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Ballad of a Country

by Joe Wilford

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This is the ballad of a country
Declaration of the soul
Divine the magic of the blood and brine
and it'll take you where you go
As we cross the plains and wooded hills
to the city by the sea
To heed the justice in hearts
and find a way to set them free

We worked the land and tilled the fields
'till our throats were caked and dry
And the dust of opportunity
turned to mud stuck in our eyes
So we cut the chains and dropped our tools
and we headed to the coast
where the concrete spires and flashing lights
might exorcise these country ghosts

Our ancestors had carved us out
to harvest, plant and plow and till
Spades to the dirt to break our backs
and our dreams bent to their will
So we cast aside our history
forged a path to the unknown
Raised a glass to freedom risking
if we fail we die alone

We met the gaze of our adventures
and threw caution to the wind
for the fuel of our desires
was not merely kindlin'
Our eyes were wide, we cheered our lives
We were welcomed, ere we went
Never looking back except to curse at time
No reclaiming what we'd spent

One road turned to many roads
as the city lights beckoned us
and the world we'd only known as green and blue
was eclipsed by iron, steel and rust
It was what we'd always hoped for
and the air was hot to breathe
And as I knelt to kiss the lighted street
I swore to Christ I'd never leave

Some dreams are crushed
and hopes are dashed
by flinty rocks upon the shore
Sometimes hardship and life's bitterness
make us better than before
And I look back with no regrets
Though I still labored like a dog
For in the spinning wheels of this mighty world
I'm just one tooth upon a cog

And as I pass the time and youth departs
I contemplate just what's to be
I often think about my homeland
and wonder - does it think of me?
Someday I'll return to the velvet fields
Cast my lot into the sun
Sit around a fire and tell city tales
to country daughters and their sons


released December 21, 2018
All words and music by joe Wilford




Joe Wilford Iowa City

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