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3 Times a Diesel
27 strange ways
30 something 6-string
A piece behind
After time
Ainít it wrong what we donít know
All I Ever Wanted
Bagel Day
Ballad of a Broken Man
Ballad of a Strong Man
Ballad of Jesse Jones
Battle Cry of Freedom Revisited
Been In The Sun Too Long
Blue Mountain Rag
Bootleg Miner
Borrowed tune
Bottle and pipe
Bottle of sorrow
Botto never left 3rd
Chestnut eyesí (Tennessee)
Church On The Susquehanna
Churches and Bars
Circus Song
Climbing to the top
Close your eyes
Cold Wind
Cowboy and The Hippie
Crescent Moon
Crimson Sky
Crosscut Saw
Curse of the honest Man
D-blues (got me a woman)
Days Just Like Today ( A day in the woods with Bill Bailey)
Deaf and Blind
Don't Lie To Me
Double or nothing Dumplin
Dream 13
Empty as a 3am Bar
England To Austin
Epitome Squirrel
Falling down
Feeding the frost
Feel the Weight
Felt the Soul of Woody Guthrie
Figured Out
The Fire
Flat Bottom town
Flesh and Bone
Flying again
Get Up Jim
Give Her Wind
God and Woody Guthrie
Going Back To Bald Top Mountain
Going To Colorado
Gone To Stay
Goodnight song
Gray Coat soldier
Green Bridge
Hard Coal
Have a Kid
Head For the High Ground
Help Me See When I'm wrong
Here's a Song
Hey Hey World
I Just Want To Say His Name
I let Him Down Again
Iím a Rich Man Thanks to You
Iím going home
Iíve got to get it all outside
If God was a color
If I could save one soul
If Time Could Stand Alone
I Took It Hard
Independence Day
Independent Miners
Kickin pebbles
Lattimer Massacre
Leave My Town Alone
Leroy Ross
Let it go
Lifeís a song
Little Sleeper
Little tin Soldier
Living in myself
Lonesome Valley Revisited
Lookin Back
Loose ends
Madiburg Rootbeer
Magnolia sunset
Miners Wife
Mining Town
Moan at 21
Moonlight (Arizona)
The Mountain
Mustíve been my guitar
My king was a poor man

3 Times a Diesel
Van Wagner July 28, 2002

She was always too busy to notice herself
Like an old dusty novel up on the shelf.
Her life was her job, but her job was no life
Spent years and years trying to catch up at night.

 Calico lady where you at?
 You been acting like a barn cat.
 Engine running, running clean
 3 Times a diesel and no time for me.

I get a night, sometimes two
You sleep at my feet but I canít have you.
Youíre sending me signals but theyíre all mixed up
You do what you wish and you call when you want.


So please, please make up your mind
Throw me a bone, drop me a line.
This ainít much fun out in the dark
Squeak a meow, or even a bark


27 Strange Ways
Van Wagner and Matt Harrison

As the sun goes down again
And a prisoner of sleep I become again.
I turn away
I turn away
Cause thereís 27 ways to be strange today.

 The night owl is asking ďwhoĒ I am.
 Lord knows Iíd tell, if I could understand.
 Itís just night and day
 Itís just night and day.
 Cause thereís 27 ways to be strange today.

  I was born with a silver spoon.
  Lived on a mountain above the moon.
  But it slipped away
  Yea it slipped away.
  But thereís 27 ways to be strange today.

   Well who knows what all this means?
   This song is just a quiet scream..
   In the way
   In the way
   Cause thereís 27 ways to be strange today.

30 Something 6 String
Van Wagner 1996

On a hill in Danville, heíd look out across the sky,
Slipppiní on his Dobro, heíd make the Willows cry.
If I was lucky, heíd play my tune again,
ďPretty Boy Floyd the OutlawĒ on his Gibson Mandolin.

 How I miss those Gibsons, singing me to sleep.
 Iíd lay awake many a night, to the words that theyíd speak.
 I wonder if theyíre still in tune, the way I remember them,
 The 30 something 6 string, and the Lloyd Loar mandolin.

The best thing I ever learned wasnít my ABCís
It was the dancing of his fingers, playing G, C, and D.
I watched him like a buzzard as I grew up threw the years,
Heíd drink that cool water, with the Sons of the Pioneers.

 How I miss those Gibsons, singing me to sleep.
 Iíd lay awake many a night, to the words that theyíd speak.
 I wonder if theyíre still in tune, the way I remember them,
 The 30 something 6 string, and the Lloyd Loar mandolin.

What I thought would last forever, vanished over night.
We thought we ruled that mountain, but what gave us the right?
And when old Jeb was leaving, I only thought of him,
And let the dust take the 6 string, and the Lloyd Loar to the wind.

 How I miss those Gibsons, singing me to sleep.
 Iíd lay awake many a night, to the words that theyíd speak.
 I wonder if theyíre still in tune, the way I remember them,
 The 30 something 6 string, and the Lloyd Loar mandolin.

Van Wagner 1995

Itís 9, 9 cries goodbye for you
9, 9 years Iíve shied for you
9, 9 ways Iíve tried for you.
Never to see it again.

My heart I gave, gave it all to you
My heart I gave, gave it all to you
My heart I gave, gave it all to you
Never to see it again.


You swore you swore youíd always be mine.
Swore you swore, youíd always be mine.
Swore you swore, youíd always be mine.
Never to see it again.


Itís gone itís gone, what I had for you
Itís gone itís gone, what I had for you
Itís gone itís gone, what I had for you
Never to see it again.


A Piece Behind
Van Wagner

Well I think Iíve found her, I just hope Iíve got her.
Burning sparks in my eye.
You know itís funny cause Iíve known her
All my life.

 But I know that times a wasting away
 For each second lost, there goes another day.
 And if something doesnít change, Iím afraid to wait behind,
Cause each time I start up I leave a piece behind.

Sheís away now, and I know somehow
Its forever this time.
If she would come back, Iíd take her right back.
In my arms.


Time to get rolling, singing and strolling.
Going down Papermill Road.
When I get home, If Iíve got one
Iíll let you know.


Ainít It Wrong What We Donít Know
Van Wagner 1997

Is it all washed up, are you kicked around this town?
Could you be the only one coming up as we all go down?
I donít know and neither do you.

But donít give up so fast, cause this smoke has still got glow.
Just when you find the end and youíve reached ainít it wrong,
What you donít know?
I donít know, Iím asking you.

And now youíre looking at me, with your hand up at the sea.
And the emptiness is tearing you down, and dragging you down,
Itís got you on the ground, itís plain to see.
I wish I thought like you.

After Time
Van Wagner

After time, the poor man becomes numb to charity
And the rich man fat with pride.
After time confusion gets crossed with clarity,
Itís getting harder and harder to decide.

 But my dreams still go unanswered
 And my mind can never rest.
 And in the morning, I keep wondering lord
 Why I get the best.

After time weíll run out of land to ruin
and the streams will all run dry.
After time weíll have a man walking on the moon,
And a man will claim to own the sky.

 But my dreams still go unanswered
 And my mind can never rest.
 And in the morning, I keep wondering lord,
 Why I get the best.

After time we can start to live life for what itís worth,
And let our faith come alive.
After time weíll put our brothers and sisters first.
And put love back into life.

 But my dreams still go unanswered
 And my mind can never rest.
 And in the morning, I keep wondering lord,
 Why I get the best.

All I Ever Wanted
Van Wagner, Dec. 2000

All I ever wanted was a house in the country
Facing to the West.
All I ever wanted was a woman to love me
And let the years do the rest,

 Thatís not the way it is for everyone
 Not the way for everyone
 The wind blows so cold, when your backs to the sun.
 And youíre facing the day on your own.

Iíve got no lucky numbers, I have no favorite colors
They all suit me just the same.
I rarely read instructions, got dust on all the manuals
Make my own rules for each game.


Iíve walked a bit on crutches, had my share of broken bones,
Took the pain with a grin.
Iíve stood outside a coal mine thinking ďman I shouldnít be hereĒ
And yet I went on in.


Van Wagner
Feb 17, 2004

Hey Mr. Mason cut me a stone, Iím gonna build me a wall so I can be alone.
Keep the world on the outside and keep me in.
I want no one to see the shape Iím in.

On my own, to moan and grown, hard as stone, in my tone, alone
You can call me a grouch cause I am in ands you are out of my wall.
But thatís how itís gonna be no one but me, alone.

Take your chisel and hammer in your hand Cut me a block as quick as you can
Thereís plenty of sandstone on the edge of the field.
Just grab some river mud to point and seal.


Donít try to understand thereís no one that can except for one lady with a ring on her hand.
She must have meant it when she said ďthick and thinĒ
Cause it seems that thin is all itís been.


Bagel Day
Van Wagner

11:02 and the road is mine, I donít know my speed but Iím making good time and Iíll find how far Iíve gone when I get to town.

As soon as I pulled into my peaceful environment I was planning on getting some relaxing retirement, but thatís not always the way it turns out.

Sure enough I pull on in, and up steps the bagel lady with bagel gravy down her chin and she says ďhey, would you like a little gravy for yourself?Ē

Somehow I knew it was more than just bagels, and I had once again dug myself into one bagel of a hole.

Sheís been bringing me bagels every day and every time I try and stand up to say, that I ainít Romeo she steps up with more bagels, whole lotta stepping going on.

So to be polite and make her feel good I always eat as many bagels as I could until all that bagel gravy starts running and dripping all down my chin, running and dripping, dripping all over the place!

So back to that old ď11:02Ē when I saw her coming I just knew that she had been prompted to eat at least a bushel or two of bagels.

Well I donít know how many of you common folk know, but when some one eats a lot of bagels they best take it slow or theyíre bound to get in over their heads.

So thatís what I did when I saw her coming, I stopped dropped and rolled then started humming, sure enough I tried to confuse her and confuse her I did.

As soon as I dropped, she flipped her lid, and all that bagel gravy slowed out quick, she got confused enough that she slowed on down.  I avoided confrontation.

The point of this story told, is to watch bagel women and the gravy they hold, if you know the precautions youíre bound to keep someone from getting hurt.

So have a nice day and an evening too, if youíre hungry for something then just eat your shoe because in the long run itís the safest choice.


Ballad of a Broken Man
Van Wagner February 2002

30 years with the company
Most of the time, they were good to me.
Then again, I was awfully good to them.
I couldíve done many other things with those 30 years.

 Oh Mexico, thatís where my job goes
 Dividends, thatís where my pension goes.
 In the Army, thatís where my children go.
 Now tell me, where do I go?

I donít care much from where Iím at
If youíre Republican or Democrat.
Donít even start with the politics.
Too busy countin votes to notice it.

I had a good life, just like you.
Raised 3 children and loved them too.
I always told them they could always lean on me.
But you canít lean too hard on a rotten tree.


Now the Ballad of a Broken Man.
Pick up the pieces and try again.
And if you see me out on the broken road.
Youíll know itís me by my heavy load.

I have to wonder if they even know my name.
As they shuffle digits in their numbers game.
I wish them well on their trip down south.
While they exploit another man and break him down.


by Van Wagner 1998

His song was as strong as a treeís branches
And his tune was as true as the life he lives
He never asked nothing that was more than you could give
More than you could give.

