Drifter

by Ian Bland

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1.
When crops sowed with nothing but hope yield nothing but rock when the bullets to put down your herd are worth more than your stock you wonder if anyone cares what the fuss is about it takes more than just rain to bring an end to a drought your wife's had to leave to find work halfway across the state even if rain came today it's probably too late you can brush away dust, but it's harder to brush away doubt it takes more than just rain to bring an end to a drought you look at your kids and you think of their future and you're praying they'll understand this is more than your home, and it's more than your job it's your lives sown into this land rain won't bring back the school now the families have all moved to town it won't bring back the jobs since the co-op's been forced to close down it won't bring back the farmer who could see no other way out it takes more than just rain to bring an end to a drought you've battled the weather, all you want's what you know your crop's worth but the food companies ship it in cheap half way across the earth it's madness but nobody listens till you stand up and shout it takes more than just rain to bring an end to a drought
2.
echoes sound in an empty room faded letters still hold their perfume an old photograph overlooked for so long a ghost lies waiting in a forgotten song a face in a crowd quickly slips out of sight but you still hear footsteps in the dead of the night memories linger of a moment too brief guard your heart closely for love is a thief passion’s a liar a coward a cheat first into battle and the first to retreat it brings only questions then it leaves you to guess ask for nothing and it gives even less shadows remain though the sun has long set you’ve made your peace but you’re never going to forget time passes slowly and brings no relief so guard your heart closely for love is a thief
3.
The river tumbles from the mountains in the west and weaves its way across the plain till it’s wedded to the sea bringing life to the land as it’s done since life itself began an old woman sits watching as the waters rush on by through the valley of her birth one hundred years ago so many years but to the river not a second’s passed life is neither slow nor fast down, down, down, down, down, she looks into the water sits in the shade of an ancient banksia from whose branches she once gazed to the ends of her world and dreamt of lands only visited in books and stories around the fire but the farm spared little time for dreams outside of sleep a few hours at school then home to help her brother in the fields when his first trip from home ended in the trenches at Fromelles her childhood died as well down, down, down, down, down, she looks into the water life was ruled by seasons in a never ending chain fortune tied to weather like a ship adrift mid sea but she always found beauty in this harsh and ever changing land there were times she cursed the river as it rose to claim their fields yet how clearly she remembers Black Friday thirty nine huddled with her children down the banks as the flames devoured their farm safe in the river’s arm down, down, down, down, down, she looks into the water now the valley echoes laughter on a gentle autumn day as family and friends celebrate a life well lived gathered by the waters where once a young girl came to dream she smiles as the children run laughing to the banks dropping leaves into the current, then race them to the bend the lines on her face dissolve into the ripples and the swirls once again she sees the girl down, down, down, down, down, she looks into the water The river tumbles from the mountains in the west
4.
heading north on 31, just short of Gundagai so long since I'd pulled a ride that I'd forgotten why and the heat jumped up from the bitumen though the day was long since spent it brought back thoughts I'd pushed aside and lost track of where they went I sat beside an old dead gum, the sun had bleached pure white it looked to me a crucifix, bathed in evening light though i hate to yield to sentiment sometimes that old dog wins there's nothing like the road at night to remind you of your sins the morning sun rose merciless, a haze hung in it's wake roads once straight now twisted, fields turned into lakes if the very earth we walk upon can fool you with it's lies why put faith in memories when you cannot trust your eyes chorus i remembered the sweet smell of the rain in the hot summer air the crimson moon dancing in your hair lying there wondering how i could want for more i remember you leaving me i can't remember what for
5.
