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39Episodes
Music Commentary

An exploration of songs and songwriting via the music of Scott Simpson and Dancin’ Moon Studio of Spearfish Canyon in the Black Hills of South Dakota

Episodes

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Featured song from 2020's Being Human (The Songs) L

Silent Time

The silent time is always filled with sun
In summer time or winter, even at night with the curtains drawn
Curtains drawn… curtains drawn

I have dreamed such dreams of massive cities… complicated landscapes
Where friends and enemies and strangers live and die, are born again
In silence… ooh the silent time. In silence… ooh the silent time.

This song is mostly made of silence between the notes,
This song is mostly made of space between the words,
This song is mostly made of breath between the lips,
This song is mostly made of rests beneath the beats.
Oh silence… ooh the silent time. Silence… ooh the silent time.

The people, the places… the props the faces…
Elements and atoms… knots and fathoms…
Substance and perception… fabric and confection…
This is that, and that is so important… ooh, oh

Silence… ooh the silent time. Silence… ooh the silent time.
Silence… ooh the silent time. Silence… ooh the silent time.

The silent time is filled with sun
In summer time or winter, even night with the curtains drawn
Ooh the silent time. Silence… ooh the silent time.
Silence… ooh the silent time. Silence… ooh the silent time.

Silence…

 

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Featured song from 2012's The Long View L

Deepen the Well

In the fall, my ego needed sleep;
He sat up nights composing poems I could not keep.

My strong root is when the quiet reveals my voice;
My strong root is when stillness makes my choice;
My strong root is at the bottom of this hand-dug well;
How far the bucket has to drop? I cannot tell.
I cannot tell.

The winter came and the snow began to fall;
I built no shelter, had no covering at all.

I am unveiling something ancient inside;
I am uncovering all I’ve tried to hide;
I give up speaking for listening;
The wisdom’s in the air—it’s glistening.
It’s glistening.

In the spring, the horses roll and play;
They sun their bellies, they upend an April day.

I’ll place the earth beneath my head;
Of mud and early grass I’ll make my bed;
I’ll show my teeth and snort at the sky;
Can’t you see the idea of summer in these wild mustang eyes?
Mustang eyes…

(instrumental)

And in the summer all the world’s in bloom;
Sun brings down the snowmelt, waters this colorful loom;
My strong root is deep in this soil;
These Camas lilies don’t labor, they don’t toil;
They don’t toil… they don’t toil…

There’s no fence could mark the edge of what it means to live;
You’ll never dig so deep you’ll hit the end of what you have to give;

The deeper the well, the more life there is to give.
The deeper the well, the more life there is to give.
The deeper the well, the more life there is to give.
The deeper the well, the more life there is to give.

 

 

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Featured songs from 2020's Being Human (Instrumentals) L

Starting Out, Grindstone & Unmarked Trail

Download FREE Journal Here

Read intro to Being Human project here

 

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Grindstone also appears on...

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Unmarked Trail also appears on...

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Featured song from 2012's Nebraska Catfish L

Winter Fields

Out here in these winter fields
silence is the only thing that's growing,
even now when it's not snowing
and there's nothing but the wind.

And I want to know--- do you remember
weren't those seeds that we were sowing?
Didn't our bodies ache with knowing
that our love would never end?

Hey-hey-yey-ee-yey-ee-ay
Hey-hey-yey-ee-yey-ee-ay

Upstairs where the children sleep
and dream of their tomorrows,
do you think they know our sorrows---
how hard it is, sometimes, to break the ground?

Down stairs, we are in our chairs
with nothing to disturb us,
but the thing that makes me nervous
is how hard it is, sometimes, to make a sound.

Hey-hey-yey-ee-yey-ee-ay
Hey-hey-yey-ee-yey-ee-ay

Out here in these winter fields…
Out here in these winter fields…
Out here in these winter fields…
Out here in these winter fields…
There's nothing but the wind.

Hey-hey-yey-ee-yey-ee-ay
Hey-hey-yey-ee-yey-ee-ay
Hey-hey-yey-ee-yey-ee-ay
Hey-hey-yey-ee-yey-ee-ay

There's nothing but the wind.

 

Original version
Feat. Sheryl Simpson appears on...

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Link to Scott's "Winter Fields" performance
on Season 2 of White Wall Sessions!

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Featured song from 2010's Letting the Sunlight Back In L

Don't Grow Away

I watched the sun come up this morning
just like a million times before
but when I watched your face awaken
it was like something I’d never seen before

You’re ever growing ever changing
just like a river on its way
and don’t you ever stop that growing
but don’t you ever grow away.

I know the world is full of mystery
full of pleasure, full of pain
like the burning ache of friendship
or the gentle kiss of rain
but before you see the truth unmasked,
look into my eyes
I don’t want to hold you back,
I just can’t bear to see you cry.

You’re ever growing ever changing
just like a river on its way
and don’t you ever stop that growing
but don’t you ever grow away.
Don’t you ever stop that growing
but don’t you ever grow away…
don’t you ever grow away…

 

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Featured song from 2010's Letting the Sunlight Back In L

Signs

I went down to New Mexico
with my father and my little girl
it was unreal and it was dreamlike
it was like another world of enchantment
--just like they say on the signs.

It was rainy and it was gray all across the Rockies
I drove the pickup truck my father slept a lot--
he’s getting older now, so am I, so am I
And my daughter, well, she isn’t little anymore…
she’s seventeen and riding behind these two old men
in the back seat with her headphones
and we’re stopping once again for a bathroom
and another cup of coffee.

