LYRICS

 with songwriter notes

CALIFORNIA LIFE

My father and grandfather were Angelinos who thrived

 in a bygone era.  An homage to their lives and a wink at

the myth and mystique of California.

 

My grandpa grew up near Wilshire and Vine

City of Angels, back in the time 

He got around on that red car line 

He really loved that California life 

 

My daddy stayed and he worked off his tail 

Come Friday he’s ready to sail 
Out of San Pedro into the night 

He just loved that California life 

 

Well I like the Midwest but they’re kind of straight 

I did the East Coast  I couldn’t relate 

People out there seemed a little uptight 

They don’t get this California life

Oh yeah...Oh yeah

 

We’ve got the sunshine we’ve got the sea 

We’re making movies and we like to be 

Setting the trends, changing the times

Have a sip of this California wine 

 

They say we’re shallow, they say we’re slack 

But when they come here they never move back

What does that say? It ain’t no lie

They just love this California life 

Oh yeah...Oh yeah

 

My grandpa grew up near Wilshire and Vine

City of Angels, back in the time 

He got around on that red car line 

He just loved that California life 

They all love this California life

We all love that California life

 

BIG FAT LOVE

Having your world radically shifted by new love.

I had my feet in the clouds, head in the sand

With flailing arms and jittery hands

I was losin’ faith, a bitter man

Sometimes life can do that to you

I admit I was a cynical one

I’d see two lovers and I’d think “that’s so dumb”

It won’t be long and he’ll have wished he had run

But you. made me want to believe

 

Believe in love

The kind I’ve never felt before

You’re cracking these walls, bustin’ down doors

With your big fat love.

 

Well it’s so easy to dodge and hide

Don’t take a look at what’s shaking inside

I closed my eyes, went along for the ride

I’m sure you understand that 

I’m beginning to see the forest from the trees

But I’m still stumped by the mystery

How you could change this heart so damn easily

Ah you make me want to believe

 

Believe in love

The kind I’ve never felt before

You’re cracking these walls, bustin’ down doors

With your big fat love.

 

Ah it just keeps growin and growin

And I still don’t know how you do it  

                                                                     

Got my feet on the ground, I'm smiling  again 

But there’s still some things I don’t understand

How you came along and changed all my plans

You made me want to believe

You make me want to believe

You make me want to believe

 

HAARLEM

A transatlantic love song by an LA refugee inspired from a stay to the Dutch city of Haarlem.

The leaves of Autumn are falling

As I sit here alone

Is it raining in Haarlem?

Glazing up those cobblestones…in Haarlem

 

Too much time in my car here

In the madness of L.A.

You ride your bike there in Haarlem

Bouncing down those alleyways…Oh Alleyways

 

Yeah I still wonder what you dream of

Underneath those 

Sheets and covers we once shared

Were you that unhappy or were you just scared?

And I still wonder why you flew 

Don’t understand

When true love is so hard to find

Somehow I believe that you could change your mind

 

Night has fallen on Haarlem

Here it’s 4am

Thought of callin’ it’s hard when

I’m unsure of where we stand…where we stand

 

Yeah I still wonder what you dream of

Underneath those 

Sheets and covers we once shared

Were you that unhappy or were you just scared?

And I still wonder why you flew 

Don’t understand

When true love is so hard to find

Somehow I believe that you could change your mind

 

The leaves of Autumn are falling

As I wait here alone

Is it raining in Haarlem?

And are you ever comin’ home? 

Comin’ home?  

Come on home!

 

WILD LIKE A RIVER

Submerged in the beauty of Kauai with a cheap ukulele, this song about working one's way back to simplicity and tenderness wrote itself.

