The Middle

by James Keyes



The Middle is the third album by New England based artist James Keyes.
While his first two albums were relatively quiet releases, leaning towards a sparse acoustic sound, The Middle is a much larger animal. Recorded by Mark Thayer (Chris Smither, Peter Mulvey) at Signature Sounds in Pomfret Connecticut, Keyes’ third album holds nothing back. It’s a genre busting tour de force of everything Keyes has got going on between the ears. Lyrically driven, this new album seamlessly blends a wide array of American music styles while still maintaining a unique and distinct sound of its own.
It's the cumulative sound of all the folk music that's come before it. Gut-bucket blues, honky-tonk tear jerkers, songs of the road and its endless freedom, dark nights in smoky roadhouses and the long black ache of the broken American dream.
The Middle is a state of mind. The Beatles went out for a laugh and Dylan brought them there. If they’d have kept on laughing maybe this record would have had a better point of reference, but it doesn’t. It’s rock‘n’roll on an alternate time line, picking up where some left off and completely disregarding where others picked it up.
It is and it isn’t. It’s in The Middle. What you’re looking for is there, along with what you didn’t even know you’d lost. It’s a rare bird of opportunity to have no preconceived notions about what is going to happen. You own it when it does. It’s up to you.


released November 23, 2013

Recorded, mixed and mastered by Mark Thayer
Signature Sounds, Pomfret CT.

Duncan Arsenault - Drums
Jeff Burch - bass
JP Beausoleil -trumpet
Klem Klimek -Sax
Josh Kane - trombone

James Keyes, vocals, guitar, piano, organ,
harp, bass on tracks 1,7,8,12

Graphic Design - Jessica Rossi



all rights reserved


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: Darkness Come Creeping
Just trying to find some quiet, trying to find some peace
but the hounds of hell our howling and they're right up on my feet
Is there nowhere I can go, is there nowhere I'll be free
I just need a moment... maybe two... maybe three

Darkness come creeping on now, rise up from the west
That old black train is coming for to take me to my rest
The seventh son under the setting sun is waiting on the seventh day
Time's lost and moving on away

You fight infinite battles in a never ending war
Fire a billion bullets for Uncle Sam but he just wants one more
Selling tickets to your funeral to help pay down the cost
Get a flashlight and a compass boy, because all hope is lost
Track Name: Taking My Time
Yeah I'm gonna take my time
Yeah I'm gonna take it easy
Slow waves still roll in after all

Well I'm in no rush, I'm in no hurry
I just might land on my feet before I fall

And I have only one chance, only one story
I'll believe in time eventually
A little love, a little laugh, a little weight off your back
Take it now before it's gone

Everything you know will change
Everything you know is easy
Wisdom comes with age but age is a young man's game

Dry your eyes and think of home
Or think of what it could be
You got to love to be loved in return, but everybody can

And I have only once chance, only one story
I believe in time after all
A little love, a little laugh, a little weight off your back
Take it now before it's gone
Track Name: Little Things
Oh yeah I see your face, you're not as young as you used to be
But baby, we all grow old
Jewelry and little things, old pictures bring back memories
of stories you'd once been told

So take a breath take a moment for yourself
Think a little bit on love,
What it is and what it takes even when you think you have enough

If you write every story like you already know the end
Disappointment will be your only friend
Can't get lost when you know where you have been
and all the signs along the way have all been true

All you need is a friend,
All you need is a friend to come and take you home
Track Name: Roll With The Punches
If everything we know is everything we've learned
and a couple of things besides,
I'm gonna roll up everything I know, and blow it up on the day I die

If a willful contradiction is all that it is, then it ain't as bad as it seems
You gotta sleep the sleep of the dead
If you want to wake up from your dream

I can feel that rain come pouring down
Once more drop spilling up on you,
You'll be sinking down

You gotta roll with the punches in this mortal coil
before you can fly away
Climbing up the sky on the wings of an angel
looking for your judgement day

So you've seen a lot of things, you meant to do more
shoring up the odds with whoever's keeping score
You can never be to careful and you can't be left behind
Track Name: Sometimes
Sometimes you need the sun, sometimes the rain
Sometimes it's nothing at all

Sometimes it's love, sometimes it's pain
Sometimes it's nothing at all

Sometimes you're high, sometimes you're low
Sometimes you're nowhere at all

Sometimes you hid, sometimes you show
Sometimes you're nowhere at all

All that you're feeling
All that you know
All that you wanted...
well now you ain't got nothing at all
Track Name: For The Kids
Long long way baby now,
Stone weight days
What does it feel like when you're free

All them simple little moment
All them little stranger ways
Throw your rope down on me

Well I'm holding your way darling
Time will come around you'll see
All we are is all we are and that's all we'll ever be

Long long days waiting, waiting on...
It's what you do that sets you free
Tell me that you're with me baby, couldn't make it on my own
Take my hand and we can go

It's a long way down
Track Name: Little Bird
Little bird, you're on your way
Show your face, hide your name
Am I yours, or are you mine
Well it doesn't make a difference when all we've got together is time

Bind your ties with all your wrongs
Is it time you're waiting on
You can't believe that we're all the same
Well if you're living in the gutter then all you'll ever see is rain

And all you've ever known is wrong
Give those fading suns away
Love's been fettered up in darkness
Low head, low heart you know so well
Track Name: 1 or 99
First shot, you're the lucky one
Yeah you're charmed but you're not the only one
Who are you if you can't trade in on your fame
If you're not on top then you're not playing the game

You got the brass, you got the stones
You got that thousand yard stare that's getting awfully cold
What's your price when the money has all run out
Hanging on to heartache is a poor substitute for love

Doesn't matter in the end if you're 1 or 99
When the seven trumpets sound, we'll all be going down
Down, down low into the ground
Track Name: Lay It Down On Me
You play these games as you're walking away
Got a whole lot of nothing to say... well,
You got down, till you got away
Lord I don't think I could ever see thing your way

You got stuck and you don't want to stay
Said you're moving on anyway
Well it's a long way down, back the way you came
Tell me how many times have you run and come back again

Lay it down on me, tell me one more time
Getting stuck out on your own you get lost... lost
When are you ever coming home

You got caught living in chains
What are you giving up on anyway
I don't lay down, not for anyone... no
Just give me one more sunny day before you go
Track Name: The Traveler
They toasted whiskey in the winter under the moon
he sold his soul in March and stole it back by June
He was a stranger;
In the moment but not of it, like you or me

He was always coming and always on his way
Walked from Portland to Hartford and back in a day
He had all the time in the world
But he just couldn't stay long today

Devil on his tail, pillar to post
Home's the open road, mountains to coast he roams...
There he goes
Every day's another story but the story never ends
Can't know where you're going if you don't know where you've been
I know... I've been told

A wooden nutmeg or an oak leaf cigar
For the right price he could sell heat to a fire
He could tell you a story or sing you a song he wrote
Guitars of silver and trumpets of gold
He could sell you the stars when the daylight got old
You could tell him what you want
but he'd already know what you need

Well the last time anyone saw him he was walking through the rain
Headed north to the Berkshires towards Lake Champlain
But it could have been anyone
And you never heard it from me...