Ghosts in the Pipes

by Jeff Giles & The Cannonballs

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released January 3, 2016

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Jeff Giles Toronto, Ontario

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Track Name: Hope I Remember
another spin around the sun, another birthday on the run
just trying to buy some coffee with a tune
when it's winter weather, summer months, take shelter on the bus
and count the miles by the phases of the moon

sing it back in double time: "a star is born, a constellation dies"

and all these lonely beds I've known
and all these roads I've travelled on
hope someone still remembers me when the highway's set me free
oh, I hope I remember the way home.

it's basement barrooms every night, a tired voice, a shoddy mic,
who knows if either one will last the show
I've had about all I can take, falling over from the weight
of all my cliches lined up in a row

sing it back in double time: "a star is born, someone's left behind"

and all these lonely beds I've known
and all these roads I've travelled on
hope someone still remembers me when the highway's set me free
oh, I hope I remember the way home

taillights like embers drifting away in the night
Greyhounds with bellies of baggage along for the ride...

sing it back in double time: "a star is born, a constellation dies"
sing it back in double time: "I'm laying breadcrumbs on the yellow lines"
sing it back in double time...

all these lonely beds I've known
and all these roads I've travelled on
hope someone still remembers me when the highway's set me free
oh, I will remember...
all these lonely beds I've known
so many miles left to go
hope someone still remembers me when the highway's set me free
oh I hope I remember
hope I remember the way home...

so another spin around the sun...
Track Name: I Know Better
I was gonna call you, I was gonna ask you how you’re doing
but I know better...
I was gonna call you on the phone, ask if you still sleep alone
but I know better,
I know better...

I’m a slow learner: you said “stop”, I went further.
I could dance right off the edge of the world.
but I’m smarter now
got it through my head somehow
gotta let you go, now I know
now I know better

I was gonna write you, I was gonna wish that you were here
but I know, I know...
I was gonna write you a letter, cast another tether
but I know better,
I know better

I’m a compass and a ruler in the age of computers,
I keep looking for an angle I can try
but it’s no damn use, how could I be so obtuse?
you’re not coming back, I’m cuttin’ my hope loose
‘cause I know better

two ships in the night
two strangers in the day
so I won’t ask you again
if you’re going my way

I’m a slow learner: you said “stop”, I went further.
I could dance right off the edge of the world.
but I’m smarter now
got it through my head somehow
gotta let you go, now I know
now I know...

so I was gonna call you, ask if you two got back together
but I don’t wanna know...
I know better...
Track Name: If You Don't Believe
I dreamed the moon was hanging by a thread
I had sought you out to try and make amends
when the heavens blew a devil’s breath
that moon came down and split my head
and I woke up without you again

but I have learned to take the mornings in the chin
a circle of salt around the bed to keep the nightmares in
I chain them to a scratching post
shower, shave, make my toast
and get on with the life that I have left

but I think I’m happy underneath this cloudy sky
there’s a sliver of the sun stuck in the corner of my eye
and no illusions left I can defend

if you don’t believe me
if you don’t believe me
just pretend

and I hang my horseshoes crooked on the wall
careless as the moon, I let the luck fall
‘cause superstition always leads
to idle hands or rosaries
and I won’t pray for luck that I don’t need

‘cause I have spent too much time holding on to hope
tossing pennies in a fountain ‘till I was nearly broke
and between you, me, and the summer rain
I’ve only got myself to blame
for thinking something oh so gold could stay

but hey...

