The Man I Once Was

by Stewart Eastham

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Carolyn Dixon
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Carolyn Dixon For his first solo album since the split of his band Day Of The Outlaw, the California-reared, Nashville-based singer-songwriter sketches unflinching portraits of humanity. At its core Eastham’s album is full of honest, striking storytelling that never goes out of style. Full recommendation: goodnighthestia.com/2013/09/27/album-recommendation-the-man-i-once-was-stewart-eastham/ Favorite track: Idyllwild, CA.
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credits

released September 24, 2013

Songs written by Stewart Eastham * Long Bar Music (ASCAP)

Produced & Arranged by Burke Ericson
Engineered by Dave Pearson
Mixed & Mastered by Rich Mouser @ The Mouse House Studio, Los Angeles
Recorded @ Alcove Recorders, Los Angeles
Additional recording @ TreeHaus Recording, Los Angeles

Album design by Mandy Corcoran
Album photography by Katrena Rochell

Musicians

Stewart Eastham - vocals, acoustic & electric rhythm guitar
Burke Ericson - lead guitar, acoustic & electric rhythm guitar, piano, percussion, backing vocals

Ted Russell Kamp - acoustic & electric bass, acoustic guitar, mandolin, backing vocals
Neil Mejorado - drums
David Yuter - piano, organ, clavinet
John McClung - pedal steel, lap steel
Skyko Tavis - violin, viola
Dave Pearson - percussion, drums
Jennifer Gibbons - backing vocals
Shannon Browning - backing vocals
Ryan Ramos - backing vocals
Eddie Lopez - cowbell

Special Thanks
Cosmo Jones @ Bedrock LA

In memory of Gramma Mac (1920 - 2013)

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about

Stewart Eastham Nashville, Tennessee

Nashville-based Americana singer-songwriter Stewart Eastham brings a sense of joy to his latest release, Dancers In The Mansion.

Dancers In The Mansion pushes the boundaries of what an Americana record can sound like. This dynamic collection of songs elevates the genre to new heights with its lyricism and innovative musical arrangements.

Eastham was born and raised in rural Northern California.
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Track Name: Let It Go
Babe, you gotta let it go
And these hard times won’t last
Babe, you gotta let it go
There’s a new day dawnin’
Babe, you gotta let it go
Let the past lie in the past
Babe, you gotta let it go
We’re just two people lying here in each other’s arms
Gotta let it go

There’s a north wind blowin’, outside it’s snowin’
Pure as a child’s soul
So release your burden, I know for certain
Girl, you can come back home

You gotta breathe in, so you can breathe out
Get quiet, so you can get loud

Gotta walk away, not a thing to say
It ain’t your cross to bear
No need to criticize, just live your life
I know you got love to spare

And when the party’s over, it’s time to celebrate
Put your heart together so you can let it break

Babe, you gotta let it go
And these hard times won’t last
Babe, you gotta let it go
There’s a new day dawnin’
Babe, you gotta let it go
Let the past lie in the past
Babe, you gotta let it go
We’re just two people lying here in each other’s arms
Gotta let it go

The only rules are the ones we choose
It’s time to simplify
Shed your circumstance for another chance
Only you can decide

Take your clothes off and put your new dress on
Keep on dancin’ when the music’s gone

Babe, you gotta let it go
And these hard times won’t last
Babe, you gotta let it go
There’s a new day dawnin’
Babe, you gotta let it go
Let the past lie in the past
Babe, you gotta let it go
We’re just two people lying here in each other’s arms
Gotta let it go
Track Name: Born In California
I was born in California
The northern territory’s where I’m from
I was raised in the country
But the city is where I make my home

I wash my hands in the Feather River
Feel its cool, cool water on my face
And the “O” on Table Mountain
Is like a beacon calling me back to this place

The foothills and the gold mines
They map out the story of my youth
Till I rambled on down I-5
Seeking out my own kind of truth

I was born in California
Butte County is where it is I’m from
I was raised in the country
But the city is where I make my home

