Tunnels, Treehouses & Trainsmoke

by Jeff Andrew

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about

NOTE: Download includes PDF of the songbook (chords & lyrics to all songs, handwritten wtih original artwork by Fraea the Banshee).

Ghost stories, murder ballads, fiddle tunes and train songs from the tunnels of East Vancouver. Features a 5-string fiddle, a baritone violin string section and the legendary Stroh Violin (a rare, antiquated instrument with a resonator and a phonograph horn).

"Incredible album of dark modern day folk songs...includes some of the eeriest fiddle playing around." - Americana Roots UK

credits

released October 29, 2013

Ryan Boeur: Guitar (1,2,3,5,6,7). Dobro (5)
Kenan Sungur: Percussion (1,5,6,7), Vocals (8), Bass (1,5,7)
Jeff Andrew: Vocals, Guitar, Fiddle, Dobro, Baritone Fiddle (6), Stroh Violin (3,6)
Chelsea Johnson: Vocals (8)
Alkemy Roseblade : Vocals (8)
Tyrone Shoe: Percussion (9,10,12)
Jess Hill: Vocals (14)
O'Mally: Vocals (16)
The Choir Under The Bridge (gang vocals on 9): Joe Trucker, Jess Hill, Fraea the Banshee, Julian Flinchum, CJ Leon, shayne avec i grec

Tracks 1-8 recorded and mixed by Corwin Fox
Tracks 9-15 recorded and mixed by Tyrone Shoe
Track 16 recorded and mixed by Jeff Andrew
All tracks mastered by Corwin Fox
Produced by Jacob Anger

All songs by Jeff Andrew (SOCAN) except "Places" (verses by JA, music/chorus by Phillips Saylor-Wisor) and "Don't Lose The Night" (words by JA, music by Michael Hurley/trad via The Shiftless Rounders, inspired by Jess Hill)

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Jeff Andrew Vancouver, British Columbia

Fiddles, horns, double bass and subterranean percussion from the tunnels of East Vancouver. Songs from the road and beyond the grave.

"A backroads troubadour with a few things to say by way of viscera, nerve and hard experience...basically a raunchy Bob Dylan with blood in his teeth." - Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
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Track Name: Dance To The Death
Dance To The Death

You break me wide open, you fill in my cracks
You left your stamp in me like a child's footprints
In dry cement, that she made when no one was looking and it was wet
I sang your song just to myself
As the cities burned and I rode to the south
With the silence of the highway where no one can hear me anymore

I need you tonight in the ash and the grey
Where the sun is a stranger and ten years is a day
Come find me tonight by the cross on the hill
And we'll dance to the death of the world

I set the fire and you lit the match
The generators blew and we stood there to catch
The ashes falling like snowflakes as the Rapture spread
The great towers fell just like we always planned
The smokestacks burned and the streets turned to sand
Then I looked into the darkness and you were gone

-Chorus-

I searched the ruins, found a scrap of your vest
I stayed there for days but there was nothing else left
Oh, it's everything we dreamed but it's no fun without you
There's a void in my heart that cannot be filled
There's a demon inside me that cannot be killed
By anyone but you

-Chorus-

Now there are times when I'm alone at night
When salvation flies like a moth to the light
And burns itself to death in protest at being had
Track Name: Old Suitcase
Old Suitcase

I been working in the bush for what seems like a year
It's barely been a month or more
Job went bust and I woke up drunk
On a cheap hotel room floor
Bars on the window and a needle in the sink
Don't want to think about the things that went down
Everyone I trusted's either dead or getting busted
What the hell do I do now?