after years on the edge i guess she just cracked from the strain so they carted her off and cut away part of her brain what’s left leaves no room for regrets only ashes and silhouettes but she’d rather keep searching for clues than hide from the pain her body’s dragged round on a leash by the strength of her will like a prisoner of war kept awake never let to lie still when it’s stood up to all it can take they carry her off for a break but her spirit will never surrender to a bottle of pills to our perfect world in our precious time comes scat tered thoughts from a broken mind pushing us to dangerous ground so we push it to the side there are times she’s so low there are days without leaving her bed then she’ll call you at four in the morning in search of a thread ideas that explode in a burst each fighting to be spoken the first and fragments of wisdom a prophet would kill to have said some people come close get scared and the relationship cools she’ll treat them as disappointments but never as fools she handles their discomfort with ease as they crudely explore her disease for her it’s the road that she walks and she knows all the rules to our perfect world in our precious time comes scattered thoughts from a broken mind pushing us to dangerous ground so we push it to the side there are moments of sadness recalling the things that are lost the border that sanity draws is there to be crossed yet a truth so few have to learn for a flame to live something must burn but she’d rather keep count of what’s left than count of the cost to our perfect world in our precious time comes scattered thoughts from a broken mind pushing us to dangerous ground so we push it to the side yet there’s nothing to fear and nowhere to hide in our perfect world in our precious time
6.
7.
I wake alone, the bed warm where you lay door closes gently as you leave I go to call you back, like so many times before but a restless heart needs room to breathe I’ve taken lovers, none I’ve held for long you’ve found some comfort on your way still the love we share is more than words have told but not enough to make you stay like a book you start to read and can’t put down a drunk who swears just one more beer one more mile for you is never quite enough you have to leave to feel me near chorus one more bend in the road one more walk along that endless highway nothing promised, nothing owed one more bend in the road
8.
Drifter 05:44
one of the last old Fitzroy hotels he was propped at the bar on a stool drinking alone quietly sipping a beer and watching the kids playing pool while the six o’clock news pumped out fashion and famine to a room that neither listened or cared he spoke through his beer, in almost a whisper i guess some things can never be shared he said i came from a place down near Maffra the family'd always been on the land when the banks were throwing round money they all but forced it into my hand but when things blew up in the eighties the banks withdrew credit and charm all i asked was a season but those bastards they sold up the farm scraped a living doing odd jobs for neighbours it was a kindness they couldn't afford when that dried up with the rivers and dams it was time i severed the cord so i drifted from township to township hell i don’t even know half by name while every farm has a soul of its own to me every town feels the same i worked loading trucks and down ditches and factories where you struggled to breathe each job fueled a burning ambition just to make enough money to leave but drifters are viewed with suspicion and perhaps i was brought up too proud so i made my way to the city where i could lose myself in the crowd i never quite got round to marriage i doubt there’s a woman that brave but to stand in a field at sunset alone is all the company i've ever craved now home is a rundown old bed sit with a window looking onto a wall and the only thing green comes from a can graffiti the kid’s round here scrawl but god knows i can feel their frustration when the people with power turn their backs politicians buy votes in the places that count while kids round here fall through the cracks they’ve never smelt air without petrol or seen the sky littered with stars and water is something that comes from a tap and you use it for washing your cars i’ve never got used to the city still in a way it’s treated me kind now country life’s just a memory but it's one i can’t quite leave behind sometimes when i listen to thunder and the wind through the wire sings it's song it touches my heart like a mother’s caress and reminds me of where i come from he went for a leak, so i bought him a beer guess i should have checked with him first he said whatever your reason to buy a drink for a stranger pity i swear is the worst cause not every drifter is lonely not every heart needs a home not everybody is searching for friendship you’re born and you die on your own i’m happy just drinking alone still he sculled down that beer then put on his coat and glanced down at my watch said it’s time i was gone but i’ll be here next week and i might let you buy me a scotch and the six o’clock news promised a perfect weekend blue skies and no rain about he turned and he said god just one hour away they’re losing their farms to the drought
9.
I don’t think you really like me truth is i don’t really care i’m not trying to win you with pretty words pretend this could go somewhere I'm not going to bore you with problems Idon’t want to hear your own I'm not going to ask for your number I don’t want to take you home I won’t try to fool you with flattery I haven’t got the style and i promise i won’t make promises i just want to sit here awhile i’ll leave you alone, just say the word there are plenty of men you could choose and you might even pick up a winner depending how much you’re prepared to lose i know i couldn’t really blame you if you had me thrown out of this place here’s a man you’ve never met before wants to give you someone else's face maybe it’s what i’ve been drinking maybe tonight’s a full moon maybe the band has been playing too many melancholy tunes i can’t tell you i’m lonely i’m as happy as anyone here hey i just wanna lean