I met him down at the blue canteen
He was playiní south paw in those old bluejeans
Heíd pick ďJohn HardyĒ with the best of Ďem all
With the best of Ďem all.

Hereís to a man, hereís to those days
Hereís to the road that drove us crazy
Never met one like him and I probably never will again
Probably never will again.

Fiddlin Joe and Aunt Bettyís Dumplings
Driving in the Jeep with John Prine on the spin
Weíd drop the top down and share him with the wind
Share him with the wind.

But those days are gone like sun in the fall
Melted away to support us all
But I know theyíll catch me if ever I may fall
If ever I may fall.

Battle Cry of Freedom Part II
Tom Flannery and Van Wagner July 2005

County Sligo was my home
to Americay did I roam
to escape John Bull's tyranny
and the cry of the banshee
off the boat...into the woods
finally found me a job that paid good
a puddler was my trade....and by the ton we were paid
to support a war we never understood

Yes, we'll rally round the flag, boys
Rally once again,
Shouting the Battle Cry of Freedom

Riots in New York in Pottsville
taking us all against our will
just come from one war...with buried dead
now more and more green...soaked blood red
Irish fighting irish....another civil war
I ain't so sure I can take it anymore
should I raise a gun...should I cut and run
'cause all that's dying is all that's poor

Yes, we'll rally round the flag, boys
Rally once again,
Shouting the Battle Cry of Freedom
We will rally from the hillside

Lost a brother at Fredricksburg
from Marye's Heights came the word
and from the Patch I could still see
the same musket pointing back at me
kissed my wife and kids goodbye
as I watched the flame from the furnaces grow smaller in the sky
the draft pulled my number...but still I had to wonder
if at the hand of a countryman I'd die

Yes, we'll rally round the flag, boys
Rally once again,
Shouting the Battle Cry of Freedom
We will rally from the hillside

It was spring of 65
and somehow I was still alive
from Fort Stedman they came
that damn rebel yell again
from the battle's smokey haze
I thrust my musket into the maze
when I withdrew the blade it was soaked in red...it was a Sligo man
fell dead
the circle closed in oh so many ways

Been in the Sun Too Long
Van Wagner
August 20, 2004

You've been acting crazy you ain't speaking straight.
You go out when it's early and you come in when it's
You been rooting against the Yankees, man that used to
be our team.
I'm not the only one who sees what I mean.

It's all so confusing when you're easily confused
Your head gets heavy when you live like me and you.
Life is made of circles that roll on and on
Man you've been in the sun too long.

Lets talk priorities you've gottem all mixed up.
You've got ladies banging down your door and you ain't
called a one.
You waste your time with me building log rafts in the
Log rafts ain't for bachelors quit hanging out with

I must admit it I've been a little crazy myself.
The other day I went to Wal-mart and bought everything
on the shelf.
I thought about going corporate with my music an all
I could be my own vice president and start my own
accounting fraud.

Blue Mountain Rag
Van Wagner

Where Iím from thereís a place thatís seen,
Called Blue Mountain and itís been home to me.
Itís got everything Mother Nature can give
Itís where I want my children to live
Itís just a few miles from where I live.
Thatís the Blue Mountain Rag.

There ainít no need to fret or gimp
Them mountains got it all from muskrat to shrimp
You just find the nearest stream and you reach on in
And you pull out a trout and be nice to him
Cause youíre the one whoís gonna eat him,
Thatís the Blue Mountain Rag

If you go there looking to build a home,
Just a little advice from me well you better not go alone,
Cause the locals there donít like to be messed with
if you got there youíre gonna be messed with
Come on now thereís no need to be pissed
Thatís the Blue Mountain Rag

In 1812 when the war set on in,
Them mountains became home to many good friends
The squirrels and the rabbits all pulled together
They blew the red coats away like a feather
And they all went crazy and started chewing on leather
Thatís the Blue Mountain Rag

Bootleg Miner
Written by Van Wagner
May, 2001

At a poker game five years ago, I sat across a man.
His hair was gray and weathered, had black marks on his hands.
With a black scar that cut itís way above his left eye.
I forgot about the poker game, and began to ask him why.

He said ďShamokin Pennsylvania, the great depression had come around.
But there was nothing great about it, picking coal underground.
And I had a stick of powder go off premature.
I was a bootleg coal miner in the years before the war.Ē

 So take me down underground take me down below.
 Oil up the buggy for its time to shoot some coal.
 When your family gets hungry, youíll do anything for work.
 I carved out a living from the Pennsylvania dirt.

Bootleginí was different, for the coal wasnít really ours.
We had to hide out from the company, and hope we didnít get caught.
For if they found your workings, theyíd cut your heisting rope.
Theyíd dump your coal back in the ground, and dynamite the slope.

But in those years the Anthracite fields, it was hard to find a job.
The company mines were shut down, the miners were laid off.
There was no such thing as welfare back in those days.
We worked our days in bootleg holes and in the evening we prayed.


  This man is still living, I still see him now and then.
But thereís many more just like him who have vanished in the wind.
A whole generation, who knows how it feels
To go to bed hungry and wake up with the chills.

Now and then in hard times, I think of this man.
And forget about my problems and try to understand.
For my troubles ainít nothing, compared to the life.
For a bootleg coal miner, his children, and his wife.

Borrowed Tune
Van Wagner

I wish I could be so long ago
When time dripped like a frozen tear
And those that did wished they never had known
What turned the world into a year.

  Going so fast we might miss it all
  Making too much noise to ever hear the call
  Itís out of pitch but still in tune
  And Iím living this borrowed tune.

Street stretched horizon and pine pitched ports
I wonder how it ever got this way
Across all the bridges and behind the doors
Lies what couldíve been today

  Weíve gone and thrown it all away
  What was aqua blue is fading gray
  Itís out of pitch but still in tune
  And Iím living this borrowed tune.

Weíve worked our fingers right down to the bone
For what, Iím really not sure
And we live in numbers so weíre never alone
Though we donít know the man who lives next door.

  Weíre too concerned with ourselves today
  Too many fingers pointing the way
  Itís out of pitch but still in tune
  And Iím living this borrowed tune.

Bottle and Pipe
Van Wagner 1997

Mine is the bottle and yours is the pipe
My being wrong donít make yours right
How can you tell me it makes it all free
As your lifeís going nowhere and youíre lost at sea
Lost at sea.

Now Iím backed in the corner and my hand on a jar
Itís cold slow freedom donít take me far.
I can hear your match light up
And the smell of depression has filled the dark
Filled the dark.

Now weíre counting days backwards and weíre both getting tired
Weíre stuck on a mountain that canít get higher
Let the ice blow, warm your soul
Cause freedoms worth nothing if youíve grown too old.
Grown too old.

Van Wagner

He pours a drink and looks at me
He thinks the liquor lets me see
I kick back, throw my hands in the air
While he shoots me full of holes with his eyes in a stare
I donít know why he wants to but he does
I guess some other truth is what he wants

  Holding a glass full of blame
  Each time I drink I still feel the same
  And I keep walking sideways to the door
  While the bottle full of sorrow is being poured.

Gotta get out of this trap
Each stick I break feels like my back
The fireís hot, but not in here
The frost is cracking through and whispers clear
I keep thinking of the past
Is it still to come, or am I too fast?


He pours the drink and wonders why Iím drunk
He canít think the things Iíve already thunk
I hope someday he will see
That deep inside heís got a friend in me.
And why canít I give up?
Maybe thatís just what he wants.


Botto Never Left 3rd
Van Wagner 1997

20 years have gone since Iíve been dropped into this world
Half of them been wasted just fooling round with girls.
Ainít no innocence in my first kiss, but never have met a woman like this.

       Sheís my saber toothed, bushy tailed, cat eyes, wild mountain lion.
       But thereís something about those brown eyes,
       That leaves any good man a crying.

Going back home down highway 45
Heading back if I can get there alive.
90 miles an hour sheís shooting round a curve,
Gone 50 miles but sheís never left 3rd.


Fridayís coming on and Iím shaking in my boots.
Sheís got something brewing, down in her roots.
Like a cat at sea world sheís all wound up,
Cause the night wonít be over till the sun comes up.


Van Wagner 1997

..this is a song about 2 people in love, trying to figure out what to do with lifeÖ.the guy looks at his girl and says something like thisÖ

Baby I never wanna go to California,
babe I never want to go to that shore.
Please say weíll never go to California,
thereís things out there Iíve never seen before.

She said, Baby what in the heck are you talking about?
Weíre too young to worry about those things.
I guess weíll just take it day by day now,
And wait to see what the future brings.

But you know this has been on my mind now.
More and more every day weíre in love.
I get to wonder where weíll settle down,
And I wonder if itís a place I can love.

She said well I guess we donít have to go to California,
Thereís plenty of space out in the world.
We can settle down some where, when the time is right,
Somewhere besides the western shore.

But baby thereís so much out there Iíve never seen beforeÖ
It scares me just to think about it all.
I donít se whatís wrong with this small town,
Where the world can stay outside of the wall.

And she said, baby this world is bigger than this old town.
Itís bigger than the county where weíre from.
For the sun is always shining somewhere,
Thereís always some city under the sun.

I donít get whatís wrong with Pennsylvania.
For 300 years my familyís lived in town.
I donít se why I need to go out searching,
For something that Iíve already found.

Well Iím not sure if Iíve got the answer Van,
Iím not sure what the future may bring.
Just keep your eyes out on the highway,
And remember that I love you just the same.

Van Wagner March 24., 2004

Carl was a big fellow
Carl stood by the road
Local kids made fun of him
For reasons they donít know.

He wore his hat down extra low
And moved kind of slow
He waved at trucks and buses
As down the road theyíd go

Of course there were stories
How heíd lost his mind in rage
So they kept him near his house
The monster in his cage.

The truth is less exciting
He gentle and kind
34 years of rumors
take a toll over time.

The mocking just continued
Minds were all made up
Carl was made fun of
Everyday on Lake Road.

Then a friend afternoon
Cars raced home from school
A side-on collision
Out on Lake Road

One car burst into flames
The girl still trapped inside
Carl thought of steel
Carl thought of life.

He tore the metal open
To pull the girl from flames.
HE turned back to safety
An explosion shook the day

Paramedics got to the scene
The girl she was safe
But not the same for Carl
For him it was too late

Carl was a big fellow
Carl stood by the road
Local kids made fun of him
For reasons they donít know.

by Van Wagner 1998

He met her out in Tennessee, yea old Mississippi
He was told he could be free, just as soon as he forgets
In the Midwest wind blows hard, gets to stirriní things around
And the thoughts start blowiní through your head,
And your feet get hungry for the ground.

Yeah now out here in Tennessee, witchís wind bitiní cold
He still ainít seen the sun come up, and he donít know which way is home
Well now his old guitar, itís got a busted tune
Got slung over on a shoulder, hard to tell whoís strumminí who.

