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Billie's Bones
Folk Is The New Black

2004

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The Basics: Produced by Jeff Balding, Janis Ian & Marc Moreau; recorded summer 2003 in Nashville, TN. For extensive details about the creation of this disc, please see The Making of a CD.

Personnel: Musicians: Jim Brock, Richard Davis, Dan Dugmore, Janis Ian, Harry Stinson. Vocalists: Dolly Parton, Harry Stinson

Inside Scoop: When Tina Abato and I put together The Making of a CD, we intended it to be a chance for fans to really see how an album is put together, with budgets, timelines, maybe a few rough mixes. Instead, we wound up with a fantastic six week excursion into the heart of record-making, with Dolly Parton letting us use the rehearsal tapes and everyone participating fully! This series is now used in dozens of colleges and universities as course material, which makes me very proud.

Lyrics

Billie's Bones

Janis Ian

Billie's tears fall like dust
From the air into my eyes
Seeping in before they rust
Spilling secrets words can't hide
I am standing on the bones
of a mound too high to climb
Selling secrets to atone
for a song that is not mine

Billie's bones are white and bleached
Piled high and hard to reach
And the top looks cold and bleak,
but I see farther when I stand
on Billie's bones in Billie's land

There's an orchid in her hair
There are bruises on her lips
I would worship if i dared
kneeling at her fingertips
I would tell her how I've yearned
to be worthy of the grail
All these years and all I've learned
is just how brilliantly I fail

Billie's bones are white and bleached
Piled high and hard to reach
And the top looks cold and bleak
but I see farther when I stand
on Billie's bones in Billie's land

Now the flesh of earth has passed
Now the joints have come undone
All that's left of her is ash
Scattered on the air like crumbs

There are voices on the wind
Stolen whispers, sacred moans
You can hear them through your skin
and the singing of the bones
When the wind blows from the east
I can taste her on my tongue
And the grave is lined and paved with
all the songs we never sung

Billie's bones are white and bleached
Piled high and hard to reach
And the top looks cold and bleak
but I see farther when I stand
on Billie's bones in Billie's land

© Rude Girl Pub. All rights reserved; international copyright secured.

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My Tennessee Hills

Janis Ian

When all my dreams have been shattered
and the fabric of life comes undone
When it seems like nothing matters
and all of my good times are gone,
There's a place that I've kept sheltered
\from the sight of my sorrow and shame
Though it's years since I beheld her,
she still calls my name

I'll go home, I'll go home
where the wild shadows roam
wnd the dawn over mountaintops spills
Where the deer pause in flight
on the edge of the night
I'll go home to my Tennessee hills
I'll go home to my Tennessee hills

When all my vows have been broken
and my wild heart can't be tamed
When I've loved and lost once too often
and failure is my middle name
There's a place that holds forgiveness
and the promise of peace in despair
When I'm down to my last witness
I'll be going there

I'll go home, I'll go home
where the wild shadows roam
and the dawn over mountaintops spills
Where the deer pause in flight
on the edge of the night
I'll go home to my Tennessee hills
I'll go home to my Tennessee hills

I'll go home, I'll go home
where the wild shadows roam
and the dawn over mountaintops spills
Where the deer pause in flight
on the edge of the night
I'll go home to my Tennessee hills
I'll go home to my Tennessee hills

© Rude Girl Pub. All rights reserved; international copyright secured.

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Paris In Your Eyes

Janis Ian

Every time I see you, I see Paris in your eyes
A hint of the forbidden, Brigitte Bardot style
Every time I dream of you, I dream that distant land
where I once held tomorrow in my hand

First time I saw Paris in your eyes
you told me how you loved me
under blue Picasso skies
We spoke of Michelangelo
and we solved each others' lives
the first time I saw Paris in your eyes

Every time I touched you,
I could taste a breath of spring
April in Paris is every lover's dream
Every time I'd call your name,
it would sound so much in tune
just like Notre Dame Cathedral at high noon

First time I saw Paris in your eyes
you told me how you loved me
under blue Picasso skies
We spoke of Michelangelo
and we solved each others' lives
The first time I saw Paris in your eyes

Now every time I see you
April showers seem to start
and they rain on every hope I have
'til they hurricane my heart
Every time I dream of you
I dream of what we had
and wonder, how could something so good go so bad?

The last time I saw Paris in your eyes
you told me you were leaving
under blue Picasso skies
We spoke of Michelangelo
and believed each others' lies
the last time i saw Paris in your eyes
The last time i saw Paris in your eyes

© Taosongs Two. All rights reserved; international copyright secured.