on your shoulder i don’t want to cry in your beer I can't even give you a reason why you should give me the time but you could sit in this bar till judgement day and hear nothing but hollow lines don’t worry there’s no life story i’m not out to make a big impression i won’t ask a lot of questions or make you hear a confession i’m good for a laugh and a couple of drinks don’t want anything more and if someone takes your fancy well you just pour me out the door i know nothing’s gained by holding on i’ve got no regrets seems the more your heart remembers the more your mind forgets things slip through your fingers but life keeps rolling on it doesn’t mean you’ve lost someone just means they’re gone chorus just want to hold somebody for a moment sit beside someone and know they’re near open memories no one else can enter if that’s okay I'm gonna think of someone else and something special i let slip away
10.
Last Drinks 04:38
The road was just a track, when that pub first served a drink and the locals came by horse to share a jar for a hundred years and more, both laborers and lords rubbed shoulders telling stories round the bar Pedro tells a blow in about the day he bowled Don Bradman those who know him well try not to smirk Daryll’s come in early, but today it’s not for drinking if he asks around he’ll find a few days work Shane is contemplating, if he’ll stay for one more shout he buys a beer to help him while he thinks slowly the clock works its way toward the hour suddenly they’re calling last drinks Jean has ruled the bar, since Elvis ruled the juke box with a smile as sweet as her lemonade and wine she’ll laugh at all your jokes and she'll listen to your problems but she’ll have your balls if you get out of line Lenny lost his leg up on the track in forty two in sixty years he rarely missed a day heaven help the stranger who sits on Lenny’s stool though it’s been a year since the old boy passed away Shane is still debating if he’ll stay for one more shout another beer helps him while he thinks slowly the clock works its way towards the hour suddenly they’re calling last drinks the fishing club is meeting to plan a trip down to Port Albert and they're praying that the schnapper will arrive Wardy’s selling tickets for the weekly meat tray raffle it’s how the local football team survives since 1869 they came to wash away the dust and watch the sun retreat across the bay now others have a thirst for those million dollar views and the land’s worth more than beer could hope to pay Shane has now decided he’ll stay for one more shout but the time is later than he thinks slowly the clock works its way towards the hour suddenly they’re calling last drinks
11.
remember summers we once spent the beach the surf, how much they meant that’s how the invitation went to relive the good old days so we gathered there like refugees from different worlds and destinies with nothing shared but memories of another place and time a familiar face with a bottled tan said how great i looked as he shook my hand did i have an insurance plan he’d be in touch next week Matt always liked to surf alone the most solitary man i’ve ever known talked all night into his mobile phone then left without a word Kate’s found god, wants us all to know for the bible tells her so so this is where the good times go when the good times have gone Ray always lived on the edge of a knife i only heard tonight he took his own life they decided not to invite his wife she might drag the party down Rose phoned in with her regrets the baby's sick and there’s mounting debts no mention of the beating she gets if she talks to another man she would have come if things were good we’d understand, she knew we would but i swear i never understood how she could love a man like him I once worshiped her through eyes still pure I called it love, she wasn't so sure she wanted time but i wanted more and i tried to hold too tight as gentle as my touch would be it's only now i get the irony the only difference between him and me is my bruises didn’t show chorus please don’t take me back, with do you remember then and what became of you, what became of them tell those i once loved, and those i sinned you left me walking on the beach into the Kilcunda wind
12.
you lie waiting for the dawn to come silence pounding like a drum till daylight finally shows and cuts you loose another meal of cigarettes and beer soothes the demons only you can hear and buys another day’s uneasy truce when the bombs explode you always seem the last to know and when you turn to run you’re never sure which way to go what blow could cause you this much pain or did a butterfly spark this hurricane did someone sow the seed or was it always there who wrote the secrets in your keep who forged a sword to cut this deep who carved this cross your forced to bear when the bombs explode, you're never sure where you should aim since you pay the price, you might as well take the blame you find the strength to turn the tide storms retreat and waves subside every seconds peace you’re made to earn tranquil waters hold you safe from harm but currents rage beneath the calm and quietly wait their moment to return then the bombs explode, just when you thought the battle's won in the rush you end up shot by your own gun chorus you keep crashing into walls and jumping out of windows screaming at the mirror smashing it to pieces wanting love so badly hating so completely hiding in the darkness and the circle starts again