I think I’m happy underneath this cloudy sky
there’s a sliver of the sun stuck in the corner of my eye
and no illusions left I can defend

if you don’t believe me
if you don’t believe me
just pretend
just pretend
just pretend
if you don’t believe me
just pretend
Track Name: Lonely
I’ve been wearing the stain off the pews
a stiff neck and the God-sick blues
not a choir in sight, and I only know secular songs
Lord, if you’re gonna throw down a sign
take it from me, now’s probably the time
‘cause I’m getting so tired, I’ve been getting the silent treatment so long, I'm

lonely
I’ve been so lonely
so lonely without ‘ya
so lonely for so long

and the ghosts in the pipes back at home
they wake me up at night with their howlin’ and moanin'
they’re still knocking back the Jack that I poured down the drain last year
when Jenni left I didn’t have to ask why
when I got clean she’d found some other guy
and when I think of her with him, I think: “maybe I should start with a beer…"

lonely
I’ve been so lonely
so lonely without ‘ya
so lonely for so long

I pulled the phone book from off of the shelf
to hear anybody talk but myself
second time through, just keeps ringing, ever number I try
there’s only static on the TV
and the radio keeps hissing at me
is there anyone out there? ‘Cause I feel like the last man alive, oh I'm

lonely
I’ve been so lonely
so lonely without ‘ya
so lonely for so long
so lonely without ‘ya
so lonely for so long
so lonely without ‘ya
so lonely for so long
Track Name: Sarah's Waking Up
I wipe a rag across the mirror, sweep up the dust that’s on the floor
I let the breeze in through the shutters and watch the morning greet the shore

I chop the wood, carry the water like before

and I bet Sarah’s waking up
the sun rising like a dream
Sarah’s waking up to a new day without me

I dig my hands into the compost, where everything I touch still turns to shit
but I’ve spread my sorrow on the surface of the earth and grown a new life out of it

chopping the wood, carrying water like before

and I bet Sarah’s waking up
the is sun rising all around
Sarah’s waking up and I am back on solid ground

sometimes you’re perfect for each other
so how could anything go wrong?
sometimes you start to plan a future
then your past goes off like a bomb
through all the fire and the thunder
I couldn’t hear her when she called
and sometimes you don’t get second chances
but it’s a miracle we both survived at all

So I carry water from the well and feed the wood into the stove
I bring the kettle to a boil, sing my little song of letting go

and don’t you know

I think things are looking up
the sun, it rises in mysterious ways
Sarah’s waking up and I’m getting stronger every day

I’m getting stronger every day
Sarah’s waking up
Sarah’s waking up
Sarah’s waking up
Track Name: Black Butterflies
they’re kicking out the cancer from the Queen street bars
now I don’t know where I’m stumbling, but I know it’s far

with twenty four dead soldiers swimming in my bones
and twenty six blocks fishing quarters from the phones
when I’m all outta words I use sticks and stones
and when last call comes I’m left

with black butterflies...
black butterflies...

she was swaying on the corner with a stake in her heart
and a stack of yellow letters in a shopping cart

with twenty four dead soldiers lined up in a box
and a few more holes than threads to her socks
you’re swear she’s an angel, the way that she talks
but when Sunday comes, she’s left

with black butterflies...
black butterflies...

the bags beneath her eyes, just as black as mine
a pair of ghosts tossing empties at the sky
they all shut their windows when we stumbled by
and butterflies...
those black butterflies...

she said “there’s nothing more godly than an atheist’s bed”
as she pulled another wing from the back of my head

with twenty four dead soldiers strung out in the hall
and twenty six shots behind a loose board in the wall
but I never tango as well as I crawl
and when the morning comes
when the morning comes I’m left

with black butterflies...
black butterflies...
those black butterflies...
black...
black butterflies...
Track Name: Meanwhile, on Argyle Street...
the walls, they groaned,
barely holding back the wind as it howled like a banshee down the street,
and shadows thrown from a single bulb crept along the peeling paint
as a fly buzzed ‘round a knife left in the sink.

