Migrations

by The Littlest Birds

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released October 14, 2011

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The Littlest Birds Laramie, Wyoming

The Littlest Birds is the banjo-driven music of and Sharon Martinson, performing both solo concerts and currently with several duo and trio configurations. "Think instrumental virtuosity balanced by a breezy, backwoods soul, music that is both intellectually stimulating and emotionally soothing."
- Dan Bolles, Seven Days Weekly, Burlington VT, 2011
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Track Name: Black Elk Speaks
My Friends I'll tell you the story of my life if you wish,
but if it were only the story, of my life, I think I would not tell it
For what is one man to make much of his winters,
when so many others men have lived to become grass upon the hills.

But if the vision was true and mighty
As I know it is true and mighty yet
For such things are of the spirit and it is the darkness of their eyes that men forget
So I know it is a good thing but no good can be done alone
I must first send a voice to the spirits of the world.

With visible breath I am walking
A voice I am sending as I walk
In a sacred manner I am walking
In a sacred manner I walk.

I was born a Lakota, in the moon of the Popping Trees
I was named for my father Black Elk, it was 1863
The summer I was nine, I had a Great Vision,
the meaning of which no words can I ever tell to you,
but the six Grandfathers, they gave me the power, they gave me the knowledge
to Heal and to Help.

With visible breath I am walking
A voice I am sending as I walk
In a sacred manner I am walking
In a sacred manner I walk.

I was at the Little Big Horn and I was at Wounded Knee
I did not know how much had ended then but now I can see
The butchered men, women, and children, lying scattered in heaps
Were not the only dead that day, there died a Peoples Dream

So hear me Great Spirit, hear me Grandfathers,
with running tears I must tell to you that your tree has not flowered
Hear me for my people that they may yet return
to living within the sacred hoop, that they sacred tree may yet bloom

In sorrow...I am sending...this feeble voice that I can give...
Ohhhh Six Powers of the World, won't you make my people live.
Ohhhh Six Powers of the World, won't you make my people live.
Track Name: Western Trail
Out on the western trail
For many days we did ride
Along the banks of a lonesome river
Singing songs by the fireside.

This way we crossed the empty prarie
And we crossed the river wide
And we crossed the barren desert
Where so many others have died

And now we stand upon the South Pass
Looking west from the Great Divide
All our hopes and our fortunes
Lie beyond the horizon line.

Oh we've got one foot in tomorrow
We've got one foot in yesterday
We've got one step still before us
Oh Lord to you we pray.

It's a hard road we've got to travel
With deep ruts of despair
Give us strength and give us health now
Give us no trouble beyond repair

And now we stand upon the South Pass
Looking west from the Great Divide
All our hopes and our fortunes
Lie beyond the horizon line.

Oh we've got one foot in tomorrow
We've got one foot in yesterday
We've got one step still before us
Give us Hope and Give Us Strength.
Track Name: Anochecer
I’m going home, this road has been so long,
The darkest part of night is just before the dawn,
Just before the dawn, I’m going home

The water’s calm, the shore a rugged one
And yet under this moon I know I must go on
Know I must go on, I’m going home

Each grain of sand, knows from whence it came
Its history brings it back to its own mountain
To its own mountain, I’m going home

I’ve gone so far, this year has been so long,
In total darkness I can still find my way home
Still find my way home, I’m going home

Beyond my sense, beyond sensibility
It’s in my bones, I know where I must be
Know where I must be, I’m going home

I’ve spread my wings, be gone for a little while
But I’ll return one day if I go 10,000 miles
If I go 10, 000 miles, I’m going home
Track Name: Colorado
Driving down the road in my truck,
Keeping the shiny side up
I’m on my way back home
Drove into this mountain town
Snow softly falling down
Sitting here feeling so alone

I drove across Wyoming’s plains
Through the sheets of pouring rain
‘Til I hit the Rockies high
Shifting down to make the pass
And I’m stepping on the gas
Colorado hello and good-bye

Chorus:
But this town is not my home
I know must carry on
Mountains course through my veins
Pines whisper a song
You belong
You belong