I spent some years in Hollywoodland
They all thought I was a hillbilly son
But when I’d go back to my hometown
They all thought I was as city as they come

So I travelled as a troubadour
Put my heart out on the line for a song
Till I had that old heart broken
Don’t seem a place left where I belong

I was born in California
The northern territory’s where I’m from
I was raised in the country
But the city is where I make my home

You won’t catch me fightin’
My only weapon’s a paper and a pen
Spinnin’ yarns of disenchantment
For all of us that don’t quite fit in

Here on the bank of the Tennessee River
I ain’t seen the Golden State in so long
So I take another pull of whiskey
And write out the last line of this song

I was born in California
Butte County is where it is I’m from
I was raised in the country
But the city is where I make my home
Track Name: Crazy Old World
I’ve seen you here in this bar for a while now
And like me, you’re always alone
Tonight I think I’m finally drunk enough to say hello

I heard you made some dirty movies
With a crazy fool from around the way
But I ain’t one to judge, girl, who am I to say

It’s a crazy old world custom made for a little girl
Just like you

Drivin’ them East County backroads
There’s a magic cannot be denied
Feels like it’s only you and me, girl, flyin’ through the night

Remember that cantina down in Rosarito
On a pool table we had our fun
That is until you socked that old gaucho and it was time to run

It’s a crazy old world custom made for a little girl
Just like you

I heard you died the same way you lived
Fast, loud, and out of control
But I don’t care what they say, girl, you had a heart of gold

Just wanna let you know I’m still livin’ the dream
Still out here fightin’ the good fight
Maybe one day I’ll come and find you on the other side

It’s a crazy old world custom made for a little girl
Just like you
Track Name: Broken Hearted Lovers
The first night I tasted her sweet kiss
I swore I’d never be remiss
Said we’d be together until the oceans dry
Hyperbole right by our side

Here we go again, same old places that we’ve been

This one’s for the broken hearted lovers
Who tried to make it work, but it all fell apart
The tears we shed they were for nothing
And we’re left all alone with our broken hearts

How many times did we decide that we were through
Then try again even though we knew
Told the same old lies about how we’d be fine
And ride the cycle one more time

So desperate and distraught that we couldn‘t pull it off

This one’s for the broken hearted lovers
Who tried to make it work, but it all fell apart
The tears we shed they were for nothing
And we’re left all alone with our broken hearts

They always told us that love conquers all
Conquered us like a wrecking ball
It kept us carrying on in a war we could not win
Twisted beyond recognition

Been fighting for so long for a thing that’s so far gone

This one’s for the broken hearted lovers
Who tried to make it work, but it all fell apart
The tears we shed they were for nothing
And we’re left all alone with our broken hearts
Track Name: Someone New
In the morning, she doesn’t kiss me like you did
In the evening, she doesn’t touch me like you did

So tired of being alone
These days just go on and on
On and on

So I found someone new and I heard that you did too
Looks like we both made it through
I found someone new and she’s nothing like you
She ain’t a thing like you
She’s just someone new

When I’m feeling cold, she doesn’t warm me like you did
When I’m feeling low, she doesn’t hold me like you did

But she seems to treat me alright
On these long and lonesome nights
Lonesome nights

Yeah, I found someone new and I heard that you did too
Looks like we both made it through
I found someone new and she’s nothing like you
She ain’t a thing like you
She’s just someone new

Funny how this time of year always reminds me of you
And I know I’m not supposed to say it, oh, but it’s true
So true

But every day that goes by
You drift a little further from my mind
From my mind

Yeah, I found someone new and I heard that you did too
Looks like we both made it through
I found someone new and she’s nothing like you
She ain’t a thing like you
She’s just someone new
Track Name: The Lights Of Tennessee
The only thing you ever gave me was a second hand picture frame
That you found on a doorstep down the lane
So I filled it with a picture, a picture of you and me
But I seem to have lost it in the move to Tennessee

All them nights in Hollywood, smokin’ cigarettes and drinkin’ wine
Watchin’ as the world passed me by
But after all of the misery, I never felt so free
As the night I decided to move to Tennessee

