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Texas River Song

by Little Mazarn

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1.
Goodbye to the year I became a crone. So long to the year I learned to be alone. Goodbye to the hopes and fears of the past. At last, peace! May there be an end to suffering, And an abolition of the illusion of beginning again
2.
I had a dream I was in New Orleans. Do you know what it means? I was walking with Lee on Deslonde street, white birds landing on the levee. Every heart is true. I’m awake now, cresting the wave, boardwalk in Santa Cruz, just like back in the day. And you’d said it first, it’s so early, I still don’t know what to say. Every heart is true. Can I come home now, is it too late? Lay down my wolfish heart, searching the desert night? When you’ve lost so much and still You’re so truly loved It takes time just to believe it. Every heart is true Every heart is true.
3.
Colored light, reflected in your eyes as you run, run for your life. Or maybe you hide? Until everyone is gone. Blue jumped a rabbit, blue jumped a rabbit and he run. Blame it on the man, blame it on the gun. Blame it on the wild way the west was won. Trace with your finger, all the stars in the sky. It won’t bring them back. Blue jumped a rabbit, blue jumped a rabbit and he run For a solid mile. When I think of you I see wildflowers waving on the wind Come take me back somewhere all bright and new again And oh how you wreck me, Singing on the radio while I cry for my country. And blue jumped a rabbit, blue jumped a rabbit and he run Blue.
4.
I wake up and I feel it, conscious of my movement, I don’t want to hurt it, I’m conscious of my movement. Try. Twist it and turn it Each day I’ll repeat it Tenderly I’ll stretch it Let go if I can’t do it. Try. One day it won't hurt me I know that it’s healing And I’ll be Lightning in the water, Lightning in the water. Try.
5.
I’m riding Old Paint, and I’m leading Old Dan, Leaving Cheyanne and off to Montana. Old Paint’s a good pony, he paces when he can, Goodbye Old Paint, I’m leaving Cheyenne. Thread the needle to the left, thread it to the right, When we’re on the prairie, we’ll sleep out every night. Goodbye Old Paint, I’m leaving Cheyenne Leaving Cheyenne and off to Montana! And when I die, take my saddle from the wall, Put it on my pony, lead him from his stall, Tie my bones to his back, turn our faces to the west, And leave us to the prairie that we loved the best. Goodbye Old Paint, I’m leaving Cheyenne Leaving Cheyenne and off to Montana!
6.
Petit Coulee 01:16
7.
I cross’t the wide Pecos, forded Nueces, Swam the Guadalupe and followed the Brazos, Red River runs rusty and the Frio runs clear, Down by the Brazos I courted my dear. Lahhhhhdeeedaaaahhhhdiiiii, lend me your hand Lahhhhhhhdeeeedaaahhhhdididi lend my your hand Lahhhhhhdeedahhhhdeeediiiii lend me your hand So many little rivers that wander the land The fair Angelina is glossy and gliding, The crooked Colorado is weaving and winding, The slow San Antonio courses the plains, But I never will walk by the Brazos again. Lahhhhhdeeedaaaahhhhdiiiii, lend me your hand Lahhhhhhhdeeeedaaahhhhdididi lend my your hand Lahhhhhhdeedahhhhdeeediiiii lend me your hand There’s many a little river that wander the land So hug me and kiss me and call me your baby, The Trinity is muddy but the Brazos quicksandy, Hug me and kiss me and call me your own, And down by the Brazos I’ll leave you alone. Lahhhhhdeeedaaaahhhhdiiiii, lend me your hand Lahhhhhhhdeeeedaaahhhhdididi lend my your hand Lahhhhhhdeedahhhhdeeediiiii lend me your hand The Trinity is muddy but the Brazos quicksandy.
8.
Uri 03:42
Are you getting tired of singing about your dreams? Tired of being sad, more like it seems. And who has the key to the riddle of your heart? Dropped it in the river where it stops and starts. Coldest winter begets the warmest spring. And on the 5th day, the birds began to sing again Me and the leatherwing bat on the wing again And on the 7th day, peeled an orange in the sun Someone stole the Sybil box, I’m glad I saw it. Coldest winter begets the warmest spring. Did I dream about you? Did I dream about you?
9.
I find myself with certain things lingering, wandering inside my mind. A little road, the prairie draw, the turkey call, the cedar ridge, the bridge, And I didn’t have to try so hard, I didn’t have to try. Back from New Orleans, where did I go so wrong, why does it take so long But now I’m here I have arrived. And I didn’t have to try. May I accept everything, the bell it rings, I’m a doe in spring, The prickly pear in bloom- yellow, red, and gold. And I didn’t have to try so hard, I didn’t have to try.
10.
I want to be simple, oh I would delight To find in myself somewhere to stay. I’d go there in the darkness of the night, And hold myself through the bright light of the day. Crescent moon on the gate.
11.
I was the kid in the graveyard Channeling spirits in a leotard Talking to the dead like an old friend Laying on a blanket by the Woodmen of the World. Do you remember the house that was always on fire? On the way down to Houston on 59? Driving like a bat outta some kind of hell Thinkin no one would love me like you will I was wrong I was wrong It was the weirdest party at the firehouse Wild in your eyes when they carried you out To open all the doors except the one to get free Fries at the Dairy Queen in the morning. I want to make god laugh, I tell them my plans.

