A Town Called Hesitation

by Jack Hotel

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  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    CD is presented in a colorful four-panel digipak featuring artwork by Günter Voelker and photography by Katie Voelker.

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1.
Just outside of town, and just a little off the road In an otherwise darkened field of corn On a cloudy summer night, when the moon is just a sliver And you can't see what's at the end of your arm There's a giant neon cross, standing empty as a thought Throwing neon blue all across a field I don't remember how we found it but the moths would flutter 'round it Just like ashes at the blue end of the world Some farmer must have lit it up, a sign of hope for travelers People far away from their home But we used to park beneath it and lie cheek to cheek to cheek It was you, me, and Jimmy out there on our own It's the oldest tale there is: I loved you and so did Jim And you loved both of us in different ways I loved the blue glint in your eye as we lay and faced the sky And the smell of your hair as it brushed my face Well, that giant neon cross left an imprint when you closed your eyes The way blueberry juice will stain your hand It just burned so damn strong, kept burning the summer long It burned much harder than my poor young heart could stand So when Jim got the job cutting wood in Washington I could hardly wait for him to go And in my mind I bade my time and I burned the summer hours Down to ashes at the blue end of the world It was early in the morning when his Greyhound bus was leaving And we drove him to the station in your car And you know I could have died when you kissed him on the lips 'Cause I hated how he'd store that in his heart And when we turned to leave I felt a blue wind in my jacket sleeve And saw the sad expression on your face It was the cast of someone grieving, unacquainted with the feeling Of a love that's out of step and out of place Outside a diner on I-80, I knelt and pulled a box out And my words stuck in my throat just like a pearl And then the snow started to fall, and it fluttered all around your face Like ashes at the blue end of the world You did not seem surprised; you just nodded and you closed your eyes I stood and I delivered you a kiss And from the taste still on your lips, and the neon blue inside my chest I knew that part of you would still be his Well, the intervening years have seen us dry behind the ears And as we settled down the neon cross grew dim But when we got the call from Jim's sister in the fall To tell us that something had happened to him You drove off in the car, the same one we used to park And I knew that I had been shortsighted To forget that time is elastic, fire stretches and contracts Yes, I knew that neon flame was still ignited Some farmer must have lit it up, a sign of hope for travelers As the road before their headlights unfurled But we used to park beneath it and lie cheek to cheek to cheek Drawn like moths to the blue end of the world Yeah, we used to park beneath it and lie cheek to cheek to cheek Drawn like moths to the blue end of the world
2.
In a town called Hesitation In a state of giving in I was standing at the station I was going home again And every star and constellation Seemed to light the sky aflame Calling out an invocation They were calling out your name Time will bind our hearts up together Where we are and where we've been I thought I felt you in the weather Thought I heard you in the wind In a time of deprivation We would see each other through There were songs of lamentation There were ways of making do Now the earth in its rotation And the tide in its blue, abundant grace Guide me to a destination To that old, familiar place Oh, the smell of that blooming heather Oh, the moonlight on my skin I thought I felt you in the weather Thought I hear you in the wind Time will bind our hearts up together Where we are and where we've been I thought I felt you in the weather Thought I heard you in the wind In a town called Hesitation In a state of giving in I was standing at the station I was going home again
3.
Ridin' on the train when we stop in San Antone A dude walks down the aisle and he sees that I'm alone And he stops next to my seat and asks me, "Can I join you, friend?" If I had just said "no" then that is where this song would end But he sat himself right down and told me that his name was John I did not say my name but somehow knew that he'd go on He said he'd finished doing time and was gonna see his girl And when he's done with her he's gonna see this guy named Earl Who had offered him a job a month or so ago The job was probably gone but Earl owed him, did I know Where he could get a prepaid card so he could make a couple calls? His boys would want to know that he had climbed over the wall And then he laughed and said just kidding he had paid all of his dues He had served his time in full, and then he pointed at his shoes And asked me would I mind too much if he aired out his toes? I had to answer no and try not to breathe through my noise His favorite food was pancakes and his favorite color green His favorite cleaning product was not Tide but Mr. Clean He used to play the guitar in a rockabilly band But he had sold the instrument and later trashed his hand He looked at the appendage, which he rolled into a fist He said if anyone could play it was definitely his kid He could play a house on fire, I have never seen the like That boy had the blues before he could even ride a bike Then he opened up his backpack, and he opened up a beer He said it was his birthday, then he pulled out something clear And he poured into cups and said, "I propose a toast" Then he forgot what he was saying To another year gone by and another year ahead Make a past and future sandwich out of past and future bread We drank and started laughing, and it turned into a fit Then John got real quiet and he told me what he did I will leave out all the details, but say it involved a gun And when the deed was over, John no longer had a son He opened up a knife, and while he spoke he carved his name Into the seatback and he asked if I had lived life on the blade