the floorboards creaked under muddy boots
as I moved another chess piece into place
and fire flared from gasoline poured on bloody sheets
while I sat at the kitchen table and sharpened my teeth

all these little houses, so quiet in a line
with all their little secrets tied up in the basement
just beyond the light

and under the stairs there’s a patch of earth
freshly turned and human-shaped
a hole dug deep
while I sit at the kitchen table and sharpen my teeth

all these little houses, so quiet in a line
with more little secret slipping through the handcuffs
just beyond the light

and under the stairs there’s a patch of earth
freshly turned and human-shaped
a hole dug deep
while I sit at the kitchen table and sharpen my teeth

behind the door of the last house in the line
I’m coiled, I’m a snake ready to strike...

the walls, they groan,
as the wind slips through the keyhole
like a cold blade hunting someplace warm to sheath
while I sit at the kitchen table and sharpen my teeth
while I sit at the kitchen table and sharpen my teeth
Track Name: Your Mother's X
I hope you’re making friends down in the bardos
I hear the lights are beautiful and bright
I hear that pain and pleasure kinda mixes all together
‘till you end up with that thing we call divine

and I won’t ask you to tell me any secrets
that’s not why I’m whispering to the dawn
I don’t need to answer any Sunday morning questions
I just wanna know you’re safe, wherever you’ve gone

smaller than the eye of any needle
your mother’s X, and my little Y
I wish I could have met you before you slipped through the keyhole
and out beyond space and time

do you remember the darkness of that ocean?
or the rhythm of your mother’s beating heart?
we didn’t have a clue about what we were gonna do with you
but we didn’t care about that part

and I know she doesn’t talk to you that often
she’s always been the silent type, you know
there’s things that we don’t talk about, scars she’d rather live without
but she loves you, she just wishes you were home

smaller than the eye of any needle
her little X, and my little Y
we wish we could have met you before you slipped through the keyhole
and out beyond space and time

and I wish I had advice that I could give
oh I wish I had some wisdom you could use
but you’ve seen more than I ever have
and now my little Y’s the wisest part of me
that I never knew

smaller than the eye of any needle
your mother’s X, and my little Y
I wish I could have met you before you slipped through the keyhole
out beyond the great beyond
out beyond the great beyond
out beyond...

so I hope you’re making friends down in the bardos...
I hear the lights are beautiful and bright...
Track Name: Better Days
leaves are scattered on the boardwalk
I fill my lungs up with the cool air and the spray
and all the sleepless nights that grew from summer’s branches
I can feel them falling, autumn’s blowing them away, and

I am ready for better days
I am ready for better days
I am ready
I am ready
for better days

I think I’m ready to get my troubles gone
bury the hatchets I’ve held for way too long
a cardboard coffin sinking in the waves
a white-capped headstone for every rusty blade, oh

I am ready for better days
I am ready for better days
I am ready
I am ready
for better days

and if this autumn keeps its promise
oh, if this shoreline can keep me from the sea
there is nothing more I need to last the winter
solid as a maple stripped bare of all its leaves

I am ready for better days
I am ready for better days
I am ready
I am ready

for better days...
Track Name: I'll Be Your Brakeman
you couldn’t see it from the train
but I kept waving ‘till you were worlds away
and yeah I’ve got a phone, yeah you’ve got one too
but you never said for sure if I’d ever hear from you

but I’ll keep a light on at the station
even though your track might not lead back to me
I’ll keep a light on at the station
I’ll be your brakeman if you ask me to be
I’ll be your brakeman if you ask me to be

there was a time when you called me “love"
just that one time, but once was enough
and now I’m on the platform, heart in my hand
and I’ll keep it warm for as long as I can stand

and I’ll keep a light on at the station
even though your track might not lead back to me
I’ll keep a light on at the station
I’ll be your brakeman if you ask me to be
I’ll be your brakeman if you ask me to be

all that coal thrown in the fire
all those whistles in the night
oh, it’s such a lonely sound
but I won’t be lonely, I’ll just be around

and I’ll keep a light on at the station
even though your track might not lead back to me
I’ll keep a light on at the station
I’ll be your brakeman if you ask me to be
I’ll be your brakeman if you ask me to be
I’ll be your brakeman if you ask me to be