Dirt & Heartache- Liner Notes

All music and lyrics © Jay Stott 2016

Produced by Jay Stott, Brian Schey, Brian McRae

01-Remember When
02-The Ballad of Kentucky Slim
03-Gotta Fool The Devil
04-This Road Leads To You
05-The River Don’t Care
06-Dirt & Heartache
07-John Henry’s Son

Remember When

We were only seventeen,
young and dumb and sometimes mean.
Shaggy hair, no shirts,
searching after scars to cover other hurts.
If I could tell you then, what I know now,
turn you around, god knows how.
Then I wouldn’t have to lie awake each night,
searching for your face in the fading light.
Remember when

That car was fast, and that is true,
but no car was ever fast enough for you.
The engine made such a mournful wail,
sounded like hell hounds on your tail.
Never quite seemed like you had control,
sooner or later that would take its toll.
Cigarettes and cans, are scattered around,
what seems like it ought to be hallowed ground.
Remember when

I’m getting older, time moves on.
I don’t know if we were right or wrong.
All I can do is sing you this song,
and tell you I’ve missed you its been so long.

All that’s left are memories,
it seems I’m trapped, you’re the one that’s free.
Last night I stood where the skid marks were,
thought about you, I thought about her.
Cassette tapes, teenage dreams,
wondered what the hell, it all means.
Yesterday I saw an old friend, he just smiled and said,
Remember when,
Remember when.

The Ballad of Kentucky Slim

Kentucky Slim he jumped a west bound train
Running from a life of sin.
With only a bag of secret pain
And many a scar on his fragile skin.

He spent the night beside the track
at a siding where they loaded grain.
Carved his name on the wall out back,
in the morning headed West again.

Kentucky Slim, Kentucky Slim
Where you going boy, where you been?
This is a race that you can’t win.
Kentucky Slim, Kentucky Slim.

That name was hidden for 100 years,
Underneath a sheet of tin.
It held his hopes and all his fears,
He never passed this way again.
What could have a man posessed,
so he’d carve his name on weathered pine?
Did he do a wrong that couldn’t be redressed,
did he know he was running out of time?

We all hope that we’ll leave our mark,
as we spin through this troubled world.
A little light, a little spark,
a little sign, a flag unfurled.
But time rolls on, just like the train.
It might pause, but not for long.
We pass the minutes, writing our names,
in old boards or in a song.

Gotta Fool The Devil

Late last night the devil’s knocking at my door,
I said ‘sorry man, he don’t live here any more.’
I fooled him, oh I fooled him,
You gotta fool the devil, each and every day.

Walkin’ down the street, just the other night,
I saw the devil coming he went left so I went right.
I fooled him, oh I fooled him.
You gotta fool the devil, each and every day.

If you’re living wine women and song, the devil be coming and it won’t be long.
If you want to keep him at bay, it’s good clean living each and every day.
But if you’re like me and that don’t seem right, you want to have some fun on a Saturday night
Then listen up friend, to what I say, you gotta to fool the devil each and every day.
To fool him, oh you fool him,
You gotta fool the devil each and every day.

Big old house, shiny new car,
it don’t matter where you live, it don’t matter who you are
You gotta fool him, oh you gotta fool him,
You got to fool the devil, each and every day.

This Road Leads to You

The road goes on forever,
Just like the bills and crappy weather.
Nights gone black and days you rue,
Wrong directions, empty truths.
But I keep on, ‘cause this road leads to you.

Signs are few and far between,
No one here knows what I mean,
I feel the distance in the air,
Like always seeing an empty chair.
But I keep on, ‘cause this road leads to you.
Yes this road leads to you.

This road takes me far away But I don’t know any other way
If missing you’s the way it’s gonna be, I’ll make it back but I won’t be free
There’s not shortcut, there’s only through
And this road leads to you.
Yes, this road leads to you.

The road goes on and on and on,
Another town, another song.
You’re picture’s stuck up on the dash
Last thing I’ll see before the crash
This is the thing I have to do
So this road leads to you.
This road leads to you.
This road leads to you.

The River Don’t Care

What was here a thousand years ago?
There’s no human way to know.
The river knows, it breathes the air.
The river knows, but the river don’t care.

Water flows, just like wine.
Some of it’s yours and some of it’s mine.
You can stay behind or you can take a dare.
Either way the river, it don’t care.

The river’s gotta go just where it’s gotta go,
Starting way up high, ending way down low.
What it’s gonna do next, I don’t know,
And the river, it don’t care.

You can build your house, build your town,
Act like you’re standing on solid ground.
Talk real tough, or sit and stare.
What ever you do, the river don’t care.

When the flood comes, and it always will,
dirty water lapping at your window sill,
You can stay real still, or send up flares.
Cry if you want to, the river it don’t care.

