Jen Cass
1996-11-23
Jen Cass

Lyrics

I met a balancing man

Walking his tightrope

With a net of sinking sand

And he said

 “I’m gonna make it across

And if I don’t

Well then it’s nobody’s fault

But my own.”

 

I said, “Hey, balancing man

I’d like to help you

Get across there if I can.”

And he said

“I can’t take nothing from you

I hardly even know you

And I’m not gonna

Pull you down too.”

Oh…no

 

But if you’re feeling lucky

Won’t you stay and watch the act

Everyone I’ve ever loved

Already turned their backs

I’m so alone

 

I watched that balancing man

How could I help it

With the way he stepped so grand

When he was

Three stories over my head

Grinning like some Cheshire Cat Already risen up from the dead

Nine times

 

 

 

 

And I was feeling lucky

So I stayed to watch the act

Everyone I came with

Had already started back

I was alone

So alone

 

I take my fair share of risks

I’m no stranger to challenge

Life’s in the balance

 

Stay up there balancing man

The view’s much better of the Mountains you’ve got planned

And there’s no

Dreamers here on the ground

Just no-risk, would-be, hangers-on

Who long ago

Came tumbling down

All the way down

 

And if you’re feeling lucky

Won’t you come and catch the act

Struggling like Atlas

With the whole world on his back

But not alone

Not alone

 

I take my fair share of risks

I’m no stranger to challenge

Life’s in the balance

Life’s in the balance

Jen Cass
1996-11-23
Jen Cass

Story

A true story of crime and indifference. 

Lyrics

In darkness running down the alley, 1 a.m.

She turns in silence

When she sees its brick wall end

He’s coming closer she can almost see his face

Blue light upstairs shines down

On lines that time has traced

Dangerous silence, a prelude to violence

A warning bell that tolled without a sound

In violent times

 

He leaves the alley fighting back the urge to run

Stops for a drink

To take the edge off what he’s done

Bartender notices the scratch under his eye

Wonders why he would wear a suit without a tie

Pours him a double and asks,

“What’s the trouble?”

He says that he was mugged, bartender nods,

“Violent times.”

 

Was it so many years ago?

Unlocked our doors

And we could walk at night alone

Where’d that city go?

The man says, “Buddy, I’d sure like to know

Cure this cancer in my soul

That started many years ago

Violent times.”

 

Cop finds a body by the time the sun comes up

Silk tie that binds her is distinct, but not enough

Questions the neighbors

Only one man heard her yell

Turned up the TV, there was nothing much to tell

He wore a business suit, she was a prostitute

The witness says, “She got what she deserved.”

Violent times

 

News hits the back page of the paper

In small print

Bartender reads it, but he doesn’t get the hint

The cop comes in to have a whiskey on the sly

Bartender tells him ‘bout

The man mugged for his tie

“Came in as I was closing, cut eye,

Disheveled clothing,

His hands shook

When he tried to sign his check…

Violent times.”

Was it so many years ago?

Unlocked our doors

And we could walk at night alone

Where’d that city go?

The cop says, “Buddy, I’d sure like to know

Cure this cancer in my soul

That started many years ago…

Violent times.”

 

Across the river on the wealthy side of town

He grabs the Grand Mariner

And drinks a tall glass down

Deep in the basement

Bleaching blood out of his shirt

His wife is thankful that he wasn’t badly hurt

He smokes a cigarette, knows it’s not over yet

Knows that he’ll go out again tonight

Violent times

 

Was it so many years ago?

Unlocked our doors

And we could walk at night alone

Where’d that city go?

If I had the answers, I’d be whole

Cure this cancer in my soul

That started many years ago…ago…

Before these times

Jen Cass
1996-11-23
Jen Cass, Zhenya Rock

Lyrics

I won’t forget the day I met you honey

You left your number in my coffee cup

I never met another guy so funny

You took me driving in your pick-up truck

The sun was shining when we hit Chicago

We rolled the windows down to feel the wind

You bought me flowers at the Texaco

I swear to God I loved you then

 

I said I…

Hold on to the American dream

Keep waking up without the things that I need, baby

But here and now with you I’m finally free

You know we’re good together, please

Baby, please

 

My mother cried when we moved in together

We found a place above the local pub

The ceiling leaked when there was rainy weather

The floorboards creaked when we were making love

But it was ours and that was all that mattered

We didn’t really need a bedroom door

And when the wind blew and the whole house clattered

We danced around the kitchen floor

 

You said I…

Hold on to the American dream

Keep waking up without the things that I need, baby

And you’re the only thing on earth

That sets me free

It’s not much to ask for baby, please

 

There’s an old dirt road that we can take

That runs along the interstate

We could still make Iowa by nine

And we’ll start ourselves a brand-new life

Oh honey, say you’ll be my wife

Can’t afford a ring but we’ll be fine…

Together

 

