Criminal Man

by Jonah Tolchin

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about

This album is dedicated to change.

Criminal Man by singer, songwriter, guitarist Jonah Tolchin combines the sounds of folk, blues, bluegrass, and Americana music in ten original songs (and one cover by Blaze Foley) dedicated to social change. Tolchin sings with passion and originality about the abuses to the environment, a destructive materialistic culture, and the pain of poverty and loss. A masterful guitarist with a deep resonant voice, Tolchin is joined by musicians from The Low Anthem and Brown Bird, along with Joe Fletcher, Ethan Robbins, Shea Vaccaro, and others. Recorded at Dirt Floor Studios (Chester, CT) & The Columbus Theater (Providence, RI). Engineered/Recorded by Eric Michael Lichter (Dirt Floor) & Arichbald Taruskin (Columbus Theater). New Wheel Music: Brooklyn, NY & Los Angles, CA.

www.visiblevoice.net/new-posts/jonah-tolchins-cold-dark-american-dream.html

For lyrics click on individual songs or to the right of them.

credits

released 09 March 2012

1. Without A Sound (4:20)
Jonah Tolchin // Dirt Floor Studios // Eric Michael Lichter
Jonah Tolchin - Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
MorganEve Swain - Harmony Vocals, Cello

2. Criminal Man (3:39)
Jonah Tolchin // Columbus Theater // Archibald Taruskin
Jonah Tolchin - Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
Ben Knox Miller - Harmony Vocals, Pump Organ
Jeff Prystowsky - Harmony Vocals, Upright Bass
Dan Lefkowitz - Harmony Vocals

3. Godforsaken World (5:01)
Jonah Tolchin // Dirt Floor Studios // Eric Michael Lichter
Jonah Tolchin - Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
MorganEve Swain - Fiddle, Outro Vocals
Shea Vaccaro - Harmony Vocals
Dirty John Peterson - Bass
David Lamb - Outro Vocals, Pretzels

4. Mr. Devil (3:55)
Jonah Tolchin // Dirt Floor Studios // Eric Michael Lichter
Jonah Tolchin - Acoustic Guitar, Vocals, Boot Tap, Bass
Ed Iarusso - Pedal Steel
Joe Fletcher - Harmony Vocals
David Lamb - Harmony Vocals
MorganEve Swain - Harmony Vocals

5. Pitchfork, Torch & Pen (3:58)
Jonah Tolchin // Dirt Floor Studios // Eric Michael Lichter
Jonah Tolchin -Acoustic/Electric Guitars, Vocals
Eric Michael Lichter - Hammond C3
Andrew Seltzer - Bass
Dirty John Peterson - Drums
Will Kindler - Backup Vocals

6. Fracking Nightmare (2:36)
Jonah Tolchin // Columbus Theater // Archibald Taruskin
Jonah Tolchin - Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
Ben Knox Miller - Saw
Avi J. Salloway - Steel Guitar
Jeff Prystowsky - Upright Bass

7. Cold, Dark, American Dreams (5:05)
Jonah Tolchin // Dirt Floor Studios // Eric Michael Lichter
Jonah Tolchin - Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
Ethan Robbins - Fiddle, Mandolin
Andrew Seltzer - Bass
Eric Michael Lichter - Upright Piano

8. Wrong Side of the Wire (4:20)
Jonah Tolchin // Dirt Floor Studios // Eric Michael Lichter
Jonah Tolchin - Acoustic Guitar
Ed Iarusso - Pedal Steel
Joe Fletcher - Harmony Vocals
Will Kindler - Harmony Vocals

9. Oval Room (3:49)
Blaze Foley // Texas Ghost Writers Music, Admin by BMG Rights (USLLC) // Dirt Floor Studios
Jonah Tolchin - Acoustic Guitar, Vocals, Bass
Eric Michael Lichter - Upright Piano, Air Organ, Vocals
Shea Vaccaro - Harmony Vocals
Joe Fletcher - Harmony Vocals
David Lamb - Harmony Vocals
MorganEve Swain - Harmony Vocals
Blue Naomi Sky - Harmony Vocals
Will Kindler - Harmony Vocals

