Giving My Bones to the Western Lands

by Slackeye Slim

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about

“Giving My Bones to the Western Lands” is the third album by southwest Colorado based songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Joe Frankland and released under the moniker of Slackeye Slim. In 2013 Frankland disappeared into isolation on a working ranch and spent a year wandering the surrounding deserts and canyons while quietly working on a follow-up to Slackeye Slim’s critically acclaimed 2011 album “El Santo Grial: La Pistola Piadosa.”

Frankland’s exodus into the profound loneliness of the American West proved to be exactly what was needed to overcome the barrier that so many musicians encounter after releasing an album which was given labels like “masterpiece” and “essential listening.” While Frankland’s trademark gritty baritone vocals and a cinematic Western quality still provide the backbone of Slackeye Slim’s sound, “Giving My Bones to the Western Lands” is a step in a new, tremendously inspired direction.

Dealing with themes of loneliness, bad blood, and fierce individualism which are tastefully combined with the same unique brand of crazed gunfighter irreverence found on Slackeye Slim’s previous albums, the eleven songs of “Giving My Bones to the Western Lands” demonstrate a huge step in Frankland’s ability as a songwriter. Undoubtedly Slackeye Slim’s most mature work, the album was recorded in the dilapidated buildings of an abandoned homestead and in various indoor and outdoor locations around the ranch where Frankland lived.

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released January 20, 2015

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Track Name: Don't Bury Me
It makes no difference now just where it started out
I went off on my own one day and I never turned around
Following no trail and howling all the way
There’s just things you do when you’re out here
That I cannot explain

My mother must’ve been a coyote in some other life
When I was just a lonely predator out wandering the night
There’s nothing you can’t do and all you’ve gotta do is try
I’ve been out here a long time now but I am still alive

Don’t you bury me
Don’t you bury me
Leave me in the sunshine
For the birds to pick me clean
Track Name: Don Houston
I knew a man some time ago with a Colt .45 hidden in his duster coat
Two pitbulls and a broken heart
Don Houston was the name that they gave him, but he would’ve settled for Rex, or Ahab or Butch if they’d left it up to him

He went out with his gun one day, well, he came across a stranger and he shot him in the face, and when the bears and the hawks came around for the food, he fired again. He shot them too.

And every time he pulled the trigger, it was the most beautiful thing that you ever saw.
His brush was the bullet. His paint was the blood.
His canvas was the earth. the rocks, the trees and the dirt

I knew a man some time ago. He rode away one day and never came back home, and where he is now, no one really knows
But some say they’ve seen him. They say that his ghost creeps through the shadows at night. But I don’t believe ‘em
Cause there’s a new bullet hole in the moon every night.

And just like every cowboy, he’s always out there singing his sad, old songs. Every cactus has a needle...Every cactus has a needle...Every cactus has a needle...

He thought of that line on his own.
Track Name: Oh Montana
Oh Montana
Look how your stars have fallen
On the mountainside

Oh Montana
Who have you become
And tell me who am I

We were looking
For the same thing, you and I
It was never there to find

Oh Montana
Each dream knows when to die
But at least I can say I tried

Oh Montana
Didn’t need to hear both sides
Before you chose your fight

Montana
Too proud to realize
That you’ve been left behind

I can’t imagine
A mile in your shoes
Or how you sleep at night

Oh Montana,
Go your way, I’ll go mine
Fading out of sight
Track Name: I'm Going Home
They handed me a hammer
And sent me off alone
With a name out of the Bible
To remind me where I’m from
I went without direction
I went out of control
I had no home

I saw the reservations
And the guns that shoot all night
The town was empty but the ghosts there
Kept me up all night
And no one came to see me
I was there alone
I had no home

Whiskey was the river
And me I was the duck
I lived down at the bottom
And I could not get up
At first I thought I’d found it
Somewhere I belonged
But I had no home

But then things started crumbling
And I knew it had to change
But once you get so far you
Can’t go back the way you came
And every day was somehow
Worse than the one before
I had no home

When I ran out of money
I had nowhere left to go
I was sleeping in a tavern
In exchange for sweeping floors
And no one came to free me
But I made it out alone
Now I’m going home

