Some Songs in the Key of Poe

by Mike Lawson & Friends

/
1.
The happiest day, the happiest hour
 that my poor broken heart has ever known,
 The highest hope of pride and power,
 I feel has flown. I feel has flown. Oh power, said I? Yes! Long at last;
 But it has vanished so long, ago! Visions of my youth I let them pass. Where did they go? Where did they go? The happiest day, the happiest hour
. My poor and weary eyes have ever seen The brightest glance of pride and power, I feel have been. 
I feel have been. And, pride, what have I now with thee?
 That venom you poured out on me Another brow may it inherit
! I say to me, be still, my spirit! The happiest day, the happiest hour
. That my poor weary eyes have ever seen The brightest glance of pride and power, I feel have been. 
I feel have been. But were that hope of pride and power
 Now offered to me, along with the pain
 Even then I felt, -- that brightest hour
 like I would never live again. For on its wing was dark alloy, 
and, as it fluttered, on down it fell
 A powered essence, to destroy
 A soul that knew it oh so well. The happiest day, the happiest hour
 That my poor broken heart has ever known,
 The highest hope of pride and power,
 I feel has flown. I feel has flown. Words by Edgar Allen Poe Music by Mike Lawson Copyright 2019 - Psychotronic Music - BMI
2.
Time You Go 04:51
Is she patient? Is she kind? Is she a jealous one, does she mess with your mind? Is there pretention, an ongoing tension; that no pretty face can ever erase? Is she real proud, talking long and loud, is her big obsession over all your possessions? If that’s how it feels, that love it ain’t real, it’s time that you go. Does she cause scandal? Does she cause shame? In all that she’s doing, is she hurting your name? Is she self-serving, make you feel undeserving, spending your time like you ain’t worth a dime? Does she get really angry, over nothing at all, and you’re at the end, can no longer pretend? If that’s how it feels, your love it ain’t real, it’s time that you go. Does she keep a list of the things you’ve done wrong? Bring them up to you to make herself strong? Keeping you always, walking on shells, afraid of them breaking, unleashing all hell? Does she cause you worry, trouble and doubt? And you got the feeling that your time has run out? I know how it feels, that love it ain’t real, it’s time that you go. Love it is patient, love it is kind. Love is not jealous, it don’t mess your mind. Love doesn’t brag, love is not proud, it never hurt others alone or in crowds Love isn’t angry, keeps no record of wrong, rejoices in truth that fills you with song Love always protects you, will never neglect you, it’s time that you go. Words and Music by Mike Lawson Copyright 2019 Psychotronic Music - BMI
3.
Alone 03:58
From childhood's hour I have not been As others were; I have not seen As others saw; I could not bring My passions from a common spring. From the same source I have not taken My sorrow; I could not awaken My heart to joy at the same tone; And all I loved, I loved alone. Then- in my childhood, in the dawn Of a most stormy life- was drawn From every depth of good and ill The mystery which binds me still: From the torrent, or the fountain, From the red cliff of the mountain, From the sun that round me rolled In its autumn tint of gold, From the lightning in the sky As it passed me flying by, From the thunder and the storm, And the cloud that took the form (When the rest of Heaven was blue) Of a demon in my view. Words by Edgar Allen Poe Music by Mike Lawson Copyright 2019 Psychotronic Music - BMI
4.
El Dorado 03:38
With gaily bedight, An old gallant knight, In sunshine and in shadow, Had journeyed long, Singing a song, In search of Eldorado. But soon he grew old— This knight oh so bold— And o’er his heart a shadow— Fell as he found No spot of ground That looked like Eldorado. And, then as his strength Had failed him at length, He met a pilgrim shadow— ‘Shadow,’ said he, ‘Where can it be— This land of Eldorado?’ ‘Over the Mountains Of the Moon, Down the Valley of the Shadow, Ride, boldly ride,’ The shade it replied,— ‘If you seek for Eldorado!’ Words by Edgar Allen Poe Music by Mike Lawson Copyright 2019 Psychotronic Music - BMI
5.
How do I , show you I’m sincere? Show you without fear? Show you that I’m strong? And how can I, prove that I’m ok? Not living yesterday? Prove I moved along? I had a lot of dreams once too, we’re not so different me and you I knew I had to let them go, when I awoke and now I know that it’s true Dreaming only makes you blue When do you tell me what you need? What your soul to feed? Tell you I can be? Everything, you’ve been looking for, standing at your door Tell me what can be? I know he hurt you long ago, you know she hurt me, we both know But we’re not living in the past, tomorrow’s always coming fast and its true Dreaming only makes you blue So come around, and listen to the beauty in this song Hold me closer don’t let go, this feeling that ain’t wrong How can you, tell me I’m not right? In what I feel tonight? And you don’t feel it, too? Take my hand, show you understand, I’m that kind of man Tell me what to do It’s easier to let it go, if you don’t hold on tight you know The hardest part was just the fall, it wasn’t landing after all, we both knew Dreaming only makes you blue Words and Music by Mike Lawson Psychotronic Music BMI Copyright 2014 All Rights Reserved
