ghosts, rising

by Jesse Berkowitz

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for Joanne and Julia

recorded and mixed by Zachary Berkowitz in Statesboro, GA, August 2012

mastered by Nick Landis for Terra Nova Audio Inc.,
Austin, Texas

art by Rex Slack
©Rex Slack. All Rights Reserved.


released October 28, 2013

All music performed by Jesse Berkowitz and Zachary Berkowitz



all rights reserved


Jesse Berkowitz Austin, Texas

American music, from the land of rivers...

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Track Name: Land of Rivers
Can you believe the stars out here?
The night is wide, and crystal clear.
There are many stories in the glimmer and the glow...
Two sisters rose up to the sky,
As the bear clawed at the mountain side
People become the stars again, you know?

The Seven Cities lay ahead,
Keep following the river bed...
Animal and man are one,
The beating heart is the burning sun...
Across the spreading sand,
The Arkansas, the Rio Grande,
The veins are water, the burning heart is the beating sun.

And it will lead you on
Through the world to the waters end,
It will lead you to the waters end.

Seems it's warm enough to swim,
Cast a line and reel it in,
Float along old Huck and Jim,
What does the the river tell you, Captain?
The summer sun is slow and late,
We're drifting toward the free states
Father Eagle, Sister Moon,
The heart will make us free again soon...

The corps of discovery,
Boundaries, territories
The people belong to the land,
The giving heart, the sharing hand...
Along the turtles back, they weave,
The St. Lawrence, the Tennessee,
The Missouri and the Cumberland,
The people belong to the land....

And on and on,
Through the world to the waters end,
On and on until the waters end.
Track Name: Highway Miles
These billboards here can drive you insane.
Move on over into the passing lane,
Foot on the pedal,
Eyes on the lines
And your mind under control.
There are lies on the radio,
On every frequency that I go to.
Seems they think we must've just forgot about Rock n' Roll.

This great road here leads away from Hell,
Locked my keys in the car, outside of the Taco Bell.
So many words are lingering on,
People say so many damn things...
Exxon, Chevron, Texaco,
Gas station coffee gets you ready to go
Cross the country, through the desert
To the ocean,
With the pain that memory brings.

I'll pay a visit to all those I know,
Sure as the traffic flows
Like stones in a river
We cut a path right across the Great Divide.
To all my friends across this land:
Sing out, walk proud, break down, clap hands!
Some have been through Hell,
Some are doing real well,
Some have given birth,
Some died.

I'm building up these walls
All around it all,
I guess you know.....
I'm building bigger everyday
Trying to get out of the way
And protect my lonesome soul.

The world is moving on,
But I will stay awhile
On the sunlit highway miles,
In the time of youth.
The Earth is passing on.
All things are dying young
But I will carry on
In memory of a quiet time
And simple truth.

Well, the further and faster that you drive
The more you're gonna see of the countryside.
Telephone poles mark the sign of the cross
Along a million miles of wire.
Low on gas and my phone's dying,
Swerving off the road 'cause I keep trying
To send you a message
I made it through Texas
And the hills are on fire...

Over time, mistakes are easy to forget
And then it happens again goddamn it,
How many times will it take to remember?
How many times will it take to remember?
The beauty of change is the highway song,
And all summer we've been singing along,
From California to New Mexico
In the warm heart of September.

It's a long, old road.
My God, where does it go?
Track Name: The Drunken Highway
Let's ride the Drunken Highway
With the moonlight shining down
Let the chains fall from your ankles
Turn away from this town.
Melt down the gold and silver
Throw your letters in the fire
Tear the hinges off the door and
Jump the fences, cut the wires.

It takes a little while
Before the sunshine and smiles
Let's ride the Drunken Highway for at least
a thousand miles.

Let's ride the Drunken Highway
To the moon and to the stars
Shake the chains off of your heart now,
Turn away from who you are.
Pour the ashes from the jar and
Leave the shovel in the ground.
Tell the ghosts to leave you be,
If they try and come around.

I know they understand
In that far away land,
Let's ride the Drunken Highway
Across the ocean, if we can.

The years will go by
But I know we won't mind,
We'll be singing and carrying on.
The campfire light
Will always burn bright,
Let's ride on this highway
'Til the shadows are gone.

Let's ride the Drunken Highway
To the east and to the west.
Past the cities and the people
And the homes that we left.
Pour the whiskey on the wound,
Then go ahead and pass it 'round,
Break the bottle, sing along
To that good old-time sound.

Glory be thy name
Oh you westbound train,
Let's ride the Drunken Highway
'Til we all go insane.

Let's ride the Drunken Highway
So our stories can be told,
How we slayed the mighty dragons
And walked along the streets of gold.
Put the message in the bottle,
Float it on the open sea.
If I ain't here in the morning,
Then you know where I'll be.

All you boys and girls,
All you diamonds and pearls,
Let's ride the Drunken Highway
To the end of this world.
Track Name: Days of the Buffalo
We settled down in the dirt,
Laid our troubles out.
Nothing else around, here in the Great Wide.
Aint no place to hide, under an open sky
All we left behind….cities on fire….
Silver trailers shining, out to the four horizons,
You sit and stare in silence, into the empty miles,
Anger in your eyes….cities on fire…
The space between us, oh so great and wide….

Our kitchen table now
Is like a battleground.
Our words are ghosts, rising
From the wounded and the dying.
You and I had life once, just like these old plains,
Nothing can stay the same.