10. Unless We Change (4:12)
Jonah Tolchin // Columbus Theater // Archibald Taruskin
Jonah Tolchin - Acoustic Guitar, Vocals, Tenor Banjo
Ben Knox Miller - Harmony Vocals, Tambourine
Avi J. Salloway - Washboard, Harmony Vocals
Jeff Prystowsky - Upright Bass

11. Rocks & Nails (4:58)
Jonah Tolchin // Dirt Floor Studios // Eric Michael Lichter
Jonah Tolchin - Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
MorganEve Swain - Harmony Vocals
David Lamb - Harmony Vocals

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about

Jonah Tolchin Bar Harbor, Maine

Newport Folk Festival Alum. "There are few folks south of 25 that can nail Americana, blues and folk with impeccable instrumentation and songwriting the way Tolchin can. It’s as if he’s a 40 year-old lovechild of a Mississippi Delta blues man and Loretta Lynn…”. - Garland Harwood ... more

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Track Name: Without A Sound
All my hero’s and my idols, my friendships and my ghosts,
leave me stranded here this morning, too close away from home.
The sun shines through my window, the leaves are green and fair,
I’m just looking for a color only found in my baby’s hair.
Oh but my darlings down the highway, left me here to count the birds,
and I’m hurting to the ceiling, lost, just searching for the words.

Chorus:
And I can’t seem to find a better place to hide, I might jump into the river
for a midnight train to ride. I can’t swim so I’ll sink, for to fly. Polished steel
along the creek, my soul will drift into the leaves, and I’ll be gone, without a sound.

The car is filled with reasons to never get back in, I was once a stronger man till I
confessed to all my sins. So I guess I’ll get to walkin’, till I turn to something else,
for this weight that I am bearing, is too heavy for the shelf. It’s too heavy to be buried, too heavy to be freed, so this weight I must carry to help me sink into the sea.

Chorus

So just let me drown, for she won’t come around, she’s too busy being free, so I’m headed down. Yes I’m sinking now, without a sound, it’s time to march into the waves, where troubles are not found, no troubles found, without a sound, no troubles found, without a sound, no troubles found, without a sound.
Track Name: Criminal Man
The lamp is burned low, at the brick house down the street,
At the very same place I got knocked off my feet,
A nickel a dime boys I got what you need,
I’m a criminal man, come from a criminal breed.

Ay-O, Ay-O, Ay-O, O, O, Ooo.

So many love’s I have lost throughout my whole life,
Well I try to make it better, but the scotch won’t suffice,
If a man of desire were a man of the times, then I’d be a few years back,
a few dollars behind.

Ay-O, Ay-O, Ay-O, O, O, Ooo.

Well this ain’t a sad song boy, this is my life,
And I live for the sin, the struggle, the strife,
I live to laugh, and I live to cry,
Well I live till I don’t, then I guess that I’ll die.
Track Name: Godforsaken World
Well I asked my babe to walk with me x3
Her mother would not let her daughter be.

Well I asked the lord for the reason why x3
He’s too drunk to come down from the sky

Well lord I said I’m a simple man
And mama well I’m doing the best I can
If I follow my heart and speak my mind
Don’t get nothing back but blood and crying

Chorus:
City’s on fire, run to the woods, there ain’t no left
Don’t you remember what you could,
Could have done, times run out, flames creeping up,
No water in the well to put it out.

Honest man, Honest man come walk with me
Tell me how do you live so peacefully
Well he took out a needle and a sack of cocaine
and said these things help me to stay sane.

I said lord well if this is sanity
Then I’ll go wild I’ll be insane for free
Policeman, he walked up to me
He said boy, come with me.

Well they threw me, in the county jail
He said don’t ask questions, son don’t rebel
If we let you leave, son well you better walk right
And he handed me the plans to the rest of my life

Well I looked at the paper in my hand
White-picket fence, two kids, a handyman
Well it had the day I was to leave this old world
Then he handed me a ring and told me the name of a girl.

Chorus

Well I contemplated suicide,
They said that’s illegal but good try
I grabbed the pistol from policeman’s belt
pulled the trigger down the officer fell.

I laughed, felt better than a man could tell
Said looks like the place for me is hell
It couldn’t be worse than this godforsaken world
Couldn’t be worse than this godforsaken world.

