Leaving Town

by Jack James

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1.
It's time to go now, let's go We best be off home, come on now son There'll be time tomorrow, we'll come back then Arriving at the same time, same time leaving If you can't do what you did before If your shoes have already been filled If you can't do what you did before Walking with your head down, look up Change your perspective, come on now son Hands like shovels, listen here Grips on your shoulder, whispers into your ear If you can't do what you did before If your shoes have already been filled If you can't do what you did before It's time to go son It's time to go son It's time to go, come on now
2.
Go outside for no reason Lock the door, keep the heat in Let's explore What's that man? I want to be him when I'm older Full-time traveller You've got an old soul and a young face You're at home but you feel out of place So you make some changes, some reinventions Like before, full of good intentions Well what's the difference this time, how's this not the same? You make big plans and then forget them again
3.
On your way with the travelling band, better pack a bag It’s your first time, this is your trip and it’s mine You woke an hour early, it’s my hometown This is why I signed up Two pairs of jeans, a long overcoat, five plaid shirts But you are from Scotland not Nashville, Tennessee, there’s no pick-up truck But in the car there’s a banjo and twenty CDs of Neil Young’s This is why I signed up Two hours to the show, you’re looking up lyrics to songs you wrote The front-man puts his head on, this persona you sometimes forget “It’s an act I believe in,” he says, “going for three years strong” “This is why I signed up” You try to record, taking pictures from town to town And you've not been bored for months now, things are moving fast And you've got so many ideas that you can hardly cope Ah... why I signed up
4.
Travel to the top of the hill Where the planes fly right above your head So close you can almost reach So loud Up there you can take it all in If there's no one around that is They're all down in the town in the buildings and high rises You can see them And I can see you now on your self-sustained house on the mountainside And yeah, I'd like to live up there But we can't be hippies it's 2009 But in Glasgow... in Glasgow we can And I know this is just your plan You've always pegged yourself as an ideas man But there's something making you hesitate that you don't think I've seen You think that you've just taken the final step but that was all a dream
5.
Inside, inside, inside, I'll take you there to work But it's full, there's no room And the games they play at night don't have a way of ending Let's talk, let's talk, let's talk, I've found us a quiet place to work Because talking's work when you get involved You've got your systems and a problem to solve Let's go into town, fall hard on deaf ears Drowning in the noise, drowning in shallow depths You drive, it's your turn We need to get there by sunrise, load the truck I know that we need them, it's hard to break free from city life But they need us... more than we need them Let's go into town, fall hard on deaf ears Drowning in the noise, drowning in shallow depths
6.
I want to say everything unfiltered But I worry about you taking everything at face-value So write this down: I'm leaving town I warned you that I'd see this through Packed a full car, leave at daybreak Was this the right choice? Was this the right mistake? You're upbeat as I vote with my feet Does that mean you're coming too? I left it for you to choose
7.
I'll think of a mean old place to come from, and I'll say I'm from there I'll construct my name from poets and musicians And try to live this down I'll live under the radar, no one will even mention I'll blend into the background, not looking for redemption I'm trying to live this down No form of identification, it's all just a memory And I tried to forget, but you wouldn't let me So I'm thinking what to do, and where to go And try to live this down I'll think of a mean old place to come from, and I'll say I'm from there I'll live under the radar, no one will even mention No form of identification, it's all just a memory I'm trying to leave this town
8.
06:36
Wait until she's asleep Find no evidence of me leaving Pack my things into the car Say my goodbye, that wasn't hard Everything fits in the backseat Your heavy coat trapped underneath Although you left some behind You're lighter now, pay it no mind Travelling light, packed a full car, it's midnight Not far to go, welcome to your new home Can you tell what the difference is? No matching sets of hers and his But you've got two of a kind And you're lighter now, pay it no mind You can watch me talk and learn how to walk the walk Steal my turns of phrase, my hair, the clothes that I wear Become another version of me, the best version I can be Your mood is heavy and your face relaxes You can't raise a smile when the waitress asks you If there'll be anything else Your order lets her down, you never meet expectations So you buy something else But now you've got too much and something you don't want Your problems coming to life in a roadside shop You can watch me talk and learn how to walk the walk Steal my turns of phrase, my hair, the clothes that I wear Become another version of me, the best version I can be You can watch me walk
9.
I can walk this corridor with you Moving a pace ahead when we approach the doors With this gentlemanly stride, I can help you though And I can apologise if this offends you I will grow my strength and character Can you become a man with shallow, empty plans? Strategised and thought out, devised in advance Well I am living proof if that's indeed true I have trusted you with all my thoughts You have wrote the script, tell me what to do Suppose that she says this, tell me what to say If I respond with this, tell me will she stay
10.
It's goodbye tomorrow and it has come too soon It's goodbye to our spoken words that killed the afternoon And I don't want to lose Well goodbye, yes, I'm leaving town, I know we did not speak But I heard some of the things you said, and I agree But not it's too late But time stops for no man, time stops for no man And you, you are my best friend, you who I just met We quickly found some common ground I'm new in town, let me show you around But first let me brush off the burden of my past life Take off the mask, put on the beard No one will recognise me here But time stops for no man, time stops for no man Well if time don't stop, what do I got up to this point in time? Do memories count? I'm sure they do My leaving night, remember what I said to you? That time stops for no man, time stops for no man That time stops for no man
11.
04:34
Rising star, learned to fight Talks to you with a strength that's unforgettable Figured out all his life Mastered all the skills that he needs at only seventeen Now time has pushed him aside He had an early turn in the spotlight Now he's at the back of the line In the back of our minds Still at school, unaware That beyond this box he won't survive He doesn't realise that these days are the best of his life Now time has pushed him aside He had an early turn in the spotlight Now he's at the back of the line In the back of our minds Married his girl, in their decline At twenty-one all he did was look behind Now time has pushed him aside He had an early turn in the spotlight Now he's at the back of the line In the back of our minds
12.
02:40
Tell me your story and I'll pass it along As a work of fiction, as a work of song I need some information would you please hold on? I have an idea, oh god don't be wrong You can write what you want but I won't let you on To this stage or this platform from which to speak from I've got your information right here in front me But nothing really stood out from what I've seen If no one reads this but me, does it still count as read? Does an idea exist if it's just in my head? I need your information, would you please hold on? I have an idea, oh god don't be wrong
13.
In the darkened city, patterned by its railway lines Divided by its river into sides One against the other, maybe it flows east to west Maybe they fight for what is best Experiments in the light, shifting shadows till something feels right Move in closer, focus in Bring the camera Begin When you're old, it's passed you by, that's just the definition Maybe you took hold, maybe it passed you by Two rivals in the dark, turn on the light and see who is winning What's the score? Who's living best? It's the one who's in the dark Didn't know it's a competition Maybe you took hold, maybe it passed you by When you're old, it's passed you by, that's just the definition Maybe you took hold, maybe it passed you by
14.
Tell me where to go I'm running out of lines and I'm running out coast You're just too damn slow You drunk drove and forgot which way is home Yes and now I know I heard it on the phone but I'd known it all along But we won't acknowledge this we'll just play along We're actors in a play, characters in a song And you, you play your part still Even though you know you're hidden from view And it's all eyes on you The people came to watch you choose Who's it going to be? Is it him or is it me? You know what? Forget it, I don't want to know I headed out the door And I picked up my keys I opened the car but I fell to my knees Was it the alcohol or something more? I'll sleep on the floor When I awoke, I drove off And I thought about what I wanted the most I went in search for The Great White Coast