They handed me a hammer
And sent me off alone
With a name out of the Bible
To remind me where I’m from
So I’m leaving here tomorrow
And my feet will never slow
I’m going home
Track Name: Where the Wind Will Let Me Go
A pile of scattered bones and a feather from a crow
When the spring called the jimsonweed to bloom
From up here on the hill the hours pass until
The sun no longer plays tricks on my mind

Like a bird in the wind will go the only way he can
I’m going where the wind will let me go

I will follow no man’s trail as long as in the air
There’s something there and it’s pulling me along
The world I got to know I could not call my home
There’s too much there I wish I didn't know

Like a bird in the wind will go the only way he can
I’m going where the wind will let me go

The pinyon tree I lay beneath tonight is as alive as me and I fall asleep as the coyote sings her song
Track Name: San Juan Song
The wind is picking up tonight
Let’s keep the fire low
There’s no else but you and I
Who’s been this way before

Down by the river
Where no one ever goes
Scattering bones around
Where the lonely San Juan flows

No one needs to know our names
But the coyotes and the crows
We’re gonna live forever
Where the lonely San Juan flows

No one’s gonna find us here
Or come to claim our bones
We’re gonna live forever
Where the lonely San Juan flows
Track Name: It Wasn't You
Oh look at the sun
Don’t it look good going down tonight
You know how far we’ve come
You know we both fought for our lives
But hey, that’s okay
We all go different ways
And no one’s gonna come looking for me
By the river in the cottonwood trees
While I’m burying your bones
The last time I saw you
There was someone in your shoes
But it wasn’t you
Track Name: Cowboy Song
Once he had a broken heart
He’d go drinking til they closed
But now he’s on the open range
And he’s drinking all night long

The clouds come close behind him
And they follow him along
But he’s got a feeling that the sun
Will keep shining from now on
As long as he’s singing his cowboy song

The birds all die of broken hearts
When he goes passing by
But he’ll hold them in his arms tonight
And bring them back to life
As long as he’s singing his cowboy song

A man sleeps in a feather bed
And in the morning he wakes up sore
But a man alone in the wilderness
That’s where his soul is born
As long as he’s singing his cowboy song
Track Name: The Western Lands
Leaving it all far behind I saddled my pony and went toward the western sky
I don’t mind if I don’t come back alive
And no one’s got to understand the reason why

But when I finally crossed the plains
I lost myself somewhere along the way
The wind swept softly through the grain
Then it was mountain snow and the smell of desert rain

I’m giving my bones to the western lands
After I don’t need ‘em no more

On wild horse one day they came
And my captain gave the order no time for digging a grave
And as in a line we rode away
For the flag I wore on my shoulder I felt so ashamed

But my time as a soldier came to an end
And I settled down on this little piece of land
But the day I saw them riding in
They fired their guns as I waved hello to them

And I gave my bones to the western lands
I don’t need ‘em no more
Track Name: As Long as the Grass Shall Grow
As long as the grass shall grow
As long as the river runs cold
My heart will have no room for mercy for you
It’s blood I want
Nothing else will do

With freedom for all mankind
They came marching in with rifles drawn
And freedom rang as they fired the first shots
And they freely chained us up and marched us off

When you see their burning flag fall like a leaf from a tree
And the pounding of the drums overpowering their screams
When the sky is glowing red from a fire far away
It’ll be my spirit on the wind that blows to fan the flames

As long as the grass shall grow
As long as the river runs cold
My heart will have no room for mercy for you
It’s blood I want
Nothing else will do

As long as the grass shall grow
As long as the river runs cold
You will find me in the words of a song
That lay written down in a trail of bones
Track Name: Juniper Tree
Everything here is so much farther away than it looks.
Sometimes I wander away alone
With nowhere in mind to go

The people I knew were just passing through me
Away they all flew as quick as
They came rushing in
They were gone again

Sit down for a while
In the shade of this juniper tree
No one’s wondering where you are
I’m alone, I’m alone but I’m free
In the shade of this juniper tree

They take pictures from space
So you don’t have to waste
Your time in the sun anymore
No, not anymore

I’m from where I’m from
And I’ve done what I’ve done
But who I’ve become
Is who will be judged
If that day ever coemes

Sit down for a while
In the shade of this juniper tree
No one’s wondering where you are
I’m alone, I’m alone but I am free
In the shade of this juniper tree