These songs are about the shape of love, about the passage of time, about children growing up, about looking for and then holding onto what matters. They’re about trying to resist some of the trends of modernity, which push us farther from the real nectar of life, making us less and less able to feel and appreciate the beauty in the moment we’re here.

Some of these songs are clearly autobiographical. Others clearly aren’t. But I’ve been feeling all these themes powerfully, either directly or indirectly, as my kids pass me in height and my hair gets grayer and grayer. I wrote them, as always, to Sarah and to those boys, but I suppose I’m singing them also to myself, to remind me of what I really care about.

It seemed only right, given the topic, to record the way we did—which was to track everything live over four intense June days in a beautiful studio outside of Eugene, Oregon, and to use, for the most part, entire takes with arrangements that favor long tones and textures over fast runs and flash. I’m grateful to Billy for opening his sweet space to us and for how invested he became in these recordings; to Rich and Anna for their incredible musical sensitivities; and to Todd, who gave so much of his heart to this project. It was an honor to work so closely with such incredible people.

Somehow, this is my ninth solo album, and I’m so very grateful to you for still listening.

I remain,

DavidBerekely-signature-24

June, 2024

TEAM

DAVID BERKELEY
Vocals, acoustic guitar, and classical guitar
TODD SICKAFOOSE Piano and acoustic bass
RICH HINMAN
Pedal steel, electric guitar, and acoustic guitar on “A Harbor for Hard Times”
ANNA TIVEL Vocals

Produced by Todd Sickafoose

Engineered by BILLY BARNETT at Gung-Ho Studio, Eugene, Oregon
Mixed by TODD SICKAFOOSE at Earycanal
Mastered by JEFF LIPTON, Peerless Mastering
Artwork by ANNIE VOUGHT
Package design by SUSAN HYDE HOLMES

LYRICS
Wild Gods

Words and music by David Berkeley
Straw Man Publishing ASCAP 2024

Blow howling wind, beat on fragile heart.
Opening your eyes won’t tear us apart.
This was the year our fathers fell down.
All that we once held lay broke upon the ground.
And the crowds they disappeared, the scaffold removed.
The circle was drawn around me and you.

Oh, Wild Gods, don’t hide
No more from me, don’t hide.
Oh, Wild Gods, don’t hide
No more from me, don’t hide.
Welcome to the after time.

So a child learns to walk and learns wrong from right.
You hold his little hand. You sing to her at night.
Then year folds into year, and pretty soon they’re off.
You did the best you could. You hope it was enough.
’Cause in the end the tide will wash that castle clean.
The smooth patch of sand is more than what it seems.

Oh, Wild Gods, don’t hide
No more from me, don’t hide.
Oh, Wild Gods, don’t hide
No more from me, don’t hide.
Welcome to the after time.

So, all the masks come off, what now do we believe?
A man is just a man, just trying to breathe.
With all our different fears and all our different fights.
And all the time we waste in this our only life.
So beat on fragile heart and blow howling wind.
’Cause every moment, dear, a new world begins.

Oh, Wild Gods, don’t hide 
No more from me don’t hide.
Oh, Wild Gods, don’t hide
No more from me don’t hide.
Welcome to the after time.
Welcome to the after time. 

Eye of the Storm

Words and music by David Berkeley
Straw Man Publishing ASCAP 2024

It’s a hard-working day, keeps the demons away,
Holds the devil down on the mat.
Least my dad lived like that, he leaned in with his back,
Every swing, every hour of the day.

No, but I’m not that way,
I’m no good at that game.
No, the end never brought me no peace.
I’m like catch and release, something always breaks free
When I look up and see the sky,
Yeah, when I look the storm in the eye.

So, you carry a pail full of fire up the stair
Every night, you light up the hall.
I’m afraid you might fall, fire will climb up the wall,
Into flames our whole lives will burst.

It’s a curious curse, we think more, we feel worse,
But the fruit on the tree casts a spell.
Take the angel who fell, how could he not rebel
When he stopped to wonder why?
Yeah, when he looked the storm in the eye.
Yeah, when he looked the storm in the eye.

Oh, won’t you stay by my side as long as we can on this ride?
Oh, won’t you stay by my side as long as we can on this ride?
Yeah, and we’ll look the storm in the eye.

There’s a room off the square, in my mind I’m still there.
Yeah, I guess that’s where it all begins.
I’ve been trying to spin every echo into a song that someone might hear.

Yeah, I hope you’ll hear, it might lessen your fear
Knowing that I’m just like you.
Yeah, we’re both passing through all too briefly it’s true.
So, the best we can do is to try
To feel all that we can on this ride.
That's the hard work, feeling alive.
So come on girl, stay by my side.

Yeah, and we’ll look the storm in the eye.
Yeah, and we’ll look the storm in the eye.
Yeah, and we’ll look the storm in the eye.