The lights of the Boulevard, they led me from your memory
And I finally found myself again in the lights of Tennessee

The leaves they are a fallin’ like I fell so many times before
As Autumn came, I knew I needed more
Los Angeles lost its luster, a dirty city of broken dreams
But I woke up from the nightmare when I moved to Tennessee

The lights of the Boulevard, they led me from your memory
And I finally found myself again in the lights of Tennessee

I bet you never thought that I would move
Because I was always such a lapdog to you

It seems I might owe you a thank you and I know it might be hard to see
When you broke me, you gave me the courage to move to Tennessee

The lights of the Boulevard, they led me from your memory
And I finally found myself again in the lights of Tennessee
Track Name: My Favorite Thing
Lay down, my sweet love, I’ll sing you a melody
About everything you mean to me
You’re the only one to ever capture my heart
You are the purest work of art

I was so lost when you found me and you taught me how to love
Dropped down like an angel from above
The laughter you lead to my life is so dear
Stripped away all of my fears

You’re my favorite thing in the world
Iridescent like a perfect pearl
You’re my favorite thing I’ve ever had
I never needed someone so bad
You’re my favorite thing

My senses they sharpen as our bodies unite
Illuminates the darkness of the night
The fondness I feel for you I could never hide
I get the warmest feeling deep inside

You’re my favorite thing I’ve ever seen
Beauty like an early autumn tree
You’re my favorite thing I’ve ever had
I never needed someone so bad
You’re my favorite thing

Ooh baby, so glad we took this chance
Ooh baby, let’s dance another dance
Ooh baby, I knew at first glance
We’d be together forever, you and I

We’ve had so many good times and maybe a little bad
I know sometimes you get sad
But when you might feel blue, I’ll sing this lullaby
Know I’ll never say goodbye

You’re my favorite thing I’ve ever heard
With the delicate grace of a mockingbird
You’re my favorite thing I’ve ever had
I never needed someone so bad
You’re my favorite thing
Track Name: Crawl Up In Your Bottle
I can tell you everything that you wanna hear
As you drown yourself another year
Method of your madness, delusion of delight
Drifting far away into the night

How much longer can you go on this way?
Crawl up in your bottle, drink your life away
Girl, I ain’t your daddy, so who am I to say
Keep on livin’ your lie, load your smokin’ gun
Do your best to end up like your daddy done

Walkin’ through your back roads, I can see it in your eyes
Scorn for all the lies that you devise
Watchin’ as your star burns out, in the sky above
There’s only one thing left that you can love

How many times must I bury you underground?

Crawl up in your bottle, drink your life away
Girl, I ain’t your daddy, so who am I to say
Keep on livin’ your lie, load your smokin’ gun
Do your best to end up like your daddy done

The last time I saw you, you were unbelievable
The next time I see you, will be your funeral

Crawl up in your bottle, drink your life away
Girl, I ain’t your daddy, so who am I to say
Keep on livin’ your lie, load your smokin’ gun
Do your best to end up like your daddy done
Track Name: Butte County Line
You’re the prettiest thing I’ve ever seen
And it ain’t your words, but what I hear in between
You and me should hit the road, we’re bigger than this town
Can’t let ‘em break us down

This old white Trans Am will set us free
Unlock our future with these silver keys
Portland, Seattle town, or go out Denver way
Maybe head down to LA

I know there’s a whole new world for us to find
If we could just get past that Butte County Line

Don’t you worry, Patty, I’ll get some cash
Got a cousin out in Gridley I can ask
I got a garbage bag out back, it’s full of cassette tapes
Soundtrack for our escape

My cousin Steve, he said he’d help us out
If I do this thing with him he’s talking about
I swear to you once this is through, oh the stories we will tell
And this whole town can go to hell

I know one day our stars will align
If we could just get past that Butte County Line

That night out at Thompson Flats a double cross went down
The cops showed up and beat us to the ground
They said we was the ones who shot a man on Montgomery Street
But I swear to you, it wasn’t me
I swear, my love, it wasn’t me