about

A lot of famous musical Texans have passed through The Hole in the Wall, a small but legendary dive located near the University of Texas in Austin. Nancy Griffith, Lucinda Williams, Townes Van Zandt to name a few. Lindsey Verrill of Austin experimental/folk band Little Mazarn describes the club as “sweetly frozen in time. The outlet in front of the stage still doesn’t work, the ancient carpet almost glows with the bioluminescence of the flora and fauna that has been carefully cultivating itself there since the 1970s. The ghosts of Townes Van Zandt and Blaze Foley romp gleefully around the pool table.” This is where Little Mazarn formed back in 2015, “playing distorted sound experiments evolving into droney space versions of folk songs like ‘Darlin’ Corey’ and ‘Katie Cruel’. The group at its core is Verrill on vocals and banjo and Jeff Johnston, whose primary instrument in the band is the singing saw. They are both Dallas natives that settled in Austin and became a part of a music scene that included Bill Callahan, Dana Falconberry, Patty Griffin, Okkervil River, Thor Harris, Weird Weeds, and Daniel Johnston, among other Texas underground luminaries.

Verrill had never considered her own music particularly “Texan.” Regular touring can have that effect. You internalize a sort of rootlessness, a feeling of belonging to nowhere. You become a phantom, navigating a landscape where every gas station is the same gas station; where the next couch you sleep on is the same as the last couch, and you’re woken up by the same cat every night. Lindsey and Jeff were in the throes of touring in March 2020 when they got word that SXSW was being canceled due to the increasingly dire coronavirus pandemic. What was to be a year of extensive travel in promotion of their latest record (2019’s magnificent ‘Io’) instead became the longest continuous stretch of time Verrill had spent in Texas since childhood. Thus began Little Mazarn’s reawakening to their home state.

The band’s newest album, appropriately titled Texas River Song, was born from 2020, a year of river trips instead of touring and playing shows. Lindsey reminisces about “the Llano, the Frio, the Colorado, the Guadalupe, the San Marcos, the Pecos, the Devil’s. The rivers soaked up the burden of my sorrow and loss. I watched ospreys and bald eagles catch fish. I got sunburned and windsheared, broke my thumb and twisted my shoulder. Time on the river has no meaning, especially if you go out for days at a time. The return to the outside world feels like a far away appointment you know you’re going to be late for anyways. Why rush. A month, a season, a year. Sun has riz, sun has set, here we iz in Texas yet. Rollin on the river.”

Little Mazarn’s Texas River Song is a geographic love letter, inextricably linked to the land. It takes its name from a public domain song of mysterious but undeniably Texan origins. It’s no surprise that ‘Texas River Song’ became this album’s title and centerpiece, the beating heart of the whole project. The spirit of a place is a dynamic, living thing. Entire lives and stories can pop up like bluebonnets, with striking definition and clarity, if only we are patient enough to see them. This brings Verrill’s description of The Hole in the Wall to mind again. With their new album, Little Mazarn offers an invitation to become “sweetly frozen in time,” to leave behind far away appointments and seek out a quicksandy river of our own. “It is a Texas album” Verrill says, “ simply because it isn’t trying to be anything else. Crickets on Caddo Lake. Vignettes of lonesome hill country graveyards and starry prairie nights. Cowboys songs. Houston, Austin, and San Antonio. The quiet 4 walls of my room. I am a Texas musician simply by not trying to be anyone else or go anywhere else.”

-Michael Cormier O’Leary

credits

released August 19, 2022

Recorded at Ramble Creek Studios
Austin, Texas
2021

Engineered and mixed by Britton Beisenherz
Mastered by Sarah Register
Produced by Britton Beisenherz, Jeff Johnston, Lindsey Verrill
All songs by Lindsey Verrill except ‘Petit Coulee’ by Jeff Johnston, ‘Goodbye Old Paint’ by Charley Willis and traditional ‘Texas River Song’
Cover photo by Sierra DaSilva
Back photo by Julian Neel
Cover layout by Dan Grissom

Thank you to Britton Beisenherz, Jeff Johnston, Carolina Chauffe, Shannon Byrne, and Thor Harris for keeping the lamp trimmed and burning on this project.

For Dan Grissom, Robert Steel, Julian Neel, Rich Russell, Emily Underwood, Jeff Johnston, and Mallory Carranza. 2020 was better with you.

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Little Mazarn Austin, Texas

The music of Little Mazarn is a cool float a few feet from the ground through a dimly lit, almost familiar forest. It is quieter than silence, big as everything, still but always moving. If you’ve ever had flying dreams, or an amazing night time bike ride on LSD, this might be a world for you. - Thor Harris ... more

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