I'm gonna stuff myself into an old suitcase
Hitch a ride on a Lincoln Bus
Ride the river to the Palace of Sin (Walk the valley of the Shadow of Death)
It's the only place I know I can trust (Find a place where I can shake off the dust)
I got everything I need in my old overcoat
I'm a one-man traveling show
Ain't got no money - but I'm richer than you'll ever know

The city's full of liars, killers and thieves
Wearing badges and expensive suits
I'd rather take my chances with the carnival tramps
At least we got the same kind of boots
I tried all different kinds of living
From the penthouse to the shopping cart
You can pray for your breakfast, steal for your lunch
Or burn it down and make a new start

-Chorus-

Got me a bottle and a half-pack of smokes
A low bridge where it's dry underneath
Rain's coming down and it ain't what I asked for
But maybe it's all that I need
There's a woman in the wings down at Old Mr. Nick's
She runs the Theatre of Broken Hearts
I left her once and she left me twice
But I'm betting that the fourth time's the charm

-Chorus-
Track Name: Reasonable Doubt (Free Nyki)
Reasonable Doubt

Life swings in the balance
Of a million quick decisions
Which road you choose to walk down
Can make all the difference
Like that night in Toronto
At the end of the summer
When Nicole Kish went out drinking
With some friends from the States

Traveler kids who'd lived their lives
On and off the streets
No strangers to abuse
Persecution and wet feet
When Faith Watts saw Ross Hammond
And George Dranichak on Queen St
At an ATM just off of Euclid
And asked them for some change

Hammond told her to go and be a whore
If she wanted to make some cash
The girls said something back
Harsh words were exchanged
The situation escalated
Until Dranichak threw Douglas Fresh
Into a store front window
And he and Hammond walked away

A block further down the street
Fresh confronted them again
Hammond beat the kid unconscious
Against the side of a streetcar
While a crowd began to form
And someone stabbed Ross Hammond
With Faith Watts' knife
As he kicked her boyfriend's body
Over and over again

Chorus:
In this crooked old world of pain
We gotta find someone to take the blame
Like Milgaard or Truscott or Rubin the Hurricane
We gotta find someone to take the blame
In this crooked old world of pain

As Fresh lay crumpled on the ground
Another fight broke out
This time Hammond got hold of Watts' knife
And used it on Nicole
Two men jumped him from the crowd
Someone shouted "You die tonight!"
At some point during the chaos
Hammond was stabbed again

He was given the wound that killed him
By someone in the crowd
Who was never identified
But when he died two days later
Nicole Kish was charged with murder
Plenty of witnesses came forward
But not one of them said they saw her
Do anything but stand there

In the four years that it took
For her case to come to trial
Not one but two surveillance tapes
Disappeared/got erased
By the Toronto police
Her friends were all deported
While the public rose in anger
As they swallowed the version

Of the "Panhandler Murder"
That the papers reproduced
Where two gentlemen were attacked
By a gang of ruthless punks
Leaving out the section
Where they started the fight themselves
Beat one kid half to death
And left him bleeding on the ground

When the hammer finally came down
Despite the missing evidence
No positive ID
And big holes in the story
A court of law somehow determined
That Nicole Kish was the killer
And cast her into prison
For 2nd Degree Murder

-Chorus-

Nicole Kish is a songwriter
A traveler and an artist
She started her own magazine
It was called "Bound For Glory"
While Dranichak and Hammond
Sold pornography online
But were described as "Internet Marketers"
In every press report

About the "Panhandler Murder"
Where it seemed as though a street kid
Had stabbed an upstanding citizen
At an ATM on Queen St.
After he politely refused
To give her money to buy booze
An open and shut case
Except that no one saw her do it

And she never asked them for money
And the so-called victims started the fight
And DNA tests were done
And all they found was a trace of blood
On the bottom of Nyki's shoe
And there was another man there with stab wounds
Caught on tape right after the fight
But when the cops arrived, he vanished

To somewhere in Toronto
Where none of this made any difference
In the eyes of the press
Who already had their killer
Or in the court of Justice Nordheimer
Who called the evidence circumstantial
But sentenced Nyki to life in prison
For 2nd Degree Murder

Wrongful convictions
Happen far more than you'd think
Most victims serving longer sentences
Than those who admit guilt
Because it's hard to show remorse
Or be rehabilitated
For something you didn't do
In the first place

-Chorus-

If you think there's no more class war
Then explain how this can happen
While the man who pushed a street kid:
Ariana "Harley" Simpson
In front of a Victoria city bus
On a dark winter night
Was given a one-year sentence
"A tragic accident" they said

