Our Desert Ways

by The Olive Tree

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about

The title, "Our Desert Ways", comes from a Gerard Manley Hopkins poem, whom we have gleaned from through and prior to the making of this record. This record is about life this side of the resurrection. It is about revelation, romance, beauty, idols, motorcycles, feasts, famine, highways, friends, sin, pride, redemption, steel guitars, work, lack of work, water, faith, doubt, and faith - all found in the desert with a whole lot more, all found along the road to the other side. These are the songs we sang driving down it last year...

credits

released 24 July 2012

All songs written, recorded, and produced by Ben & Scott Cunningham
Guest Musicians...
Miller Cunningham: vocals, "Highways to Zion"
Marissa Hunt: vocals, "A Larger Portion", "Lisa"

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Track Name: We Are Beggars
Come join me out on the porch
Read me a psalm or two
I got the chords, if you got words, baby we can sing
I know the stakes
I’ve read what that paper brings
But still if we don’t move I swear I’m gonna go insane

I’m going back through those tall woods
Past that old house
I’m gonna lay it all back down
And wade in deep
You know I’m looking to drown

You can bring on that new heart
Those new hands
That mind free from debt
Let that river roll
Let that river roll
Way on to the end

These hinges coming off
Paint chipping from the walls
I called a friend of mine, he’s gonna give it an overhaul
This ain’t no place for pride
No ancient dead beat road
I saw it once or twice, I’m gonna leave all the maps at home

Come down to threshing floor
We are beggars, yes it’s true
Nothing shielded, Nothing stored
Till its passing through
Track Name: A Larger Portion
I was 18 years old
Driving midnight all alone
A teenage valley of dry bones
You breathed on me
You breathed on me

My mouth filled with laughter
I became like those who dream
Dove and starlight together
Oh, how you wooed me
Oh, how you wooed me

Milk for infants, meat for men
Honey dripping down my chin
I grew strong as I tasted
And now I’m wanting
I am wanting

A larger portion

--

In early evening you forget
You are an eternal project
The sculptor’s block—not finished yet
I know you’ve got weak knees
You’ve got weak knees

Ask for more and you’ll receive
Daily repent and believe
Eat and drink and be merry
Truly, truly
Truly, truly

Fountain rush and flow again
Remove whatever is stopping it
Lose your life in the current
He is holding
He is holding

A larger portion

--

The invitation is on my desk
The wedding banquet of the Lamb
Babe, grab your heels and that white dress
Let’s get ready
Let’s get ready

We’ve got our whole life to prepare
Light the lamp and comb your hair
All that rises converges there
My Beloved
My Beloved

Where I end and you begin
Further up, and further in
Let your heart be lovesick with
The desire for
The desire for

A larger portion
Track Name: Sold His Harley
Laid all the pages out
And there put his name down
Mailed off his hopes and his safety net

The last of the applicants
The face of a good man spent
Sold off his Harley for a few months rent

He said, “that’s the last one babe,
Here’s to hopin the bow don’t break”
Gave her long kiss and went on to bed

Caught with a clouded mind and a chip stack fading fast
Taking on water, and out of range
Looking ore the heights with the Spirit in your chest
You got room to breath and a torch to raise

Call it a saint’s last stand
The grit of three piece band
Turned up the amps till the bar flies sung

Then one particularly dreary day
He and his girl well they stole away
Got out of Jersey before the wars begun
Track Name: When the Winds Came In
It was just before the dark began to roll
He drove out of town to pay the toll
It’s easier to bear burden when you know just what’s coming round the turn

In his mind the lines upon her face
And faded photographs of give and take
Sitting by the fire trying to figure which to keep and which to burn


Late night talking tables for two
Leaves a’swirling afternoons
The light there in the lantern, the pleasure of a gentle word

With a headlight busted out
Sunday night roaming round
Searching for where the trails from your dreams begin
Brother come home
You aint alone
Knocked down when the winds came in

Polished up my talk there at the meet and greet
The holding patterns on my hands and feet
I stole your gold and pawned it off for my new love, this religious sophistication

I took a saw and cut two roads and not one in between
Called one the socialist boulevard, called the other one heart street
And on their own I traveled both, but I forgot your name and your words there at the intersections

With a headlight busted out
Sunday night roaming round
Searching for where the trails from your dreams begin
Sister come home
You aint alone
Knocked down when the winds came in

There’s a question tantalizing every bleeding heart alike
It asks, “How much can I see it now?”
Some will wait an evening, some a whole lifetime till they can point it out

You make a guess on what’s to blame for what gets served
Take a risk or two just to keep your nerve
Put a prayer up top to clean the slate, the car back on the interstate, and your back to work.

Is it written in the swirls of wind and rain?
Is it locked within the human soul the same?
Can you get down at the base of it, take on what we’ve made of it, and recreate?