I Was Framed

Words and music by David Berkeley
Straw Man Publishing ASCAP 2024

Upon my word, I was framed.
I was framed.

Now I’m paying for another’s crime.
And now my life’s just counting time.

Somebody please come get me released. Somebody rescue me.
’Cause I’m not the man who they take me to be. Somebody set me free.

I guess the deck was stacked.
That’s not the mark of Cain that is on my back.
So, I grew up fast, staying out of view.
Still, I’m a man, the same as you.

Will somebody please come and get me released.
Somebody rescue me.
’Cause there’s an innocent man under lock and key.
Somebody set me free.
Somebody rescue me.

’Cause it ain’t fair, oh gray-eyed queen. It ain’t fair to me.
You hold the scales, but you don’t see That it ain’t fair to me.

My momma told me it would be like this.
You got just one shot, so you best not miss.
So, each night I’m praying to the god on high.
But he don’t hear my lonesome cry.

Somebody please come and get me released.
Somebody rescue me.
’Cause I’m not the man who they take me to be.
Somebody rescue me.
Somebody set me free.
Somebody rescue me.
’Cause I was framed. I was framed.

Until the End

Words and music by David Berkeley
Straw Man Publishing ASCAP 2024

All in this life.
What other choice Is there now?
’Cause I’ve been worrying
If I could go on without you.

One time, we rolled the windows down,
And we drove straight to the sea.
You were always next to me.

Oh my, these blue skies,
When I prayed for rain.
Where’s the storm?

It came one night, strange light.
One house was spared,
And one house gone.

One time, walked through a field of flowers,
And the colors made you cry.
I know just how hard you tried.

My mind rewinds
What I might have done
Differently.

I know, let go.
But I’m holding on Until the end.

One time, we saw a rainbow.
It was the best day of my life.
Why’d you have to say goodbye?

Until the end,
Stay close my friend.
’Cause no one knows How it ends.
No one knows.
Until the end,
No one knows.
Stay close my friend. 

I Dreamed a Fire

Words and music by David Berkeley
Straw Man Publishing ASCAP 2024

I dreamed a fire last night,
Burned this whole house to the ground.
You were right beside it,
Watching as the roof came down.
You turned to me and cried out,
“How will all we’ve lost be found?”
I dreamed a fire last night.

When you awoke this morning,
You said you wish that more had burned,
And through the smoke and ashes,
Your gleaming wings had both unfurled,
And you rose high above it,
Into the golden sky you twirled.
I dreamed a fire last night.

May we be ready
To love again,
From this moment until the end.
From when we’re soaring,
To when we fall down,
May we be ready now.

And when your armor comes off,
After all the wars you’ve waged,
I think you’re beautiful,
Though your hands are clenched in rage.
I know you've wrestled angels,

And prayed and prayed for things to change.
I dreamed a fire last night.

Still there’s a light that’s shining.
It burns in me, it burns in you.
Sometimes we hardly see it.
Sometimes it’s shining like the moon.
And even when its darkest,

You hold the flame that will see us through.
I dreamed a fire last night.

So, may we ready
To love again,
From this moment until the end.
From when we’re soaring,
To when we fall down,
May we be ready now.
May we be ready now.
May we be ready now.

Worrying World

Words and music by David Berkeley
Straw Man Publishing ASCAP 2024

Don’t be afraid of the train whistle blow,
Though it means I’ll be leaving once more.
And in between when I come and I go,
Yeah, my bag’s never far from the door.
What are we running for?

Won’t you lay your hand in mine.
Sing with me one more time,
And we’ll leave behind
This worrying world.

I know it seems that we’re meant to believe
That we have to be on day and night.
No fallow fields and no space to dream in the day,
Well, how could that be right?
Tell me how that could be right.

Won’t you lay your hand in mine.
Sing with me one more time,
And we’ll leave behind
This worrying world.

All of our fears, yeah, they’ll make it appear
We must gather enough to be fine.
But isn’t it clear that we lose all that’s dear
As we fight to be first in the line.
What’s at the end of that line?

Just you lay your hand in mine.
Sing with me one more time,
And we’ll leave behind
This worrying.

Lay your hand in mine.
Sing with me one more time,
And we’ll leave behind
This worrying world. 

The Fall of Man

Words and music by David Berkeley
Straw Man Publishing ASCAP 2024

Sorry if I held too tightly,
And I couldn’t let you go.
I guess I should have realized.
I guess I should have known.

It was cold outside this morning,
First snows falling to the ground,
The house was quieter than normal,
I miss how it used to sound.

And the farm has now been sold off.
Seven houses on the way.
That old oak tree where the swing was,
They cut it down the other day.

Oh, to understand the fall of a man,
Watch as every grain of sand just slips away.

Another shooter’s on the news now.
Another war begins to rage.
And I’m trying hard to figure
Why it’s that stuff that won’t change.