They say I’m gonna be here for a while
At the end of May they’re putting me on trial
There ain’t a thing about this life that seems a one bit fair
Please wait for me out there

I know there’s a whole new world for us to find
If we could just get past that Butte County Line

I know one day our stars will align
If we could just get past that Butte County Line
Track Name: Idyllwild, CA
Drove on out from LA, just to give it one more chance
Resurrect the place of our first dance
Thought that that old mountain town would remind us what we had
Inspired by the beauty of its land

In that cabin up in Idyllwild, I realized you were a child
Everything was play pretend, broken in a way I could not mend

Idyllwild, California is a distant memory
Idyllwild, I once adored ya, but I’ll never again see
Your mountains or your trees
Busted and beguiled in Idyllwild

In the photos of that trip I don’t recognize my face
I only see a once beloved place
I wish that I could somehow say that I never did love you
But that’s a fact of life I can’t undo

That final night of ecstasy, drunk on wine and fantasy
But in the bright morning light, we both knew we would never be right

Idyllwild, California is a distant memory
Idyllwild, I once adored ya, but I’ll never again see
Your mountains or your trees
Busted and beguiled in Idyllwild

Idyllwild, I couldn’t bear to see you again
Too many memories inside my head
Idyllwild, how I miss you
So much more than the goddamn girl who broke my heart in two

The tragedy of our last kiss is somewhat circumspect
Like the final stop before a big train wreck
That old town it showed me what I shoulda seen long before
Like that raven once said, “Nevermore”

Drivin’ back to Los Angeles, our love dissolved into a mess
Both our hearts cold as ice, two fallen angels crushed by the night

Idyllwild, California is a distant memory
Idyllwild, I once adored ya, but I’ll never again see
Your mountains or your trees
Busted and beguiled in Idyllwild
Track Name: Livin' With Bad Decisions
When I first saw your smile, it reminded me for a while
Of a girl I once met in a dream
As if it were a prophecy, foretold about you and me
And how we were meant to be

But now I’m a broken record of better days gone past
Hazy memories of a time that went by all too fast

Pining for your love, praying to the lord above
The love that I was given took away by all my sinnin’
Livin’ with the bad decisions that I made

Drunk on Highway 99, I never ever shoulda tried
To drive us home that night
You yelled about my gambling debts, then nothing made a lick of sense
Next thing I woke up to flashing lights

Life ain’t been so easy since you’ve been gone
Trying to raise these two kids up on my own

Pining for your love, praying to the lord above
The love that I was given took away by all my sinnin’
Livin’ with the bad decisions that I made

They all said it was the good lord who took you away
But that’s not true, it was me who went astray

Now I walk the straight and narrow to honor your blessed name
That smile you once had, our daughter she has the same

Pining for your love, praying to the lord above
The love that I was given took away by all my sinnin’
Livin’ with the bad decisions that I made
Track Name: Across The Sea
With jet black hair and big brown eyes
Such a sweetness beneath that hard-bitten disguise
She does what she wants and she does it so well
She’s got secrets, she’ll never tell

Her scars will cut you deep like a knife
The most beautiful thing you’ll ever see in this life
She’ll break your heart with a single glance
But you’ll always know right where she stands

Across the ocean, across the sea
Lives a small town girl from Tennessee
The whole damn world is burning down
And she’s across the sea in London town

You knew her back when she was a girl
And the powder disappeared up her nose with a twirl
But now she’s a woman, so honest and true
So fetching and foreign to you

She flies like a falcon, her pretty wings spread
She circles the globe while you’re stuck in your head
Once in a blue moon she comes back through town
With a passion so pure and unbound

Across the ocean, across the sea
Lives a small town girl from Tennessee
The whole damn world is burning down
And she’s across the sea in London town

She’s got a freedom you so wish you had
Some call it a death wish, but you know it ain’t that
She'll love you in ways you ain't been loved before
But she’s away on a far distant shore

There’s something about her that stays when she’s gone
Like a half remembered line from an old country song
A mystical vision you can never quite grasp
So you pray for her to come back

