Lyrics: “Never Gonna Fly” by Radney Foster

Lyrics: “Never Gonna Fly” by Radney Foster

When it comes to music, sometimes I think I’ve got the compulsions and addictive personality of a drunk or a gambler. Once again, a song on the Americana station caught my attention. The artist was Radney Foster. After listening to his song, “Never Gonna Fly,” I quickly found his website: According to the site, “Radney Foster’s songs carry enough guts, depth and soul to deliver a knock out punch to any serious listener,” says fellow Texan and co-writer Pat Green. I would have to agree. I definitely want to learn more about this talented songwriter. I will likely purchase Foster’s CD soon, This World We Live In. The Texas songwriter (now in Nashville) has been writing songs since he was seventeen. Foster’s site quotes him as saying: “The best records I’ve done are about big transitions, things that have happened in my life that made me dig around in my soul.” This was a song that made me dig a little into my own soul, so I thought I’d better post the lyrics. If I got any of the lines wrong, let me know. (

“Never Gonna Fly” by Radney Foster

A young man full of pride don’t need much hope
He thinks he’s got it made even when he don’t
Thinks all he’s got to do is order up a beer or two
And make work what everybody tells him won’t

He don’t care what all those people say
He’s got to bend the world his own way
He’s got dreams, he’s got no doubts
You’re either in or you’re out
And it’s better to burn than it is to fail

You wanna feel the wind, you gotta take the ride
You better dream big, you wanna touch the sky
You can’t be scared to risk it all
You never gonna fly if you’re afraid to fall

An old man don’t waste time with regrets
He’s made mistakes along the way and yet
He smiles as he’s looking back
He says I’d do it all again
In fact, you learn something new
With every single scar you get

You wanna feel the wind, you gotta take the ride
You better dream big, you wanna touch the sky
You can’t be scared to risk it all
You never gonna fly if you’re afraid to fall

Guess it’s true that time, it really does slip away
You won’t elude the chances you don’t take

You wanna feel the wind, you gotta take the ride
You better dream big, you wanna touch the sky
You can’t be scared to risk it all
No, you’re never gonna fly if you’re afraid to fall
You’re never gonna fly if you’re afraid to fall

If you’re afraid to fall
If you’re afraid to fall
Go on son, you can fly

Tyler, Texas During the Civil War

For today’s post, I  thought I’d use an excerpt from my anthology, Stories of the Confederate South. You can learn more of the book by clicking on the link on the sidebar. I chose the story, “Manhunter, “a story I constructed after reading the diaries of several Federal soldiers who were confined in Camp Ford, a post near Tyler, Texas, along what is now Highway 271. Up to 5,000 captured Yankees were imprisoned there late in the war. I think there’s a song lurking beneath the surface of the camp’s story, and I hope my research will lead me to it.  Chicolithe, the main character of the story, is based on a real person. Molly Moore, the poet mentioned later in the story, is also based on a real person.


There is no hunting like the hunting of man, and those who have hunted armed men

long enough and liked it, never care for anything else thereafter.”—Ernest Hemingway