He ought to write someone a letter, tell Ďem how things have been
Start it off with a blank line, and do the same thing Ďtil the end
Heís got a string tied on his finger, scrap of paper in his vest
And the more heís out here walking around, the more he starts to forget

Well when he finds her, and he can tell her how he feels
Cause all these weeks of foot step beats have made it all so real
Heís been seeing it over and over, running through his mind
Her long true hair and chestnut eyes keep driving him down the line

Strumminí that old guitar in some old mountain bar
Heís starting some song for the girl he loved every note right from his heart
Well he starts to look up, catch a glimpse of who came in
And through the night are those chestnut eyes, staring right back at him


Church On the Susquehanna
Woody Wolfe and Van Wagner  Summer 2005

Em                                G                     C                           G
I was out for a walk one morning on the banks of the Susquehann
                   Em                          C                       G                        D
Watched the breath of God come rolling in, as the geese came in to land
          Em       D            G                             Em     D              G
Like a cymbal came the otterís splash as the geese broke into song
G                          C                                       D
Hilltop steeples surrounding me, I felt like I belonged

Em                   G                           C                           G
I was out on the West Branch, I had run the Moshannon Falls
              Em             C                           G                       D
Spent the night underneath the pine, the railroad whistle called
  Em           D        G                   Em             D           G
It rang clear like a church bell, reminded me where I was
G                     C                                            D
It took me back years ago, like the river often does.

BRIDGE: Been to church on the Susquehanna
  A cathedral of trees
  The leaves whisper a gentle him
  Upon a holy breeze
The rhythm of the mighty water sooths the tension deep in me
The church on the suquehanna
  The place where I long to be

At times I think I understand That river and itís ways
Till the skies grow dark, the rains come down And Iím reminded of my place
I can not contain it As a thimble canít contain the sky
And in itís raging wondrous fury I see the hand of the one on high.


Churches and Bars
By Tom Flannery and Van Wagner
March 2002

Churches and bars
churches and bars
all I need is churches and bars
won't find me in a dry old town
not a drop of religion to be found

Folks round here don't need many things
just the shirt on their backs and a song to sing
Reverend Billy likes his wine
turns a feast day into a good old time
12 different languages; all speaking his praises
some kneel at church doors
some lay on bar room floors


Used to be that coal was king
round here it could buy anything
that was yesterday my friend
so set 'em up till I reach the end
communion 7 days a week
Yuengling to drink Mrs. T's eat
old time religion and lager beer
that's what keeps me living here

Circus Song
April 28th, 2004  the morning after the primary election.
Van Wagner

In a word owned by the dollar sensationalism rules.
Garbage like ďThe Spin ZoneĒ is where we get our news.
So what has our attention, world hunger and needs?
Or the life or Michael Jackson and the skin of Brittany Spears

 Itís the worldís biggest circus hey hey hey
 Go on and get your ticket and line up at the gate.
 We must be doing something right, just look at all the grins
 Itís the worlds biggest circus hey hey hey come on in.

Youíre in for quite a show the best on the Earth
Wait until you see our athletes and what we think theyíre worth.
Their breakfast is chemicals I canít even pronounce
With arms the size of Aardvarks and the jewels of a mouse.


I donít even now why I vote the best rarely win.
Itís who can sling the most mud color glossy photo grin.
Shake the hands of a few farmers call yourself the humble one
Then fluff up your feathers and dance for everyone.

by Van Wagner 1998

Now that the years stack up, can you tell me where youíre at
Crusiní the middle at 65, or on the corner fixiní a flat
Youíre up in your Memphis Red lookiní down at us
Sayiní, ďThanks you all for the help and all, but watch out for my dust.Ē

At the top youíve got to watch out you donít fall
Itís a long drop to the bottom, you can hardly hear a call
And your whole world starts spinning round and time seems to stop
Itís twice as hard getting down as it was climbing to the top.

Now youíre at the top and your troubles they are done
But can your golden watch keep time any better than my plastic one
Now from where you are, can you see from where you came
Or does it hurt your neck to take a look back down memory lane?


Itís a rough world out there, you canít make it alone
So no matter how high you may get, remember which way is home
ĎCause friends are friends for life, and thatís one thing that canít change
So be true to your roots, and theyíll be true to you just the same.

Close Your Eyes
Van Wagner

Close your eyes, close your eyes
Let tomorrow come tonight
Let it all go, let it go tonight.

Drink the morning fog, drink the morning fog.
Take it in, let it fill up your heart.
Let it all go, let it go tonight.

Lay down your troubled soul, lay down your troubled soul.
Lay it down, youíre growing old.
Let it all go, let it go tonight.

Close your eyes, close your eyes
Let tomorrow come tonight
Let it all go, let it go tonight.

Cold Wind
Van Wagner and Matthew Harrison

Itís mighty dark outside, mighty dark outside,
Mighty dark outside lord lord, thereís a cold wind blowiní tonight.

The cold rainís coming on in, the cold rainís coming on in,
The cold rainís coming on in lord lord, thereís a cold wind blowiní tonight.

The fireís burning low in here, the fireís burning low in here,
Fireís burning low in here lord lord, thereís a cold wind blowiní tonight.

My blankets all got holes, my blankets all got holes,
My blankets all got holes lord lord, thereís a cold wind blowiní tonight.

Itís time I rest my weary bones, time I rest my weary bones,
Time I rest my weary bones lord lord, I pray that cold wind donít blow.

Van Wagner 1999

Now Iím standing in the room, where the old world became new
and I swear I can see him standing there.
No idea of whatís to come once he sails for the sun
itís amazing how much a dream can tear.

Searching for gold itís the cancer of the soul
Itíll eat a man for dinner and spit him out.
Now I know he ainít the first, but he sure brought the worst
cause now the dollar is all we care about.

With the coming of the dollar, the heart grew smaller
and everyone just tried to get ahead
we forgot about our father, who put us all down here
and have compromised everything he said.

Thereís so much we could learn, from the cultures weíve burned
a connection with the world we share.
But we pushed it all aside, and knowledge all but died
and it seems hardly anybody cares.

 I want to cry out in anger and fall down in tears
 after all heís the reason Iíve ever existed here
 but it doesnít seem right that the world has such pain
 sometimes I wish Columbus wouldíve stayed in Spain.

Now itís up to you and me to look out on the sea
and decide the ending of this tale.
If not for the old, then for our childrenís souls
lets turn this boat around and make her sail.

Crescent Moon
(February 2001)

I had a dream last night, that I did something right.
And it all worked out o.k.
I wasnít messing up like I do when Iím awake.

A dream is a gift my friend, a thread spun from the night
While itís tied around your heart.
My heart is tied but free to go, out in the dark.

 Iíll dream a dream for you
It will be right on it will be in tune.
Iíve got nothing to hide
Like a far off star and a crescent moon.

In God do you trust or has your faith turned to rust.
Like the car that you drive.
You choose to believe what you want but I choose to be alive.

Youíve got to be so bold, to let go of the old.
And jump in to the new.
Weíve been given the gift of today and tomorrow can be yours too.


Crimson Sky
Written By:  Van Wagner and Brian Crane
January 17, 2004

Crimson sky to the West
Gentle Blue all the rest
 The winds of angels on my skin
 Half a dream Iíve fallen in
 The waterís a mirror of the other side
 Where the green and shadows duck and hide

Back to a time where the green water flows
And it took sweat to make the fields grow
Crisp and clean breath of air, I know a back in time place
Thatís still there


Thousands of years to make these rocks smooth
Hundreds of floods to make a channel true
The smoke from my fire, a bridge to the island
A boat full of coal picked by my hand


Where fire flies fly as day turns to dusk
Throw on the grill the corn inside the husk
I donít know how long it can last
The winds are changing and the sky overcast

Crosscut Saw
Van Wagner August 20, 2004

The war was over Mr. Lincoln had won
I drew my navy wages and returned to my home.
Sullivan county where my grandfather came
Soil was rocky, the sky always rain.

I remember grandpaís stories of when he was a kid
Bison in the valleys elk on the ridge.
Now itís all gone a new hunt has begun
To find the Tiadoghton that make the sawmills hum.

    All I need is a crosscut saw.
    A double bit ax and 80 trees to fall.
    The spring is coming I can smell it all around.
    My soulís being tempted by that high water sound.

Up on the Loyalsock itís straight and itís tall.
Thereís Pine up there like you never saw.
Only brave loggers bare the winter cold.
Snow falls heavy on the Appalachian fold.

Up in the morning at 5 am
Thrown down some biscuits, coffee, and ham.
12 hour shift on the teamster crew
skiddiní logs to the river in the ice and snow.
We lash the logs together with hickory and oak
No rope nor iron just pins and bows.
A sweep at the front and back, a shack for the crew
20,000 board feet ready to tie loose.

When the ice finally breaks and the waterís good and high.
Weíll head down the Loyalsock our crew of 5.
3 Days on the raft down to Montoursville
we hit the Susquehanna waters smooth and still.
Once we get to Marietta we sell off the logs
$100 split by the river hogs.
We head back north , Walking all the way.
One hand on your knife, the other on your pay.

If itís a good season weíll have 2 or 3 more runs.
Then the year is over and the summer has begun.
Iíll watch as rust builds on my tools
And long for the day Iím back with my logging crew.

Curse of the Honest Man
Van Wagner Feb 16, 1999

Itís a cold dry Saturday Jack is at the bar.
Got a wife and kids somewhere, but he donít know where they are.
He knows itís getting late, and he knows he should go.
Heís got a backbone like a snake, and a heart full of holes.

Heís casting those wondering eyes at every girl he sees,
Hides the wedding ring on his finger like a dog hides fleas.
All those promises lies, and his life is one too.
His drink is his disguise, the smell of whisky is all thatís true.

 No I just donít get it, how his conscience stands so still
And if lying how you get it, then I probably never will.
 I canít fake it, like some others can.
 Itís just the curse, of the honest man

Well it seems more and more these days, with everyone I meet.
The value of a personís word, has been tossed out in the street.
Either trying to get rich, or to break another heart.
Just throw it in a ditch, and walk out in the dark

Well this goes out to everyone, and that includes myself,
We all better start living right, instead of living in ourselves.
For when itís all done, and our time is added up.
The only thing that lives on, are the lives that weíve touched.

 No I just donít get it, how his conscience stands so still
And if lying how you get it, then I probably never will.
 I canít fake it, like some others can.
 Itís just the curse, of the honest man.

Days Just Like Today (a day in the woods with Bill Bailey)
Aug 4, 2000

I turn around and I blink
I have to laugh as I take the time to think.
900 memories all in today
Doing nothing but nothing, as the daylight burns away.

Started off, mud up to my knees.
Tuff for logging but that ainít up to me.
I got a craving for a saw in my hand
He says forget about working, letís go pick the banjo Van.

 Heís playing soldiers Joy like he never has before.
 Thereís truth in his smile and mud on the floor.
 Oh its days just like today, that make me live life again.

Just after noon we head to the woods.
In the month of August nothing feels so good.
Heís telling stories about a woman who ate goats,
In an ocean of ferns weíre fishing for cherries and oaks.

Then another storm rolls in
We fall back to the places we had been.
Hard cider cold and clean.
A belly full of venison and a young mind full of dreams.


Deaf and Blind
Van Wagner 1995

Heís still chasing his tail around the tree,
And he will until the sun goes down.
He can find a pound of joy in every ounce of time.
Heís even grinning when heís lying down.

