Dark Horse Days

by Donal Hinely

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about

With echoes of Nick Lowe, Steve Earle, and Robyn Hitchcock, DARK HORSE DAYS was recorded at Inglehood Studios in East Nashville. Produced by Cowboy Keith Thompson, the Scuffletown/ATOM collaboration features 13 new songs and draws on a wide range of influences, infusing literate, compelling, and melodically satisfying songs with elements of folk, roots, country, and pop. Emerging from a period of personal grief and uncertainty in which Hinely lost both parents to illness, the album is more a reflection of triumph and redemption than defeat or resignation. In the hands of a stellar band of studio veterans featuring Joe McMahan (k.d. lang), James “Haggs” Haggerty (Josh Rouse), Micah Hulscher (Rodney Crowell, Emmylou Harris) and Martin Lynds (Chuck Mead), Hinely’s meditations on modern life, love, loss, and alienation are transformed into 3 minute celebrations of the human spirit.


UPON REFLECTION:

In the past 3 1/2 years, I said goodbye to both of my parents. The biggest fans I will ever have, their love and support was unconditional and their influence on my life immeasurable. My father loved the horse races and had an affinity for the long shot. I too am drawn to the idea that despite a stacked deck and long odds, life occasionally affords an unexpected outcome. There is something deeply satisfying when conventional wisdom takes a slap in the face. Maybe Tom Petty said it best: Even the losers get lucky sometimes.
These songs are my little underdogs. They're scruffy and rough around the edges. I never gave them much of a chance, yet here they are, defiant in the face of personal chaos and uncertainty. I'm glad they broke through. I'm proud of them. I hope you like them, too.

--Donal Hinely, 11/04/15

credits

released February 16, 2016

Donal Hinely--acoustic guitar, vocals
Joe McMahan--electric and acoustic guitars, mandolin
James "Hags" Haggerty--acoustic and upright bass, backing vocals
Martin Lynds--drums and percussion, backing vocals
Micah Hulscher--keyboards, accordion
David Henry--cello and violin
Mavis Turner--trumpet
Drea Rhenee Merritt--backing vocals
Alexis Saski--backing vocals
Laura Mayo--backing vocals
Cowboy Keith Thompson--backing vocals

Produced and recorded by Cowboy Keith Thompson at inglehood Studios, East Nashville.
Mixed by Cowboy Keith Thompson except "From the Day" and "When I Burn", mixed by Chad Brown.
Mastered by Alex McCollough at Yes Master.
Photography by Jared Manzo
Design by Electric Avenue Nashville
Cover Photo by John Lok/The Seattle Times

All songs by Donal Hinely, Scuffletown Music (ASCAP)

Thanks to all who played a part in this production: Scott Kinnison at ATOM Records, Joe McMahan, James "Hags" Haggerty, Martin Lynds, Micah Hulscher, David Henry, Mavis Turner, Drea Rhenee Merritt, Alexis Saski, Laura Mayo, Chad Brown, Alex McCollough, Curt Perkins, and Jared Manzo.

A very special thanks to Cowboy Keith Thompson at inglehood Records. I am forever grateful for your talent, integrity, and generosity. Thanks for taking care of these songs like they were your own.

A toast to you, Valeri Alexander. I'm a better person for having known you. I hope you can hear these songs where you are.

Finally, a humble thanks to every soul who ever put a tip in my jar, bought a CD, or just listened to a song. There are too many to thank here. Just know that your patronage not only buoys the spirit but it keeps this ship afloat.

For Reginald and Beverley Hinely.


SHAMELESS SELF PROMOTION:

"vivid storytelling lyrics peppered with pieces of reality that make each song memorable"
--Paste Magazine


"just brilliant...has the rare ability to completely engross the listener and transport him or her to another place and time."
--Dave Higgs, host of NPR's Bluegrass Breakdown


"An exquisite storyteller...picture perfect roots rock."
--Pop Matters Magazine


"Hinely has a keen sense of humor and a good sense of melody, crafting songs that touch unexpected human depths”

--Joe Sixpack’s Guide to Country Music


"A great folk/Americana album...'Shock and Awe' is the best political song I've heard all year."
--Greg Grant, Online Folk Festival


"much better than anything to come from mainstream Nashville since the Garth Brooks, anti-Hank crowd took over"
--Indie Music


"a fine eye for the truths of the ordinary and the shadowy sides of life"
--Roots66 Magazine


"Cut from the same cloth as great songwriters such as Lyle Lovett, Steve Earle, and Robert Earl Keen, he might just be the next big thing."
--Cincinnati Enquirer