The thunderclap woke Chicolithe. He stretched his legs on the rope bed and listened to a surge of wind as it roared through the pine tops and to the rain as it pounded the wooden shingles and slid from the roof to slap puddles of water on the hard clay ground.  He sat up and looked out the cabin’s one window by his bed. The thunder echoed through the piney hills like enfilading cannon, and he heard a bolt of lightning crackle high above the earth, burning sky and air until it augured its tentacle downward into a pine.  He heard the tree split and crash into the ground.  As the storm moved eastward, the thunder eased into rumbles and the lightning into white-charcoal screens.  His bluetick hound stirred, and the dog’s tail thumped the bedpost. Chicolithe reached down and scratched the animal’s head.
“One of them will run tonight, Nimrod. Best get some rest, boy.”
The dog blew out a breath, licked Chicolithe’s hand, and rested his muzzle on his outstretched paws.
Chicolithe rose an hour later, let the dog outside, and then moved to the stool at the fireplace.  He threw pine kindling onto the embers and blew them into flame.  The blackened clay of the stick-framed clay chimney was cracked and thick with charred pine resin.  The smoke swirled and looped inside its black crypt, then spiraled up the flu into the gray sky.  After the logs caught, he let Nimrod back inside and made coffee and a small boiler of cornmeal mush.  As he ate, he stared into the flames, his thoughts taking him to earlier pursuits of these erratic and desperate men in blue coats.
He heard the splash of brogans wading through the mud and puddles outside his cabin.  A small hand, not a man’s fist, pounded on the door.  It would be one of the guards from Camp Ford.  Slipping his suspenders over his shoulders as he rose, he opened the dilapidated pine-board door.  “Come on in, boy. Get dried off.”
The fifteen-year-old stepped inside, removed his slouch hat, and squeezed the water out of it. “I’d like to visit a while, Mr. Chicolithe, but I got to get back to the fort. Colonel Allen wants you to come right away with your dogs. Some Yankees run away last night.”
“How many this time?”
“Colonel said a half-a-dozen of ’em.”
Chicolithe ciphered the silver dollars he would earn if he could catch them all.
The boy held his hands over the fireplace. “It’s rained like thunder all night long. A cold rain, too.  I reckon they thought the rain would cover their trail.”
“They thought wrong.” Chicolithe studied the boy who had already worked the camp for a year. The boy was one of about two dozen militiamen on guard duty at Camp Ford—all of them boys, old men, or stove-up soldiers—who guarded the 2,000 Federal troops inside the stockade.  If the war lasted another year, this boy would be sure to sign on with regular Texas infantry or cavalry.  A couple of the other boys guarding the fort seemed a bit addled and thickheaded to Chicolithe.  He doubted they would ever be accepted for regular service, but this boy—he would be absorbed quickly.
A half-dozen. That meant that it wasn’t the impulsive blind run of a few soldiers who seized an opportunity, but it reflected a planned escape. Likely, they had weapons and food stored up and a route planned.  Maybe some help from someone outside the stockade.  If the escapees stayed together, they would be easy enough to catch, but if they split up, Chicolithe knew he would have a devil of time catching them all.
“Well, boy, help me load up the dogs, and we’ll be on our way. It sounds like the rain is letting up.”
*    *    *

Lyrics for “Number 29 (The Rocket)” by Doug Spartz

My Americana cable station is slowly going to make me a poor man because of all the songs I order from iTunes. Yet, I know it’s helping me build a great songlist for my shows. I discovered yet another artist I wanted to feature on my blog—Doug Spartz. I was working on my online classes when I heard his song, “Number 29.” Now, I know Steve Earl has song called “Number 29” but this was different. As I listened to this song, I could feel the emotion packed into the lyrics and into the singing. I felt it would be a song I could work into my Memorial Day show I like to do for the Blue Star Mothers. It also made me think of all the symbolism behind the number 29. If you’d like to know more about that number go here: The lyrics are a transcription, so if you find a line that needs correction, please email me ( Doug Spartz is a tremendously talented musician. His website is one you should check out and you can find it here:

Lyrics for “Number 29 (The Rocket)” by Doug Spartz (Performer) Songwriter: Canadian, Fred Eaglesmith

Son, could you help me on this platform
I’m not too good climbing stairs
Brought me a drink and a sandwich
I wanted to just sit and watch the trains.

I come down here every single Sunday
My grandkids used to come here too
Now they drop me off at the front entry
I guess they’ve got better things to do.


Number 47 she’s a good one
Number 63 sings like a bird
Number 29, That’s the one they call the rocket
Hey, that’s the saddest train I’ve ever heard.

Son, I’m a decorated veteran
I fought what they all called the final war
I used to believe in everything that it stood for
I don’t believe in much anymore


Son, you look just like my Nathan
He stood here 40 years ago today
He looked so good in that brand new soldier’s uniform
But that rocket never brought him back again.


“Banjos We Have Heard on High” by Jed Marum

A short post today, so much to do. I must finally be getting into the Christmas spirit. If you like banjos, my friend Jed Marum has a song that has been ranked as high as number 4 in the Bluegrass Christmas list and we’d like to keep it there for a bit. You don’t need to log in or join the site – just playing the track will help us out. If you are a Soundclick member, please rate the song for us.


Song page:

Band page:

*By the way, you may be interested in knowing that Jed and I are planning some projects together–a combination of storytelling and music.

Jed Marum: Thoughts on the Irish Brigade During the Civil War

In my Stories of the Confederate South anthology, I have a story, Lily, that is centered around the men of the Irish Brigade. Jed Marum performs a wonderful version of a song entitled, “The Boys of the Irish Brigade.” I decided to post his thoughts on the song and the lyrics as well. The chords are in parentheses. I’ve always thought this song a good tool to teach youngsters stories of mythology. Jed Marum will be at Enoch’s Irish Pub, Saturday, Dec. 20! Be sure and come to see him. He will be worth the drive. Please visit Jed Marum’s website here.

