him up to bug us as a big black cockroach. Oh, Henry May - walked away with four more legs that summer day.
Upstairs 03:22
Through drapes and drops of rain I watched the sky go blue to black. She sighed and slowly closed her eyes while I at her bedside sat. I gazed upon her rosy cheeks and wiped her burning brow. I told her she'd be better soon but dared not question how. The branches bent and swayed as gusts of wind pulled on their leaves. I dozed a bit but woke up with every cough and wheeze. I held her tiny hand in mine and whispered in her ear, "The darkness won't last very long the light will soon be near." A slice of sunlight found my eyes and woke me from my rest. I heard the chirping birds outside but not my darling's chest. I held her hand once more in mine and kissed her on her cheek. I cried but quickly realized that she was finally free.
Oh, times are tough and so are we. Imagine all the possibilities: If we just put our heads together, no more worries - cuz in the school of life we're PhD's. Now your stomach's growling, and honey, so is mine. And we ain't had a square meal for some time. I make no claim to fate's manipulator, but take another look in that refrigerator - PBR and Crackers will suit us fine. Now I apologize for this morning's fuss. But that mailbox of ours has become a dirty cuss. All it ever gives us are bills and fines so I took some dynamite and blew it sky high. Now I think the cops are after us. Now I'm sorry baby, that we're on the lamb. But I thank the Lord you love me for who I am. We're poor criminals and we're hungry as hell but we'll sure have some pretty good stories to tell to our kids or the angels - whichever might come first.
Sweetness, you told me that you'd never leave but now I see you walking on another man's sleeve. Oh tell me how does a warm heart freeze? How does a warm heart freeze? The bar boys warned me that your soul was black and they told me about the hour glass design on your back. Is this punishment for the faith I lack - pain for the faith I lack? I'd pray but I don't know what for. Do I want you to come walking back through that door or is my own well-being to me worth more? My own well being worth more? Over in the corner, laying on a grate is my pappy's reliable .38. Should I let its old blast seal my sad, sad fate - blast seal my sad, sad fate? But then you and him bust through the door and my hands drop the .38 down to the floor as you introduce me to your brother Mort. Nice to meet you Mort. So the next time your girl gets your mind running, to avoid a messy misunderstanding, make sure you've met all of her kin. Every single last one of them.
I think these leaves are talking to me. And they all speak at once as they roll down the street. Ragged and worn like they've just lost a fight and they think I can save them from eternal flight. An autumn breeze lets them rest for a spell and they comfort each other from what I can tell. Refugees by the wheels of my car, they beg me for mercy as my engine starts. And oh, with such pain, they send up the refrain, "It starts over tomorrow, a winter away." Bare branches groan a funeral song and the clouds up above shed their tears before long. A sad procession of squirrels pay respect by patrolling the tree trunk and collecting what's left. The sun shows its face but its visit is brief and it can't hide the fact that it's tired and weak. It turns in early which serves as a cue for the curtain of darkness to fall way too soon. And oh, with such pain, it sends up the refrain, "It starts over tomorrow, a winter away." This window's like my focus these days: reflection at war with indifferent glaze. But when the frost thaws, I can see through to a hillside of snow lit up by the moon. It's times like these that I contemplate how a sled for a shovel is an uneven trade. And I do all I can to pretend I don't care that childhood dreams become grown up nightmares. And oh, with such pain, I send up the refrain, "It starts over tomorrow, a winter away."
Remember the leaves? How they fell at your feet? How you told them to help you hold on? Your eyes whispered "please" as I let go to leave and I ran to catch up with the drum. We both left with smiles from your love and our pride. And our guns shined dark wood and clean brass. But hope can't survive when it's founded on lies and each day is somehow worse than the last. We've counted the years with blood and with tears and we've both felt our fair share of pain. You wait but I fear that you won't be there when I finally come in from the rain. I've tried all I can but you can't understand how I deal with the demons inside. Who's greater the man: the one who still stands or the one whom by my hands has died?
In the barn by the creek, a horse is asleep when the door blows ajar from the wind through the wheat. The moonlight shines in, his brown eyes open and he looks at the stars, each one beckoning. It's only a few steps to take, just one simple move to make and he can't understand what's holding him back. He looks at his home - it's all that he knows. And he fears it's too hard to make it alone. But then he hears a new sound like a drum beating loud and his legs match his heart yearning for different ground. It's only a few steps to take, just one simple move to make and he can't understand why he's not looking back. It's only a few steps to take, just one simple to move to make. If it's right or it's wrong, it's too late he's long gone.
Preacher 02:56
Last night I heard the voice of God. Its tone was sharp and stern. He said I'd sinned and done him wrong that I deserved to burn. He told me he'd seen everything I'd tried so hard to hide. I felt the guilt wash over me - I hung my head and cried. He said, "The rules are plain to see - they're written in my book. But you've ignored the men I've sent who tell you where to look. These selfless men want nothing more than to save your helpless souls. They do my will so they've been blessed with fingers ringed with gold." He said, "My son if you believe, if you love only me, then cast away all earthly gods and give me your money. Choose to live with chosen men and learn to separate those heathen folks from those who know how to show their love with hate." Last night I heard the voice of God - it shook me from my sleep. But it was just the ravings of the preacher on TV.
I Tried 03:23
The shadows are long. The sand's almost gone. Each breeze is the second to the last. These words that they speak mean nothing to me when all that I want is to hold your hand. But oh, when they ask, "Who was this man?" Say I was wrong more than right and tell them with pride that God watched one helluva try. I wasted those years a slave to my fears convinced the truth was just ahead. But then I made up my mind to stop asking why and that's when I finally learned how to live. And oh, when they ask, "Who was this man?" Say I was wrong more than right and tell them with pride that God watched one helluva try.


"Defiant" is a collection of Gothic yarns, toe-tapping lamentations and epitaphs. They come from a place where tornadoes reunite lost lovers, where evil men turn into cockroaches and where the down-and-out still manage to crack a crooked smile and stand with a defiance that only comes when you have nothing left to lose.

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"The musical landscape is in many ways familiar, but it is the subtle swaying between genres, and the judicious variation of pace that keep things interesting. Instead of wearing you down with misery, Williams seems adept at letting things ebb and flow just enough to keep you engaged." - SongByToad.com


released September 1, 2007

All words and music composed, performed and produced by Christian Williams except "Summer Breeze" featuring Andrew Hansen on drums, "Henry May" and "PBR & Crackers" featuring Cale Thibaudeau on banjo and harmonica and "A Winter Away" featuring Cale Thibaudeau on harmonica.


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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 to abstract sound art utilizing acoustic loops and field recordings. ... more

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