6.
Lo! 'tis a gala night Within the lonesome latter years! An angel throng, bewinged, bedight In veils, and drowned in tears, Sit in a theatre, to see A play of hopes and fears, While the orchestra breathes fitfully The music of the spheres. Mimes, in the form of God on high, Mutter and mumble low, And hither and thither fly- Mere puppets they, who come and go At bidding of vast formless things That shift the scenery to and fro, Flapping from out their Condor wings Invisible Woe! That motley drama- oh, be sure It shall not be forgot! With its Phantom chased for evermore, By a crowd that seize it not, Through a circle that ever returneth in To the self-same spot, And much of Madness, and more of Sin, And Horror the soul of the plot. But see, amid the mimic rout A crawling shape intrude! A blood-red thing that writhes from out The scenic solitude! It writhes!- it writhes!- with mortal pangs The mimes become its food, And seraphs sob at vermin fangs In human gore imbued. Out- out are the lights- out all! And, over each quivering form, The curtain, a funeral pall, Comes down with the rush of a storm, While the angels, all pallid and wan, Uprising, unveiling, affirm That the play is the tragedy, "Man," And its hero the Conqueror Worm. Words by Edgar Allen Poe Music by Mike Lawson Copyright 2019 Psychotronic Music - BMI
7.
Is she afraid to tell me, is she's afraid to say Is she worried that she'll break my heart or I'll beg for her to stay Maybe she’s afraid to show me that she's not that into me Maybe she don't really know me, so tell me how much can she see It ain't nothing but confusion when you don't know what to say Maybe this is an illusion. And it all just fades away. But I swear that I don't feel that now, its not for me to say She could be waiting for tomorrow to say what she thought yesterday All alone in the same room with her, looking in her eyes Waiting for a sign to happen, a little something that belies This feeling that I’m hoping is just me being insecure Are we a little bit nervous, maybe we’re both just a little unsure It’s hard enough to put your heart out there, oh it takes so long Without wondering and worrying if you’re doing it all wrong Hard to read the body language, when you both feel a little scared When you’re carrying the battle scars from some one that never cared Should I tell her that I’m sensing she just wants me for a friend Or will she tell me that I’m just the man that she’s wanting in the end Of a long, slow and painful search, that we both had to start After marching up and down this road, with a weary, broken heart Maybe I should keep this to myself, never let her know That I carry with me doubt and fear; that I should never show Show her that I’m really truly glad that we’re both just sitting here Even going through the motions, I’m just happy when she’s near Words and Music by Mike Lawson Copyright 2019 Psychotronic Music - BMI
8.
Why don't we do it in the road? Why don't we do it in the road? Why don't we do it in the road? Why don't we do it in the road? No one will be watching us... Why don't we do it in the road?
9.
Train I ride, 16 coaches long Train I ride, 16 coaches long Long black train took my baby and gone Train, train, comin' 'round, 'round the bend Train, train, comin' 'round the bend Well, it took my baby, but it ain't coming back again Train, train, rolling up and down that track Train, train, rolling up and down that track Well, it took my baby, but it ain't coming back Train I ride, 16 coaches long Train I ride, 16 coaches long Long black train took my baby and gone By Sam Phillips / Herman Parker Mystery Train / Tiger Man lyrics © Unichappell Music Inc., Reservoir 416, Mijac Music, Hi-lo Music Inc.
10.
I choose to be happy. I choose to be free I choose not to live my life in fear and misery I choose not to worry, I choose to be fine I choose to do anything but sit around and whine​​​​ I choose to be comfortable, living in my skin I choose to be satisfied with the place that I am in I choose to be upbeat, I choose to kind I choose not to let somebody else make up my mind I choose to be careful; I choose not to fall I choose the direction that I’m going after all I choose to be confident, and to never live in doubt I choose to be satisfied when I do without Ain’t giving that power to nobody else but me Ain’t never gonna let nobody else do that you see I choose to be faithful, I choose to be good I choose just to live my life in the way I know I should I choose to surround me with good people I know I choose to be satisfied and to let it show I choose to be honest, sober and sincere Ain’t nobody mess my mind and make me live in fear chose my destination and choose my when and how I choose to be satisfied in the with the man that I am now Words and Music by Mike Lawson Psychotronic Music BMI Copyright 2014 All Rights Reserved

