Bright Lights, Long Drives, First Words

by Nora Jane Struthers

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1.
It’s nice to be back home I like eatin’ breakfast with my own spoon and my own cup It’s nice to be back home I like looking out the window in my room, at my own grass It’s time to cut it down You’re sleepin’ in the bed that I woke up in Maybe I’ll lay back down When you wake we can finally make love and Laze around Oh, it’s nice to be back home It’s nice to be on the road I like the feel of the wheels as they bump and roll, carry us on It’s nice to be on the road In every town we meet people who help us out Say they like what we do You’re always sleepin’ in the bed that I wake up in We seldom lay back down There’s hardly ever time to make love or Laze around Still it’s nice, out on the road It’s nice to be in your arms Hard to believe after all of my wrong turns, I got it right It’s nice to be in your arms Close my eyes and forget which flesh is mine It’s all ours You’re sleepin’ in the bed that I woke up in Maybe I’ll stay right here Kiss you out of your dreams, make love and, Hold you near Oh, it’s nice here in your arms Oh, it’s nice to be back home
2.
I feel like my old self I been feelin’ well Like there’s nothing I can’t fight I’m running like a hound dog Soaring like a hawk Got my dinner in my sights I feel like my old self I tried that thing for a while That thing where you don’t care about nothing at all I’ve laid in the bottom of a grave Waiting for the soil to begin to fall Now I feel like my old self I feel like my old self I been feeling well Like there’s nowhere I can’t go Heart’s humming like a jet plane Mind’s silent as a submarine Nowhere’s too high or too low I feel like my old self I tried that thing for a while That thing where you watch through the window of fear As you pay every dream that you make For a promise that will fade, then disappear I feel like my old self I been feelin’ well Like there’s no one I can’t love I’m softer than a CareBear Harder than a soldier’s stair Bring on the insults and the hugs I feel like my old self
3.
The Turnpike 03:03
I miss the Turnpike I miss always being right And feeling so sure of everything I miss the diners You know there’s nothin’ finer Than a plate of greasy eggs and coffee served with a wink Oh I, don’t wanna live there now But I, miss my hometown I miss the boardwalk The way that boy talked He smelled like the ocean, tasted like cigarettes Wish I could see my friends Living the dreams we dreamt Two dogs, two kids, a mortgage instead of rent Oh I, don’t wanna live there now But I, miss my hometown I miss the trains They treat us all the same On the five o’clock, drink what you want in a brown paper bag Sometimes I miss the candor Down here it’s all manners Where I come from, people mean what they say Oh I, don’t wanna live there now But I, miss my hometown It’s the hard way they talk and their easy frowns Oh I miss my home It’s the hard way they talk and their easy frowns Oh I miss my hometown
4.
A Good Thing 04:32
I know a good thing when it comes around I feel fine fortune when it’s staring me down If I could hold here in this moment and stay Would I be contented if life never changed I’ve lived in sorrow I’ve slept in pain I know there’s nothin’ can stay the same I’ve danced with sorrow I’ve slept in fear I know a good thing’s too good to stay here In the quiet of the morning, the clothes are all clean The kettle is puffin’ out big clouds of steam You’re in the kitchen with a mug in your hand This might be the happiest I’ve ever been I’ve lived in sorrow I’ve slept in pain I know there’s nothin’ can stay the same I’ve danced with sorrow I’ve slept in fear I know a good thing’s too good to stay here So I breathe real slowly, try not to stir The atoms around me or God’s wrath incur Burn every moment I can in my mind So I can come back here when life’s not so kind I’ve lived in sorrow I’ve slept in pain I know there’s nothin’ can stay the same I’ve danced with sorrow I’ve slept in fear I know a good thing’s too good to stay here I’ve danced with sorrow I’ve slept in fear I know a good thing’s too good to stay here
5.
Slow Climb 03:31
We’re on this slow climb It’s a slow climb All I need is your hand in mine On this slow climb It’s a slow climb All I need is your hand in mine You can be fooled by somethin’ shiny and bright Looks like a rising star; it’s a fallin’ meteorite Some folks think they ain’t got the time But there ain’t no other way But this slow climb It’s a slow climb All I need is your hand in mine On this slow climb It’s a slow climb All I need is your hand in mine I’ve seen signs for a secret short cut For a fast-track lane; for help out of a rut I’ve seen my friends turn a nickel into a dime But they all end up right back On this slow climb It’s a slow climb All I need is your hand in mine On this slow climb It’s a slow climb All I need is your hand in mine Now that I know we’re in it for the long haul I ain’t worried ‘bout the pace; no one can make me feel small For being right where I am Where I am is just fine I keep inchin’ forward every day On this slow climb It’s a slow climb All I need is your hand in mine On this slow climb It’s a slow climb All I need is your hand in mine All I need is your hand in mine All I need is your hand in mine We’re on this slow climb
6.
I ain't gonna choose No one can make me I want it all Cornbread, porch swings, flat tires I ain't gonna choose No one can make me I'm holding fast to all of my desires I want it all I want it all I want it all I ain't gonna choose No one can make me Bright lights, long drives, first words I ain't gonna choose No one can make me I'll swim with the fish; I'll fly with the birds I want it all I want it all I want it all I want it all I want it all I want it all
7.
I’ve read the tomes, heard the tales I knew the way; I would not fail Packed a bag; kissed friends goodbye Galloped away, hopes shining bright Across the waving prairie grasses Over the snowy mountain passes Kept pushing west; I traveled hard I was almost there; I could smell the salt Far away in Death Valley There is one way to catch a phoenix You’ve gotta cut out your heart and just leave it On the ground Can’t crawl away or hold your breath No matter what don’t stitch-up your chest Just gotta wait and hope your heart Beats strong enough to be heard from afar And so I sat back to the sky On the white salt flats waiting to die What’s that I hear? It hums and sings Across the air; the noise of wings Far away in Death Valley There is one way to catch a phoenix You’ve gotta cut out your heart You’ve gotta cut out your heart When it comes, if it comes, it might not choose you You’ll watch the beast, touch down and feast on the tender heart you grew It leaves behind the seed inside, flies away, far out of sight You’re left alone to bleed and cry There is one way to catch a phoenix You’ve gotta cut out your heart You’ve gotta cut out your heart I had to wait for twilight’s dim To find the glowing seed within The gruesome swirls of red and white My only hope this tiny light Legend proclaims the heart seed must Be set aflame and quickly thrust Back from whence it came and sewn up tight From this tiny grain, may sprout new life
8.
The Hunger 04:14
I’ve been hungry since I rolled into town Teeth in the grass, dreams in the clouds But no one here likes staring into starving eyes Pull off your face, put on this disguise Through the heat, through the freezing rain Fueled by belief and the stomach pains In every mistake, there’s a lesson to be leashed Each triumph brings you closer to the feast Don’t let ’em see that you want it Don’t let ’em see that you need it Inside Keep the hunger burning bright Let is lead you through the night Years of saccharine smiles and eyes half glazed You forgot how it smells, how good it must taste The table’s set but you’ve a vacant stare Now you’re content chewing on the air How could you forget that you want it Forget that you need it Inside Keep the hunger burning bright Let is lead you through the night Like a burst of flame inside your mind At once you realize And you seem so surprised Without the hunger everything is bland And yeah, the pain is dulled But that don’t make life grand Inside Keep the hunger burning bright Let is lead you through the night
9.
The sun and the stars are just like you and me are They spend their whole lives trying to fight The cold and lonely dark The cold and lonely dark I was like a candle with the wick cut to close Took pills and booze and trouble and coke My flesh fell away and my fingernails broke But I never could quite touch the flame to the rope The sun and the stars are just like you and me are They spend their whole lives trying to fight The cold and lonely dark The cold and lonely dark Mom was like a shadow at the end of the day She just slowly stretched and slipped away Brother and I were too old to be tamed You know sometimes things go wrong and it ain't about blame The sun and the stars are just like you and me are They spend their whole lives trying to fight The cold and lonely dark The cold and lonely dark
10.
Good Friends 03:41
Don’t live in a big house Don’t drive a fast car Don’t buy the things I want when I go to the grocery store Still sleepin’ on the ground And when I travel round Never pull into the lot of a fine hotel, cause I got Friends I got good friends My good friends, they keep me moving forward Seen her smiling on the screen Gussied-up, eyes beaconing Her world’s sure looking bright; Is it hard to live such a shiny life? We’re down here in the mud Working hard to get unstuck Pull the floor to the pedal Push one more time, we’re too close to settle With my friends With my good friends My good friends, we all keep moving forward I know that things are tough Paycheck just ain’t enough The boys are sick, your wife is tired; You’re fueled by a smoldering fire I would fix it if I could Run on down to Hollywood They’ve got happy endings, but they don’t sell easy living You’ve got friends You’ve got good friends Your good friends will keep you moving forward
11.
We Made It 03:28
We made it to the other side We made it; Lord knows we tried The darkest hour’s right before the sun comes up And it’s a cold night Blackness swirls like the contents of a coffee cup And breaks into light Cause we made it Oh we made it to the other side We made it; I know you tried You were lost and I was all alone But we found our way Now we’re back safe and warm in our home And it’s a beautiful day Cause we made it We still gotta fight Keep right on movin’ Hey - yeah The darkest hour’s right before the sun comes up And it’s a cold night Blackness swirls like the contents of a coffee cup And breaks into light Cause we made it Ooooo Hey aaaay aaaah!