I see the faces of my friends
But this time will surely end
‘cause I’m always moving on
Maybe I’ll stay for just a while
Oh, this place makes me smile
I feel like I could belong

Sunrise fills the eastern sky
Memories flood my mind
With gentle thoughts of him
Long past days and nights of love
Sleeping under stars above
I’m wishing I could see that face again
Chorus:

Road stretches long in front of me
For as long as I can see
As the fields roll on my
Days and nights they string along
As I drive and sing my song
Colorado hello and goodbye
Track Name: Tonopah Waltz
Instrumental.
Track Name: Oh Great Ocean
Oh Great Ocean give me a melody
Oh Great Fire burn down to just the right key
Blue mountains always walking gently into the sea
Humans always talking what and why it should be
But there are no answers to all your questions now
All that you can find are only illusions yeah.

Oh Great River leave me in the valley now
Oh Great Valley leave me in the grass awhile
Clouds will march by like elephants
Thoughts will sing songs like birds
Words and words will come tumbling down
They'll roll right by without a sound
Oh Great Time give me a minute more
Gonna slip right back lay right down with my love some more.

Oh Great Tree tell me a story now
Oh Great Story pick me up don't let me down
Carry me out to an island
Drift me back inside a glass
Find me somewhere looking for myself
Find me someone to live with at last
Oh Great Coincidence you got my confidence
Oh Great Chaos will not betray us.

Repeat first verse, and Oh Great Time ...
Track Name: Boys 'em Buzzards Flyin'
Way up high, way up high, way up high
Buzzards flying, something must be dead
Way up high, way up high, way up high
Buzzards flying, something must be dead
Ain’t it sad
Some little critter dead on the road
Boys ‘em buzzards flyin’
Some little critter dead on the road
Boys ‘em buzzards flyin’

Way up high, way up high, way up high
Buzzards flying, something must be dead
Way up high, way up high, way up high
Buzzards flying, something must be dead
Ain’t they glad
Some little critter dead on the road
Boys ‘em buzzards flyin’
Some little critter dead on the road
Boys ‘em buzzards flyin’
Track Name: Moonshiner
I've been a moonshiner
Since’n I was been born
Drunk up all my money
Stilled up all my corn,

I go up to some dark hollow
Set my moonshine still
Make you one gallon
For a two dollar bill

I’ll go up some dark holler
And make you some booze
If the revenuer don’t find me
No money will I loose

That revenuer don’t own me
And I won’t pay his till
I’ll spend my days moonshining
And I guess I always will

That revenuer tells me
He knows wrong from right
There’s a seal across his bottle
His money’s locked up tight

Come all you moonshiners
Stand out in a line
If trouble don’t kill you
You’ll live a long time.

Let me eat when I am hungry
Drink when I am dry
A dollar when I got none
Religion when I die

This whole world is just a bottle
Life's but a dram
When the bottle gets empty
Life ain’t worth a damn

Come all you pretty women
Wishin’ you was mine
Their breath smells sweetly
Like dew on the vine

I’ve been a moonshiner
Seven lonely years
If trouble don’t kill me
You’ll still find me here
Track Name: Oh Loss, Oh Sorrow
Oh Loss, Oh Sorrow
Will I feel alive tomorrow
Or will I die and have to borrow
just a few of your tears right to my grave

Oh she's gone maybe forever
I don't know if I can let her
Go alone or with another
But she looks at me like a history

Chorus:
Oh Loss, Oh Sorrow
Will I feel alive tomorrow
Or will I die and have to borrow
just a few of your tears right to my grave

If I could walk back that day I walked away
If I could take back all those mistakes that I made
Then maybe I could look back on my life
And my heart wouldn't feel so full of shame

Chorus

How can I go on livin'
With this empty soul that I've been given
Oh I've drivin' to the heart of the wind
I'm just prayin' she'll blow me back in.