Across the ocean, across the sea
Lives a small town girl from Tennessee
The whole damn world is burning down
And she’s across the sea in London town
Track Name: It's Understood
I heard your callin’, soon I’d fallen
I tumbled to the ground
Gave up myself without a sound

My life it shattered, it didn’t matter
‘Cause I loved you through and through
I was so ashamed of what I let you do

I fought all the reasons I knew it wasn’t right, every night

It’s understood we can’t go on
I can’t be your friend, it’s gone on too long
It’s understood that everything dies
We knew from the start, so it ain’t no surprise
All the words we said came to an end
It’s understood

I’d think about ya, lost in nostalgia
For a time that never was
And kept on going, just because

I thought I knew ya, was all illusion
I made up in my mind
Scared to death at what I’d find

You’re just a stranger I lived with every day, so far away

It’s understood we can’t go on
I can’t be your friend, it’s gone on too long
It’s understood that everything dies
We knew from the start, so it ain’t no surprise
All the words we said came to an end
It’s understood

No one wants to admit that the one they love is no good
Broke my heart so many times, more than any person should
Your love was so addictive, was in denial for so long
Who knew that love was such a lonely place to be

It’s understood we can’t go on
I can’t be your friend, it’s gone on too long
It’s understood that everything dies
We knew from the start, so it ain’t no surprise
All the words we said came to an end
It’s understood
Track Name: The Man I Once Was
I was born to an Irish man with a temper like the raging sand
That blew across the seas of deep despair
My mother was fourteen years old on the day that I was born
Saddled with a burden she couldn’t bear

In a northern California town, my father beat me up and down
Till they sent me away to live with my aunt
I roamed the hills of Idaho with a shotgun and a stiletto
Two years later, they forced me to come back

High school years in San Jose, relentless beatings everyday
Till one day I came up with a plan
I doctored up my paperwork and said, “Oh, please sign me up, sir”
At seventeen I went to Vietnam

But I don’t need your sympathy, I am everything that you are not
I don’t need your sympathy and I damn sure don’t need a thing you got

I came back from overseas and found a girl straight as can be
Married, two children followed soon
I earned my pay on the police force, my wife never understood, of course
How every day was like an open wound

I found myself going more and more down to the corner liquor store
Seeking out the innocence I’d lost
Her pastor tried to counsel us, but I never bought into that stuff
Wasn’t sure I could stand to pay the cost

Felt myself stuck in a cage, one night I lost it in a rage
My kids they screamed, I don’t know what happened then
Woke up in a pool of blood, a note said they were gone for good
Never ever saw my kids again

But I don’t need your sympathy, I am everything that you are not
I don’t need your sympathy and I damn sure don’t need a thing you got

First I lost my family and then they took my job from me
Moved up north to the town of Oroville
As a postman I made my rounds, I worked the roughest part of town
At Playtown USA I’d get my pills

Robbed one day of all my mail by a Mexican out for a thrill
He cracked me with a Louisville slugger bat
I never ever told no one, I was so ashamed at what was done
My head was never quite right after that

One night outside the Eagles Club, I spotted that ol’ Mexican
Smashed his head in with everything I had
Felt my whole past exhumed, I never wanted to sing that tune
But here I stand with blood on my hands

But I don’t need your sympathy, I am everything that you are not
I don’t need your sympathy and I damn sure don’t need a thing you got

With help from an old police friend, manslaughter’s what I got in the end
Spent some years in the Susanville state pen
After I finally got released, I found myself a sense of peace
With a woman who didn’t care where I’d been

We got a place up by the lake and cashed the checks she got from the state
We’d watch TV and drink and drink and drink
Till one day she wasn’t there, she passed away right in her chair
I closed her eyes and tried not to think.

But I wondered where my children were, with families of their own, I’m sure
Probably never thought twice of their old man
Now I’m up to sixty-five and the doctor says I’m soon to die
How I wish I could show them who I am

Please understand, I’m not the man I once was
Please understand, I’m not the man I once was

I’m not ready to go
I see the devil’s come to take away his own

Now I know, it’s my time to go