The river’s been rolling for a thousand years,
Filled with snow and rain and tears.
Fill you with love, fill you with fear,
But the river, it don’t care.

The river’ll be rolling a 1000 years from now,
We might be too though I don’t know how.
But if we’re not, it’s only fair.
The river’s gonna be here, but it won’t care.

The river’s been rolling for a thousand years,
Filled with snow and rain and tears.
Fill you with love, fill you with fear,
But the river, it don’t care.

With thanks for the inspiration to Carole McGranahan and the people of Lyons, CO.

Dirt & Heartache

He came on the train in 1899, looking for riches down in the mines.
But the money in mining ain’t down in the hole,
and a man with a shovel,
never finds that much gold.

They met in Juno, in the heat of the rush.
He’d found him a nugget, and was feeling real flush.
They married so quickly no time for regret.
He was moving real fast, but he wasn’t there yet,
No he wasn’t there yet.

Dirt and heartache it’s all that you get.
You think it’s the worst but the worst ain’t here yet.
They gave you a choice kid now don’t take that bet,
Cause dirt and heartache is all that you get.

They spent the winter in a shack on the claim.
The cold and the boredom must have drove her insane.
She walked out in a blizzard, wearing only her lace.
He searched ‘til springtime, but he found not a trace,
No he found not a trace.

The bottom dropped out, he couldn’t take any more.
Packed up his things, tacked a note to the door.
The shack stands there still, in the middle of the claim.
And late in the winter, the wind whispers her name,
Oh it whispers her name.

John Henry’s Son

John Henry was my father, and I am my father’s son,
But that ain’t the kind of thing it’s easy to live with when the working day is done.
I don’t know if it was worse to wish him dead, or miss him now that he’s gone,
But you don’t ever get to pick your father and he never picked his son.

Yes he was a steel driving bastard, that part of the story is true.
But did you ever think what a bastard is like when you’re only a child of two.
He never gave me more than the back of his hand, I wanted a father, I wanted a friend.
But when your father’s a legend and you’re just a kid, there ain’t a damn thing you can do.

Living with a story ain’t no joy, kinda takes away the power of choice,
Stuck in between the silence and the noise, with no place to go.
Looking high and low for some way out, living a life of fear and doubt,
All you can do is to scream and to shout, and hide behind a slamming door.

Living with a legend, just ain’t that much fun,
I can still hear the ring of that hammer, even though his day is done.
I’ve tried to block out that sound, it’s a battle that I’ve never won,
And it starts all over again every time I hear that goddamned song.

Now I swing a pretty fair hammer, learned a couple of other things too,
But I can’t compete with a man whose dead, no matter what I do.
I don’t mean to sound so down and out, when I was younger I would just cry and shout,
Now I walk with ghosts, and I live with the doubt, because there ain’t nothin’ else to do.

John Henry was my father…

N.B. This is the version recorded on D&H. There is a revised version that I play live now.


Snow is falling slowly down,
Covering the dark and frozen ground.
Even though the fire glows,
I shiver when the southbound wind,
Shakes the door trying to get in,
Comes and goes and comes again.
And I’m still here,
Snowbound Snowbound

Inside it’s frozen in tableau
I’m waiting here on my parole.
Locked in the cabin like Thoreau
The wind it mutters like a scold
I had a grip but I lost my hold,
I might surrender to the cold
And still I’m here
Snowbound Snowbound

What will the neighbors say?
I’m not leaving the house so I don’t have to tell them that you went away.
What, what will I do?
I don’t think I can dig my self out of this without you.

I see the holes punched in the wall,
What caused that I just can’t recall.
Now it’s Eden after the fall,
The wind wants to say something profound,
But all I know is you’re not around.
One more day and I’ll be underground
And still I’m here,
Snowbound Snowbound

Jay Stott- Vocals, acoustic and electric guitars
Brian Schey- Bass
Brian McCrea- Drums, percussion
Arthur Lee Land- Electric guitars
John Macy- Pedal steel guitar
Thom Bishop- Harmonica
Brian Eyster- Dobro
Jessie Garland, Cheryl Taylor, Ash Ganley- Backing vocals

All tracks produced by Jay Stott, Brian Schey and Brian McRae
All tracks recorded at Wrecking Room Studios, Lyons, CO
Engineering and Mastering at Wrecking Room Studios by Brian McRae and Brian Schey
Photography by Josh Eliosef at Dancer Productions
Art and cover design by Terry Kishiyama

Special thanks to Brian Schey, Brian McRea, Thom Bishop, Brian Eyster and Emilyn Ingles for help above and beyond the call of duty. Extra special thanks to my family, Lori and Marin, my sister Anne, and my parents, for always encouraging me. Even in silly things. –JGS
Follow me wherever you are!