 Iíve got a dog whoís deaf and going blind
 But heís still got enough to chase a deer.
 And Iíve got a friend whoís deaf and going blind
 But heís still got enough to up and bite you in the rear.

Well I just went home to see him my last time around
And heís still got that same dog breath.
He pounced on top of me and knocked me to the ground.
SO I acted smart and made like I was dead.


Heís walking in to tables and bumping in to walls
Cause he canít see one darn thing.
And he just sits there smiling whenever someone calls,
But I still call him my best friend.

Van Wagner Jan 9, 2003

Oh Diesel you canít mistake that smell
Working class perfume, works you in a spell
Itís seeping in your pores, soaking in your skin
Oh Diesel, itís diesel again.

Well the day was dry, and I mean dry
The sun did shine, I mean did shine.
Heís working the fields, soil like steel
But itís something so real


The road is cold, and I mean cold
The hours long, and I mean long.
She drives it alone, teamster to the bone.
Her logbook heavy as a stone.


The bow dropped down, and mean down.
The waves did swell, and mean did swell
Salt burns his eyes, the deck rolls with ice
The ocean all his life.


Van Wagner and Amy Miller June 2004

So tired of trying to be what you wanted
So tired of lying, Iím just done.
Shouldíve seen it right from the start
Your empty eyes and your hollow heart
This is it, youíve won.

Oh to play the fool, everyone knows but you
I was young enough to trust your heart.
And oh so naïve, how could I believe
But you painted lies like they were art.

Well I did the best I could, convinced that life was good
I let you tell me how to feel.
And now years have passed, itís so hard to look back
With no idea how much was real.

So chicken scratch another note, like all the rest you wrote.
This time Iíll pretend that I care.
Iíll move on just fine but I swear that Iím done trying
When you want me back I wonít be there.

Donít Lie to Me
Van Wagner Jan 2002

Youíd think she asked the world by the way he looked.
Jaw dropped open and his temper cooked.
But she asked him again.
Where ya been?  He said ďwith the boys all night
Go ahead and ask them, but it ainít worth the fightĒ
Hell thereís still lipstick on his neck.

Donít lie to me, thatís all I ask
Tell me the truth, take off the mask.
Youíre not fooling me, just wasting time.
So brace yourself, while I say goodbye.

16 years old, staying out too late.
Cinderella license but my parents were out of state.
Told my sister I was at a friends.
2am and I was cruising like a king
Having a good time, until the cops brought me in
Only one I fooled was myself.


Flip flop the classroom now itís my turn to teach.
Most of these kids, remind me of me.
Theyíre just trying to get by.
Halfway through a test and heís cheating like a thief
As I walk closer, heís shaking like a leaf
But when I ask him he denies.


Can you imagine how sweat it would be
If everyone was as honest as a tree.

Dream 13
Van Wagner   Aug 2, 1999

I went to bed late last night, and had an awful dream.
The sky was boiling purple and the oceans were green.

There was chaos in our city streets, the whole world went mad.
The heavens were crashing down, no refuge to be had.

I dreamed I saw my parents there, with fear in their face.
ďPrepare to meet your savior dad, I hope heís on his way.Ē

Then I found myself all alone, with three glasses next to me.
In a forest covered mansion in a place strange to me.

I remember missing my true love, she was nowhere around.
Then I cowered in exhaustion and collapsed on the ground.

I woke up to meet the day, I was shaken to the bone.
Not a word through my breakfast, as I sat all alone.

If these are the final days, then itís time to make a change.
For love in desperation just ainít the same.

Van Wagner (1996)

 Sheís gone to the race track again
 Sheís a blowing all our money to the end
 You can see her betting every breath
 The wind blows through her fingers as sheís placing every bet
 Sheís my double or nothing dumplin none the less
 The race ainít over till she bets

Well the sky caught fire as the rain moved in
I could feel her eyes a fixing on who was gonna win
Then a crackling shock of light made her understand
That lifeís a rolling gamble through each and every hand.

 Sheís gone to the race track again
 Sheís a blowing all our money to the end
 You can see her betting every breath
 The wind blows through her fingers as sheís placing every bet
 Sheís my double or nothing dumplin none the less
 The race ainít over till she bets

Well guessing, shooting, hit or miss is the way she stumbles through
Betting down to the last dollar like a freight train ripping through
Her soul is like an engine and her money feeds the fire
But her trainís without a breakman, it ainít never gonna stop

 Sheís gone to the race track again
 Sheís a blowiní all our money to the end
 You can see her bettiní every breath
 The wind blows through her fingers as sheís placing every bet
 Sheís my double or nothing dumplin none the less
 The race ainít over till she bets

Van Wagner

I woke up and I missed you, sun breaking through my eyes.
I woke up to kiss you, and fall deep into your eyes.

  Elizabeth, Iíd give it all for you,
 Give it all for you just for your smile.
 Hey Elizabeth, Iíve fallen for you,
 I fell back into life.

Good night, itís all gone down but I find myself awake.
With my heart around your memories, I bet everything and chances take.


For the first time in my life I feel.
The reason for being here.
Elizabeth, please take my heart
And hold me through all the years.


Empty as a 3am Bar
by Van Wagner
Feb. 1, 00

You can barely recognize him, from the man he used to be.
As I sit beside him, I pray that that wonít be me.
Too many days of rambliní, too many nights without sleep,
Too many years of drinking, too many secrets to keep.

 Heís alone in his heart, itís as empty as a 3am bar
 Here he demands, with a whiskey in his hand,
 That the world owes him something more,
 Yeah, the world owes him something more

Heís been down a thousand highways, and come back a thousand more.
Every mile that heís traveled has left him a highway scar.
He wears is sorrows like ribbons, gottení buttoned on his chest,
And heís told all his stories, but Iím still unimpressed


My visions getting blurry or I donít like what I see.
His face is like a mirror, and heís looking a lot like me.
Ah but that could never be me, Iím too smart of a man
But who am I to criticize, Iíve got the same whiskey in my hand.


England to Austin
Van Wagner
Sept 2002

I used to be rich, I used to have money.
I could buy happiness or so it did seem.
I had friends they stood right by me
Until my mansion burned and crumbled to the sea.

 I been England to Austin, Idaho to Spain
 No matter where I ramble the story is the same.
 It was all just a dream, though I was still awake
 Not what it seemed, or more than I could take

Iíve been down roads, Iíve been down hiways
Iíve been Enlgand to Austin and straight across the plains.
What Iíve found in all my travels
Is that I wasnít rich at all, playing that game.


Now I sit alone and worried
Have I lost everything, I blame only me.
While I was young I planted poison
So I shouldnít be surprised that my fields all went dry.


Epitome Squirrel
Van Wagner 1994

Iíve come to tell you all about the guard who fell down.
With his fuzzy hat and red coat, he tripped all over town.
Slipping and a sliding he knew not where to step.
But seeing him fall on his ass that day, I never can forget.

He had several sharpened pencils in his pocket tucked away.
And a Candy coated notebook to carve the day away.
As each note passed heíd scribble down whoís up and whoís not down.
And he acts as though heís taller than I am as he looks up from the ground.

But heís the one, whoís getting back up now,
Thatís more than I can say for myself now.
As Iím lying here, with epitome squirrel
Heís my friend the squirrel,
No thereís nothing like a squirrel
To hang out when youíre down.

Iíve come to tell you all about the guard who fell down.
With his fuzzy hat and red coat, he tripped all over town.
Slipping and a sliding he knew not where to step.
But seeing him fall on his ass that day, I never can forget.

Falling Down
Van Wagner Fall, 1998

I feel like Iím falling down, thatís the way it feels.
My life trapped and tightly bound, just spinning my wheels.

Everybodyís got scars somewhere
some let it rule them, while others donít care.
My scars are just as thin as the air
that we breath.
But like the year the air can change
bring in the cold and freezing rain
and scars I guess can be just the same
it seems to me.


It seems to go from bad to worse,
better known as ďhistoryís curseĒ
It just repeats itself from the first
Even at night a shadows there,
hanging over me with a choking stare.
Cutting off what little good air
I may find.


Now I wonder how long it will be
until it gets the best of me.
Itís the kind of pain you just canít see
with your eyes.
What Iíd give just for one night,
to lay down and feel all right
but even a lady who stays the night,
says goodbye


Feeding the Frost
Van Wagner

Four Oíclock in the morning
and the frost is stinging the dew.
The leaves are softly blowing
and the wind is hiding with you.

 Donít you look back now, if youíre looking for something you lost.
 Standing at the crossroads, breathing just to feed the frost.

We head up-town with our feet on the ground,
but our heads up in the clouds
And the later it gets counting cigarettes,
weíve lost track of the time gone by

 Donít you look back now, if youíre looking for something you lost.
 Standing at the crossroads, breathing just to feed the frost.

Good night good night the moon isnít bright
And the sun will conquer the day.
And the peace I find as I rest my mind
Is yours in no other way.

 Donít you look back now, if youíre looking for something you lost.
 Standing at the crossroads, breathing just to feed the frost.

Feel the Weight
Van Wagner 1995

Through thoughtless acts of habit
She comes walking back to me.
Though I reach out I still canít grab it
Iíve lost all security.

I canít even tell you, which way I came from
Or if those footsteps are mine.
But I sure as hell can feel the weight.

 My mind is hurting me so
 I canít take it no more
My mind is hurting me so much Iím begging you to
 Shut the slamming door.

You know Iím gonna be here
When you come back to me tonight.
But please donít call my name,
It just donít sound right.

No more can I tell you, you and your words
The sounds just overlap.
But I sure as hell can feel the weight.

Felt the Soul of Woody Guthrie
Van Wagner and Randy Brendle Aug. 13-2000

Felt the soul of Woody Guthrie as I sit on the canyon wall.
Felt the hearts of those before me, every note of their pilgrim song.
I went flyingí across the ridges, though my bodyís set like stone.
Like the canyon out before me, my spirit roams on and on.

 Canyon Walls that lie before me.
All the visions of the past.
 Ride like grains of sand before me
 On the wind and back again.

Hey out there can you hear me, 2 miles down the canyon floor.
Like your songs are you still out there, rambling on for evermore?
I give thanks to the creator just to share this common ground.
All the souls of those before me, singing out a peaceful sound.


Ride the wind up to the heavens then sour down like an eagles pride.
Honing in on the Colorado, the sun is my guide.
I bow down to this vision, this might be heavens door.
With All the land here before me, my heart thirsts no more.

Figured Out
Van Wagner
For Pam and Karl
Sept 2005

Ah they live their life
Ah they do it right.
No wasted days or nights
No wasted lager pints.

Always since their start
Always with all their heart
In J-4ís choking dark
Ah they live their life.

 See their eyes see their souls
 They treat each day like it were gold
 The rest of use live with doubts
 While these 2 got it Figured out

First fell in Danville town
The place where everything goes down.
They havenít stopped their traveling round
Since there love was found.

A few times to the western hills
And many times back to Danville.
Theyíll always be finding thrills
As they live their life.


Someday long from now
When weíre all slowing down
Theyíll still be camping out
Theyíll still be painting towns.