Jed says: “Most of what I know of this song I learned from singer David Kincaid’s album, The Irish Volunteer. You can find more info here

The old Irish melody and the lyrics of this song were recently put together by David. He states that he found the lyrics in the Book Of Irish Songs by Samuel Lover and Charles Lever. That book was published in 1860 by A. Winch, of Philadelphia, PA. No authorship is given for the lyrics.

The song celebrates the heroics of the Irish Brigade who fought for the army France during the 18th century – but it was published in the US just at the start of the American Civil War and was certainly appropriate for the period.

David attributes the melody as “My Lodging Is On The Cold Ground,” and it is the same melody also used for “Believe Me If All Those Endearing Young Charms” and others.

“The Boys of the Irish Brigade” Chords and Lyrics
(capo 3)

What (C) more or shall I sing you of (F)Roman or Greek
Or the (C)boys you hear (G)tell of in (C)story (G)
Come (C)match me for fighting, for (F)frolic or freak
The (C)Irishman’s (G)reign in his (C)glory
For Ajax and Hector and (F)bold Agamemnon
Were (C)up to the (G)tricks of the (C)trade, (G)Oh
But the (C)rollicking boys for war, (F)ladies and noise
The (C)boys of the (G)Irish Bri(C)gade

What for shall I sing you of Helen of Troy
Or the mischief that come of her flirting
There’s Biddy McClinchy the pride of Fermoy
Twice as much of a Helen, that’s certain
And for Venus so famous, or Queen Cleopatra
Bad luck to the word should be said, Oh
By the rollicking boys for war, ladies and noise
The boys of the Irish Brigade

What for shall I sing you of classical fun
Or the games whether Grecian or Persian
The Currauh’s the place where the knowing one’s done
And the Mallow that flogs for diversion
For fighting for drinking for ladies and all
No time like our times, e’re was made, oh
By the rollicking boys for war, ladies and noise
The boys of the Irish Brigade

For fighting for drinking for ladies and all
No time like our times, e’re was made, oh
By the rollicking boys for war, ladies and noise
The boys of the Irish Brigade

Busy Weekend

I’m on my way home to Monroe this morning. Yesterday, was packed with activity. I returned to the Barnes & Noble on University in Fort Worth, and had a sell-out signing.  I moved from there to the Sundance Barnes & Noble in Forth Worth and had another good signing. Here I am with Elizabeth, one of the workers at the University Barnes & Noble. She is a sharp lady who earned her MA in Art at Edinburgh University. She told me a few stories of her stay in Scotland.

From the Sundance Barnes and Noble, I attended a dinner at Soda Springs BBQ located at 8620 Clifford St. in White Settlement.  After a fine meal, we went to the Texas Civil War Museum for a private showing of Civil War artifacts from the private collection of Ray Richey. Ray is the curator and founder of this fantastic museum.  The museum rotates its collections 3-4 times a year, drawing from artifacts owned by the United Daughters of the Confederacy and from Ray and Judy Richey’s private collection. Though I was allowed to take several photos, these two are my favorites. The first is a display that gave me an idea for my book coming out next year–The Little Confederate’s ABC Book. The second is of the card that explains the exhibit.  This museum has helped me so much with my school programs and last night  we discussed ways that we will work together even more in the future.

Lily: A Story from a Yankee Diary & a song of Jed Marum

In my collection of historical short fiction, Stories of the Confederate South, I have a story that was inspired by a song of Jed Marum and printed in Ceili magazine. The song is entitled, “Mama’s Lily.” I still remember the first time I heard Jed sing that song, and ever since that Friday afternoon, this song has been a favorite of mine. The lily is a symbolic flower, a flower of beauty, hope, and a reminder of death. This little story honors that little Southern girl who lost her life because the forces opposing the South had no scruples about warring on civilians. On Jed’s advice, I purchased and read McCarter’s memoir. I love this Irishman, and I love studying the Irish Brigade that he was a part of. I hope I can someday reenact as part of their unit. About McCarter, I think there are more stories from that memoir that I should write.