Driving one headlight
Dead on a Sunday night
Searching where the trails from your dreams begin
Brother come home
You aint alone
Knocked down when the winds came in
Sister come home
You aint alone
Knocked down when the winds cam in
Track Name: Along the Moorland Road
Took a little trip, took a little time
Walked along the moorland road
Past a sheep fold, through the old wood
I hummed a folk tune soft and slow

Where the path met the fallen stone wall,
I felt the memory in the plotted ground
Nature’s bonfire burns on
Its mortal beauty dwells deep down
Deep down

Took a little trip, took a little time
Walked under the Quickbeam sun
Where the river dances, the trees clap hands
A trout rises and the ripples run

Couple-coloured skies dazzle in the air
They grow the green from a heavy cloud
When the light broke it struck a hillside
I saw it and I laughed out loud
Out loud

The heavens and the earth surround
You hear your footfall on the holy ground
It unfolds slow, the fire-flash grows
Imparts what my heart should know
Somehow

Took a little trip, took a little time
Walked along the moorland road
In the fresh mud, on the gritstone
There’s a story being told

Flesh is like grass, and grass is like flesh
Underneath there’s a steady groan
Beauty is not spent—Oh praise Him!
All ye creatures here below

The heavens and the earth surround
You hear your footfall on the holy ground
It unfolds slow, the fire-flash grows
Imparts what my heart should know
Somehow
Track Name: Texarkana
Back in the burnt grass, want to make the scene last,
so a few can disappear
I got too far inside my head, found I was the only one there
Honey aint it tough to dish out any love
when you’re busted up deep inside
So outside Texarkana I switched out my banner
for one that said ‘Do or Die’

By which one did you begin
Which voice do you recognize
Smoke by day, and fire by night
Keep running till caught alive

Often it’s a sad line, it can set the day right, make you up a somber home
The reasons to hurt are a million and one,
and you sure can’t leave them alone
I was crawling around, under the ground,
afraid I would leave the dark ignored
But outside Texarkana I came to understand that
the light can weigh so much more
Track Name: Highways to Zion
In her heart are the highways to Zion
In her heart are the highways to Zion
The paths run straight and she is the wide-eyed pilgrim
In her heart are the highways to Zion

I want to walk on them
With bare feet so I can feel the sand
I’m gonna take my time
Smelling the flowers and watching the skies
In her heart are the highways to Zion

In her heart are the treasures of wisdom
In her heart are the treasures of wisdom
They reflect bright colors when the sunlight hits them
In her heart are the treasures of wisdom

I want to search through them
For silver and gold, and for sapphire gems
The unknown caves explore
Dive for her pearls down on the ocean floor
In her heart are the treasures of wisdom

In her heart dwells the Spirit of freedom
In her heart dwells the Spirit of freedom
And they do a dance of mirth and holy union
In her heart dwells the Spirit of freedom

I want to enter in
Join hands as the music begins
Step back and watch them go
Delight in the mystery and warm from the glow

In her heart dwells the Spirit of freedom
In her heart are the treasures of wisdom
In her heart are the highways to Zion.
Track Name: Lisa
She raised four kids, the ebb and flow she saw
Called them all a kiss from God, and loved their flaws
It was nothing like a draw, two doves and two outlaws
One still at home

Well she sang out loud and drank her coffee strong
Worked pain into her hands and hours long
Married 18 years young, 37 came undone
A love on loan

She took route 1 in the middle of the night
Got a call a stranger said something wasn’t right
Her son was nowhere to be found
Then there were needles on the ground
She helped him home

She said, there aint no hole that aint got its own way out

He was 65 with a cane beside his knee
Save the dog, had not much company
But a couple old guitars
One ancient rusted car
They all had names

He was losing hearing quick form his left side
Still he could recognize more than most combined
He’d say not every voice has sound
Trade it up and traded down
He heard it all

And he heard, there aint no hole that aint got its own way out

The altar stone
The burning stack
Led away
To be led back

You look around
The many tracks
In the passage way

There aint no hole that aint got its own way out

Well today cut Galilee up straight in two
I was swearing up storm bout who I knew
the rain it came down like a wall
I ran past the rooster’s call and heard the door

And someone told me, there aint no hole that aint got its own way out
Track Name: Our Desert Ways
Hold a couple years then, say a prayer and let them go
See the almond branch swept, over the ocean low
Your resurrection eyes now, turning it all upside down
Half a mind to run and, half to turn around

We were like lightning burning, on a plain that no one sees,
Faded faster than it started, along with all its the heat
An answer for your yearning, forever there will be

These chains like a robe of love
A glance from the Father’s face
Bring down what is held above
Through all our desert ways

Started over every morning, bring down the water from the shelf
Pulled off all that honor, yeah and put it on someone else
Her heart could catch you from a distance, through the gale sent back your own
Not a single word was wasted, put them all inside a song

If nothings like you left it, well, no it never runs too far
The mercy we are after, it finds you in the dark
On either side of every door, hailed it with a steel guitar
Track Name: Sometimes You Stand
If it sounds just the same, well I’d probably like it
With three chords dropping hard and a broken heart on the page

Get me out of this game, put me somewhere in Dallas
Where the sun never sets and the smile you can bet’s gonna stay

It’s a sure-fire risk, handing over the keys
To your padlocked heart when your eyes from the start are blind

So wipe off your eyes and
Take in the light again
Where well never dries, no the flow never thins
No matter the miles, no matter the land
Sometimes you kneel and sometimes you stand

I spent a hundred years wandering out through the nightland
When there was no more to waste turned it round and made haste for the day

With the wind did he ride on this old thoroughbred
The sky gave a crack and he swung off its back and he said

So wipe off your eyes and
Take in the light again
Where well never dries, no the flow never thins
No matter the miles, no matter the land
Sometimes you kneel and sometimes you stand

Throw me back in the fire, there’s so much left to refine here
And don’t take me out till I’m clean, simple, and true

Like an old country song that I wish I had written
Just three chords dropping hard in your heart and speaking the truth

So tell me that story in the morning and evening
The Gospel aint information, the Gospel is food