4.
With the way that people look at you at midnight And the way the sidewalk smells in rain I start thinking I might walk back to Nebraska Got a wildfire burning in my brain I wonder if your brother still hates me If your family would know me by my face I heard that your sister has a baby I tried to write but threw the card away 'Cause something always happens in a story Where I can't tell the middle from the end Something always happens after midnight Where you can't tell a lover from a friend You have a tongue in silver tones a-ringin' And a back that bends like it was liquid gold After midnight when wake from what you're dreamin' Your hands just slip through what they tried to hold Got a car on blocks at George and Ruby's I can come and get it anytime I like Ruby makes my favorite cup of coffee With cream and sugar and a cube of ice The ice is so the coffee's cool for drinkin' So the bitter juice does not burn your tongue Cream and sugar keep you in my thinkin' Keep the midnight out of my song You have a tongue in silver tones a-ringin' And a back that bends like it was liquid gold After midnight when wake from what you're dreamin' Your hands just slip through what they tried to hold You have a tongue in silver tones a-ringin' And a back that bends like it was liquid gold After midnight when wake from what you're dreamin' Your hands just slip through what they tried to hold
5.
Looking out my back door With dirt on my heels There's a fire on the back road And dust in the fields Lightning going sideways I was on the straight I was following the path That was pointed at the gate The gate was shut against me The wall too high to climb I heard somebody laughing And forgot to wonder why Walked along a riverbank Never stopped to rest We were like pioneers, baby We were headed west Come upon a shade tree Beside a crystal lake And we ran into some trouble With an apple and a snake The snake said, "Hello, "and how do you do? "I have a little knowledge "I would like to lay on you." Wait for rain And listen for your name It's a long, long time Dry gulch blues I am not an angel I do the best I can If I tell the truth At least I'll die an honest man No forward or behind me I guess I'm stuck between The past with all its daggers And the future with its teeth
6.
Drive 06:15
Headlights flashing on a highway sign Just a few more miles to Valentine And a quiet voice inside my mind Says, "Go ahead and close your eyes and drive" Susie's passed out, she can't stay up She's been drinking muddy waters from a plastic cup Miles ahead and miles behind Go ahead and close your eyes and drive Let go your worry, let go your pain It's all a silent movie rollin' through your brain Stay between the painted lines Go ahead and close your eyes and drive Go ahead and give your eyes a rest Ease back and throttle back your pounding chest Keep it on the right-hand side Go ahead and close your eyes and drive Let go your worry, let go your pain It's a brokedown get-around highway dream Stay between the painted lines Go ahead and close your eyes and drive If I die, won't you bury me deep Someplace I can get some sleep And dream I'm doin' 55 Go ahead and close your eyes and drive Let go your worry, let go your pain There's a rumble strip before you hit the breakdown lane Stay between the painted lines Go ahead and close your eyes and drive Go ahead and close your eyes and drive Go ahead and close your eyes and drive
7.
Iron Bell 05:02
First thing in the morning, I open up my eyes Stirring up my coffee and I hear to my surprise It is that iron bell, I mean that iron bell High up in the tower, way down in the street That iron bell keeps ringing and it interrupts my sleep It is that iron, I mean that iron bell Iron bell, alive and well, buy or sell, one to the other Ain't no tellin' what the time will tell Except that iron bell Aristotle, Vincent Price, the Avon lady and Jesus Christ Even old Goliath when he fell all heard that iron bell Iron bell, alive and well, buy or sell, one to the other Ain't no tellin' what the time will tell Except that iron bell Iron bell, alive and well, buy or sell, one to the other Ain't no tellin' what the time will tell Except that iron bell
8.
I was born with my mouth wide open I was born with a hundred teeth Chewed up everything in the kitchen Started looking over and underneath Can't you taste that good fried chicken Can't you smell that deep blue sea Haven't you heard that it's been written Do re him and do re mi When I was young my daddy told me I believe he said it true Nothing in the world's as holy as a little bit of road in front of you Mama died with cookies in the oven Elvis died with his pants undone Jesus died in the back of a barroom Didn't lift a finger for anyone I can shout hallelujah! I can shout amen! If I shine my light from under a bucket Can a poor boy get to heaven Can a poor boy get to heaven Salt for salt and sugar for sugar So I've heard the story told I just hope I get to heaven If I die before I'm old If I had money and time to spend it I'd light out for some western town The grass is green and the girls are women They're taller than they are around I'd drive until the sun gets heavy I'm out of breath and out of range The signal's strong and the beat is steady The tune's familiar but the words are strange There's a house on the river Jordan I believe it's not that far Might be all the beds are taken But I hear they got a big backyard I can shout hallelujah! I can shout amen! If I shine my light from under a bucket Can a poor boy get to heaven Can a poor boy get to heaven I can shout hallelujah! I can shout amen! If I shine my light from under a bucket Can a poor boy get to heaven Can a poor boy get to heaven