Jed says this about “Mama’s Lily: “I wrote this song a few years ago after reading the diary of an Irish immigrant and Union soldier named, William McCarter. His words were published in a book called, “My Life in the Irish Brigade.” He told one story that stunned me so – that I couldn’t stop thinking about it for weeks. It’s the true story of a little girl accidentally killed in the shelling of Charlestown, WV. McCarter came across the scene shortly after the incident had taken place and was absolutely crushed, heartsick by it. He told the story with such care – that I knew I had to retell it. I had to find a way to pass the story on … I wrote the song using as much of McCarter’s own word and thought as I could. I hope that although it is a tragically sad story – it is a beautiful song, and pays homage to this little girl’s memory.

While it is told from the point-of-view of a Yankee soldier, and that soldier lists for us his motivations for fighting, this song tells just as much a Confederate story. A story I hope will one day be heard in wider circles then my singing will take it. I hope this song is sung, and this story retold at every reenactor campfire, every historical gathering and every music venue in the country.

“Mama’s Lily”
© Jed Marum 2002

She was just her Mama’s Lily
A pretty child, curious and bold
As I stood there with Michael O’Reilly
She might have been seven years old
She’d been placed high atop the piano
And arranged there with love and with care
By an African servant, her nanny
Cutting locks of the little girl’s hair
There were tears soaked locks of here hair.

And it’s a hard cold edge to the wind tonight
It’s a bitter wind, cuts to the bone
& cruel is fate when its power and its might
To both guilty and innocent are shown Em
To both guilty and innocent shown

Charlestown was easily taken
Federal batteries had helped clear the way
When we went down to see,
Michael Reilly and me
The Rebel force had melted away
She’s been standing alone in the window
Watching soldiers retreat south and west
There was nothing to do,
When a cannonball flew
Through the window,
And on through her chest
Tore her arm and her heart
From her breast

Now I know we must fight for the union
But what a terrible price must be paid
And to make this land free,
Michael Reilly and me
Well we joined with the Irish Brigade
Now I look through my tears on this Lily
Shattered before she could bloom …
Still through death on her face
Shine her beauty and grace
Though she died from a terrible wound
And no child should ever die from such a wound.

Will Kimbrough: “Interstate” Chords and Lyrics

One of the great themes recurring in Americana music, like American and English literature, is that of movement. In the ballads of Americana we hear stories of the adventures, trails, and roving of loners and the lonely (not the same thing), truckers, outlaws, and those who have abandoned a past life or relationship that wasn’t working and who hit the road. As I’m about to leave Monroe for two days of signings in Fort Worth (see my calendar on my homepage0, my thoughts are on that long Interstate drive that awaits me.

I discovered a new (only new to me) and talented songwriter and musician, Will Kimbrough, who describes the sense of constant movement in a song entitled, “Interstate.” The Mobile, Alabama native has a website and you can read all about him and his music here: Anyway, I purchased the song “Interstate” and decided to transcribe the lyrics and post them here. The song is a waltz, that one reviewer aptly described as “delicate and lovely.” I had a transcription up that had a couple of errors, but Will contacted me and supplied me with the correct lines.

Interstate by Will Kimbrough

Chords: He performs the song in the key of A.
Basically, a waltz (3/4 time) back and forth between A & D & E. You can hear the changes.
He has a little bridge that goes: F#m E, D, A D, F#m, E, D, E, A

Interstate, we could be anywhere at all
Iowa, Florida, old Termite Hall
There’s a rest stop
Just keep your eye on the road

Touching down, hit the ground
Running if you can
Santa Cruz, Gothenberg, Orange Beach sand
Hit the hotel
Just keep your eye of the road

All I know is blacktop, white lines and trees
Interstate stretching out far as i can see

Rent a van, thank you ma’am
Start the highway fun
Birmingham, Amsterdam, face to the sun
If the sun’s out
Just keep your eye on the road

Petrol stop, parking lot
Local folks in line
Liverpool, Arkansas, it’s not a crime
To be lonely
Just keep your eye on the road

After the showpubs are closed
Drinks in a bar,
Get up and go, grab your clothes,
You can sleep in the car.
Home again, all my friends
Kids and the wife
Where we were looks a blur
This is the life!
When’s the next run?
Just keep your eye on the road

Bridge: Twice repeat “Interstate stretching out, as far as I can see

Americana Song Lyrics: “Four Questions” by Kieran Kane

While listening to the Americana Cable station, I discovered a new song and new songwriter I like. Kieran Kane is a session guitarist, singer and song writer who I intend to learn more about. He has a webpage here. That site says this about him: “Kieran Kane’s music is adult in the truest sense of the word. His explorations of mature love (The Blue Chair’s “Honeymoon Wine”), friends’ struggles with personal difficulties (“Kill the Demon” from Six Months, No Sun), and the meaning of life (Shadows on the Ground’s title cut) lead directly to his philosophical explorations of faith and life on his latest release, You Can’t Save Everybody (with Kevin Welch and Fats Kaplin).