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Marching On Glasgow

(instrumental)

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I Hear You Sing Again

Woody Guthrie/Janis Ian

If I could only hear my mother sing again
If I could close my eyes and hear your voice as then
All the friends and family
would sing along with me,
and set your spirit free

In my heart I hear you sing again
Every note as natural as then
When I sing those songs
with family and friends,
in my heart I hear you sing again

I know the troubled times that turned your hair to grey
and all the tears and sorrows followed to your grave
but deep within the heart of hunger,
there were always melodies
passed from you to me

In my heart I hear you sing again
Every note as natural as then
When I sing those songs
for family and friends,
in my heart I hear you sing again

And it's a long, long road I've come
since my mother's songs were heard
but the child I can't outrun
still hangs on every word

In my heart I hear you sing again
Every note as natural as then
When I sing those songs
with family and friends,
in my heart I hear you sing again
In my heart, I hear you sing again

© Rude Girl Pub. (50%)/Woody Guthrie Publications.
All rights reserved; international copyright secured.

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Forever Young

Janis Ian

Can you see the early morning chill
in the frost that covers this cold hill
Can you hear the high and lonesome sound
of shovels striking ground

Can you feel the earth begin to move
as though judgment day had come too soon
Can you taste the earth upon her lips
like one last lover's kiss

Can you hear the wind begin to howl
Too late, too late to turn back now
And the fiddle plays until it aches
and fills her resting place

Her mem'ry haunts his heart
Her body burned its mark
Her soul has flown from his embrace
no more to fear the dark

Oh jealousy, where is your sting
Who knows the poison fruit you bring
but fools rush in where angels fear
and lose the love they hold most dear

We will watch him riding through the gates
to the prison cell that now awaits
He will never no more see the sun
and she will be forever young

He will never no more see the sun
and she will be forever young

© Rude Girl Pub. All rights reserved; international copyright secured.

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Matthew

Janis Ian

Footsteps on gravel at the neighborhood bar
Things start to unravel, then they go too far
The sound of pain written on the wind
fades to grey and then goes dim

A boy is tied to a barbed wire fence
for the crows to ride and the claws to clench
For the sweet bouquet of blood and bone
to undermine the scent of collegiate cologne

What makes a man a man?
The cut of a coat, the hint of a tan?
It's not who you love, but whether you can
What makes a man a man?

Who did he harm, what was the crime?
Did he walk too lightly, did he seem too shy?
Did he make them wonder deep inside?
Did they feel like real men when he died?

Did the waning moon look down from on high?
Did the twinkling stars try to catch his eye?
Did the wind caress his flesh and bone?
Did they leave him there to die alone?

What makes a man a man?
The cut of a coat, the hint of a tan?
It's not who you love, but whether you can
What makes a man a man

Now the stars are nailed to an empty sky
The moon is pinned like a butterfly
and I'm afraid to shine too bright
since the day they took his life

So mothers, teach your children this
Don't overreach, don't run the risk
Hide in the shadows, don't expect
your good heart to save your neck

What makes a man a man?
The cut of a coat, the hint of a tan?
It's not who you love, but whether you can
What makes a man a man?

© Rude Girl Pub. All rights reserved; international copyright secured.

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Amsterdam

Janis Ian/Buddy Mondlock

* Also recorded by Joan Baez

Just the pattern of sunlight on a building
Just a flash in a window I was passing
Just a frame in a movie I remember
Amsterdam
Just the sound of a wheel in the gravel
Just the click of a heel in the pavement
Just a moment like any other moment
Amsterdam

I remember your lips
I remember your eyes
and the taste of the kiss
and your graceful goodbye
You lied... goodbye

Just the scent of perfume on the linen
Just the print of a palm on the pillow
Just the hint of the moon from the window
Amsterdam
Just a ghost in the steam on the mirror
Just a shadow of motion in the water
Just a need to look over my shoulder
Amsterdam

I remember your lips
I remember your eyes
and the taste of the kiss
and your graceful goodbye
You lied... goodbye

Just two lovers asleep in the silence
As I walk from the door
Just the weight of a heart as it's falling
Nothing more

I remember your lips
I remember your eyes
nd the taste of the kiss
nd your graceful goodbye
You lied... goodbye
Goodbye, goodbye
Goodbye, goodbye...

© Taosongs Two.(50%)/EMI April Music Inc.
All rights reserved; international copyright secured.

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Dead Men Walking

Janis Ian

Who'll die by fire
Who will seek the flame
Whose heart's desire
has the most to gain
Who will beg for mercy
Who will bow their head
Who will suffer gladly
Who will welcome death

Who'll play the hero
Who will turn and run
Who'll always follow
someone else's drum
Who will die of beauty
Who will die of hope
Who will tell it truly
Who will leave it cloaked

Dead men walking in the world tonight
Dead men talking in my ear
I am afraid to ask too much
(and disappear when they are near)

Who'll call me lover
Who will call me friend
Who'll be my brother
Who will just pretend
Who will I surrender
Who will I defend
Will I be remembered
Will I rise again

Dead men walking in the world tonight
Dead men talking in my ear
I am afraid to ask too much
of what I hear when they are near

Dead men walking in the world tonight
Dead men talking in my ear
I am afraid to ask too much
They disappear when you are near

© Rude Girl Pub. All rights reserved; international copyright secured.