Theyíll be running Moshannen Falls
Theyíll see all the state parks
And if hard times call
Theyíll have each others heart.

The Fire
April 2003
Van Wagner

I heard that the other day Danville had a terrible blaze
Smoke filled the streets they say and flames filled the sky.
Mill street was lined with folks, hypnotized by the smoke
Did their best not to choke as tears filled their eyes.

    Remember when the fire came and swallowed everything
    With the helpless feeling, itíll never be the same?
    I swear thereís nothing colder in this whole world
    Than standing by a fire as it takes itís toll.

Was the summer of 93, the hills of Centre County
The fire just missed me on the Piney Woody Hill.
In the ashes of the blaze a bible with open page,
ďNot a flood but fire God saysĒ a revelation filled.


I think of the Kremser farm, the fire reached out itís arm
Took the house and the barn, flames icy cold.
But good neighbors rallied in, helped build a home again
They didnít let destruction win, now thatíll warm your soul.

Van Wagner
(Spring 1998)

Well, just about an hourís dream from here
Only 40 winks away
Thereís a town on the river banks thatíll carry you away.

  Iím going down to a flat bottom town
  When the river comes up
  And the people they go down
  Flat bottom town

Talked to an old friend today, she stopped by for some words
Talked about a long lost friend who now lives in Gettysburg
We were from the same neighborhood, and we all grew up with him
But heís forgotten where heís from I guess weíre too ďsmall townĒ for him.


Train still runs every day, up on the North Shore line
And the clock by the court house is still 10 minutes behind
Not much has changed here, except the people passing through
Theyíll never forget you, the denying is up to you


Well weíre all from somewhere, towns big and small
They may not be perfect, but theyíve made us who we are
These people and places carry us through life
If you turn your back on them, youíre just turning out the light.


Flesh and Bone
Nov. 2005 Van Wagner

I am flesh and I am bone, party mud mostly stone
Cold as echoes in an empty room, I am flesh and I am bone.
I am ashes I am dust, breathe on metal call it rust
So go boom I go bust, I am ashes I am dust.

 I wonít stay very long, just a moment then pass on.
 Call me by my name and Iíll be back again.

I am ivy I am Oak, I heard the woods where white-tails spoke.
I watched the May Flies when they woke, I am Ivy I am Oak.
I am water I am sand, run through the fingers in your hand.
Sometimes ocean sometimes land, I am water I am sand.


I am war I am peace, from the West to the East
To some a famine to some a feast, I am war I am peace.
I am here and I am gone, I said that Iíd be passing on.
I declared that I couldnít stay long, I am here and I am gone.

Flying Again
Van Wagner

 Been a whole long time since Iíve been flying again.
 Got my arms up towards the sun and Iím drinking the wind.
 As long as itís this good, I ainít never coming down
 It seems my time has come around.

Thereís a war being waged between the sun and the wind
I could hear it last sunset and I hear it again.
Branches clawing and cold running in,
I light a candle and check it again.


Iím the sunís captive when Iím out on the road
The windís my backbone in a makeshift sailboat.
Fireís just fooling if youíre thinking of a break,
No there wonít be any mistakes.


Get up Jim
Van Wagner and Matthew Harrison
Jan 11, 00

Early morning sunrise, the air just didnít feel right.
I was breathing out the memories I choked on last night.
But the bad air came and my vision strayed, and my day was starting weird.
I need a way to get away, just get me out of here.

 Get up Jim, roll again, get me out of town.
 The winds of change are blowing, trying to know me down,
I need that highway sound.

So Iím camped out on bad luck, and the rain's coming down.
My blankets soaking hard times, from the Centre County ground.
The news I got that Sunday just ainít sitting straight.
Thought it was what you said, but it must be what I ate.


Iím calling on my lucky stars to shine down on me.
Bring my ďFerris BuellerĒ back, put me back on my feet.
Iím lost without my good luck, on a chickens broken wing.
Itís hard enough to write a song, but itís harder to sing.


Give Her Wind
Van Wagner, Spring 2001

She came from the middle of winter
Short days and blustery winds
She fell to her knees and was begging please
For someone to take here in.

I gave her the chance and I gave her a dance
But it wasnít me she desired.
Just a place to hide to harbor her life
From a truth she was trying to find.

 Give her some wind to fly on
 Give her a broken breeze
She comes from the Union County
And soon sheíll be ready to leave.

With the Spring I found myself tangled
I was now part of her mess.
But at the time I paid no mind
There was nothing to forget.

That all soon changed as she rearranged
Her hoped and plans for life.
I was like some kid who didnít know what he did
Just a broken look in my eyes.


6 years have passed since that summer
and I still got the same look in my eyes.
Iím more confused than ever
But somewhere I stopped asking why.

I hope she goes far with her broken heart jar
And fills it with stories like mine.
Sheíll stop in your town and drag you down,
Then head back down the line.


Going Back To Bald Top Mountain
Van Wagner
Started Fall 1999
Finished Feb 25th, 8:42pm, 2000
Just before a Frog Holler concert in Reading PA

It was a warm July night, couple years ago
I just got back to Danville from a weekend on the road.
I was feeling pretty beat, I was feeling pretty tired,
When my dad came to me with that bad look in his eyes
Said ďThe weather's been rough, in the days that youíve been gone
We lost part of the family in the winds of that storm.Ē

 Come back Robbie, come back Ben
 Call up David and Brian.
 Come back RJ, Mike, and friends
 Weíre going back to Bald Top Mountain.

It took the loss of a very good friend
For me to wake up and look at my life again.
It was like a diesel train, hit me right between the eyes
21 tons of steel, 21 years went by.
I was living in myself, too busy to look back
Now I finally got it right and Iím back on track.


Well lifeís too short to dwell on things like this.
You could drive yourself crazy just thinking what youíve missed.
The days when you were young, the days when you dreamed
The bag of tomorrows was busting at the seams.
Itís not too late to make another ride,
Fire up that 3 wheeler one more time.


God and Woody Guthrie
Van Wagner Aug.  14, 2000

Bob Dylan once wrote ďYou'll find God in the church of your choice You'll find Woody Guthrie in the Brooklyn State HospitalĒÖ
and he went on to say that you can find them both in the Grand Canyon at sundown.

Hey Grand Canyon Iím trying to find 2 men.
Iím told that at sundown, I could find both of them.
But all I hear is a jackhammer and a lonesome wind.

Hard times back east so I took the western road.
Hoping for something, something more than hope.
But I hear a jackhammer and a lonesome wind.

Now Iím wondering why I came here, am I chasingí a ghost?
Am I looking too deeply, or not deep enough?
All I hear is a jackhammer and a lonesome wind.

Then Iím taken back to a Woody Guthrie song.
The tune of a man named jackhammer John.
I can hear a jackhammer and a lonesome wind.

The hammers getting louder as Godís canvas comes to life.
Desert reds of the canyon, begin to flood my eyes.
I can hear a jackhammer and a lonesome wind.

Now I finally get it, itís ringing like a bell.
Both God and Woody Guthrie are alive and well.
And I hear his jackhammer and Godís lonesome wind.

Going to Colorado
Van Wagner

Iím going to Colorado, my fortune there to find
Iíll be panning for that gold dust to free away some time
Lord free away some time.
But thereís more than gold dust, drifting through my mind.

Out in Adams County, itís floating around like leaves.
Iíll be doing all that raking on my hands and knees.
Lord on my hands and knees,
Iíve found in this world, youíve got to be low to be pleased.

Lifeís richer than a dollar, and this I know is true,
But Iím sick with that fever, and I hope it donít get you
Lord I hope it donít get you.
Itíll blacken most of your life and paint whatís living blue.

God bless my great grand dad, he tried to warn me so
Left it Written in his will not to go for that gold
George, looking for that gold.
He walked that road in his time, did it all alone.

Itís time for me to be leaving, and start my digging days
I got a rusty old steel shovel to dig the dirt away.
Lord, to dig the dirt away.
Iíll send the world a postcard and have gold pay itís way.

Gone To Stay
Van Wagner  Nov. 2001

Donít tell me youíre gone away
Donít tell me youíre gone away
If you go, I know, youíre gone, gone to stay.

I once loved a girl from Spain.
She tied knots in my brain.
But that too, faded away
Now sheís gone, gone to stay.

So you tell me how to be
Said ďif I were youĒ , but you ainít me.
Iím too old, to remain
My youth gone, gone to stay.


Iím told time fades away
And all thatís left are faces and names.
But the truth from each day,
Is gone, gone to stay.

So Iím falling to my knees
And Iím kissing your both your feet.
Anything to make you stay,
Or are ya gone, gone to stay?


Grey Coat Soldier
Van Wagner and Matthew Harrison

Walking down the freedom trail
Back the farms and the fields he failed.
Only takes one look in his eyes
To know heís on the losing side.

When he gets back to his home,
Will he be alone?
With all the dreams heís carried around,
Will they ever bring him down?

 Grey coat soldier heading home,
 Forced to fight for something he donít even own.
 Grey coat soldier heading home
 Forced to die for less, and now heís on his own.

He smells the smoke from his powder gun.
Now itís empty and the fight is down.
But all the lives he left behind,
Ripped a hole in his firing line.

And now itís time to forget,
All the loss, and regret.
For now the winter melts away.
The warm air will show the way.


Can you see the pain in him?
Reflected back on your peaceful skin.
Youíre just like him and heís like you,
Just a man living life trying to get through.


Green Bridge
Van Wagner / Robb Bomboy
Started 1904 by the King Bridge Co., finished July 2000

A shimmer on the river draws my eyes to the bridge.
Flooded memories as a kid
Eyes on the left side, faith on the right.

Countiní pigeons from the pillars below
Feeling older as they go.
All my life I heard it, but never like tonight.

 And tonight you sing your lullaby
 Goodnight my ribbon in the sky
 96 years in the blink of an eye
 Goodnight ribbon in the sky
 Goodnight sweet lullaby, goodnight

Here I am thinking of the nights gone by
Climbing arches in the sky
Holding breath as the diesel dared me.

Tonight her song fills the air
Hardly half the town cares.
She was as strong, as the century.


Hard Coal
By Van Wagner   Spring 2002

First day at the mine they handed me a bulldog shovel.
They had me down on my knees in that tunnel muckiní away.
Down these itís all the same never see the seasons change.
No sun only rain day after day.

All for Fridayís pay
Hard wood, hard coal itís hard on a man.

Now and then the lucky few got to work on the timber crew.
Cuttiní props to hold the roof out in the woods.
Droppiní oak in the morning sun couldnít be no branches on
Got to be straight and strong to be any good.

All for Fridayís pay
Hard wood, hard coal itís hard on a man.

When it came to the head miner honkey eggs at the diner
Heís given his share of shiners to men in his days.
But now his bones are old, I bet half his weight is coal
Spent his life in a hole, coughingí away.

All for Fridayís pay
Hard wood, hard coal itís hard on a man.

Have A Kid
Van Wagner December 2004

You've got to have a license if you want to catch a
Pages of paperwork if you want to dig a ditch.
Inspections and permits if you're gonna built a house
But when it comes to procreating' go ahead and pop em'

They'll let anybody have a kid
The crazier the better who cares what you did.
So come on, hurry up, before your time is up
We'll let anybody have a kid.