So he got manslaughter instead
Despite witnesses who saw him
Push her straight under the wheels
Reinforcing the knowledge
That murder's not really murder
If your victim is a street kid
A prostitute, a peasant
Not white or just plain poor

Rest assured no one will look too hard
For 50 missing women from East Vancouver
But if a millionaire's son gets kidnapped
The whole city goes into shock
200 cops are on the case
Non-stop coverage in the press
And the city doesn't rest
Until he's found

Hemingway said "The world is a fine place
And worth fighting for"
I say "don't get caught standing in the wrong place
Or on the wrong side of the road"
Like that night in Toronto
At the end of the summer
When Nicole Kish went out drinking
With some friends

-Chorus-
Track Name: Professional Asshole
Professional Asshole

In high school I played at the amateur level
Beating up the queers and the punks
Now I've gone pro, I got official permission
To kick the shit out of poor homeless drunks
I'll treat you the same, whether you're criminally insane
Or I catch you drinking beer in the park
Now your face is a mess - "STOP RESISTING ARREST!"
I love to go to work when it's dark...'cause I'm a

Professional asshole
You'll know me by the flashlight (teargas) I shine (smash/throw) in your face
Working for the rich to dig a big ditch
To keep the poor down in their place...'cause I'm a
Professional asshole
I don't have to wait til I get off shift
How does a psychopathic thug get a badge and a gun?
I guess that I was born with a gift

I'll tell ya a little something, just between you and me:
I get laid because I carry a gun
Snorting confiscated coke, nailing hookers for free
Being a cop sure is fun
But I'm getting sick and tired of having to pretend
That I'm here to give the public a hand
So I think I'll quit the force and be a border guard instead
I know the Customs Agents all understand...what it means to be a

-Chorus-

Working over immigrants, musicians and freaks
I can strip-search any woman I want
If you don't look like me, I'm your worst enemy
But hey, I'm just doing my job
Transit cops, bouncers and security guards
Secret shoppers and railroad bulls
If you're looking for a license to practise legal violence
Your career is waiting right here for you...you too can be a

-Chorus-
Track Name: Desdemona
Desdemona

There's a hole in the ground on the east side of town
All covered in dust from the train
The sparrows are gathered in the branches above
Waiting for a soul to take flight in the rain
The shovel lies broken on the back of that night
When I threw myself down in that helpless embrace

In the end it comes down to the simplest of things:
Why did our love fly away?

The last time I saw you, you said you were headed south
For the carnival and you'd be back in a week
The next time I saw you there was blood in your mouth
I took your hand and you struggled to speak
The words weren't there, not the breath nor the air
But your eyes told me everything I needed to hear

In the end it comes down to the simplest of things:
Why did our love fly away?
What good did it do me to pray?

When you fell from the trestle I cried out in vain
My heart torn away by the sound
The screaming of steel and the kiss of the rocks
Then I knew for sure that you'd never be found
I hear footsteps in the rain and I cry out your name
All I can see is your face in the stream

In the end it comes down to the simplest of things:
Why did our love fly away?
What good did it do you to pray?
Track Name: The Graveyard Downtown
The Graveyard Downtown

Time is the 4th dimension
Look back through now at the place you're in
A heart still beats behind the red brick skin
And what happened then can happen again
The colours change but the walls stay true
A nation's built on the bones of the poor
Left to rot beneath the city sewer
Their ghosts will haunt the urban renewal

There are tunnels under every city
A buried past and it ain't pretty
They want you to forget about the graveyard downtown
But the Racoons know what lies underground

Residential schools, internment camps
Aboriginal blood on the colonial map
The General Strike, the immigrant stamp
Die for the railroad or live as a tramp
You pay the head tax to feed the machine
Or hide in the tunnels under Chinatown streets
Smuggled lives, black market dreams
While the Dragon breathes in the manhole steam