9.
Clay Pigeons 03:35
I'm goin' down to the Greyhound station Gonna get a ticket to ride Gonna find that lady with two or three kids And sit down by her side And ride 'til the sun comes up and down around me 'Bout two or three times Smokin' cigarettes in the last seat Try to hide my sorrow from the people I meet And get along with it all Go down where people say y'all Sing a song with a friend Change the shape that I'm in And get back in the game And start playin' again I'd like to stay, but I might have to go To start over again Might go back down to Texas Might go to someplace I've never been Get up in the morning and go out at night And I won't have to go home Get used to being alone Change the words to this song And start singing again I'm tired of runnin' 'round lookin' for answers to questions That I already know I could build me a castle of memories Just to have somewhere to go Count the days and the nights that it takes to get back In the saddle again Feed the pigeons some clay Turn the night into day And start talkin' again When I know what to say I'm goin' down to the Greyhound station Gonna get a ticket to ride Gonna find that lady with two or three kids And sit down by her side And ride 'til the sun comes up and down around me 'Bout two or three times Smokin' cigarettes in the last seat Try to hard my sorrow from the people I meet And get along with it all Go down where people say y'all Feed the pigeons some clay Turn the night into day And start talkin' again When I know what to say
10.
Come on, mama, don't you play me for no fool I wouldn't quit you, woman, while the weather's cool Around your back door, honey, I will make my creep As long as you're earnin' your two and a half a week I know a gal who lives in the rich folks' yard She brings me meat and she brings me lard She brings me meat and she brings me lard She brings me anything that she can steal I hear you mama, hey, hey Here come Sally with her nose all tore Doctor says she can't smell no more Come on, doctor, keep ringin' the bell There's women in the alley I'm simply wild about my good cocaine Furniture man come to my door last Sunday morn He asked me, is my wife at home I said no, she's been long gone Then he backed his truck up to my door Took everything I had And took it on back to the furniture store I declare I did feel sad What in the world's anybody got to do With the furniture man If you got no dough, he'll put on a show He'll take everything he can He'll take everything from the ugly plant The skillet to the frying pan If there ever was a devil without any horns I swear it was the furniture man I hear you mama, hey, hey Here come Sally with her nose all tore Doctor says she can't smell no more Coke's for horses, not for women or men They say it's gonna kill you but they can't say when I'm simply wild about my good cocaine Simply wild about that good cocaine
11.
Powder blue, paint the baby's room And line the empty bottles on the floor Emerald green, a touch of tangerine We don't even live here anymore Tape the trim, keep the bad thoughts in Tell me, is there something on your mind? You only see what you choose to see I thought I told you everything was fine Listen close, I thought I heard a ghost The voice resounds across the house The message is not clear Keep my hand wrapped around your hand The other one is cupped around my ear Oh, my soul, where does good love go And why don't I believe it when it comes And oh, my sin, where do I begin In the valley that is cleft between my tongue Listen close, I thought I heard a ghost The voice resounds across the house The message is not clear Keep my hand wrapped around your hand The other one is cupped around my ear Paint the walls and doors around you Pace the halls and floors without you Someone calls to ask about you I don't know what to say Buy an old canoe and paint it powder blue And set it drifting slow across the sound In the breeze, the helicopter seeds Free themselves and flutter to the ground
12.
I hope you won't think less of me Or consider me unkind But the less I speak your name The less you seem to cross my mind When your mother handed you to me I could hardly understand You were seconds old and small enough To balance in my hand Oh, my daughter, darling one Don't be too long away I hope the water spirits you Back home again to stay You can see out to the edge of things On an afternoon so clear When the sun sets on the aging day It appears to disappear Oh, my daughter, darling one Don't be too long away I hope the water spirits you Back home again to stay Now and then a happy moment comes And it takes me by surprise And I hope that years of laughter show In the corners of your eyes Oh, my daughter, darling one Don't be too long away I hope the water spirits you Back home again to stay Oh, my daughter, darling one Don't settle for a thing Bear a flag fit for a conqueror Wear a coat fit for a king Bear a flag fit for a conqueror Wear a coat fit for a king

credits

released June 27, 2020

(c) 2020 Jack Hotel. Recorded by Matty Sanders. Produced and mixed by Jack Hotel and Matty Sanders. Mastered by Doug Van Sloun at Focus Mastering in Omaha, NE. All songs by Günter Voelker except "Drive," by Günter Voelker and Joe Salvati, "Clay Pigeons," by Blaze Foley, and "Cocaine Blues," by Luke Jordan.

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Jack Hotel Lincoln, Nebraska

Jack Hotel contains multitudes. A listen to their sophomore release, Voices from the Moon, reveals a range that encompasses Ry Cooder and Leo Kottke, Gillian Welch and Townes Van Zandt, Mississippi John Hurt and Etta Baker--but this band is no mere product of its influences. Since their start in 2012, Jack Hotel has proven itself one of the best, and most original, folk acts in the midwest. ... more

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