To be a coal miner I need 40 hours of books
Lectures, permits, exams for proof.
The same to be a hunter so I could kill varmints
You can't shoot a squirrel without a license.


If you want to drive a car if you want to own a boat
If you want to park on campus or even breed a goat.
Start a business, go on the radio, or serve someone a
But if you don't have the paper work they'll boot you
outta here.

Head For The High Ground
Van Wagner July 9, 02

High on the mountains clear I can see so far
Itís been the same for all my years
When Iím searching, when Iím searching
Deep in my heart.

Down in the valley low, itís good and itís bad
Thereís no way to know for sure
If youíre searching, if youíre searching for something you had.

 Have you been down this same road
Has it been up and down.
Head for the high ground
Leave youíre worries
Leave your worries on the ground.

A twist of fate can beat you up, leave you black and blue.
Your head gets piled with questions
And youíre asking, and youíre asking
What to do.

I feel so free way up here, now I weed through my thoughts.
All these mountains far and near
Bring me back, bring me back to my heart.


Help me See When Iím wrong.
Joe McMonagle and Van Wagner Summer 2005

Give me a good woman and a piece of land
Let them teach me how to be a man.
Teach em patience and make em strong
Help me see when Iím wrong.

Used to push my friends around
Built them up just to knock em down.
But theyíve all moved along
Help me see when Iím wrong.

If time is the teacher than life is the lesson
And our eyes are the windows you know.
And the stories you tell, will tell stories as well
If you love em enough let em go.

Chasing money instead of chasing dreams.
End up missing all the in betweens
Found the job lost the song
Help me see when I;m wrong.


Hereís a Song
Van Wagner
Feb 17, 2004

Hereís a song for those who never had one
Hereís a tune for those who need a tune
Itís all I have to offer to you
That is true.

Fame and fortune belong to a few
The rest are quiet and low
I got nothing but a bucket of truth
Unless thereís something, something I donít know.


Some like it fancy expensive and loud
Iíll take simple and dry.
Some put a price on feeling proud
I canít buy that look in your eyes.


So adios Iím off down the line
Like a coyote I am gone
Hope I can stay longer next time
Till then Iíll leave you with a song.


Hey Hey World
Van Wagner  Feb 25, 2000

Hey Hey world whatís on your mind.
You just keep on spinning all the time.
You can be so cold on a young manís soul
You can take his body down and swallow him whole.

Hey Hey world, what will you do
I should stumble and fall onto you.
Would you feel my pain could you taste my tears,
Can you see my face, and smell my fears.

 Slow it down, slow it down
 This world just keep spinning around.
 I just need to catch my breath
 Before I go down to my death.

Iíd give my all just for a day,
I could catch my breath in this old rat race.
Just to have you stop spinning around,
Iíd rest my soul and kiss the ground.

So bring that bottle down off the shelf
Let me drown in my sorrows by myself.
Itíll warm me up from this bitter cold,
Let me forget Iím growing old.


Van Wagner July 2- 2002

Do you remember 1st day of school
Didnít know anyone, and no one knew you
But Mrs. Baylor brought us around
Then youíve been to my hometown.

Do you remember swimming the elephant rock
Susquehanna river where adventure never stops.
Dodged poison ivy to build our forts underground
Then youíve been to my hometown.

Do you remember Mr. Johnny Lahoot
His church was the field, orange and purple his suit.
Your batting average and every touch down
Then youíve been to my hometown.

Now get down to Pappasí before itís to late
Belly up to the bar get yourself a hot dog plate
Familiar faces as you look around
Then youíve been to my hometown.

"I just want to say His Name"
by Van Wagner and Ollie Wagner V      Winter 2002

I know you knew Jesus, I know you knew him well.
 You lived your life for others, until the day you fell.
  But the bullet from a bigot, stole your final breath,
  the brightest of lights, rose up from his death.

Martin Luther King, his message is still the same
 Martin Luther King, I just want to say your name

A long name and detailed, but humble in birth.
 It sounds real official, the tail of his worth.
 His last name was King and that says a lot
 A leader of peoples, and battles he fought.


And Junior that says he was cut from the mold
 His daddy before him, he did as was told.
 Martin Luther, reformer and protester too
 Itís time for a change, is there a change in you?.


Reverend, is a name for the truest of true.
 A prophet so brave with God as his glue.
  So now you know why weíre singing his name,
 Each piece says something a link in the chain.


I Let Him Down Again
Van Wagner 2005

The guidelines are so simple
But I can make them so complex.
Making deals with nobody
Hoping that nobody ever checks.

 But I let him down again
 I let him down again

So many times Iíve promised
So many times Iíve said it all.
Staking claim to the ďLast TimeĒ
While the last time was really so far.


Can we really ever fool ourselves
To belive weíd actually quit the sin.
Once temptation settles in
Itíll always do me in.

Oh so up an at emí kid.
Get back on that horse again.
Well Iím not sure what else to do
So Iíll keep making promises.


Iím a Rich Man Thanks To You
Van Wagner, Aug 2, 1999

Can you hear, can you hear the thunder roll.
Like a phone call from heaven, soothing my heart and soul.
Can you hear, can you hear that rock and roll.
It was a nuisance most of the night, but now seems to make me whole.

Can you see, can you see where Iím coming from.
All these things went by unnoticed, for far too long.
Itís the same, itís the same with you and me.
I was too busy to notice, when I had you just last week.

 Iím sorry for not seeing, your eyes clear through.
 Times not worth a thing, unless itís spent true.
 If time is only money, Iím a rich man thanks to you.

When you wake up, when you wake and see the sun.
Iím seeing it with you, until the day is done.
And with the night, with the cool night sky above.
Find the brightest star, and youíll find my love.

My heart is with you, my heart is yours to hold.
In cool sun or thunder, and in rock and roll.
So goodnight, goodnight in a whisper slow.
In the crickets choir, out your window.

 Iím sorry for not seeing, your eyes clear through.
 Times not worth a thing, unless itís spent true.
 If time is only money, Iím a rich man thanks to you.

Iím Going Home
Van Wagner

Iíve seen her there, beyond the sky
With the thought of loss and a tear in her eye
She needs not say that sheís alone,
Cause I can see that she is on her own.

 All she needs is a place to call home.
 All sheís done is roamed and roamed.
 She can follow me, if sheís alone
 Cause Iím going home.

It doesnít make a difference if your chips are cashed in
and it doesnít matter if you ainít got friends.
Thereís a lot of people out there in the world today
Who ainít got a home or a say.

(all they need)

Now let me tell you friends just what Iíll do
Iím gonna set a table with a seat for you.
And weíre gonna sit there and share some smiles
and weíre gonna laugh off all our miles

(all we need)

Iíve Got to Get It All Outside
Van Wagner 1995

I saw a tank buried in the snow so deep
That no spring could unwrap itís sleep.
What a perfect place for a war.

Thatís got to be what itís all about
When itís all inside youíve got to let it out.

 Iíve got to get it all outside
 Where only darkness can hide.

You know thatís just the way it is
No matter how they try they canít keep us in.
Cause our hands are with the wind.

 Iíve got to get it all outside
 Where only darkness can hide.

Nobodyís gonna be without a step to take.
We all have the choice to make.

 Iíve got to get it all outside
 Where only darkness can hide.


by Van Wagner 1995


If God was a color, what would it be
As green as the hillside or blue as the see
Well it ainít on a dollar and it ainít on your skin
Godís greatest color lies within.

When youíre down on your luck and your cries sound lost
Remember your brother who carried the cross
For youíre never alone when heís in your life
Through the brightest of days and darkest of nights


Reach out our hand and never turn back
Let your soul hitch a ride on a straight railroad track
Donít let the breakman cut your ride short
For as long as thereís fire the engine is hot


When itís time to be called away
I hope he knows me to his very last day
Before Iím gone you can hear my life song
As my soul takes a stroll and whistles along.

If I Could Save One Soul
Van Wagner

Thereís a dark cloud over Danville.
Itís just hanging there like a thought.
And if I can make it back to Danville,
Iíve gotta wonder if Iíll be caught.

If I could save one soul every time I sang a song.
 Iíd be strumminí and humminí the whole day long.
 And if I knew one way to change my life around,
 Iíd probably find itís right here in my town.

No one can write a song like Derrick.
He puts his life down on a page.
If I could write a song like Derrick,
I probably wouldnít write my songs the same.


Tonight it seems my life is laid out,
As still as my grandmothers wind chime.
Iím taken my life as itís been laid out
And playing it all back one more time.


If Time Could Stand Alone
Van Wagner February 2002

If tonight I get called away, in the fog out on the highway
Iíd have no choice but to go.
But I have to admit, Iím not quite cool with it.
Thereís so much I havenít done.

If time could stand alone, and carry my life on.
I just canít say amen, lord I donít want this prayer to end.

Some folks see a prayer, like a phone call in the air
But that doesnít work for me.
My prayer began, when I was born into this land.
Give me a life, true and free.


I want to go to the mountains
I want to fish Kettle creek one more time.
Give me one more Christmas dinner,
I want to hear my dad say grace one more time.


I Took It Hard
Van Wagner December 2004

Saw it on a t-shirt ďTimes and invitationĒ
Took a closer look ďTimes and inventionĒ
Iím always jumping in to things seeing what I want
It gets me in to trouble like moonshine at 1.

I hope Iím not the only one I hate to be alone.
Squandering my hours like water from a stone.
Itís often said I only listen to myself.
Ignorance is bliss, you ought to try it for yourself.

How did you take it
I took it hard.
Is there any other way youíd expect?
Is this still my hometown, wonít ya check.
I took it Hard.

Try, Try again, try one more time for luck
Iím so sick of trying itís all for what?
Who am I impressing walking the walk?
Next time Iíll shut my mouth and let the guitar talk.

So come on little lady dance a step with me.
Iím not the greatest dancer but Iím tall as a tree.
A few pints and music all that matters now
All my life a song has never let me down.


I wake up to no change in fact today seems worse.
Bad luck for breakfast, bad luck curse.
Bad luck in my coffee bad luck in my bread.
But thatís all been said before a bluesman said it best.

Van Wagner

 Iím going where Iíll be free
 Where nothing will hang on me
 And my tune will play so clear
 Where winter lasts all year

  And the curtains swayed while the guitar played
  And the wind blew into my room
  And the wind sped up and filled my cup
  With the wine of yesterdayís tune


And 2 men laughing to give it weight
While the road bent round the stream
And the waste of the waters ripping it down
Let me know that it wasnít some dream.


And the crashing thunder of fire in the sky
Turned the night into day
And the more we all burned, the more we all learned
This wasnít our Independence Day


Independent Miners are a breed apart
We got coal in our lungs, but we got powder in our heart.
It only takes a spark to make the powder fire
Government inspectors have us trapped like barbed wire.
But like David and Goliath, weíre standing all alone
To defend against a giant with a little black stone.
I just want to work, thereís no crime in that.
To make a living where the Earth is black.
But you shut me down so I canít work no more
If weíre all gone then the big shovel reigns
They can rape these mountains with their big machines.
They wonít have to worry about independents in their way
For the government inspectors will have squeezed them away.
Thereís only so much pushing us miners will take
Like when the roof starts sagging and the timbers break.
But one thing you should know about hard coal men
We donít give up without a fight and we fight to win.