Chorus +:
Trains gone loose, thousand miles out
Stuck in the desert times run out
Throat’s so dry whiskeys all we got
No cure on board, Oh waters all run out
Track Name: Mr. Devil
My clothes are a mess upon the floor
My thoughts keep me from moving to the door
I am weak and I am selfish and lord I just can't help it
Because my mind don't stay here anymore

I once remembered how to move a long
and tap my feet to a happy-hearted song
But I am the sick experiment of a crazy-hearted instrument
that's played me out and sent me back to where I belong

Chorus:
Mr. Devil take me down, down, down for a while
Mr. Doctor, let me go, let me go, for I am wild
Me and my Darling, we will run, run, run, towards the light
But I am a puppet I am evil, I’m primal hungry demon,
and I'm always pulled back to the night.

If you let me I will jump into your arms
but just know that I am a burden full of charms
I am yours, forever dreaming not always here but never
Leaving, and I only wish you can forgive my numbered wrongs

I am a shifter changing form but never heart
I am the fool who never acts but I play all the parts
I am a werewolf, I'm a vampire, and I'll never tell you no lies
I'll just love you like the full moon through the dark

Chorus

So you see that I'm a troubled man
but you make me so much better than I am
And as we travel through the seasons roam the land
committing treason we’ll go crazy together hand in hand

Shifting shapes and reasons to go on
the wickedness of my heart's now dead-gone
But like a ghost will be returning so for now we'll keep it burning
Let the wheels roll the show must carry on!
Track Name: Pitchfork, Torch & Pen
Dancing on the wire like buffalo jack
poets howl at the crows, crows howl right back
look to the west, sun's dancing too
crooked clockwork folks chasing black-eyed moons

Chorus:
It's a night of old-fashioned gypsy fun
cops stand on the corner, eyes loaded like guns
grab your pitchfork your torch your pen
start a revolution fore the story ends

Extinction flows through our veins
the human race soon fade's away
leaving tracks of fiery hell
tattooed as a legend in the wishing well

follow the trail of the devil to the helpless fawn
choose the will to do right in the face of wrong

and send down a savior’s hand
for nobody knows who I am
sacred lie's ruling lives of the damned
and yet nobody knows who I am

Raise your glass tip your cup
Toast to the lost ones you've loved
the birds, the trees, the moon the sun
these mechanical stars ain't much fun (x3)

Snake-bite of the law to the heart one time
for walking in the sunshine doing 99
so grab your metal, your fire, your lead,
fight till the wall streets running red. X2

Grab your pitchfork your torch your pen
start a revolution fore the story ends.
Track Name: Fracking Nightmare
It's like boiling water, just to tug on the steam
Or running in a race, just to run from a dream
We’ll be burning our chairs, just to keep from the cold
Or drilling a hole just searching for hell, ringing satins red
door bell with an oil rigging well

It's like waking up in the night to a horrible smell
Burning flesh from the shale and a house full of kids
Bone's turn to ashes while pockets turn to gold.

It's like somebody took, a knife to your chest, filled a vessel with your blood
and decided to test, how much money you can make from killing someone,
Can this blood on our hands replace the water that runs?

Can this blood our hands replace the water that runs?
How much money you can make from killing someone?
Track Name: Cold, Dark, American Dreams
Chorus:
There’s a little bit of Villain in everyone that's what I learned today
Don't let no-one gun down your fun act a fool break a rule everyday
I ain't here to sit on a conveyer belt towards the jaws of some Death Machine,
I'm gonna sing my song not gonna follow along into a Cold, Dark, American Dream no, no; Cold, Dark, American Dreams.

The world is my school not some concrete box full of tied up suited folks
saying this is what it is and how it has to be I told you son one and one just don't make three.

What is a law philosophically I asked the judge when they hit me for indecency, why can't I piss where I want I didn't hurt no one, saved some god-damn water for your flush-a-tron.

You won't believe the things I've seen walked a thousand miles to find a land of green and then the black-coat man in his limousine turns the colors grey and builds a factory.

For what do you think man you can never say for building more guns or artificial sun rays for the days when we've sucked all the sun-light dry, for following a life of buy, buy, buy, oh no.

Chorus

There are Gypsies in the river sailing on a moon sliver just waiting for the judgment day
they count the passers by while the time just flies and they sing about the good old days.

This is what I say about your good old days mine is better then good in so many ways
and they never get old and they never will I'll be dancing like a Devil till my heart stands still.