 

Once in awhile in your life, well there comes a surprise
Is it the crack in the armor that opens the your eyes?
Pulling that rug out to see where you stand
Dancing along on a song ‘til the music just stopped
Thought I was over it all then the other shoe dropped
I lost my bearings but now I'm finding my way


Finding my heart again
That tender one that I knew as a child
Treasuring little things
Imagination running, running, running wild
Wild like a river after the rains
Washing me, wash me clean again

 

There's a little cafe off of 2nd Street
Been waitressing every day since she was seventeen 
Said feeds me her stories, her half swallowed dreams 

All of these plans that I had, well you know how plans go
I had a child with this boy, where dad is no one knows
And it left me so bitter, now I'm tired of the cold

Finding my heart again
That tender one that I knew as a child
Treasuring little things
Imagination running, running, running wild
Wild like a river after the rains
Washing me, wash me clean gain


Sittin' on top of the world or we thought that he was
With all of his money and houses, it was never enough
At the end of the journey well I guess he woke up. He said
 
Go find your heart again
That tender one that you knew as a child

Treasuring little things
Imagination running, running, running wild
Wild like the river after the rains
Washing you, wash you clean gain

COMPASS

Wisdom from an elderly woman on a plane 30,000 above Colorado.

 

Seated there by the window

For the view

We were flying above the Rockies

Sky so blue

 

She said she was not long

For this fleeting world

Reflected upon her marriage  

Here life as a little girl

But soon the wisdom flowed

 

Don’t let the sun go down on the dreams that you hold

Cherish the ones you love, when you can let them know

Let your heart be your compass, it’s there to guide you

When you’re not sure which way to go

 

Back at the five and dime

Where it all began

I spotted him through the window

He was such a handsome man

 

Fifty years together 

And no regrets

We accepted the roses with those thorns

Hard times with the best

But ahh, you’re still young

 

Don’t let the sun go down on the dreams that you hold

Cherish the ones you love, when you can let them know

Let your heart be your compass, it’s there to guide you

When you’re not sure which way to go

ONTARIO

The story of a Canadian trying to get back home - or to some metaphorical place beyond the angry divisions of modern America.

 

Stick and stones

Flyin’ across the screen tonight  

Angry tones

Waitin’ for this red eye flight

The politics of blood and bones

I just want to get back home

Ontario

 

Fighter planes

Soar above the football field

Patriot games

We all love the way that it feels

History knows where this all goes

Is it time to get back home?

Ontario

 

Silver waters shining

Reflecting the moon

Ontario, Ontario, Ontario

 

Kids seems bored

Spaced out, just hangin’ around

The same twelve stores

In the malls of every town

Small guy he ain’t got a prayer

But no one really seems to care

Hey let it go

 

Silver waters shining

Reflecting the moon

Ontario, Ontario, Ontario

 

The buzz of drones

Overhead, filming it all

The glow of phones

Heads locked in a permanent bow

To some Mecca, I don’t know

How we gonna get back home?  Ontario

 

Oh Say Can You See?

 

BELIEF

“Don’t believe everything you think” was a bumper sticker I saw on the back of an old Toyota Corolla...flawless wisdom.

Within the family, all through school

In politics, religion too

There’s plenty of kool-aid to be sold

Don’t believe everything you’re told

 

Well I doubt I’ll make it very far

I’m too fat and I’m not smart

I’m getting older, too hard to change

Don’t believe everything you think

 

It cuts right to the bone

Nothin’s ever set in stone

 

Out of the papers the stories flow

These tales of war just never get old

They were liberated now they’re free

Don’t believe every thing you read

 

Black and white, right and wrong

Chaos and color, where do they belong?

We know deep down there’s a missing link 

Don’t believe everything you think

 

It cuts right to the bone

Nothing’s ever set in stone

 

Made my way to a mountain top

This wise man laughed and he wouldn’t stop

He raised a flower then he gave a wink

Don’t believe everything you think

Don’t believe everything you think

BETTER MAN

We have all known people with poor “pickers”.  

