Calm Before the Storm

I was praying to St. Jude, it was a red sky this morning
Standing on the shore at the Gates of Lodore, I overheard the Ranger's warning
There's a big one coming tonight, the wind is cold but the whisky's warm
We put-in and never bat an eye in the calm before the storm

Water's flowing though our blood we all heed the boatman's call
There's no where that we'd rather be than between these canyon walls
The clouds lit-up by moonlight, we pass the time singing river songs
The water's already starting to rise in the calm before the storm

Now everyone among us is running from something
From our lives upon the land, if only for the weekend
We huddle round the firelight, the wind is howling until the break of dawn
The clouds are darker than the night in the calm before the storm

Sparks in the Fire

It was a cold-cold night like the belly of a stone
In the Little-Colorado where the brown waters flow
She said she'd come back to me to make a happy home
I was waiting patiently for that day to come

We went out walking in that mountain snow
We're leaving careless tracks so that everybody knows
That we're out here in the wild where the cold wind blows
It was so easy coming back to you, so hard letting go

And the Winter nights are cold as the flame's slowly dying
Tell me where did I go wrong, searching for sparks in the fire

Now the ground shines like diamonds in the pale moonlight
They're nothing like the diamonds I've seen in your eyes
Or on that ring that I bought for you with my last dime
Now I'm turning over the coals, searching the fire


The Party's Over


The party's over we're at the take out
A little heaven was delivered to even the least devout
We made some memories and ain't that what it's about
But the party's over we're at the take out

We've got no creed but we've got godspeed and no halos to bend
Plenty of time to open our minds and listen to the mountain wind
Just watching shadows crawl across the canyon wall as the evening
puts the day to rest opens the gates and lets the night settle in


In the wilderness we all felt blessed to be chasing constellations
We're wild and free in God's country with no angels to offend
No we chose to be with only those that they'd say had sinned
We're the demonized the unbaptized we're all a bunch of heathens


I wouldn't trade the last seven days nor ask to be forgiven
Been drifting for so long we're so long gone that we can't pretend
That we were praying for salvation or that they might even comprehend
That we believe that all we need is more river time to spend 


Until we put in again...

High Country


Up in high country we're living on mountain time
Here in high country in the shadow of the ponderosa pines

When I first arrived up in high country the air was thin and cold
I set my bags down when I heard the sound of that train whistle blow
I didn't need a salesman's plea I was already sold
The man who wrote the plan for this little town well they must have broke the mold


To the north the San Francisco Peaks in the sunset alpenglow
To the South the cold waters of old Oak Creek rushing over our swimming holes
To the East the majesty of the painted desert every color of the rainbow
To the West don't forget the grandest of canyons where the Colorado flows 


Lying in the shade of the inner basin as the leaves turn green to gold
And come tumbling down onto the ground as we're getting ready for the snow
In the Spring the rain's coming back again and that old zephyr blows
Summertime's our little monsoon secret but everyone around here knows


Priced Out

I've been traveling this county for nearly twenty years and all I've got to show is this trailer and tears
I've been trying to save up to put some roots down but every road I turn I'm getting priced out of my town
Well I'm an honest man and I make an honest buck I've been banking on hope I've been banking on luck
As the prices go up the application's turned down can't even borrow enough from getting priced out of my town

Boulder to Boone, Bozeman to Bend
Asheville to Killington and Mad River Glen
The rich keep getting richer saying it'll trickle down til you and me we get priced out of our town

Country clubs and private roads and membership fees their gates and guards are killing out communities
we've been treading water so long you know we're bound to drown as the river is rising getting priced out of our town

All these second homes and fancy cars and made up faces well they're the very reason that we're living in these places we don't want to grow up we don't want to come down off of the mountain getting priced out of our town 

Summit to Squaw Stratton to Stowe
Flagstaff to Taos and Vail and Steamboat
the rich keep getting richer saying it'll trickle down meanwhile you and me we get priced out of our town.

Cheers to the First Snow

Every autumn when the water's gettin low
me and the boys get restless we got nowhere to go
it's dry in the desert we can't float our boats
no not at all

the monsoons are over and the aspens start to change
the nights are gettin colder and we're feelin kinda strange
death is in the air but we feel no pain
no we never will

meet me down at the bar tonight
we'll drink to the first snow arrivin
feels good just to be alive
in this old mountain town anyway

everybodies givin thanks as the snow is comin down
walkin lonely streets seems there's no one around
the leaves beneath your feet a familiar sound
it's the end of the fall

you got empty pockets and you think you know the reason
you tried savin summer but you're inbetween seasons
every year you say you're leavin
but you never will

3x first pints on me tonight

3x next pint's on you tonight

  • High Country 3:42
  • Cheers To The First Snow 3:30

Bright Angel Song

Get down to the put-in there's no time to waste
We've got fourteen miles to float today
Shuttles to run and straights to navigate

Seal up your dry bags and gather around
If you don't want it don't strap it down
Because we're about to enter a whole different state

When we hear that Bright Angel Song
We come from near and far
To gather at the river under Arizona stars
To gather at the river under Arizona stars

My cooler's full of cans and my boat's all rigged up
I got me a coozi and my whisky-river cup
And we eddy out beneath the rapids to watch and wait

Some boats will pinball some will make a clean run
You know we'll set up camp before we lose the sun
And then we'll huddle round the fire to hear the band play 

and when they sing that...
Chorus (singing along)

I've been boating in the rain and up-canyon wind
Floating in the snow and when it's hot as sin
And we've used all of our gear over the years

The river seems to know when you lose respect
So don't ever-ever think you know what to expect
And we always enter the water with a healthy fear

But when we hear that...

Mary Says

Mary Says

Mary says I’m not done I’ve just begun the night falls without a star
Whispers abound in this little town when everybody knows who you are
They know where she’s going and where she’s been she’s a bird on a wire and her soul’s on fire
Just waiting around under contrail clouds carving lines across the sky


And there’s a murder of crows around her eyes
Like a map of the road to where her dreams reside
time has taken its toll
She says I’ve still got friends and some time to spend and I’m glad to know they’re there
Her mail’s all lined in red and she can’t get ahead when the cupboards are all bare
She’s been livin clean she’s been riding the stream she’s seen so many come and go
Down to the city and out to the suburbs from the mountains down to the coast

She don’t mind taking more for less this dreaming’s free she ain’t second-guessing
With nothing saved and every dime she’s made has gone to someone else
Round and round it goes


A Drive Up the Mountain

We went for a drive on that mountain highway I had something on my chest
The road winds behind the wind today I keep this feeling close to my vest
To the left the sun dives into the trees and the whole dash is aglow
to the right the mountains climb into the night high above the road they soar


and the full moon is rising shining it's light into the night unstarred
my heart is racing and everything is right because you're riding in my car

Yellow lines ahead not another soul in sight we've got miles and miles to go
From third to fourth leaving the city behind you turn on Mountain Radio
We've got one direction we don't need the signs we're just heading north into the snow
You're riding in my car and everything is right and that's all we need to know 



Nolan McKelvey