about

Here is the secret to making a good record: write something completely original that everyone will immediately enjoy, then coast. The hard part isn't merely a good verse-chorus-verse structure but building a unique perspective on the traditional subjects everyone writes about. Unfortunately, after a while, you become stuck to a certain type of sound or subject simply because your music is being filtered through the same perspective. This is particularly a problem for folk artists who usually end up being accurately described simply by what city they come from. Luckily Jack James has a solution here: leave town. Escape.

If you've listened to his previous albums this elegy for escapism shouldn't be entirely unexpected, though you don't need to be too familiar with the back catalogue of an obscure Scottish singer-songwriter to understand the drive to get away from everything. The songs crafted here sound effortless yet precise, showing experience he has no right to have at this age. Nothing quite says this as well as the album centrepiece "Leaving Town", the longest song in the repertoire, a climactic guitar/banjo ensemble which fully captures the journey away from your home and yourself. This common thread of escapism is found within the stories, characters and sounds woven throughout the album which include mediations on age, aspirations and the music scene itself.

This is the sound of an artist in his prime, you're invited to listen but RSVP is not required.

credits

released December 3, 2011

Written: July 2010 - May 2011
(Home) Recorded: 7th April - 12th November 2011
Location: Glasgow, Scotland, UK

All songs written and recorded by Jack James

Instrumentation: Vocal, Banjo, Acoustic Guitar, Bass, Piano, Harmonica, Slide Guitar, Whistling, Clock, Percussion

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Jack James Glasgow

Rangy songwriter.

“From Neil Young... by way of Bonnie "Prince" Billy, to Arab Strap, without the charming vulgarity”
-The Herald

"Sounding more like a Scottish Leonard Cohen than ever"
-Scots Whay Hae

"Jack James may be doomed"
-The List
... more

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