When I met your Jason he seemed kinda cool

But living with his mom you know that’s just one of my rules

This momma’s boy thing can get out of hand

Don’t you think that you could find a better man

 

The there was Nathan so shy and cute

Didn’t say much, you know that guy from the art institute

Seemed awfully moody I don’t understand 

Why you just can’t seem to find a better man

 

A better man come on and raise that bar

Or maybe go and find out just who you really are

‘Cause the choices you’re making

Well they’re kind of bizarre 

Yes they are

 

Now they all loved josh, so handsome and wild

I know he said he loved you and god that smile

But he’ll run away when he finds a new toy

Don’t you think that you could find a different boy?

 

Then there was Kyle, it went on for a while

But he couldn’t commit, ‘cause he’s still a child

The decisions you make I don’t understand 

You could use a better man

 

A better man come on and raise that bar

Or maybe go and find out just who you really are

Cause thee choices your making

They’re kind of bizarre...Girl yes they are 

                                

Remember Dave with his big man cave?

So alpha and strong, you know he could never be wrong

I’m just relieved you never gave him your hand

Honey you deserve to find a better man 

 

A better man come on and raise that bar

Or maybe go and find out just who you really are

Cause the choices your making

They’re kind of bizarre 

Yes they are

 

Better man....better man....better man

INVISIBLE FRIENDS

Seeing farmworkers in the fields near a massive California wildfire inspired this tribute to the frontline workers and immigrants who make life possible.

 

He’s waking, she’s walking, 

Long before the sun reveals its rays

It’s an army, these bodies

Propping up the world again day

Heading out onto the 405

Everybody’s gotta live their lives

It’s a great day at the Holiday Inn

It’s another day for the invisible friends

 

He’s kneeling, she’s bending, 

Baking in the hot Salinas sun

These berries are ready

Truck is filled, here comes another one

Rolling down off of the 101

Eight more hours and I think we’re done 

It’s a fine meal at the Holiday Inn

It’s another day for the invisible friends           

                                    

I’m hearing, I’m praying

These sounds are only in my head

The ICE men are coming

It’s a moment everybody dreads  

Hear the mothers and the children cry

But you can bet no one will see their eyes

It’s a quiet night at the Holiday Inn

It’s another day for the invisible friends              

                                       

He’s waking, she’s walking

Long before the sun begins to shine

He’s cooking, she’s cleaning, 

Picking up the mess we leave behind

Heading out onto the 405

Everybody’s gotta live their lives

It’s a great day at the Holiday Inn

It’s another day for the invisible friends

WHERE ARE YOU NOW?

Evidently I am fond of writing pensive songs about change.

My father was a good man…best as I recall
Memories of playin’ catch, that picture on the wall
But he left one morning… guess there was some fight
I couldn't understand it…I was only five
Where are you now?  Where are you now?

I had just turned nine, it was a windy afternoon
The cold December rain, seem to fit the mood
They said that my sweet grandma was in a better place
So why are you all cryin'?...They couldn’t really say
Where are you now?   Where are you now?

The years fly like geese 
Across a western sky
These patterns of great beauty
And they don't even try
May we find that grace
Those winds that lift us high…Oooohhh

At twenty years of age I fell deep in love
There were no shades of grey, I couldn’t get enough
Somehow along the way  I must have made her cry \cry
She said it wasn't me, before she said goodbye

Where are you now? Where are you now?     

                                                                                 
Now friends have come and gone, some remained the same
The rest became chameleons, adapting to the game
Robert left for stardom, Jack become a cop
Claire went off to feed her head, I guess she couldn't stop
Where are you now?  Where are you now?

 

The years fly like geese Across a western sky

These patterns of great beauty

And they don't even try

May we find that grace

Those winds that lift us high

WOLF IN THE WOODLAND

This started as a generic song about people with narcissistic personalities. After the 2016 election, it got a little more focused.

You’ve got this grin that runs ear to ear

Yeah you’re the reason that everyone’s here

Hanging on to every word that you say

It all just makes me want to get away

You’ve got tastes but they’re not refined

An adult body with a little boy’s mind

And far more money than I’ll ever see

But I don’t think I want you next to me

 

Is that ice running through your veins?

Is your life now just one charade?