Chorus
Track Name: Rain on the Roof
I hear rain on the roof
Like popcorn in a pan
It’s cold as a witch’s gap tooth
And I know it’s winter all over again
I hear rain on the roof
As I sit here by the fire
A cold wind’s blowin’ under my door
And winter is making my tired

Chorus
I hear rain on the roof,
I hear rain on the roof,
I hear rain on the roof
And I know I’m just a drunken fool
Yeah I know, but what else can I do
So much rain


I hear rain on the roof
And I know it ain’t gonna stop
Until I hear a million barrels drop
And I think the earth might pop
I hear rain on the roof
And a’squishing in my shoes
I haven’t seen the sun for days
And you know, I’m getting the blues
Chorus

I hear rain on the roof
Like a million hand applause
And I know they’re all clapping for me
As I go clowning up and down the hall
I hear rain on the roof
Rain on the window pane
Rain is soaking through my soul
And filling up my brain
Chorus:

I hear rain on the roof
Drumming down down down
And I’m looking for the 80 proof
So I can pour myself another round
The birds have all flown home
The patter of a million feet
And I’m sitting in here, drinking alone
Chorus
So much rain, so much rain, so much rain
Track Name: Ghost of the Gold
Long ago I left my home, walked west across the land
Long ago I left my home, for the river and the pan
Long ago I left my home, with nothing here I stand
Old ghost of the gold, with a rifle in my hand.

Chorus:
Well you got slow boats and you got fast trains
You got rich folks and you got poor
You got plenty happy with nothing
You got everything begging for more

And they all end up here
On this far western shore
Pilgrims on the golden trail
Just diggin' a hole
Forever more.

Long ago I been told ought never come back again
Long ago I been told these mountains'll break weak men
But if the mountains don't get you boy, nor the whiskey, nor the women
The gold is surely yours alone, for the takin.

Chorus

Long ago my luck turned cold and I never did strike again
Long ago the woman I loved left me for another man
Long ago I packed my load off deep into the mountains
Old ghost of the gold I'm never comin' back again.

Chorus
Track Name: Redwood Waltz
Chorus
Ancient one, what have you seen
Could you tell a tale to me
The years have come and gone
And still you’re standing strong

I can see by the scars
Fires have found you here
Deep and swollen burls
Tell of long and painful years
Chorus

Hands of time have slowly turned
And the land around you, too
Hands of man have left their mark
Some that time cannot undo
Chorus

In your years you seem so wise
From all that you have seen
But in your youth were you like us
Reckless and free
Chorus

Crashing of the waves
A whisper in your bows
Gently filtered lights
Deep and fertile smells
Chorus
Track Name: Reuben's Train
Old Rueben had a train
Put on the track
Run it to the Lord knows where
Oh me, oh my run it to the lord knows where

Rueben had a train
From Wyoming to Maine
Lord you could hear that whistle blow
Oh me, oh my, lord you could hear that whistle blow

Rueben had a train, hundred coaches long
Couldn’t get a letter from his home
Oh me, oh my couldn’t get a letter from his home

I’m 900 miles from my man and from my girl
Lord I’m a long way from home
Oh me, oh my, lord I’m a long way from home

If this train she runs alright, I’ll be home about daylight
Lord I’m a long way from home
Oh me, oh my lord I’m a long way from home

Rueben went to town, police shot him down
Could hear old Rueben yell a hundred miles
Oh me, oh my, could hear old Rueben yell a hundred miles

They found his head in the driving wheel,
But his poor body never was found
Oh me, oh my, Poor Reuben’s body never was found

There’s an empty set of track, ne’er a train runs down
Sometimes you’ll hear a whistle blow
Oh me, oh my sometimes you’ll hear a whistle blow

‘Cause old Rueben has a train from Wyoming to Maine
Sometimes you’ll hear his whistle blow.
Track Name: The Parting Glass
Oh all the money that e’r I spent
I spent it in good company
And all the harm that e’r I done
Alas it was to none but me
And all I’ve done, for want of wit
To memory now I can’t recall
So fill to me the parting glass
Goodnight and joy be with you all

Oh all the comrades e’r I had
Ere sorry for my going away
And all the sweethearts e’r I had,
Would wish me one more day to stay
But since it falls, until my lot
That I should rise and you should not
I’ll gently rise, and softly call
Goodnight and joy be with you all.