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Save Somebody

Janis Ian/Jimmy Collins

In the heart of the city is the beat of a soul
and it stares out the window as the cars come and go
And it hungers for heroes, and it dreams of open skies
and there's no expectation that the sun will rise

You better save somebody
Save somebody
before the moment slips away
You better save somebody
who'll be lonely
when you walk away

There's a crack in the heavens, and a tear in the sky
It cuts through the shadows living in her eyes
And the gates of the city are closed until dawn
when the ghosts of midnight have come and gone
And the hearts of the weary carry on

You better save somebody
Save somebody
before the moment slips away
You better save somebody
who'll be lonely
when you walk away

And I'm thinking of your silence
How the memory lingers on
And I wonder do you miss me
now that I am gone
Now that I am gone

You better save somebody
Save somebody
before the moment slips away
You better save somebody
who'll be lonely
when you walk away

© Rude Girl Pub. (50%)/Sharona Music.
All rights reserved; international copyright secured.

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Mockingbird

Janis Ian

If I had a mockingbird
for every tear I've shed,
the skies would rain with laughter
every time I raised my head
And every drop would be a tear
that fell upon the ground,
until the waters rose so high
that i must surely drown

And it's cold, cold, cold
and no hint of spring
Yes it's cold, cold, cold
when the mockingbirds sing

When I used to walk this earth
beneath the harvest moon
All the heavens rose above me
silent as a tomb
Now the skies are filled with noise
The moonlight wears a shroud
black enough to bury
every broken ugly vow

And it's cold, cold, cold
and no hint of spring
Yes it's cold, cold, cold
when the mockingbirds sing

If I had a mockingbird
for every lie I found,
the sky would fill with laughter
'til it shattered from the sound
and every piece that fell to earth
would land with such a spark
that finally there'd be flame enough
to warm my broken heart

And it's cold, cold, cold
and no hint of spring
Yes it's cold, cold, cold
when the mockingbirds sing

© Rude Girl Pub. All rights reserved; international copyright secured.

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Mary's Eyes

Janis Ian

Mary's eyes are startling blue
and her hair's Newcastle gold
and she walks the thin white line
between the body and the soul
She's as faithful to her history
as a novice to his fast
for she is standing on the bones of Ireland's past

She is singing of the Troubles
and a fire in the land
'til I can almost feel the famine
slipping through my trembling hand
And I wonder as I hear her
that the spirit still shines through
and she can reach across the ocean deep
and break my heart in two

Mary's wise as she is foolish
She's as constant as the tide
for it's a woman's heart that beats beneath
that stubborn Irish pride
We are saints and we are sinners
We are heroes we are thieves
We are all of us beginners
on the road to Galilee

We are singing of the Troubles
and a fire in the land
'til I can almost feel the famine
slipping through my trembling hand
And I wonder as I hear her
that the spirit still shines through
and she can reach across the ocean deep
and break my heart in two

So let us hoist a pint of silence
to the east where Ireland lies
and we'll stare across the waters
for a glimpse of Mary's eyes
We are ships without a harbor
We are sailors on dry land
and the song goes on forever
even though the record can't

We are singing of the Troubles
and a fire in the land
'til I can almost feel the famine
slipping through my trembling hand
And I wonder as I hear her
that the spirit still shines through
and she can reach across the ocean deep
and break my heart in two

© Rude Girl Pub. All rights reserved; international copyright secured.

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When I Lay Down

Skip Ewing/Janis Ian

They said – Lay lay down in the water,
even though you don't believe
All your sins will be forgiven,
and your soul will be redeemed
So I walked into the water,
and I fell down to my knees,
and I took out some insurance,
and I bought a little peace

But when I lay down,
I lied
When I lay down,
I lied

She said – Carling do you love me?
And I said – Sure I do
And I led her to believe me,
as I proved that it was true
Well, I let my body love her
God knows I really tried
And the comfort of it touched her,
and her heart was satisfied

But when I lay down,
I lied
When I lay down,
I lied

to make them happy
and I lied so they would care
I lied 'cause i was lonely
and I lied 'cause i was scared
I lied so some would leave me
and I lied so some would stay
I lied until I lied my life away

I dreamed my life was over
and they laid me in my grave
I was frightened of forever
and the price I'd have to pay
And I thought that God would hate me
'cause I'd lived my life in sin,
but I felt the truth embrace me
as heaven let me in

And when I lay down
I lay down
and cried

© Rude Girl Pub. (50%)/Write! Music.
All rights reserved; international copyright secured.

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Tour Dates

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All tour dates updated on March 18, 2014

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In The Store
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CD

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