Taking what you can

While you’re acting like the wise man

Leaving all the others in the dust

Hiding from yourself like a wolf in the woodland

 

Oh you lie like a Turkish rug

You’ve got the mind of some Russian thug

With true believers standing there by your side

And all the rich climbing on for the ride

 

Now you’re in charge and it’s giving us chills

I heard some doctor says you’re really not well

It’s a ruse, yeah the ultimate con

But the clown show’s here and it keep rolling on

And on and on and on and on and on and on

 

Is that ice running through your veins?

Is your life now just one charade?

Taking what you can

While you’re acting like the wise man

Leaving all the others in the dust

Hiding from yourself like a wolf in the woodland

COMFORT ZONE

 To break my 3am insomnia, I streamed a podcast titled, 

“Life Begins At The End Of Your Comfort Zone".  Couldn't get it out of my head.

Creeping down that road up in Morgan Hill

Traffic was stalled I had some time to kill 

Stumbled upon some local pub

Thought I’d grab a beer, maybe some grub

 

This wannabe cowboy saddles up next to me 

A couple of drinks we were just talkin’ free 

I told him I was struggling with my divorce

He said I did too, why of course
Don’t be afraid that you’re all alone

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone

 

A few months later I was on this date

I met her online she said it was "fate”

“Come home with me” I said “Isn’t that a little fast?”

Ah she just laughed.  “Have another glass”

Well I learned a few things I just didn’t know

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone

 

Further down the road things were going south

I had to go find a shrink just to open my mouth

Then it finally sank in I was clinging to fear

He said our time is done now, get on out of here

Well thank you Doc, any advice for the road?

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone

 

Somehow I ended up at this house of retreat

No distractions allowed, didn’t speak for a week

Staring at the wall I could see my own mind

It was a little disturbing but sweetly sublime

Opening up to the great unknown

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone

 

MY SUNLIGHT

A love sometimes meant to be?  

 

Roses in winter

Stars in the day

Filling my head with wonder

How you pulled me away

I don’t have an answer

But this I can say

You’re my sunlight

 

I stare out this window

And I can’t deny

You’re bringing more light to my life

Than this Manhattan Sky

I couldn’t be down now

Baby if I tried

You’re my moonlight

 

Where this love is taking me

It’s making me see things I couldn’t see

Don’t you think my love

Do you think my love

It’s meant to be?

 

So what is the difference

Between now and then

Is it just the drug of love

Are you my deepest friend?

It’s hard to describe it 

But honey in the end 

You’re my sunshine

                        

Where this love is taking me

It’s making me see things I couldn’t see

Don’t you think my love

Do you think my love

It’s meant to be?

 

Don’t you think my love

Don’t you think my love

It’s meant to be?

FATE OF FIRE

The emotional residue of recklesss love.  

 

It started as a flame, turned into a fire

Nothing to blame but pure desire

Smoke was getting worse hour by hour

Was it some curse or some higher power?

 

We climbed that fence, car was hot wired

Drove to the end then we blew out the tires 

Left out on that road naked to the world

Nowhere to go, nowhere to turn

 

Standing in the ashes

Waiting for the rain

These embers of desire

Burning in the recall

Kissing you again

In that field of barbed wire

Smoldering inside me still

That’s the fate of fire

 

Where’s my money, where is my respect?

I can still taste the side of your neck

Looking for direction out of this trance

I found that arson it was that first glance        

 

Standing in the ashes

Waiting for the rain

These embers of desire

Burning in the recall

Kissing you again

In that field of barbed wire

Smoldering inside me still

That’s the fate of fire

 

t started as a flame, turned into a fire

Nothing to blame but pure desire

Smoke was getting worse hour by hour

Was it some curse or some higher power?

 

Standing in the ashes

Waiting for the rain

These embers of desire

Burning in the recall

Kissing you again

In that field of barbed wire

Smoldering inside me still

That’s the fate of fire

Fate of fire...fateof fire

 

All music by Tom Walters ©2021