Called in sick and went to church in Sunday

Too many questions racing through my mind

Haven’t seen you now since late last Monday

Your boss has got you working overtime

Heaven knows that we could use the money

The doctor says we’re gonna have a son

If you work doubles for the next year honey

We could just afford this one

 

You know we…

Hold on to the American dream

Keep waking up without the things that we need, baby

But this love’s the best thing that we got

And that came free

Maybe we’re just too hard to please

 

‘Cause that old dirt road we used to take

Still runs along the interstate

We could still leave Iowa and drive

But the car hasn’t been running well

We’d have to stay at cheap motels

We don’t need that now to feel alive

 

I won’t forget the day I met you honey

You left your number in my coffee cup

I never met another guy so funny

And I guess that I would call that love

Jen Cass
1996-11-23
Jen Cass

Lyrics

My Soul is lost inside its labyrinth again

Round and round the same circles I go

Or I run...down crooked hallways

Oh they’re always closing in

Call it fate or bad luck

Call it home

 

When I was younger

I would dance under the moon

It was a fragile sort of freedom

And I broke it far too soon

If I could find my missing pieces

I would try to heal this wound

I’d ask a lost and lonely man to be my guide

I’d ask Daedalus to build me wings to fly

 

Tell me why I build my castles

So high in the air

Never can reach them way up there

And though I try to build foundations

Under each aspiration

It’s never too long before I’m falling

Through the air

 

Where are the people that I willingly called friend

All the cheap thrills that once filled my soul

I’m never happy with the places that I’ve been

Where I am seems to torture me so

 

As I took twists and turns down life’s inevitable road

It seems I couldn’t resist burning

Every bridge that had led home

And now I’ve only got my restlessness

To cross me as I roam

Asking a lost and lonely man to be my guide

Asking Daedalus to build me wings to fly

 

Tell me why I build my castles

So high in the air

Never can reach them way up there

And though I try to build foundations

Under each aspiration

It’s never too long before I’m falling

Through the air

 

And in my dreams at night

I’m in my castle home

With its court jesters, soldiers and kings

If I could get up there I’d never be alone

But the angels have stolen my wings

 

Tell me why I build my castles

So high in the air

Never can reach them way up there

And though I try to build foundations

Under each aspiration

It’s never too long before I’m falling

Through the air

 

I’m already gone

And now I’m falling

Through the air

 

 

Jen Cass
1996-11-23
Jen Cass

Lyrics

Daddy always told me I'd be lucky in love

If I followed his advice

He said the heart is not an easy thing

To fix when it’s broken

So don’t give it away

‘Til you’re sure you got a fair price

 

Be strong enough to talk

When walkin’s all you want to do

Be strong enough to fight

Until your love comes shining through

 

That’s what my daddy said

 

Daddy always finds a silver lining in life

Even if he has to look all day

He says that into every life

A little hard rain must fall

But without it you don’t grow

So don’t you chase that rain away

 

If you’re open to the lessons

That you learn when you fail

Every door you close

Just starts to look like a new trail

 

That’s what my daddy said

 

Daddy always taught me to be honest

Daddy said in hard work there is pride

Through the years

As time has turned the pages

I always have relied

On the things my daddy said

 

Daddy always promised

I’d be happy in life

If I kept my sense of humor intact

He said the winds of change

Will blow you where you didn’t expect

But batten down and sail ahead

Don’t ever get caught looking back

 

If you’re high up on a building ledge

With your back against the wall

Take the boldest leap you can

I’ll always catch you when you fall

 

That’s what my daddy said

 

Daddy always taught me to be honest

Daddy said in hard work there is pride

Through the years

As time has turned the pages

I always have relied

On the thing my daddy said

 

I can’t say that I’ve ever been

Too lucky in love

I keep my sense of humor

Better than men

But I have grown up strong and tall

Here with my back against the wall

As the winds of change have blown me

Far from home and back again

 

I’ve got wisdom like a beacon

And it guides me to the land

If I have kids of my own

I swear I’ll tell them if I can

 

The things my daddy said 

Jen Cass
1996-11-23
Jen Cass

Lyrics

He spent his early years a-workin’ on the rail

Counting all the cities that raced by him

And though he knew that he rooted to that trail

When he closed his eyes he swore that he was flying

And he worked so hard at stoking up that belly full of fire

Kept the steel ship sailing down its sea of iron wire

From the snow-capped Rocky Mountains to the sand that shaped the beach

He was always moving forward but his dreams grew out of reach along the way

 

 

He loved a woman once who begged to share his name

And his friends said he’d be crazy just to leave her

She always promised him his life would only change for the better

Somehow he couldn’t believe her

‘Cause his heart beat with the rhythm of an iron horse in stride

And he couldn’t stand to trade his dreams to make that girl his bride

On a balmy August Saturday he watched her walk the aisle

Where his brother took her hand and flashed a smile

Stole his only love away

 