-Chorus-

So to those of you who'd tear down our past
Red brick gone for the steel and glass
Drive out the poor for the upper class
And pretend no struggle ever came to pass
Fuck you all! You can go to Hell
I'll stay right here, keep ringing the bell
You can tear down the bridge, seal up the well
The old bones are gone but the ghosts will still tell

-Chorus-
Track Name: Hobo Postcards (Tunnel Version)
Hobo Postcards

Burning neon lights, star-eyed country nights
I traded eyes with a Somerset Dame
But I let it all break down, that night in Chinatown
Ten years and every place just looks the same

It’s cold and I got nowhere left to go
I pray, but the churches are all closed
The sidewalk calls, I make my bed of stone
I’m gonna ride the broken staircase to the ground

I been lost, I been found
And the rain’s still coming down
I been all around the world
Now I’m going home

Hooded eyes on the corner, a manic voice in the cold
I drag the past like a rusty ball and chain
I hopped a train to Heaven but St. Peter locked the gate
Now I only believe in God at night when it rains

Your face on the night we said goodbye
Your tears were red, you had bloodstains in your eyes
Lightning fell and the Earth begin to cry
Thunder of steel and that high, lonesome sound

-Chorus-

Your team is chasing nightmares, just let go of the reins
Take the junk you’ve found and build a home
There’s no truth but in things, you must commit to the swing
Let the blade find its own way through the bone

Do you remember that little shack at the edge of town?
Where the river bends and the tracks are broken down?
Meet me there when the frost is on the ground
Winter’s coming and it’s time to build us a fire

-Chorus-
Track Name: Places
Places

The Kootenays taught me dreaming and how to fall in love
The Prairies taught me hitching and what heartache really was
The Island told me stories about clearcuts and rust
Nova Scotia taught me ballads and watch out for Sheilagh's Brush
Haida Gwaii was like a vision from a faerytale rime
At the Edge of the World I heard a voice as old as time
Dawson taught me drinking and hold on to your toes
The Alaska Highway was my first song on that midnight road

Go...my my my
All the places I go, all the places I go

Prince George taught me working and skid row hotels
In the Great North Woods waiting for an axe that never fell
Ottawa taught me the river and how to love the snow
In Quebec City I swallowed tear gas and stuck around for the show
In Toronto I caught a bus with fire in my blood
It rode me out of Peterborough just before the flood
Manitoba left me stranded on the side of the road
I said "FUCK THE GREYHOUND! I'll make it on my own"

-Chorus

Oregon taught me never trust the weather on the coast
California gave me the Redwoods and a forest full of ghosts
Washington showed me traintracks where Wobblies used to roam
In Portland I saw the battle scars from the FBI's war
In San Francisco I walked from North Beach through the Chinatown slums
Sang a Dead song on the corner with the Scum Fucks and the bums
In Big Sur I rode the highline with that endless ocean glow
Golden Gate to Bixby Canyon, there's a bridge for every road

-Chorus
Track Name: Map Of Secrets
Map of Secrets

Since I left my home
Since I left my home
Never once have I looked back
Since I left my home

I danced with an angel
Eyes as blue as her soul
She taught me how to hitchhike
And she left me on the road

When I left my home
When I left my home
Knew I couldn't be the only one
When I left my home

I was 18 and brave; said I wouldn't be no slave
Combine machinery and childhood dreams betrayed
So I learned to trust the shadows and the voices in the trees
Drumbeats on the full moon night calling out to me

When I left my home
When I left my home
Never once did I look back
When I left my home

Footsteps on the highway, a ghost in every town
Echoes of the old world everywhere
Shadows of the Goddess, spirits cast in stone
Echoes of the old world everywhere I roam

Everywhere I roam
Everywhere I roam
I see the cracks in what we've built
Everywhere I roam

I dreamt the city shadows were flaming in red
Falling down a ladder on a dried-up riverbed
When the highways are forgotten and the traintracks are dead
Follow me to Salem like the prophecy said

Trying to find my home
Trying to find my home
Searching every pair of eyes
Trying to find my home
Track Name: Jo-Annie's Shack
Jo-Annie's Shack