I look out my window, and I know
This is where the wild herds used to roam.
People rode high once,
And free as the wind blows,
In the days of the buffalo.

Empty space in the way I feel,
Nothing seems as real
As these great stone fields in dust,
They remind us
Of the hard place inside us
That was formed in the wake of broken trust.
These things we do not name
We push unspoken blame
Into the vast expanse
The vivid distance…
And bodies bare, we try
To turn the spark to flame,
But the space between us now,
Full of the cold rain.

Life in this lonely house
Is like a battle ground,
After the war has passed by, and the blood has long been dried,
And flesh has turned to dust, upon these old plains,
And each ghost remains.

And in the wavering heat of the sun
Sometimes I see the wild mustangs run...
But then they disappear
In fields of bleaching bones
Left from the days of the buffalo.

Empty space in the way I feel
I dream a history,
It passes before me…
I see children born in open sun,
And a warm rain fills the canyons….
And then I open my eyes
And try to hold it, before it dies.
And you rise from the edge of our cold bed
And nothing more is said.

We cannot help
But to silently yearn
For what is lost
To return.
The sand will rise and bury all
And no one will know
About the days of the buffalo.
Track Name: Texas
Sure can get lost
On these empty highways,
You can forget who you are
When you wake up somewhere different every day.
I guess I don't believe in God
Though I often feel the need to pray,
Sure can get lost on these empty highways.

Sure can get lonely
In these small towns,
You can forget what it's like
To have a friend around.
When the sun's coming up
And you're just coming down,
Sure can get lonely in these small towns.

They say to live every day
Like it was the last one.
But then you use up everything
And there's still so many more days to come.
Bridges burn so easily
And ties that bind come undone.
They say live every day like it was your last one.

It's been so strange and sad
Through all these many years.
My wildest dreams came true
And so did my worst fears.
If only the ones that are gone now
Were still here...
It's been so strange and sad through all these years.

Sure can get lost on these empty highways,
No sacrifices left and no more debts to pay.
There is little else to be done, and nothing more to say...
Sure can get lost on these empty highways.
Track Name: High Times
One thing I know for sure is I don't ever wanna die.
I wasted too much time
I got to start at the beginning,
I need another life time.
I keep waiting on that song
That's gonna save me.
I keep waiting on that one
Gonna turn it around.

And I know it seems sometimes
Like we got no future left,
And we'll never know if we even ever had a chance.
We got to run away.
We got to run, run away.
We got to run like the devil, run like the wind,
Go out of our minds,
Jump out our skin,
Leave it behind
And strike me blind if I look back.
Can't dream away no more,
We been losing ground
Got to stay high now, no more coming down.

I can't stop now, I got too much speed,
I got the wind at my back.
I got to lose these blues tonight or I don't know what...
These high times in the city lights
Are gonna lift me up.
These bright nights
Are gonna bring me on back to you.
Track Name: The Mountainside
Billy, won't you come home?
What you doin' out there?
That ain't your fight, man,
What you doin' out there?
It ain't so bad here...we got a home out here,
We got land out here,
What you doin' out there?

That ain't your fight, man,
What you wanna die out there for?
Why you wanna die out there
In a white man's war?
It wasn't so long ago
They used to roam through this land,
They used to trample through this land
Killing the Cheyenne.
Now they're trampling over there....
Don't go trampling over there.
They used to run through this land,
Killing Cheyenne.

Your people are here now
They have always been.
Your people are here now.
We have always been.

Sharon's got a baby now,
You can't go traveling over there…
Your mother won't talk to you now,
You can't go over there.
You think you're protecting your family?
No, you're leaving us alone and scared.
That ain't your fight, Bill.
Don't go over there.

Are you bound by some sense of duty?
That sense don't belong to you.
Are you bound by a love of country?
Your country was taken from you.
Your only country is what you see.
Your country was taken from you.
Your only country is this family….

And in a dream I saw you, brother,
You were on a mountainside.
You were covered in blood,
On a mountainside.
A sacrifice
Laying on a mountainside.
Please, please,
Don't go climbing no mountainsides…

Billy, what's wrong with you?
What the hell you tryin' to prove?
They don't need you,
'Round here we need you.
Our fight is not over there
on another peoples land,
Our fight is where we stand.
Our fight is where we stand.

Our fight is trying to survive
In these modern times.
Our fight is to feel alive
In these modern times.
To keep our will alive
In these modern times.
To keep our hope alive,
In these modern times.
Track Name: New Year
Don't burden yourself with these New Year's blues.
All of them old times
Are just old news.
Got to find something better to do,
Than to burden yourself,
Don't burden yourself.

Offer yourself a helping hand.
Go on and tell yourself that you understand.
Go out and get it any way you can,
Offer yourself a helping hand.

Climb on up to the top of the tree
Balance on the branches,
Look out at the sea.
There's different ideas of what it means to be free,
Climb on up, look out at the sea.

There's a new sun rising
and last night dying.
Plenty of time if you make up your mind.
A new sun rising
A new sun rising.
You're not too old yet,
So quit your crying.

Find yourself
A better way,
Don't be listening to what they all say.
Ain't no rules that you have to obey,
Just find yourself
A better way.

Let yourself do whatever you feel.
Don't take no orders,
Don't make no deals.
It is real
If you say it is real,
Do what you want,
Don't make no deals.

Climb on up to the top of the tree
Swing from the branches,
Right into the sea.
Nobody knows what it means to be free,
Climb on up, look out at the sea.