Devil Take The Hindmost

by James Keyes



With a deft hand and harp to go with a baritone as strong as brewed black coffee, Keyes demonstrates an impressive mastery of multifaceted Americana. --Jonathan Perry, The Boston Globe (September 2, 2011)


released May 1, 2011

Recorded and mixed by Roger Lavallee
Tremolo Lounge, West Boylston MA

Duncan Arsenault: Drums
Wolf Schlyczk: bass
Zack Slik: banjo
Laurie Levitre: fiddle
Steve Cummings: guitar, track 13
Roger Lavallee: Pedal Steel



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James Keyes

Six string dream slinging musical maestro, teller of tall tales and short stories, social media soliloquist, blues shouter, country crooner Rocknroll raconteur and avant folk rambler, pint quaffer, shot shooter, foot stomper, soul singer, rain bringer, and left fingered proletariat provocateur. ... more

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Track Name: Steel Toes and Blue Jeans
Steel Toes and blue jeans, coffee and Dramamine
Those stains on your hands will never wash off
Any crew's the same and the work, it never changes
And the only way you know is the only way out

She'll tell you that her love will last forever and a day
But when it goes up in flames don't hesitate
The moon is always up and will never let you down
and the stars are always glad to light the way

I am leaving I am leaving alone again tonight
I am leaving I am leaving that's for sure
I am leaving I am leaving alone again tonight
And I know I ain't ever coming home

Take a dream and a whim to a place where there's no sorrow
Forget about today until you wake up there tomorrow
You can't lack what you cant find,
If there's no reason pay no mind
There's nothing that you want that isn't there

But if the darkness of the hour leaves you too scared to go on
and you think you'll never see the light of day
Keep and eye out on the road and song in your heart
and the melody will guide you on your way

You can try to run the clock out but in the end it'll drag you down
When you thought you were alone time got there first
Well it's hard to make your way through each and every day
But the freedom to keep moving is always there
Track Name: Sunday Walking
I went walking on Sunday
Took in all that I'd seen
These people and places... nothing lasts in time
I know I got moving' on my mind
Take a little walk maybe see what I can find

The sun's down the moon's out
The sky's black there's no one around
The leaves on the trees shake
but I cant feel alone
I know I got moving' on my mind
Take a little walk maybe see what I can find

Well I'm long gone I've left home
done some things I cant condone
I've seen the world through windows
but now I'm out here standing on my own
Gonna take a walk maybe see you when I get home
Track Name: You're Not Alone
Good times bad times
I know we've had ours
But I still love you every day
and every night

Seems like there's always something in our way
In this wicked world we call our home
But you're not alone
You're not alone

You're a shadow in a dream
Whisper in the din
Moonlight under water tonight
You're my lover and my friend
My beginning and my end
You're the melody that floats in on the wind

Well if I've changed I hope that you still love me too
Because you know you mean the world to me
Yes it's true
Believe in us and bet your past against your time
Tell me that we'll make it through the night
One more time
Track Name: Ain't Going Down Like That
Well I ain't no I ain't
I ain't going' out like that

And I don't need nobody telling me that I can't be free
And I don't need nobody come and take my daylight away from me

Well I ain't, no I ain't going down like that
I ain't going down like
Track Name: Old Rider
When that Old Rider comes on his black horse in the night
and he's knocking at your door
You can't turn him out, you know why he's there
just never thought this moment would come

Your dealing days are over, there's nowhere left to go
The iron in the fire is growing cold
Best not to keep him waiting as he calls out your name
from his book you signed so many years ago

There's nowhere left to run to
There's nowhere left to go
Can't go back the way you came
All the money in your pocket won't do you any good
Old Rider gets his due just the same

You can't trick the trickster, can't fool the old goat
All your charm won't save you now
A deal is a deal and he's come to collect
There's nothing left to offer but your soul
Track Name: Paper in the Wind
I'm burning paper in the wind
I do not know where it goes
Throwing rocks out to sea
Aiming for those distant shores

I have always had this planned
maybe never this much then

I'm digging holes in the sand
Tide comes up and fills them in
I lit a match to light my way
Darkness never was my friend
Track Name: Wicked Night
Ice on the window spreading
Black clouded skies
Northeaster coming on now
Better get inside
George's Bank ain't safe now
Bring your ships in
Devil is coming captain, he's in the wind

Get your candles, it's gonna be a wicked night
From Cape to Cape you better pray that you see the morning light

Water is rolling wild now, out in the bay
Roll Davie Jones right over, down in his grave
This wind will strip the birds right out of the air
Feels like Heaven is falling and God don't care
Track Name: Summer Song
Well the air is full of summer
Thick lightning sky
the rain's pelting down on my old white Buick
as I roll down 495