about

Two decades after the release of Mike Lawson & Friends, Vol I, "Ticket to Fly," finally comes Vol II, “Some Songs in the Key of Poe.” In the first volume, his friends included Jorma Kaukonen, Merl Saunders, Joe Louis Walker, Dennis Robbins, and Bob Welch. It was a furiously fast two-decades for Lawson filled with a series of unfortunate events that delayed his follow-up volumes, including the illness and later death of his mentor, Merl Saunders, and three untimely personalized endings chosen by his close friends and fellow musicians Vince Welnick, Stan Rawls, Bob Welch, followed by divorce.

Poe to music is not a new idea. Several artists have recorded musical versions of Poe’s works, even these very ones, though nothing similar to the compositions and not for these reasons. This was a more personal exploration for Mike. The chosen songs spoke to him in a way that related to his life experiences at the time the music was composed, and he recorded what he heard as he read.

“The Happiest Day…” — this poem speaks of a dreary life view that all is over, lost, that life will never be how it was before. In his dealing with multiple suicides, death, a divorce, one can understand how that could seem relatable. But Lawson heard music ironically upbeat, almost akin to the black gospel tones that emanated from the open windows of the non-airconditioned A.M.E. church he would listen to from the street in the small town where he grew up. Poe’s work “Alone” reflects the emotional emptiness of dealing with loss, grief, while struggling to find life’s beauty in among the darkness. In choosing Eldorado, Lawson heard the rhythm and sounds of the Mexican folk style Huapango in his mind, while relating the idea of a quest to finding the legendary city of gold in South America to the absurd difficulty of starting over dating again in middle age, looking for something precious that might not exist. And finally, the last of “some songs” from the album with Poe’s written words, “The Conqueror Worm…” — if visiting a theater to see a play of hopes and fears that ends with horror doesn’t describe dating again, well… he wrote and recorded them as he heard them.

The idea was never to make a Poe album, just explore where Poe took him, and present those places with new songs, wrapped in the poetry that helped Mike make some sense of all he was dealing with. “Time You Go” evaluates love, when to go, when to stay, down to the 1st Corinthians 13 inspired ending. “Dreaming Only Makes You Blue” explores walking wounded into new relationships. And the last original composition, “Alone Reprise (Happy When She’s Near) contains the thoughts, doubts, wondering, and insecurity of restarting in life.

Mike engineered and produced the album near Nashville, Tennessee, doing arrangements, singing, playing guitar, bass, keys, percussion and other parts. The cast of friends includes the return of Fred Bogert (piano, organ, trumpet, bass, 12-string guitar, percussion) and Dennis Robbins (slide guitar), and “new” friends Vassar Clements (fiddle), Vince Welnick (piano), James Haggerty (Bass), Mohammad Jamal Rjoub (string arrangements, violin, cello), Lejoe Young (drums), Mark Lewis (string arrangements, violin, cello), David Pena (string arrangements and violin), Chris Munson (drums), Stan Rawls (bass), Richard McCready (mandolin), Mella Barnes (background vocals), and Aleksandr Remez (double bass). Mike's late friends Stan Rawls and Vassar Clements appear on "Mystery Train, and the late, great Vince Welnick on "Why Don't We Do it in the Road?" These two bonus tracks were recorded sometime between 1998 in Nashville and 2004 in San Francisco.

“This was an album I need to do. I feel like the Howard Finster of folk rock in some ways. I painted here on what I had to work with sonically, in my own time, to convey my thoughts and emotions. I wasn’t trying for fine art for a museum, I just needed to get this out of me. Feels good to do that. Life is good.” – Mike Lawson, 2019

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released September 13, 2019

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Mike Lawson & Friends Nashville, Tennessee

Mike Lawson has, over 30 years, recorded and/or performed together with Merl Saunders, Vince Welnick, Vassar Clements, Pete Sears, Gary Talley, John McEuen, Bob Welch, Dennis Robbins, Joe Louis Walker, Jorma Kaukonen, Phil Keaggy, Jack Casady, Scott Guberman, Dianne Davidson, Noah Wall, Tyra Juliette, Bill Vitt, Rob Wasserman, Michael Cleveland, Phil Madeira, and a host of other amazing friends. ... more

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