 

They moved to Dearborn got a flat next to the station

It was all they could afford; the rent was cheap there

It was an awkward and a painful situation

When he passed through town he pictured them asleep there

And her husband pulled her closer when he heard the trains go by

Though she tried hard not to notice, she tried harder not to cry

She swore she’d never tell her husband how her heart did stray

If she chased her dreams, the way her one true love did, she would be with him today

 

 

Now her husband was a fireman and he worked the longest days that he could

To keep her guessing, keep her lonely

She made him angry in a fierce and forceful way

‘Cause he knew he’d never be her one and only

When he married her he thought he’d found a love to last the years

But he didn’t count on passing trains and muffled midnight tears

He could feel the knot of jealousy grow tighter in his chest

He just had to find a way to love her better, love her less, or walk away

 

Then came the awful day the 401derailed

Sending flames and sparks and metal flying

She heard the crashing cars, she felt herself go pale

And she fell down to her knees like she was dying

And her husband was among the men they sent to fight the fire

That raged inside that train consuming all that it desired

For a while a heart beat faintly in the belly of that beast

But the flames soon grabbed a hold, they freed his soul

And sent him drifting out of reach

 

He came home dirty and he came home so ashamed

Came home scared to tell her it was over

The house was empty; not a trace of her remained

After packing all her things a taxi drove her

To the station where her one true love had stood so proud and tall

Bought herself a ticket going anywhere at all

She could feel her lover’s heartbeat in the rhythm of the train

She leaned her head against the foggy window, watched the rain fall

She was free

 

Jen Cass
1996-11-23
Jen Cass

Lyrics

The bus stop’s empty but for one proud teenage girl

She’s got a suitcase full of hand-me-downs

Everything she’s got in this world

The question’s where to go from here

New York’s much bigger than she ever hoped or feared

When she left home

Saying…“I’m gonna make it on my own.”

 

Out on the sidewalk waits a man with a broad smile

He takes her arm and walks her down the street

Says…”Hey, can we talk a while?

I bet you’re new here in this town.”

And there were warning bells all around

She let them ring

What good could paranoia bring?

 

It’s four a.m. the streets are dark

He takes her home through Central Park

The cheap motels will let them in

They never ask you where you’ve been

She drops her suitcase on the floor

He slaps her face and locks the door

His voice in fire and brimstone

“You’ll never make it on your own.

So keep your mouth shut when I talk

You’ll walk the streets when I say walk

 

And they’ll rip away your innocence

For a dollar in loose change

And you’ll grip the wall in self-defense

And smile like you’ve been trained

It’s all the same

That’s how you make it in this town

That’s how you make it here.”

 

By Friday evening she gives up and works the row

Because she couldn’t take the beatings

And he wouldn’t let her go

She can’t remember feeling strong

Riding that bus to town

So full of hope and promise

Now it’s gone

“I’ll never make it on my own.

I’ll never make it here.”

 

It’s four a.m. the streets are dark

She stumbles home through Central Park

The cheap motels will let her in

They never ask her where she’s been

And she will dream if she can sleep

About promises she thought she’d keep

Like, “I will never go back home,

I’m gonna make it on my own.”

But this isn’t making it, no, no

This isn’t making it

 

The bus stop’s empty but for one proud teenage girl

She’s got a suitcase full of hand-me-downs

Everything she’s got in this world

The question’s where to go from here

New York’s much bigger

Than she ever hoped or feared when she left home

Saying…"I’m gonna make it on my own.

I’m gonna make it here.”

Jen Cass
1996-11-23
Jen Cass

Lyrics

Rain falls down in a one house town

Devin walks his hallowed ground

The king of Mason street complete with crown

Karen racks them up again

She was the reigning queen of the pool hall then

She never met a man who could pin her down

 

He watched her watch him walking by

Yeah, something 'bout him caught her eye

Through smoky glass the chemistry was clear

Devin sauntered inside full of confidence and pride

Bet her 20 bucks she couldn't beat him

Karen sunk one on the break cleared the table

Turned to shake his hand

And tell him just how nice it was to meet him 

Jen Cass
1996-11-23
Jen Cass

Lyrics

I saw your interview on Letterman today

Where you were talking 'bout the criminals

You helped to put away and cracking jokes

You flashed that boyish smile

Then exited stage left with stlye

You're on my mind again

Snapshots of a love that I was never meant to win

 

When I first met you

You were standing cross a room

Full of about a hundred people

Not one of them as good-looking as you

There in your power suit

The king who aced his interviews

We raised our glasses high

Drank a toast to everybody's favorite home town guy

 

CHORUS:

It was a long way down

From your castle to the ground

And I know I'm not the first or last to fall

But you never let me in

You built your moat too wide to swim

And I wasn't strong enough to scale your walls

After All