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53Episodes
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  Ozzie's Guitar 20 Years Later LP &
from 2000's Ozzie's Guitar L

Ozzie's Guitar

Ozzie drove an El Camino
Cuffed the hems of his navy chinos
Man alive, could grandpa drive--
Odd jobs from here to Reno
Livin' light, heck if we know
How or why, but he was alive
 
And every time that Ozzie'd come around
His bags were dusty with the gravel roads
Of a thousand little towns
We saw the world, we traveled far
On the silver strings of Ozzie's guitar
 
It was a six-string La Valenciana
With my teeth brushed and my warm pajamas
I was "good to go" for granddad's show
Well we'd ride the rails, we'd waltz across Texas
His fingers danced till our hearts would break, his
Voice would soar then swoop down low
 
And every time that Ozzie'd come around
His bags were dusty with the gravel roads
Of a thousand little towns
We saw the world, we traveled far
On the silver strings of Ozzie's guitar
 
 
Well, some days, I miss the rhythm
Of a highway song, and I want to be with him
Oh, it ain't long till I find that guitar
It never held its tune so good
It's just some rusty keys and weathered wood
But there's an open road in every scar
 
And every time that Ozzie'd come around
His bags were dusty with the gravel roads
Of a thousand little towns
We saw the world, we traveled far
On the silver strings of Ozzie's guitar
 
We saw the world, we traveled far
On the silver strings of Ozzie's guitar
 
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Featured song from 2011's Tasunke Witko L

The Hunt (instrumental)

 

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Featured song from 2017's Two Weeks in April L

Canyon Rain (instrumental)

 

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Featured song from 2011's No Standing L

Climb (instrumental)

 

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Featured song from 2015's The Road Behind L

Starting Out (instrumental)

Rocks Make a River Sing (instrumental)

August Stormcloud (instrumental)

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Featured song from 2013's Edge of the Known L

Rocks Make a River Sing (instrumental)

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Featured song from 2011's No Standing L

Starting Out (instrumental)

 

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Featured song from 2017's Reflections & Refugees L

Wake Up Jacob (instrumental)

 

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Featured song from 2017's Two Weeks in April L

Saturday Morning (instrumental)

 

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Featured song from 2015's The Road Behind L

Five to Nine Diner (instrumental)

 

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Featured song from 2017's Refuge L

Paw Paw was a Quiet Man

Paw Paw was a quiet man,
Everyone just knew—
He would never say a word
If it weren't true.
 
Evening milk and cornbread,
Just "knockin' old Joe"
He'd stretch out his long old legs
Wiggle his toes.
 
Paw Paw, take me fishin'
Let's see what might bite.
Paw Paw is this worm okay?
Do I have my hook tied tight?
Paw Paw, why ain't I catching anything?
He pulled back his big old grin
And said, "You ain't holdin' your mouth right."
 
Maw Maw talked a blue streak,
Paw Paw listened long.
He married her and loved her good...
Even when she was wrong.
 
His politics were his alone to know,
His only sermon was his life.
But if he chose to speak his mind,
It cut the babble like a knife.
 
Paw Paw, take me fishin'
Let's see what might bite.
Paw Paw is this worm okay?
Do I have my hook tied tight?
Paw Paw, why ain't I catching anything?
He pulled back his big old grin
And said, "You ain't holdin' your mouth right."
 
He's been gone for 27 years now,
I miss him just the same.
There's things in life so stubborn now,
Can't talk my way out of everything...
 
Paw Paw, take me fishin'
Let's see what might bite.
Paw Paw is this job okay?
When's the right time to fight?
Paw Paw, see my children?
Paw Paw, see my wife?
Paw Paw, why is life so hard?
He pulls back his big old grin
And says, "Maybe you ain't holdin' your mouth right."
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Featured song from 2002's Grace E

Selma Sundays

Selma sang on Sundays,
Slid up to reach the highs.
She sang about Amazing Grace
And angels from the skies.
 
And in the car she sang to me
"A-chewin'" on her gum,
"I love you a bushel an' a peck..." she'd sing
But my Papaw--- he'd just hum.
(Hum)
 
I need another Selma Sunday afternoon
I need another Selma Sunday afternoon---
I need some sweet potato, buttermilk 'n cornbread in a spoon
I need another Selma Sunday afternoon.
 
The car slid through the spruce and pine
Right up to the long church drive,
We all knew when we'd get home
We was gonna eat 'til four or five.
And when the sun begins to slant
Them cicadas start to sing
And Selma sits in that old lawn chair
And it don't mean a thing...
No, it don't have to mean a thing
If you just want to sing.
(La la la de-dum)
 
We need another Selma Sunday afternoon
We need another Selma Sunday afternoon---
We need some sweet potato, buttermilk 'n cornbread in a spoon
We all need another Selma Sunday afternoon.
(La la la de-dum)
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Featured song from 2012's Nebraska Catfish L

Into New
(Based on closing lines of Wendell Berry's "A Purification")

Like the night sky into blue
Or a single cell becoming two
Like me leaning into you
Something old is escaping into new

I used to worry my mistakes
Guilt makes the bones and the body ache
Now I am leaning into you
Something old is escaping into new

Like the past into now
A spring renewed somehow
Like the wind or the dawn—
Always returning, always gone
Ancient wisdom, come to light
A fading love that finds its fight
See how I'm leaning into you?
Something old is escaping into new.

I always wanted desperately to win
Disguising loss with a grin
But now that I am loved by you
Something old is escaping into new.
Now that I am loved by you
Something old is escaping into new.

 

A Purification
by Wendell Berry

At start of spring I open a trench
in the ground. I put into it
the winter's accumulation of paper,
pages I do not want to read
again, useless words, fragments,
errors. And I put into it
the contents of the outhouse:
light of the sun, growth of the ground,
finished with one of their journeys.
To the sky, to the wind, then,
and to the faithful trees, I confess
my sins: that I have not been happy
enough, considering my good luck;
have listened to too much noise;
have been inattentive to wonders;
have lusted after praise.
And then upon the gathered refuse
of mind and body, I close the trench,
folding shut again the dark,
the deathless earth. Beneath that seal
the old escapes into the new.

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

The Reckless Resurrected

Down to the river just to find myself,
But I was not there
Into the forest to hear your voice,
But the aspen were still bare
 
Oh my God, what have I done
With the spirit you breathed into me?
We're just the reckless resurrected—
Don't know we're free
 
You can't live your life in a mine field,
Everyone wrong doesn't make you right
You can argue your point, even win the war
It won't bring the dead back to life.
 
Oh my God, what have I done
With the spirit you breathed into me?
We're just the reckless resurrected—
Don't know we're free
 
Look around you now, see, the springtime's here;
Easter's come and gone
The water's high and the apple blossoms gather 'round
Summer's coming on...
 
And when the night is stormy
There's a still, quiet voice bringing peace...
Sing this song until the rising of the Sun
Let it rise... oh, let it be...
 
Oh my God, what have I done?
It's your spirit you breathed into me.
We're just the reckless resurrected,
Teach us to be free
 
 
Down to the river just to find myself,
Jesus met me there
Into the forest to hear your voice,
And the trees were filled with prayer
 
Oh my God, what have I done?
It's your spirit you breathed into me.
We're just the reckless resurrected,
And we're learning to be free
We're learning to be free.
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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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