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45Episodes
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 2010's Letting the Sunlight Back In L

Tide

The valve that opens closes
the breath that comes recedes
this give and take will lift me
into uncharted seas
and stillness is not static
its rhythm comes and goes
but the mandatory constant
is the forward flow

The tide, the tide
the tide, the tide

And where we’ve always forded
we’ve entered untouched streams
the ocean undoes the mountains
pullin’ at the seams,
yeah pullin’ at the seams
It’s the familiar pulsing
the constant that I crave
to live’s to fall and rise
and overflow the grave
overflow the grave

And Nero burned his city
and Brando rolled his dice
and Peter walked on water once
but not twice…

And where we’ve always forded
we’ve entered untouched streams
the ocean undoes the mountains
pullin’ at the seams,
yeah pullin’ at the seams
It’s the familiar pulsing
the constant that I crave
to live’s to fall and rise
and overflow the grave
overflow the grave

Pullin’ at the seams
Pullin’ at the seams
Pullin’ at the seams
Pullin’ at the seams…

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Featured song from 2018's A. Dream L

Mitak' Oyasin

On the prairie— on the Great Plains 
Before the highways and the long coal trains
Lived a people, with a kinship
Grandfather put them on this land in friendship
All family, blood through the veins
Of the people and the nations and the grasses and the rains
No “wilderness,” no fear...
Those indigenous nations still living right here—

Still livin’ right here
Still livin’ right here
Still livin’ right here
Still livin’ right here

A hundred policies made, tried to take em
A hundred treaties signed, just to break em
They stand together for the sake of the water
All the seventh-generation grandsons and granddaughters
It can seem lonely—but they’re not alone
Singing prayers for the spirits of the ones who passed on
Open your eyes to the beauty you’re crossing
Learn how to walk in Mitak’ Oyasin.

Mitak’ Oyasin
Mitak’ Oyasin
Mitakuye Oyasin
Mitak’ Oyasin

(repeat all)

To learn more from indigenous Elder across South Dakota and North Dakota, visit:

www.wolakotaproject.org

www.teachingsofourelders.org

 

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Featured song from 2008's RED E

Color Red

Her car was just a Dodge and she was just a co-ed going west
The mountains calling her were from a poster pinned above her desk
A friend had called her and told her, Colorado air was best
For making up your mind and finding time,
And finding time, and finding time—taking time to rest.
 
And I am just the man who said,
She clears this state, I'll clear my head.
I'm Amarillo yellow,
She's Colorado color red.
 
She says the mountain lakes are great for water skiing with her friends
I'm lying in my bed imagining her laughter and her grin
She's just a state away, or two or three... which route it just depends
She's counting her beginnings, I'm just counting all the time,
All the time, the time until this ends.
 
And I am just the man who said,
She clears this state, I'll clear my head.
I'm Amarillo yellow,
She's Colorado color red.
 
I'm black and blue with your love,
Don't know what state I'm in,
But nothing hurts like true love,
Just let it in, with time... time... in time...
 
In my Toyota truck, with any luck, I'll find her with a smile,
Perhaps she'll let me stay for just a day, for just a little while,
Is it this altitude that makes me dizzy, or is it her style?
I pass another marker on my way,
I'm on my way, a bit more time, just another mile.
 
And I am just the man who said,
She clears this state, I'll clear my head.
I'm Amarillo yellow,
She's Colorado color red.
And I am just the man who said,
She clears this state, I'll clear my head.
I'm Amarillo yellow,
She's Colorado color red.
 
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Featured song from 2018's Gravitate L

Leaf & Tree

I was not the first to see
The beauty of a leaf & tree
Don’t let me be the last
Ten thousand centuries
To say goodbye with such strange ease
Oh, can it be?

Will my children know the place where they come from?
That their feet were made for grass?
Can we throw away this place that is our home
Like “home” was something from the past?

She-wolf runs to save her den
Her pups will always have a friend
She'll fight until the end
Eagle builds her nest on high
So she can teach her children how to fly
Or they would surly die.

Will my children know the place where they come from?
That their feet were made for grass?
Can we throw away this place that is our home
Like “home” was something from the past?
Oh, is home something from the past?

I was not the first to see
The beauty of a leaf & tree
Don’t let me be the last
Ten thousand centuries
To say goodbye with such strange ease
Oh, can it be?
Can it be? Oh can it be?
Don’t let it be.
Don’t let it be.

 

Listen to Spotify 2020 Earth Day Playlist here.

 

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Featured song from 2017's Two Weeks In April L

Be A Tree

(instrumental)

View LIVE video here!

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Download FREE Accompanying Journal Here

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

Do Not Rush the Dawn

Something’s been asleep in me
like filtered sun on the river rocks,
like quiet breeze, almost still leaves
or the faint hint of wild pasque.
Oh, something’s been asleep in me.
What it is, I do not ask,
but I let it sleep, let it dream oh, let it dream…
Do not rush the dawn.

Something is at last at rest
like tattered kites on the back-porch shelves
like arguments worn down to tears,
empty pulpits… broken bells…
Something is at last at rest
birds have fallen silent now
beneath their wings no hunger sings…
no hunger sings…
Do not rush the dawn.

And I will close these eyes
still my fear
let my heart grow wise
love draws near…
midnight makes the perfect mirror
of this muddy and troubled pond,
so do not rush the dawn,
do not rush the dawn,
do not rush the dawn,
do not rush the dawn.

Something’s been asleep in me
like filtered sun on the river rocks,
but I let it sleep, let it dream
oh, let it dream…
Do not rush the dawn.

And I will close these eyes
still my fear
let my heart grow wise
love draws near…
midnight makes the perfect mirror
of this muddy and troubled pond, 
so, do not rush the dawn.

And I will close these eyes
still my fear
let my heart grow wise
love draws near…
midnight makes the perfect mirror
of this muddy and troubled pond,
so, do not rush the dawn,
do not rush the dawn,
do not rush the dawn,
do not rush the dawn.

 

Also appears on...

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Featured song from 2012's The Long View L

Fire Builds the City

Rewind the film, and the fire builds the city
Rewind the film, and the huntsman revives the fox
Rewind the film, and the banker steals the money
Rewind the film and you put my heart,
Yeah, you put my heart back together again
You put my heart back together again
Rewind, rewind, rewind

Reverse the car, and you find your way back home again
Reverse the words, and somehow they say… somehow they say
They say you were meant for me and I was meant,
I was meant for this life, yeah
Rewind, rewind, yeah

Untake the pill, and find yourself awake again
I’ll unbreak my promises, I’ll find myself,
I’ll find myself the truth, oh, find myself the truth
Let’s rewind today, find ourselves, find ourselves walking in the sunlight again, yeah
We can rewind the night, turn the fight, turn the fight
Back into love, back into love
Rewind, yeah
Rewind, yeah
Rewind, turn the fight back in
Turn the fight back into love
Rewind, rewind…
Rewind, oh rewind, yeah, yeah..

Fire builds the city
Fire builds the city
Fire builds the city, fire
Oh, yeah
And the fire builds the city
And the fire builds this city
And the fire builds
And the fire builds this city, yeah
And the fire builds
And the fire builds
And the fire builds this city
And the fire builds
And the fire builds
And the fire builds
Fire, fire…

 

View Official Music Video Here

View LIVE Music Video Here

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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…

 

Download Journal Here!

 

Also appears on...

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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

 

Starting Out also appears on...

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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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