about

We recorded this album while I was eight months pregnant with our daughter Annabell. As I write this she is two weeks away from her first birthday, and I have enough distance to offer some reflections. Control is something that I have always relished and sought, but the making of this album was a different experience for me. Now I feel as if the process of recording this album was practice for relinquishing control, something I am more adept at now that I am a mother. In the studio, I trusted my bandmates, who are my best friends, our truly gifted producer Neilson Hubbard, and myself. I trusted each person and the process. I believed that we each individually were enough and that together we were more than that. Thank you Josh, Drew, Brian, Neilson, and of course, my partner in all things, Joe, for sharing so much time with me, for allowing me to be myself, and helping me cultivate the best version of it. It’s an honor to make music with you and I’m so happy that we have a record of it.

credits

released February 21, 2020

All songs written by Nora Jane Struthers (Blue Pig Publishing, ASCAP)

Produced, Engineered, and Mixed by Neilson Hubbard in Nashville, Tennessee
Mastered by Jim DeMain at Yes Master in Nashville, Tennessee


Nora Jane Struthers - acoustic guitar, vocals, electric guitar on "The Turnpike" and "We Made It"

The Party Line is:
Joe Overton - banjo, fiddle, pedal steel guitar, vocals
Brian Duncan Miller - bass guitar
Drew Lawhorn - drums, percussion, harmony vocals on Slow Climb
Josh Vana - electric guitar, acoustic guitar on Nice to Be Back Home

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Nora Jane Struthers & The Party Line Nashville, Tennessee

Nora Jane Struthers has written "some of the most quietly powerful narratives within the new wave of Americana artists," says Ann Powers of NPR Music. The songs that last decades and weave themselves into the fabric of listeners' lives are usually the ones in which an artist lays her soul bare for the world to hear. Struthers has built her career on these kinds of songs. ... more

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