She rides a bike without a helmet, she got chickens in the yard
She don't drive a car, no sir, no way
She don't drink no more, but she smokes a pack a day
Last week one of her chickens ran away

When I can't sleep at night
Big round moon and the darkest kind of light

Breaking away to go
Hanging around too long
Staying up all night in Jo-Annie's Shack

Small town in the Green Hills, a kingdom in the woods
Tucked away in her own little paradise
Remebering New York City and the last night on Earth
That night a folksinger saved her life

When I can't sleep at night
Big round moon and the darkest kind of light

-Chorus-

Now it's four o'clock in the afternoon and I been up since three AM
Drinking cold coffee all day
There's a fresh pot in the kitchen, but it don't make no difference
I just like it better this way

All these fucking people with their frowns
I try so hard not to let 'em bring me down

I close my eyes and try to dream
Of all the places that I been
Remembering that night in Jo-Annie's Shack
When I was breaking away to go
Hanging around too long
Staying up all night in Jo-Annie's Shack
Track Name: Dirt Alley Rose
Dirt Alley Rose

Midnite coffee keeps me warm
This music keeps me whole
She said "This place is hard to find, but I'm glad I found you here
'Cause I've never been to a wedding
But I've seen my share of wakes
Last night I dreamt I was a butterfly, but this morning I woke up as a snake"
I said "They found me in a burned out alley
Tied me up like an old pair of shoes
They left me in the grease-stain sunrise with nothing but the needles and the blues"

This world ain't much for dreamers like us
We’re freaks wherever we go
But now the nights are getting cold and I'm so tired of being alone
I just want to fall in love one more time

Maybe I'll see you out on the road somewhere
In the mountains with your thumb to the sky
You'll be dancing with your backpack and you'll be singing a song
Looking like you're living a dream
Looking like you're living a dream

This place is cracked and crumbling
That's how I like it best
Broken bottle glass and empty hearts and all the rest
She stopped under an October streetlamp
With the wind wrapping shadows around her feet
With her eyes full of heartache and the cold in her cheeks
She smiled and sat down next to me
She said "I've walked between the stars and the mountains
I've hitchhiked every road you can name
I've seen all there is to see and all I've ever found was me
Ten years and I got no one left to blame"

My hands are as patched-up and scarred as my clothes
And we both got the same miles of dirt in our toes
But you're pushing thru the wreckage like a dirt-alley rose
Lord I hope you never lose your thorns

-Chorus-







The radios are crackling in the alleys
That old jazz that always sounds best at night
"Our adventures are the love songs we write to the world"
She told me as we stepped into the light
She said "I know there's an answer on the highway
There's a home waiting for me out there
I keep my faith wrapped up with the beads in my hair; now I'm sorry babe, but I got to go"
My heartache has a rhythm like a freight train
Comes and goes like a po' girl on the run
'Cause you're a sad old song that gets better every time I hear it sung

My traveling boots are falling apart
I can fit my whole life into a shopping cart
When my last wish is gone I'm going to make a new start
I promise I'm going to find you someday

Maybe I'll see you out on the road somewhere
In the mountains with your thumb to the sky
There's some magic out there we're gonna find it I swear
We just got to hang on to our dreams
We just got to hang on to our dreams
Track Name: Cambie and Cordova
Cambie & Cordova

Manic street preacher, wild-bearded dream teacher
A wandering light in the fog
A whisperer in shadows; he was right there at the gallows
Crying: "Freedom is a backpack and a dog!"
The world whips around her, no peace has ever found her
But you can light up her day with a smile
And one ever asks why the cops come so fast
As she stands up to walk the last mile

There's cars on the street, people trying to sleep
The rain beating down on their souls
At the corner of Cambie and Cordova there's a door:
Turn left if you're rich, turn right if you're poor

In an old shopping cart, she keeps a piece of her heart
All that's left as she tries to hold on
A cold wind is blowing and the doors are all closing
As she dreams of a child dead and gone
"I need to get to sleep," he says as he cries
Head in hands on the park bench at dawn
"When will it end? I had so much to give
Now all I've got is this bell and this song"