By Van Wagner
September 2001, lyrics based on a poem 1997

In  a land where the air is rare,
Dust off the golden hair.
Desire moves time so slow,
550 feet below.

 Itís all coming back to me, like it never has before.
 Figuring out just who we were, in a cave called J4

The man youíll meet, youíll meet him twice
Shares a land where the air is ice.
His friends share my brotherís years
Down in the rock Iíve faced my fear.


But whatís a mirror if dark chokes light?
Whatís a ladder with fear of heights?
Oh itís all there and Iíll be back,
Down that hole where time is black.


Kickiní Pebbles
Van Wagner 1997

The night was filled with music, and the music filled with light.
Iím breathing my existence, knowing everythingís alright.
Thereís a peace in kickin pebbles that canít be put to words.
It seems Iíve kicked this one, for several miles or more.
Iím watching life drive past me in the middle of the night,
And thereís people spinning around me, no I donít fit in right.

 Kickiní pebbles, round and round again
 Keep it rolliní, Iíve got the corners wearing in.
 And it ainít lonely, when the feelings back again,
 Because it only takes a shot from a pistol in the wind, to do you in.

Tamaraís in the moonlight, basking in the dark,
And weíve been this way a thousand times, but weíre still at the start.
Half way to sleepiness, my footís in the door.
My headís right where it needs to be, but my feet wonít leave the floor.
I guess Iím stubborn as a mule, when it comes to laying down,
But Iíve heard that itís wrong to go flying on the ground.

 Kickiní pebbles, round and round again
 Keep it rolliní, Iíve got the corners wearing in.
 And it ainít lonely, when the feelings back again,
 Because it only takes a shot from a pistol in the wind, to do you in.

Iím almost to my room now, thereís a light on I can see,
And I can almost taste the window, as itís coming into reach.
The next days not up yet, I think itís gonna wait for me,
You see I made a deal with father time when I found the words to speak.
Itís written in our contract, right here in section eight,
ďTomorrow canít come faster, if Iím getting in too lateĒ

 Kickiní pebbles, round and round again
 Keep it rolliní, Iíve got the corners wearing in.
 And it ainít lonely, when the feelings back again,
 Because it only takes a shot from a pistol in the wind, to do you in.

Lattimer Massacre
Van Wagner 1997

1897, itís a cold September morning,
Thereís something in the air today thatís chilling me to the bone.
Looking out my shack window, up by old number 9,
I can see some man gathering, as the fog takes its time.

Thereís wives and kids off to the side, waving as they go.
There must me 350 of them coming down the road.
So I hollered out to one of them ďhey what ya marching for?Ē
He said ďweíre marching out of this town and on to Lattimer!Ē

 Said ďweíre marching on for liberty in this land of the brave and free
 Iím sick of living my life, like a piece of machinery.Ē
 He said ďson Iím sick of living like a second class human being,
 We ainít asking for charity, just a little equality.Ē

Well the fog has finally rolled away and the sun is to its peak.
Some have said 10 miles have passed beneath our feet.
We come from many countries, many foreign lands,
So weíre waving old stars and stripes to show weíre Americans.

Just around Hazleton, up stepped old sheriff Martin.
He said ďyouíve gone far enough boys, go back to where you come from.Ē
But there wasnít no stopping in these menís eyes you could see right to their souls,
Their hearts filled with freedom, and their lungs filled with coal.


The men marched on to Lattimer, believing all was fine.
Sheriff Martin had him a hundred men, waiting down the line.
Armed with the Sheriffís rifles, he had deputized a hundred men.
While not a single marcher, had a weapon in their hand.

The Sheriff opened fire, and the flag fell to the ground.
Itís as if God went deaf that day amidst that dieing sound.
I ainít ever seen nothing like it, and I hope I never do a gain.
Itís a sin that a dollar weighs more than a man.


So for the 19 men that died that day, wonít you reach into your soul.
And tell me who are the real Americans in this story that we hold?
Is it the thugs with the rifles, and the badges on their chests,
Or those who marched for freedom, and lay in eternal rest?

The Leatherman
Van Wagner, Matt Harrison, and Karl Shellenberger

The Leatherman is your best friend on your journey through life,
With itís trusty pliers and its razor sharp knife.
The handle wonít fall apart like the generic brands
Thereís only one true American Leatherman.

 All the ladies know that this tools for real
 Made of the finest steel, just see how it feels
 When you break a sting while you are performing
 To pull the peg, reach down to the top of your leg.

Have you ever been stuck in your harmonica holder?
And you couldnít get it loose with a 2-ton boulder.
Just take that trusty tool to that stubborn bolt,
And youíll bust out of that holder like a wild colt.


When youíre on a date and the night is to itís end.
And you walk her to the door and she invites you in.
Donít hesitate, procrastinate just go on in,
When your stomach gets queasy reach for your Leatherman.



Leave my Town Alone
Van Wagner Dec 2003

Good friends good friends come gather round
There's a storm coming in.
We've only but a moment
Before the winds begin.

It pains me to say it
But our whole town is at stake
A thousand years of heritage
Could wither in its wake

You can see exactly what I mean
In the counties to our south.
The cancer is a getting near
I can taste it in my mouth.

Leave my town alone
Leave my town alone.

They seem so many
And I just a one.
They're armed with their check books
And I just a song

Danville is my mother
My father Susquehan'
I hold my dearest loyalty
To this iron land.

This could be paved over
Our rural life all gone.
The only way to see it
Is through David Armstrong.

Leave my town alone
Leave my town alone.

To all of my neighbors
With whom I share this town.
Lets stand in solidarity
When this darkness comes around.

For we vote with our dollars
And every cent we spend.
We take our money elsewhere
As corporations grin.

The malls and subdivisions
Salivate like mangy mutts.
They see us as a flock of sheep
While they lick their chops.

Leave my town alone
Leave my town alone.

But this I know I swear it now
Progress this is not.
There's no place more lonely
Than a Wal-mart parking lot.

I'll sing to God's mountains
I'll sing to the fields.
But I'm preaching to the choir
At least that's how it feels.

In your prayers of confession
Just you and the lord.
Is it something that you mention
Our treatment of his world?

Leroy Ross
Van Wagner Oct. 6, 1999

Leroy Ross went to the river, with a bucket of beer and a mind to clear.
The evening sky was tied like a ribbon, heís trying to make his angel appear.
He knocked seven bottles, and he climbed in to a boat,
Heís pushing her full throttle, white water and white smoke

No donít get hung up on this, it ainít worth the worry.
Man howíd you get hung up on this, it must be some story.

It was yesterday morn he got a call from work, letting him know the plant shut down.
Leroy Ross, youíve been laid off, donít even bother coming in to town.
The phone went down like thunder and he sat down in the hall.
Six and one half-hours, white eyes starring at white walls.

No donít get hung up on this, it ainít worth the worry.
Man howíd you get hung up on this, it must be some story.

Now heís running high and the waters low, heís pushing his life tot he edge.
Heís just about to let it go, when his daughterís face comes to his head.
Then just at that moment, he crashed that speeding boat.
Flying through shattered air, white angels and white ghosts.

 No donít get hung up on this, it ainít worth the worry.
Man howíd you get hung up on this, it must be some story.

Now Leroy Ross lies by the river as the sun come sup to warm his face.
He opens his eyes to a coal silt glitter, the night before all over the place.
He was searching for his angel, gambling with life.
But his angel is his daughter, and he sees it now clear as light.

 No donít get hung up on this, it ainít worth the worry.
Man howíd you get hung up on this, it must be some story.

Let It Go
Van Wagner
July 1995

Hereís my life, like an open door
Iíve given you all but you still want more.
Canít you see thereís nothing, left in me?
Yet Iím the one who is on their knees.
Stooped to your pride that still cries mine,
I think Iíve given you plenty of time.

 Iíve got nothing why you still reaching out
 Iíve made up my mind beyond a shadow of a doubt
 Canít you see what youíre doing to me?

Now Iím asking you to let me go
Hanging on is gonna kill me slow.
I can feel it all slipping right through my hands.
How we got here, Iíll never understand.
Looking back I want to close my eyes,
Hoping the darkness will heel these skies.


In a drunken state, times creeps slow.
While my memories fade me so.
All the feathers going right down the drain,
In the same swirl confusing the pain.
Lay it down flat, lay it right in front of me
Out of your hands and washed to the sea.



by Van Wagner 1997/1998

Itís a long way to loneliness when sitting on top of the world
you have no fears holding you back and mind is on a girl
With each new waking day you say it donít get better than this
Then the telephone rings, with the one you love saying,
ďMan you wonít believe this.Ē

Gone long ago are the days you hate to begin
And at half past sunset you canít wait to see the sun again
The air has never smelled so sweet and the trees look so green
And I can only wish you well and hope you see what I mean.

Donít ever tell yourself that your road is to its end
ĎCause you can always turn around and go down that road again
Everything looks different looking from the other side
Thatís the way life is, but it ainít an easy ride.

Lifeís a song my friend, itís been written for us
Youíve got to live the verses and fall back on the chorus
So as the dew sets in and bats fill the sky
Remember that there are a million others out there feeling like you tonight.

Little Sleeper
Van Wagner

Good night my sleeper I hope all your dreams come true
I hope my sleeper, that all is done for you
you make me feel so good
Youíre the only one who could
Little Sleeper, little sleeper

Tonight when you lay your pillow down, lay it down.
Tonight when the pillow people come let them lay down.
Will you think of me and wonder
Do you see the spell that Iím under
Little sleeper, little sleeper.

Been around been around this town
only trying to keep her.
Been around been around this town
looking for my sleeper.
Little sleeper, little sleeper.

Goodnight to you I pray that tomorrow is bright.
I hope the sun is shining in your sleep, but not too bright.
can you hear me as you stand on down,
Can you see me waving yelling down?
Little sleeper, little sleeper

Been around been around this town
Iím not sure what Iím searching for.
Been around been around this town
you know Iíve seen it all before.
Little sleeper, little sleeper.

Little Tin Soldier
Van Wagner

So go ahead ma, send your boys off to war
Cause it wonít be you thatís coming back again.
Send him proud to build your name, but donít expect him back the same,
For a new man is born on that foreign shore.
War twists and it tangles and it hides what once was,
And all is lost except the cause.

 So my little tin soldier, donít you cry too loud
 For if your home hears you, no more will they be proud.

With his pride on his chest and his family far away,
He counts his never-ending daily tide.
He answered the call and may not see home at all
To give his mother back all her pride.
With each new dying day, he can hear is maker say
ďDo you see now the danger of pride?Ē


Living In Myself
Van Wagner

Silver jetted on an open page
Speed of light trying to spell my name.
Turning backwards round the same old time,
Itís now my turn to take a dive.

 Iíve been living in myself these days.
 Snow covered mountains and an icy haze.
 But itís all the same,
 Itís all the same old days

Still you read about the news today
Is it worth your time to hear their say?
Do you see your life in black and white?
Donít be blinded by what they write.