"a terrific, rootsy slab of Americana"
--Santa Monica Mirror


"a genuine master"
--Dagger Magazine


"sharply written Americana"
--Choice Cuts



"a gifted singer/songwriter"
--Twang-Tone Magazine


"one of the premier Americana artists today"
--Planet Country


"what really impresses is Hinely's songwriting which is technically very proficient with elegant lyrics fitting into well-constructed musical frameworks."
--Country Music People


"reminiscent of the irony of Loudon Wainwright III"
--Lone Star Time


"I was completely blown away by this record."
--Catherine Tully, Indie-Music


"A voice bristling with personality reminiscent of the best Texas singers and even Van Morrison...a new classic"
--Carlo Lancini, Roots Highway


"Somebody was thinking outside of the box during this recording session!"
--Stephen Hug, Americana Roots


"Compelling and poignant...a brilliant winner of a recording."
--Chris Darling, "Us Folk"/WMPG-FM



"To call him literate would be an understatement... Hinely's writing ability earns him a place alongside other Texas luminaries such as Earle, Van Zandt and Keen."
--Don Grant, Freight Train Boogie


"A song like "Giants" is one many of us will be humming to ourselves as we speak up, speak out and march towards voting booths in 2006 and 2008 to turn America around."
--Tony Peyser, BuzzFlash


"One of the best albums I've heard this year...I can't recommend it highly enough to lovers of pure, organic music"
--Peter Ashton, Playing Out Loud, UK


"This Texas songwriter isn't afraid to use a guitar to get his message across... quality song craft."
--Paste Magazine


“A lyrical wordsmith who makes every song a memorable quote”
--Real Sound


“Few artists could cover such a broad range so well... placing Hinely in a group as talented as Steve Earle, John Prine or Hinely's musical hero Nick Lowe”
--Amazon


“versatile and talented...one of the most interesting songwriters on the Americana scene”
--Folk World Magazine

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Track Name: Damaged Goods
Sucking on a Marlboro Red, blowing out blue smoke
Some distant memory flashing in his eyes
A host of bad decisions have brought him to this point
It didn't help to have a screw loose in his mind

Hollow cheeks are sunken in where his teeth should be
And a storm is raging on his wrinkled brow
He's hungry for an audience to his one man show
But nobody's listening to him now

Laughter from the new cafes where tenements once stood
Chatter fills the busy colannade
No one pays you any mind when you're damaged goods
a broken thing that's better thrown away

Fighting was the only thing he ever learned in school
His Momma bleached the blood out of his clothes
Later on the Navy spit him out onto dry land
For reasons that he'd rather not disclose

Laughter from the new cafes where tenements once stood
Chatter fills the busy colonnade
No one pays you any mind when you're damaged goods
a broken thing that's better thrown away

Taking to the highway and jumping empty freights
He built his castle in the restless breeze
But something cracked inside him like drywall in a quake
And the walls started crumbling by degrees

Laughter from the new cafes where tenements once stood
Chatter fills the busy colonnade
No one pays you any mind when you're damaged goods
a broken thing that's better thrown away
A broken thing that's better thrown away
Track Name: Barn Wood
I’ve got these nail holes in my soul
Dark and empty, black as coal
If you could only see the good

I clean up like old barn wood
I clean up like old barn wood

Narrow valleys line my face
Deep and weathered by passing days
If you love me like you should

I clean up like old barn wood
I clean up like old barn wood

A little muscle, a little grit
A little polish, a little spit

And you can fashion something new
Take these rough edges, make them smooth
You're the only one that could

I clean up like old barn wood
I clean up like old barn wood

I clean up like old barn wood
I clean up like old barn wood
Track Name: From the Day
I'm a believer of lies
I close my eyes
Don't care what lies behind the curtain

The truth never gets told
It's just bought and sold
The one thing I know, I know for certain

From the day I saw you
From the day I saw you
I knew, I knew
From the day I saw you
From the day I saw you
I knew, I knew

There's no shadow of doubt
No low hanging cloud
threatening to drown my obsession

For me, it's all very clear
I die when you're near
It's time that you hear my confession

From the day I saw you
From the day I saw you
I knew, I knew
From the day I saw you
From the day I saw you
I knew, I knew
Track Name: If
If I'm not the one
Why don't you come right out and say it
If I'm not the one
Why are you standing at my door

If I'm not the one
why do you never have to fake it
If I'm not the one
Tell me you don't love me anymore

you've been lonely for so long you know its true
you've been waiting for a man like me
And if I'm not the one
I can't imagine who would be

you've been lonely for so long you know its true
you've been waiting for a man like me
If I'm not the one
who'll turn your teardrops into laughter
If I'm not the one
Who's gonna love you like I do