There's cops on the street, people trying to sleep
The rain beating down on their souls
At the corner of Cambie and Cordova there's a door:
Turn left if you're rich, turn right if you're poor

A place to get warm, a shelter from the storm
Wrapped in old newspapers and sin
But from the madness inside, there's no place to hide
When the daemons all call from within

There's cops on the street and a woman on the floor
Of an old hotel bar by a cheap liquor store
At the corner of Cambie and Cordova there's a door:
Turn left if you're rich, turn right if you're poor
Track Name: Don't Lose The Night
Don't Lose The Night

I drank all night and I slept all day
Underneath a bridge, away from the rain
It was already dark when I hit the road
No money in my pockets, no silver, no gold

The sun crept up over starry fields
My shadows are falling, my secrets revealed
I can't remember my dreams anymore
I'm trying to hold on, but I don't know what for

Stay here with me baby, don't lose the night
The storm is coming, hold on to me tight
I'm trying to be strong, but I'm afraid of the light
So hold on to me baby, don't lose the night
Hold on to me baby, don't lose the night

You came to me with a promise and a gun
Showed me the answers, left me with the sun
Now I'm waking up and I'm all alone
No way to find you, but I'm on my way home

-Chorus-
Track Name: Old Boots, Rusty Shovel
Old Boots, Rusty Shovel

Big trucks crashing through the bush
Chopper blades tearing at the sky
They got machines to break the land, but we plant 'em all by hand
Turn your wrist and you can hear your body cry
Freezing in a lonely tent at night
Fall in love at breakfast then you're gone
Then the sun's beating down like the Hammer of the Gods
Every day we sing the same old song:

I don't want to plant trees anymore
I don't want to cut another line
I just want to plant my last piece so I can find
Some peace of mind

Bush camps and trailer parks up north
Small towns and barges on the coast
Clearcut salmon stream, your city life's a dream
It's the little things that tear your heart the most
Ghost wind blowing down the road
Bones of the forest left to rot
Shadows of history in the cold misty dawn
I'm so tired but I don't know if I can stop

-Chorus

Elves dancing wild around a fire
Or in a bar singing heartsick country songs
Chop some wood, light a smoke, pull up a stump and tell a joke
Have a drink and we won't think about tomorrow
Bag 'em up and break your back out in the rain
Three thousand times every day
Boom and bust, stab and thrust, slash and burn, greed and rust
How long, O Lord, tell me how long?
Track Name: Driftin' On
Driftin' On

I rode the river from the mountains, dreaming all the way
Now I'm lost in the delta and every branch looks the same
The sky's getting darker and the clouds are rolling in
It's the same old situation I always find myself in
Hey, I'm just driftin' on

Midnight on the water and a star above the ridge
I found my father's ghost sleeping under a bridge
Six in the morning, woken up by a cop
I wonder if the nightmares are ever gonna stop
Hey, I'm just driftin' on

Memories of magic and crystal in the hills
You said you'd come and find me but I know you never will
So take all your worries and make a little song
Best to keep it simple so we can sing along
Hey, I'm just driftin' on
Big blue world keeps rolling on

Blue fog on the valley and the mountains glowing gold
I found my way to town as the sun split the cold
Sat down on the sidewalk, read a sign across the street
It said "Jesus and the Magdalene made love here last week"
Hey, I'm just driftin' on

A preacher shared his breakfast and shivered as he spoke
He said "Things are getting harder and my spirit's almost broke
I used to miracles and live for signs of Grace
Now I'm praying for my soup and I'm just trying to hold my place
Hey, I'm just driftin' on"

-Chorus

A man in the alley told me things'd be okay
If I lined up all my problems and shot 'em all away
I found an empty building and the rain's coming down
But there's cops on every corner that want to run me out of town
Hey, I'm just driftin' on

I hear the highway calling and a freight train rolling slow
I'm gonna find the secret rivers running through my soul
The days are getting longer and these games are getting old
I'm gonna leave this city world, get back out on the road
Hey, I'm just driftin' on

-Chorus