Well my radio is dead as usual
So I'm humming my own tune
and the rhythm of the road just keeps getting faster
I could be dead or in your arms soon

All of your fires, your burning desires
All come flooding back into your mind
And all of your reasons through all of the seasons
come flooding back just in time

Well the smokes rings are clearing
Everyone feels like a child
yeah your stone walls are crumbling
in time you'll be mumbling
that every dream you have is worth its while
Track Name: Slow Motion Blues
I've seen a lot of faces, there's none I can recall
Shook a lot of hands but I've forgotten them all

Ashes to ashes dust to dust
you do what you can, I do what I must

Chain me to the ocean, chain me to the land
Chain me to the sky just to see where I land

Your feet are wandering
but they're not bringing you back

They played Frank Sinatra on his wedding day
His father heard the same tune when they put him in his grave

Give me some attention, give me your trust
I'll give you mine, whatever you want

Everybody wants love, they want it so bad
everybody needs it to know what they had

Your head is aching
Because your heart's leading the way

Memories of their future, dreams of their past
without love in the present nothing can last

Way down in the ground digging your hole
everyday is another shovel load

Crawling up, you slip back in
Is the view better from where you stand

You're never getting anywhere
how's that for hope

If I had to answer, I'd answer to myself
And if I had to give I'd give to someone else

Every day is a race, a race against the ghost
Nobody knows the prize but the Devil take the Hindmost

Take me to the womb, put me in the ground
Sing a few songs, buy another round

Live now... You might not have the time you think you have
Track Name: Long Way Around
Walk you to the other side
this island is ours tonight
we'll take our time, take the long way around

Dim these city lights, the night is crawling over you
slow and fine... you never looked so good

Don't you know where I've been
Took a while to find you here now I won't go back again
I will walk with you through this night
Nothing but the moon and us till morning arrives

Together in the waves
Tide's rising up around us now
Fog's rolling in, blurring sea and sky

Don't make a sound, just listen to the water coming in
Won't be long till it's rolling out again
Track Name: The Ones Before
I've been around and back again
Been told by folks near death that I'm beginning to look my age
I've seen friends come and I've seen friends go,
One thing's for sure and that it's I'm still moving on
I don't believe anymore that I can be brought down

Well I hope and pray everyday that I can find peace
All this smoke and drink and song is just a release
Maybe someday I'll find what I'm looking for
but till then, I'm just adding days to the ones before

I played the game, and broke some rules
Now I just make 'em up as I see fit
I don't believe anymore that I can be brought down
Track Name: September 31
I feel the days slowly rolling by
Sunlight is fading
Black clouds are coming back again
My old friends

Cold nights are getting longer now
Frost on the window
Children are headed back to school again

Life moves in paces like a bad dream never will
You find your will, you'll find your way
Might never notice that your time has come and gone
All these things you never thought of until now

Willows are weeping near the dead
Slate all around us
Old pines that were here before we came
Gonna be here still

Paved roads that were dirt in my father's time
circle around us
Quarries have long been filled back in
by the old Granite Rail
Track Name: Just One Brick
You're just one brick in the castle wall...
I'm just a peasant waiting for the castle to fall

You're just one seed on the forest floor...
All them other little seeds will grow up big and tall

You're just one little star in the night time sky...
I'm just waiting for the sun to rise

You're just one branch on the tallest tree..
Gonna take a lot more than that to keep the sky from me

You're just one grain of sand on the longest beach...
Tide come up and roll you out to sea

"Things are getting better" isn't that what people say...
Well those people have never been your way
Track Name: End of the Road
You're having one last moment before the sun begins to rise
and all the day can bring you boy is just another smile
The silence brings you closer to the thoughts you wish you had
The sky is turning purple and the highway can't look back
Never thought a day like this would end up in your mind
Seven days of freedom were just too hard to find
Now you're standing there guessing paralyzed down to you feet
The fear of having all you're time has become reality

There's no safety net to catch your fall, just you and gravity
A thousand faces scowl at you from your memories
The undertaker is waiting with a wrist watch on his bones
Whispering that it's not too late if you want to head back home
You're finding inconsistency with the voices in your head
You wish to god they'd help you out but they're so selfish now instead
It used to be they'd warn you about mutual concerns
All for one and one for all, can't let this body burn

Well you drive into town looking for a place to sleep
All the signs say keep on moving there's nothing here for free
When all the people turn their heads and walk away from you
There's nothing you can say, nothing you can do
There's no gas at the station, no booze in the bar
The church is closed the lights are off and Main St is going dark
There's just one bum hanging out and you ask him which way to go
He says "This is it stranger, it's the end of the road"