“The maturity is not surprising; Kieran’s been a successful Top Ten solo artist, a member of the duo The O’Kanes (with Jamie O’Hara), with whom he had six more Top Tens and received rave reviews, and a successful songwriter (he wrote Alan Jackson’s huge hit “I’ll Go On Loving You”). After The O’Kanes split up due to pressure from the major label they were on, Kieran put out another solo album, Find My Way Home, in 1993 with Atlantic, which was produced by his future Dead Reckoning partner Harry Stinson. Even though the record was critically acclaimed, the airplay wasn’t enough for Atlantic and Kieran left–and soon formed Dead Reckoning with Stinson, Kevin Welch, Tammy Rogers and Mike Henderson.” Kane is also a visual artist, and you can see some of his art here.





[verse 2]:


Pittman Book Signing News:

This weekend I’ll be at the University Park Barnes and Noble and at the Sundance (downtown Ft. Worth) Barnes and Noble as well as attending a special event at the Texas Civil War Museum.

Jeff Talmadge Song Lyrics: “The Hard Part’s Letting Go”

As I was listening to my Americana station on cable TV, I heard this song that I knew I had to learn. Jeff Tamadge is a super talented musician and songwriter. His website is here: Here is an biographical excerpt from his website.

Jeff Talmadge Bio

Born in Uvalde, Texas, Jeff grew up in small towns scattered across Texas–ones like Crystal City, Boling, New Gulf, Iago and Big Spring. The ghosts and memories of these places appear often in his songs-distant trains in the night, unread letters lying in weathered mailboxes, and memories of the things we love-and leave-blowing across the vast Texas plains. 

Layered with lyrical imagery and textures that whisper their way effortlessly into the heart, Jeff’s CDs are haunting treatises on longing and remembrance. Says PrimeCD recording artist Annie Gallup, “Jeff has a gift for writing lines that are absolutely fresh but that run so deep that I’m forever quoting them to myself to explain and validate events in my own life.”

Jeff’s 1999 debut CD, Secret Anniversaries, his 2000 follow-up, The Spinning of the World, and 2001’s “Bad Tattoo” have received extraordinary reviews and extensive airplay on over 125 stations in the U.S. and overseas-startling achievements for these independent releases. Jeff has appeared as a songwriting finalist or showcase artist at some of the nation’s best folk festivals.

It’s further testament to the quality of his music that Jeff has attracted a veritable who’s who of outstanding musicians into the studio to record with him, including: Iain Matthews, Eliza Gilkyson, Annie Gallup, Gene Elders, Bukka Allen, Mark Hallman, Stephen Bruton, Frank Kammerdiener, Glenn Fukunaga, Chris Searles and Paul Pearcy.

A graduate of Duke University, Jeff won the prestigious Academy of American Poets Award and went on to receive a Master of Fine Arts from the Warren Wilson College MFA Program for Writers in North Carolina. Jeff is an active member of the U.S. Folk Alliance.

Here are the lyrics to the song I heard. This is a transcription, so if I made a mistake let me know. Jeff contacted me about the post and said that he plays the song using an open D tuning:

The Hard Part’s Letting Go by Jeff Talmadge

You can’t fight the undertow
Touch a live wire and you can’t let go
It’s easy to hang on to the love to the love you know
But the hard part’s letting go.
The hard part’s letting go.

You can’t let go when you’re in the lion’s grip
You can’t unlearn the things you know
It’s easy to hang on to a sinking ship
But the hard part’s letting go.
The hard part’s letting go.

Holding on is easy sometimes
It’s just going with the flow
But any fool can just hang on,
But the hard part’s letting go.
The hard part’s letting go.

You can act like an acrobat on a high trapeze
Hope someone will catch you down below
And you can pray a prayer that will knock you to your knees
But the hard part’s letting go.
The hard part’s letting go.

You can’t fight the undertow
Love’s a live wire and you can’t let go
It’s easy to hang on to the love to the love you know
But the hard part’s letting go.
The hard part’s letting go.