And my father knows how painful life can be
so we just talk about the signs we pass along the way
but he reaches across the front seat to put his hand on my neck
and he rubs it, just like he did when I was just twenty-one
and my fiancée broke up with me and I was on the run from myself,
or at least who I thought I was gonna be,
who I thought I was gonna be…

So we drop off my daughter with her sleeping bag and her guitar
for two weeks at camp, and there’s laughing kids and there’s cars
and there’s parents and they’re huggin’ their children
and the sun finally begins to shine…
And we are what we are, not what we were gonna be
and the road stretches from bathroom to cup of coffee
and my father and I, we trade off driving and sleeping
and he rubs my neck, and I rub his
and we can see all the peaks this time
all back through Colorado--
it’s so full of color
--just like they say on all the signs

it’s so full of color
--just like they say on all the signs,
on all the signs.

 Also appears on...

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Click Here to watch the
2020 Tiny Desk Concert Entry,
Signs by Scott Simpson

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Featured song from 2015's Circuitous & Before the Great Divide Double L

What I Got

I’m the poet without a pen,
and the priest who can’t hear God;
I’m the dancer with two clubfeet,
and the farmer who can’t break the sod,
yeah, I’m the farmer who can’t break the sod.

Mine’s the wagon with square wheels,
and the house without a door;
my only hat doesn’t fit my head,
and my feet won’t touch the floor,
no, my feet never touch the floor.

I got the key that fits no lock,
and the kite that has no tail;
I got sand when I needed a rock,
and a plan that’s already failed.
If I lost all my teeth but two,
they’d be both on the bottom side;
If I played hide-n-seek with a blind man,
I’d still have no place to hide,

because, some folks get the short end;
I’ve never even seen the stick.
Well, you might feel some sympathy
if you saw the wounds I sometimes lick.

My true love said goodbye to me
on the day before we met;
the life I dreamed was stillborn,
but I ain’t through with dreaming yet.
See, I set out to touch the moon,
but I couldn’t get past the sea;
then the moon, she danced across the waves—
that night she came to me,
I sang, and the moon, she danced with me.

(instrumental)

It ain’t about how you bargain,
it’s what you give when the rest will not.
It’s an empty hand and an open heart
when the song is all you’ve got,
yeah, this song is what I’ve got,
oh, my song is what I’ve got.

‘Cause the poem don’t need the pen,
and the priest, he can’t speak for God.
You gotta dance as graceful as you can
‘till they lay you down in the sod—
no, I’m not afraid ‘cause I know, some day,
gonna lay me down,
gonna lay me down to rest in the sod.

 

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Also available on...

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Featured song from 2017's Refuge L

Love You Perfectly

All my love
All my doubt
All the things I've done
All the things I could do without…

Oh, it's you
You are the one who sees me through
Yeah, and it's me
Gonna try to love you perfectly.

On the day we met
I didn't yet know you owned my soul
I only saw your beauty there, on the surface shining
Waiting to make me whole.

Oh, it's you
You are the one who sees me through
Oh, yeah and it's me
Gonna try to love you perfectly.

We are joined in this dance
Every day and every hour
We will share every delicacy
Every sweet and every sour.

Oh, it's you
You are the one who sees me through
Yeah, and it's me
Gonna try to love you perfectly.
Oh, it's you
You are the one who sees me through
Yeah, yeah and it's me
Gonna try to love you perfectly.

Watch original music video here!

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Featured song from 2018's Gravitate L

Heatwave

Three dogs and a hammock
And a cool breeze after a hot day
Heatwave in the canyon
You’re singin’ Eagle and the Hawk from memory
Seems like we were just kids
Thirty years and a lifetime away
Seems like all the hard times
Come and go like a heatwave…

Open the windows, turn off the lights
Bring on the thunder—flash in the night
Rain on the rooftop… try as we might
We can’t get to love, until we burn out the fight.
Until we burn out the fight.

Two kids and a red jeep
On a dirt road up to the mountain top
Late nights in the basement
Watch ‘em sing and dance like they’ll never stop
Watch ‘em grow through the tough years—
Middle school, boyfriends and bullies—
You and I learned the hard way
Hearts burst when they get so full, please…

Open the windows, turn off the lights
Bring on the thunder—flash in the night
Rain on the rooftop… try as we might
We can’t get to love, until we burn out the fight.
Until we burn out the fight.

(instrumental verse & chorus)

Ten years and a few more dollars
Maybe we’ll both leave our jobs
Spend weeks on an island beach
I don’t know, what are the odds?
But right now I want to hear about your day—
The crazy things your co-worker said.
I want to tell you how I missed you last week
When I was in some distant hotel bed…

Open the windows, turn off the lights
Bring on the thunder—flash in the night
Rain on the rooftop… try as we might
We can’t get to love, until we burn out the fight.
Open the windows, turn off the lights
Bring on the thunder—flash in the night
Rain on the rooftop… try as we might
We can’t get to love, until we burn out the fight.
Until we burn out the fight.

Seems like we were just kids
Thirty years and a lifetime away
Seems like all the hard times
Come and go like a heatwave…

 

LIVE version appears on...

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Featured song from 2018's A. Dream L

Alone

He was alone, he was alone.
She was alone, she was alone…

And we’re born, and...
And we’re born, and...
And we’re born, and we don’t know nothin’…

Gotta find a face, gotta find a place…
Gotta find a heart, gotta find a hand…

He was alone, he was alone.
She was alone, she was alone….

 

Link to Joseph Marshall III's The Story of the Flute Maker on Spotify

Link to Joseph Marshall II's The Lakota Way

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