Lonesome Valley Revisited
By Van Wagner June 2002

I smell the smoke from his fire and I know heís getting close.
Been on my trail since we left the coast.
I donít know what he wants but I know it isnít good
I just know.

Friends say Iím paranoid got monkeys on my back.
But Iíve seen him driving, wagon painted black.
Heís real as a rock heís cold as a stone
I just know.

Thereís a clean cut line of where I gotta go
If I want to shake his tracks and get back on the road
Iím going alone like a lonesome wind
Itís my lonesome valley and Iím going in.

You canít buy heaven but you can spend your way to hell.
Worship the dollar and caught up in itís spell
When itís all said and done all youíre left with is junk
I just know.

I was called a yuppy just the other night
Judged and juried and it cut me like a knife.
If I could let go of my pride, it wouldnít hurt at all
I should know.


Looking Back
Van Wagner

She just kissed him, outside my window.
and I just cursed him with the silence that the wind blows.
I hope it chills him, as they go without their eyes now.
Cause Iím still holding hands with her shadow.

 If she could just look back.
 I wonder how Iíd act.
 If she saw me, looking back.

It was all too fast when we tried it our way.
Whatís right was passed, before the first day.
It sure ainít easy when times not on your side.
And youíre running backwards just to keep up the slack line.


Now Iím down to my last load of buck shot.
Clutching firmly with my hand to take my sure shot.
Chances passed and now itís down to this one.
Thereís no anger in my fist or the shotgun


Driving by that same old spot now.
It takes much longer for me to swallow it all down.
Only the moment pushes you passed me,
Why canít you believe that the blind really can see.

Loose Ends
Van Wagner

I donít know why but some times I find myself
kicked around like a stone on the ground.
And sometimes I find myself lost
and just spinning around.

 Iíve been chasing after hopes and dreams
 And been a while with my back to the sun.
 Iíve been grabbing at loose ends it seems,
 But you know, itís just begun.

Iíve been thinking to deeply and I find
I just tie my thoughts in a knot.
And when Iím finally sobered up
I canít tell if Iím breathing or not.

 Iíve been chasing after hopes and dreams
 And been a while with my back to the sun.
 Iíve been grabbing at loose ends it seems,
 But you know, itís just begun.

Iím climbing the ladder of law
And the higher I get the further I fall.
So you feed your own damn mind
cause in your hearts thereís nothing at all.

 Iíve been chasing after hopes and dreams
 And been a while with my back to the sun.
 Iíve been grabbing at loose ends it seems,
 But you know, itís just begun.

Van Wagner

Now let me tell you friends about a girl I know
Sheís the one I call Lorio.
I got mixed up confusion all in my head
And the doctor soon tell me Iím brain dead.

Lorio Lori, Lorio Lo
Lorio Lori, Lorio

It all started last week, when I pulled into school
Now I canít even tell you whoís playing fool.
She chokes me with her long hair that's ruby red
Then she kicks me in the buttocks and rolls me out of bed.


Well sheís worse than a gremlin from a cartoon,
She puts hot sauce on my toothbrush and bubble gum in my food.
She puts thumbtacks in my shoes and crazy glue on my chair
Iím only 19 and Iím losing my hair.


Now Iím just trying to keep her hunger fed
And the doctor soon tell me Iím brain dead


Madiburg Root Beer
Van Wagner and Matthew Harrison 1996

            Madiburg Root beer it tastes so fine
 If I didnít know no better Iíd swear it was divine.
 They brew it in barrels and they keep it out back
 And the taste of the whiskey puts hair on your back.

Well the folks they come for miles around
To get that jugged root beer and drink it on down.
hey slap it up to their lips and sip it once or twice
And if they're feeling frisky theyíll share it with their wife.


Thereís only one thing Uncle Sam donít steer
Uncle Charlie's car and Madiburg Root beer
No oneís really sure what theyíre putting in that brew,
But itíll fill up your jug, and shine all your shoes.


Magnolia Sunset
Van Wagner
June 1995

Sheís so beautiful she means the world to me,
But I canít tell is her answer lies within me.
Sheís the one whoís been dancing in my dreams
But reality isnít always what it seems.
Is she the one who Iíve been waiting my life for
Or is she just a girl whoís opened a new door.

 Magnolia sunset
 Going down in the west.
 Magnolia sunset
 Going down in the west.

Sheís found a part of me that I never have set free
And for this freedom Iíd hand her eternity.
Iíve waited 9 months but it seems like half my life
Through the wear and tear my doubts have felt the light.
Our love is strong and thereís no reason to step back
Cause floating free will only stab you in the back.


So when the one is found who belongs to your heart
Gently turn towards them and let the seasons start.
Turning once may never be enough,
So keep on reaching out no matter how tough.
If thereís someone who shares time with me,
I pray to God itíll be the girl riding next to me.

Miners Wife
Van Wagner Fall 2003

My wife is a miners wife hey hey
My wife is a miners wife hey hey
My wife is a miners wife hey hey
Worried too much of her life, somebody tell the lord whatís going on.

Heís knees are spend and his lungs are going bad
Heís knees are spend and his lungs are going bad
Heís knees are spend and his lungs are going bad
Spitting image of his dad, somebody tell the lord whatís going on.

Then the breaker takes the coal and runs ah ha
Then the breaker takes the coal and runs ah ha
Then the breaker takes the coal and runs ah ha
Like the farmer with his profits gone, somebody tell the lord whatís going on.

Now we import our coal from Chinaís soil hey hey
Now we import our coal from Chinaís soil hey hey
Now we import our coal from Chinaís soil hey hey
Where they go through men like motor oil, somebody tell the lord whatís going on,

by Van Wagner 1998

I was born in a mining town in the hills of the North
Iíve lived here all my life and Iíll live up here some more
Had me some good times when the ore was running good
But the iron went down and took the town now itís boarded up with wood

I spent some time on the riverbanks where I learned to sail the wind
My dad taught me how to catch breeze by the time that I was 10
Heíd say, ďKeep an eye on the center board and a finger to the wind.Ē
Best darn words that I ever have heard Ďbout how to be a man.

Well I had me the best of friends, we grew up on the hill
Stayed out long past dark until we got our fill
Playing games like Kick the Can then weíd sleep out by a fire
Dream about the years to come and the ones that passed by.

But we all got older and had to look for pay
The iron mill was closing down and the jobs blew away
I took to cuttiní fire wood and sold it by the cord
Saved enough to buy some land down on the river shore.

Fixed up my dadís old boat and took to sailing once again
Any time I got landlocked, I found freedom in the wind
Iíd sail her day and night down on the Susie Q
My back to the wind when the waves come in and the sail pushiní through.

Well now and then when times got tough and crops were going dry
I had myself a whiskey still making old Rock & Rye
Took to running Moonshine on the river by the night
Made my rounds from town to town, and my dollars by moonlight

Well when itís time to bury me, you can lay me over there
Down where the mountains melt and river flows to the sky
Iíll catch a tail wind and ride Ďer up to the Lord
And sail out of this mining town into the next world.

Now as Iím leaving Iíve got one thing to say
Let the words of my father guide you on your way
Heíd say, ďKeep an eye on the center board and a finger to the wind.Ē
Best darn words that I ever have heard Ďbout how to be a man.

Moan at 21
Van Wagner

Come all you friends, into my life
And hear the tale of a young mans life.
Itís one of truth, and one of length,
21 years of fading strength.

Both day and night see me awake,
I canít find peace enough to take.
But what is peace if youíre alone,
Just 21 years out on your own.

The saddest song, Iíve ever heard,
Sung from the heart but without words.
The truth rang out like a rifle dream,
And drenched my soul with tears of green.

The longest road Iíve ever drove,
Stretched from my heart, to Shelter Cove.
900 miles of silent pain
Oh yellow line my only friend.

The sweetest wine, Iíve ever had
Brewed from tears, of a love gone bad.
Just one sip and I was done,
Left my heart passed out drunk.

The truest love, Iíve ever felt
Runs in my blood when the envy melts.
For none will fill your soul so full
As God above with hands unfurled

So fair thee well my weary friends
I pray thereís rest around the bend.
But every dog must have its day
So I tip my hat and fade away.

Van Wagner
(July 1997)

Iím so tired Lord, this way of livingís got me inside out
I ainít begging yet, but I think Iíll soon on that route
My headís out here, but my heart is still back at home
And sheís a world away, I know Iím not alone.

  She comes to me through moonlite
  Through sunsets and cool nights
  In the words of a promise, itís all right
  Yeah, Iím all right, all right tonight.

Last night when I laid down, I heard coyotes out in the black
And there they go again, and something inside me wants to answer back
But I could howl all night until Iím blue in the face
Cause no one hears me out here in this crazy place.


Itís getting dark now, and I hope she knows Iím missing her
Cause a song ainít the same as holding and kissing her
But thereís 6 days to go, and thatís one shy of a week
But a week ainít nothing when thereís years up the street.


Mustíve Been My Guitar
Van Wagner  Aug. 1998

Well it all started back in high school I was playing my guitar in class
When the teacher came back to my desk, and this question she did ask
ďMr. Wagner what makes you think, that you can get away with that?Ē
I said ďyour class is boring your voice is annoying and you smell like dead cat!Ē
Then I went to the principal and told him he was a freak
Next thing I knew I ended up in detention for a weekÖ

 Well it mustíve been my guitar, yea it mustíve been my guitar
 Whatever the song it mustíve been wrong,
 Yea it mustíve been my guitar.

Then came my senior prom and I went to pick up my date,
But I was busy tuning my guitar that day and I got there three days late.
But I didnít want to hurt her feelings so I took her out to Burger King
But I could only afford a water cause my guitar needed new strings.
Well then she had the nerve to dump me, and she gave me back her ring
She didnít even give me a reason I guess she ainít ready for that dating thing.


Then one day I stumbled into college and I was playing in a frat,
I met one guy named puker and another guy named rat.
Well we all had a good time drinking there till I asked what was on tap
ďItís imported triple stout lager bock aleĒ replied old frat rat
I said ďwell I only drink Yuengling, itís what you call a working mans beer
But I guess that word Ďworkingí ainít spoke much around here.
Well they took my cup away from me my imported triple stout lager bock ale.
I suppose Penn State ainít ready for me, maybe I ought to try Yale


Now Iím driving down the highway with my guitar in my hands,
Just put the car in cruise control and sit back and jam.
I ran over a Penn dot worker and through a Catholic Church,
I grabbed some bread off the communion table and flew out the back porch.
Now the cops are on my tail and they catch me if they can,
You know it just ainít easy being a Presbyterian guitar man.


My King Was a Poor Man
Van Wagner

 My king was a poor man so I am told
 Riches not of this world, no silver nor gold.
 He fell to his knees so that others could stand.
 A King ainít a King unless heís reaching out his hand.

Who wouldíve guessed 2000 years ago,
That the richest of the rulers still has no gold?
His crown was made of thistles, his robe tattered rag,
He rules over millions, yet his country waves no flag.


Well his powers not in iron, fire, or lives.
His armies are the oceans, the land, and the sky.
He who walks beside him never walks alone.
Those who share their heart with him, always have a home.



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