Tag Archives: Blues Lyrics

The Story Behind The Song: Obituary Writer Blues

Preacher Boy - The National Blues - Lyrics

I am very happy to announce that we’ve just published an enhanced lyric booklet for “The National Blues.” It features lyrics, stories behind the songs, insider guitar tips, and more.

You can download a free copy in either PDF (multi-use) or EPUB (iBooks) format here, or, if you’d like to enjoy the book on your Kindle/Kindle app, you can get it in the Kindle store on Amazon for just .99¢!

Here is an excerpt from the text; a short essay about the origins of the lead track on the album:

Obituary Writer Blues

Obituary Writer Blues began with two things: a visual idea, and a musical one.

Visually, it was the parallel imagery of a murdered black body lying on a white sheet, and black letters being laid onto white paper by a writer at a typewriter, charged with drafting an obituary for the murdered.

Musically, the song began with a slide riff, borrowed fairly wholesale from Son House, but by way of Will Scott. The thing was then reshaped into a 15-bar cycle—a kind of country blues counting. Two other sections came together later; the 2-chord minor-major interlude, and the chorus, which also quotes from the country blues, borrowing from Sleepy John Estes about knowing right from wrong.

The “rock, paper, scissors” image in the final verse came from our daughter, who at the age of 7 has determined that this game is the solution to the problems of violence in the world. I put it in the song because she’s right.


One year ago, I debuted at Aptos St. BBQ. I had no idea then that I’d still be there tonight. But I was there tonight.

That night one year ago, I debuted a song I’d never ever ever ever played live before. It was newly written, and I called it “Blister And A Bottlecap.” You can see a video of that performance at the end of this post. It’s me, and the very great Virgil Thrasher, doin’ it.

So tonight, it was my one-year birthday at the ‘Q. To celebrate, I debuted a new song. One that I’d never ever ever ever played live before. One that was newly written. I figure if I do this every year, then a decade from now, I can release an album entirely comprised of songs debuted at Aptos St. BBQ.

One must have goals.

So the song tonight? “Now Is The Only Moment That There Is (Zen Blues)”

If you wish, you can listen to tonight’s performance of the song by clicking below:

Now Is The Only Moment That There Is (Zen Blues)live at Aptos St. BBQ, 9.17.2015

And if you wish to follow the lyrics along, here they is:

The more you want, the more it hurts
and it only gets worse
Still, everybody want to go to heaven

Just ask St. Christopher
he know for sure
how it feel to fall from saint to legend

Oh, people be so unkind
but honey, it’s ain’t none o mine
she gon’ get hers just like he gon’ be gettin’ his
And the past gon’ have to ‘low
that we makin’ the future now
because now is the only moment that there is

When the war took that one more step
and bled upon her doorstep
she broke the arrow into point and feather

And when the river was agitated
she just sat on the bank and waited
for the wind to put the moon back together


Mona Lisa
Mother Theresa
Billie Holiday singin’ “Stormy Weather”

King Macbeth
Malcom X
Willie Johnson singin’ “God Moves On The Water”



And here’s that video of “Blister And A BottleCap”

Thanks so much to Aptos St. BBQ. And everyone that hangs out with me down there. By the train tracks.




Scenes From Songs That Prove The Blues Is The Blues

From Charley Patton’s “High Sherriff Blues”:

It takes boozy booze, Lord, to carry me through
It takes boozy booze, Lord, to carry me through
Thirty days seem like years in a jailhouse where there is no booze

The Best of Charlie Patton



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