13.
Donna 03:54
everybody's got something to say about Donna pull her to pieces like she was some part in a play stupid remarks that question her values and honour no-one's happy with Donna living life her own way they say she’s running around with her head in the clouds too many dreams for her age skipping from one to the next just like turning a page everyone seems to want to bury those dreams till all imagination is gone Donna don’t care what they say, she dreams on everybody's got stories to tell about Donna twist them around to make everything seem dirty and cheap everyday there’s a little more dirt to rub on her Donna must be the only one not losing sleep rumours spread like fire in the wind each story the taller the flames quick to offer their judgements, but never their names jealousies burn, disguised as concern jumping on every mistake Donna don’t care what they say, she won’t break most people feel a little uneasy round Donna nothing much frightens her and that makes some people scared they see the chances they missed and take it out on her chances that no-one else took, cause no-one else dared one drop of rain can threaten your world when your castles are made out of sand so we have to crush anything we don’t understand try to control both body and soul held where we think they belong Donna don’t care what they say, she’s too strong Donna don’t care what they say, she dreams on
14.
you call me up and say you need me near but when i come around it’s like why are you here you keep finding things to put in the way so why throw me your ball if you don’t want me to play i’m not certain what you need me for every word, every move, you keep the score scissors beats paper, paper beats rock rock smashes scissors, we go round like a clock chorus why is it always so hard to choose why must somebody win, why must somebody lose and it always ends up the same only you know all of the rules, this is your game don’t have to kiss me when we say hello we don’t have to play house or let anyone know don’t have to kiss me when we say goodnight you can keep me in the dark, just don’t turn out the light chorus why is it always so hard to choose why must somebody win, why must somebody lose and it always ends up the same only you know all of the rules, this is your game you spin me in circles, turn me around then hide in a place where you’ll never be found i’m not searching for you in this fog if you want someone to chase you, get a dog pin the tail on the donkey and show all your friends be first to sit down before the music ends you’ve beat me again but then who really cares there’s too many donkeys and not enough chairs we go up on the swing and then down on the slide if we have too much fun you want to stop the ride or else you get angry and want to go home do as you will, i can play on my own chorus why is it always so hard to choose why must somebody win, why must somebody lose and it always ends up the same only you know all of the rules, this is your game i know it’s late but i needed to call i’m tired of this game I've brought back your ball
15.
Mick was sixteen and never had a drink before had a beer at a party then he had a few more when he sobered up he was forty four he woke one day and said this party's been cool but i better get home or i’m gonna be late for school life in the suburbs old Reg says the neighbourhood is past it’s prime blames immigration for the steady decline they lower values and bring in crime but his yard's full of half wrecked cars and grass to his knees and his son’s doing time for drugs and armed robberies life in the suburbs Jack was the butcher at the end of the street everybody liked him and they loved his meat when the supermarket opened he couldn't compete he had to close down when his customers turned their backs now they complain you can never find meat like Jacks life in the suburbs Des ran garbage on the council truck you'd hear him singing as he hauled that muck when they privatised he was out of luck he was fit and keen and ready to work for his keep but he was fifty four so they tossed him out on the heap life in the suburbs chorus while I'm not sentimental for the good old days you can knock things down but you can't erase the lives and times and ordinary ways of the people we're leaving behind no I'm not sentimental for the good old days but the ones with the least are the ones who pay and we don't respect what we're throwing away and the people we're leaving behind

about

Drifter is my first solo album, it took ages to do. There ar 15 tracks here that cover topics ranging from life in the Australian bush to life in the Melbourne suburbs to just life in general. All the snippets of ideas, captured in notebooks and finally turned ito songs.

Pick a song from the list and click on the play button and get a taste of how it sounds. It’s easier than reading another half a page of hype with telling you what it sounds like.

I hope you will enjoy it

Ian

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released April 1, 2007

See the website ianbland.com.au

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Ian Bland Melbourne, Australia

Ian Bland - Melbourne based singer songwriter - musical influences include country, celtic, and folk with stories drawn from rural and urban Australia

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