’Cause the back rows in the pictures,
Now most of them are gone.
And that baby in the front row
Is the woman moving on.

Oh, to understand the fall of a man,
Watch as every grain of sand just slips away.

And it don’t matter that they told you
Life’s a constant letting go.
And the harder that you hold on,
The more it hurts on down the road.

But how could it have been different?
I couldn’t love you differently.
So, when you think back on the sweet times,
Well, I hope you’ll think of me.

Oh, to understand the fall of a man,
Watch as every grain of sand just slips away.
Oh, to understand the fall of a man,
Watch as every grain of sand just slips away,
Slips away, through your hands.

Omaha

Words and music by David Berkeley
Straw Man Publishing ASCAP 2024

Seven hours to Omaha,
Seven hours before the dawn,
I wonder if you’d even want
To see me again someday.

’Cause there’s some things I wish I could say.
Somewhere I guess I lost my way.
I want to tell you I’m sorry for
A couple things I done.

If all our memories will fade away,
Like fallen leaves they’ll be gone one day.
Tell me please, why don’t we start again?

See I’ve been trying to be a better man.
I wrote some letters that I never sent.
I’m just trying to live my life
To not hurt anyone.

But there’s no story that cannot be spun.
And someone loses every race that’s run.
And ain’t nobody gonna leave this place
Without a couple scars.

If all our memories will fade away,
Like fallen leaves they’ll be gone one day.
Tell me please, why don’t we start again?

Four more hours to Omaha,
Four more hours to where you are, 
I’m remembering all these things I wish I had forgot.

I heard that you have been through a lot.
Too many people act like who they’re not.
And everybody gets scared some time, 
And oh, a worried mind.

If all our memories will fade away,
Like fallen leaves they’ll be gone one day.
Tell me please, why don’t we start again?

I seen some things that nearly broke my heart.
I saw a life get blown apart.
There was nothing that I could have done,
And still it hurt the same.

Other times I know I’ve been to blame. 
Do you think a man can ever change?
If you’ll give us one more shot,
I swear I’ll make it right.

Yeah, ’cause all our memories will fade away,
Like fallen leaves they’ll be gone one day.
Tell me please why don’t we start again?
Tell me please, why don’t we start again?

Welcome to Omaha.
The final hour was the hardest one.
Lord knows I almost turned back round,
But baby, here I am. 

The Right and Wrong

Words and music by David Berkeley
Straw Man Publishing ASCAP 2024

On the eve of leaving, of letting go,
You were out there waiting for me after the show
In your pickup truck, with that black dress on.
I knew then and there I was wrong.

I’ll never get you out of my mind,
Not that night, not any time.
So, I gave up trying. Yeah, I quit the fight.
I knew then and there you were right.

Sing hallelu, for me and you,
For what stays the same after the pictures change.
Hallelu, for me and you.
It’s an old love song through the right and wrong.

So, we jumped back in, and we headed west.
Slept in the desert, but didn’t get no rest.
You talked of angels by the fire light.
Nothing could be wrong when it feels so right.

And we found an old place outside Santa Fe.
Yeah, we had a baby, another on the way.
We didn’t think that our love could ever be that strong.
Well, it turned out we were wrong.

Sing Hallelu, for me and you,
For what stays the same after the pictures change.
Hallelu, for me and you.
It’s an old love song through the right and wrong.

Maybe in a love song nothing gets real hard.
Yeah, but life ain’t like that. Some days we’re miles apart.
And the kids get older, and times get tight.
Some things feel wrong that once felt right.

Yeah, but that’s our story. That’s what makes love real.
You come back together and help each other heal.
’Cause in a long love, you got to see beyond.
Our love is bigger than right and wrong.

Our love is bigger than right and wrong.

A Harbor for Hard Times

Words and music by David Berkeley
Straw Man Publishing ASCAP 2024

Is there a harbor, a harbor for these hard times?
Been going over the paths in my mind.
’Cause when we were younger, we ran through the flowering trees.
It’s hard to remember the sunlight and breeze.

Oh, to find what we left behind,
And blur the battle lines.
A welcome sign that light still shines,
A harbor for hard times.

And on the horizon, the storm clouds are gathering once more.
The lightning and thunder are closer to shore.
And the voices grow louder,
Like trying to settle some score
That will never be settled.
The rage and the roar.

Oh, to find what we left behind,
And blur the battle lines.
A welcome sign that light still shines,
A harbor for hard times.

My heart is a river. Either it floods or it’s dry.
And I know that’s not easy, the lows and the highs.
But I’ll always love you, no matter the ebb of the tide.
And the harder the headwinds, the harder I’ll try.

Oh, to find what we left behind,
And blur the battle lines.
A welcome sign that light still shines,
A harbor for hard times,
A harbor for hard times,
A harbor for hard times.