And I'll search for buried treasure in every town play the whiskey neck bottle till the sun comes round and when it rises and shines or falls back down I'll see the shadows on the mountains of the lands unfound.

Four black vultures on the street-light sit just laughing bout the war and politics
they said, these funny creatures they got it all wrong well it won't be long before they all are gone, oh no.

The native chief said interconnectedness has been crushed under the bus of awarelessness,
the web has been cut and were all going down gonna take a revolution to bring us around.

But if we grab the strands up one by one tie them back together so they can't come undone,
And then we take our eyes from the blue-light screen and wake up from these Cold, Dark, American Dreams.

And you'll never know it's gone until it's all gone wrong we'll be regretting these American dreams, oh yeah, we'll be regretting these dark, cold-hearts, we’ll be forgetting about American dreams, oh yeah, we'll be regretting these American dreams.
Track Name: Wrong Side of the Wire
Both sides of the power-line
two reasons, ways, still same kinds
old and young and rich and poor
farming folks vs. business whores

They'd sell the land underneath your feet
let you vanish to the driest creek
they don't have a clue that the food they eat
comes from the other side of the wires reach

Chorus:
So spray the skies till darkness falls
CEO's count the sheep behind their walls
no lights go out but the sun
on the Wrong Side of the Wire just a battle won

Critter on the line just having fun
poison sprayers call out boys load your guns
fire the cannons bomb the beast
might cut the power on the man's T.V

Farmers sit on the back-porch crying
waters been poisoned crops are dying
winters coming stomachs ache
when they ask why heads just shake

Chorus

Winters come and on the other side
rich mans hungry don't know why
calls his slaves to bring some more
when he heard why dropped to the floor

Stores all empty like an old ghost town
folks are starving the whole world round
the farmers land has been raped
now that you understand you’re much too late

Chorus +: On the wrong side of the wire just a battle won x3
Track Name: Unless We Change
The tracks run long, the river wide, to hell of this train we gonna ride
unless we change, our evil ways, say goodbye to sunny days

cause nobody gonna be breathing no hearts gonna be beating at this rate
that means there won't be no love, no won't be no-one to love unless we change

Unless we change (response: Unless we change!) Unless we change x2

It' easy to, to lose sight, distractions trouble on your mind
but please don't you, don't you forget, the forest disappears unless

Unless we change (response: Unless we change!) Unless we change x2

Don't you laugh, or soon you'll cry, when everything you love will die
Unless we act, break free rebel, from this ever easing chair, societal hell
So you ask what do I do, well that my friend is up to you


Cause nobody gonna be breathing no hearts gonna be beating at this rate
that means there won't be no love, no won't be no-one to love unless we change

Unless we change (response: Unless we change!) Unless we change x2
Unless you change (response: Unless you change!!!) Unless you change
Unless I change (response: Unless I change!!!!!!!!) Unless I change
Track Name: Rocks & Nails
The 2:19 took my baby away
saw it from the window above
I was screaming from the cabin-car didn't know I had gone to far
She stared straight into my eyes
The look that she gave me full of love empty of waiting
for me to come back home one more time

You see I've been traveling trying feed 6 children
work where-ever I can get it
But after 10 long years of these rambling tears
her weary mind drove her heart over the line

Chorus:
Passing train, take me away
leave my bones crush my name
sing my song, red on your rails
let me sleep with rocks & nails
just let me sleep with rocks & nails

Well we drifted on by for the train had never-known
how to love or how to sympathize

Just kept rolling through forests, through the fields through the cities
as I sat there waiting to wake up

but when the station bell ringed clear as her face
dark as the sting of the thoughts that began to creep to the edges of my brain

I went crazy with the sun, hopped off the train bought gun but
decided I wanted to go out the same way that she had done

to sleep beneath the rocks & the nails
search for her soul between to the rails
our names forever written in the rust

Chorus

if you don't know how the story goes I bought the finest wedding clothes
kneeled down between the vibrating steel and proceeded to propose

the train barreled through the mist, to say I do and give the kiss
of final binding vows ending with eternal lifelessness

the train rolled by the devil laughed said this is the wrath
of moneys lack, this is the land of freedom only for the rich

Chorus:
Passing train, take us away
leave our bones crush our names
sing our song, red on your rails
and let us sleep with rocks & nails
just let us sleep with rocks & nails