If I'm not the one
I don't know what it is you're after
If I'm not the one
If I'm not the one for you

If I'm not the one for you
If I'm not the one for you
Track Name: When I Burn
There's a place I like to go
Far away from all this snow
You can find me headed south
When I burn your memory down

Gonna find a brand new love
Guaranteed to spark it up
I'll forget you there's no doubt
When I burn your memory down

When I burn, your memory down
When I burn your memory down
When I burn your memory down
When I burn your memory down

Take your lies and all your games
Watch em all go down in flames
Til the embers flicker out
When I burn your memory down

It's a lovely way to fall
Leaving nothing to recall
I'll get over you somehow
When I burn your memory down

When I burn, your memory down
When I burn your memory down
When I burn your memory down
When I burn your memory down

When your mind drifts in the past
you can drown or light a match
ashes ashes on the ground
when i burn your memory down

When I burn, your memory down
When I burn your memory down
When I burn your memory down
When I burn your memory down
Track Name: I Once Knew a Man
I once knew a man
who shouldered all my cares
He held me by my hand
And took me everywhere

The windows to the soul
they stay open wide
when the world is letting go
and there's nothing left inside

And now he calls to me
To help him find the way
He begs my heart to see
this debt i must repay

The windows to the soul
they stay open wide
when the world is letting go
and there's nothing left inside

I once knew a man
so singular and true
I held him by his hand
And did what i had to do

And did what I had to do
Track Name: Hey Sunshine
I woke up late today
The world was cold and gray
She'd slipped out with the morning
And threw the blue skies in a sack

And though it makes me cry
To know I've lost her light
So quickly without warning
I still believe she's coming back

Where did she go, why did she leave me here this way?
Staring out the window at the rain

Hey Hey Sunshine let me see you come around
Let the sun shine on
Hey hey Sunshine pick me up when you're in town
Let the sun shine on

Inside these walls I find
No space to ease my mind
I'm putting on my raincoat
I'll leave the key out on the stair

And I'll search through this town
Each street that I walk down
Hoping as the day goes
When I return home she'll be there

Sometimes I wish that I had never seen her face
Call me a fool out in the rain

Hey Hey Sunshine let me see you come around
Let the sun shine on
Hey hey Sunshine pick me up when you're in town
Let the sun shine on
Track Name: Tell Her
Wait, Love should never wait
What if you're too late
And wake up all alone?
She, she could change her mind
So tell her all the time
Let her know there'll never be another
Tell her that you love her

Life has a funny way
Of screwing up your day
Sometimes it's never ending
She, she turns it all around
She never lets you down
So let her know no one is above her
Tell her that you love her

Don't let this chance go by
She'll spread her wings and fly away
No time to hold your breath
When you've got something left to say
So tell her that you love her
Tell her that you love her

Life has a funny way
Of screwing up your day
Sometimes it's never ending
She could have a change of heart
So tell her from the start
Let her know no one is above her
Tell her that you love her

There'll never be another
Tell her that you love her
Track Name: I've Got a Feeling
You got me thinking that I'm crazy
You got me wondering what I'll do
You got me dreaming of you all night long 'cause
I got a feeling for you

You got me checkin' in the mirror
You got me shining up my shoes
You got me hoping that you'll fall for me 'cause
I got a feeling for you

I got a feeling for you
It's the genuine thing
This feeling for you
Is all I think about right now

You got me singing in the sunshine
You got me howling at the moon
You got me telling' every one I know, yeah
I got a feeling for you

I got a feeling for you
It's the genuine thing
This feeling for you
Is all I think about right now
Track Name: Old Man Winter
It's been raining for so long can't remember what the sun feels like
it's so cold this time of year no one in their right mind would go out
Icy fingers at my throat slipping' through the buttons on my coat
When did Old Man Winter steal my bones?
When did Old Man Winter steal my bones?

As a young boy by the window I prayed for the snow to fall
Stayed up late by the radio hoping that school was closed
Now when the world wakes up in white I pull the covers up real tight
When did Old Man Winter steal my bones?
When did Old Man Winter steal my bones?

When did a change in the weather lose the charm and the wonder?
When did my carefree heart turn to stone
I just woke up here one day, when did I lose my way
When did Old Man Winter steal my bones

Now when that mercury starts to fall I stay in bed and dread it all
When did Old Man Winter steal my bones?

These knees were good for runnin', now they just tell me when a storm is coming
When did Old Man Winter steal my bones
When did Old Man Winter steal my bones
Track Name: Dislocated
Ain't it a shame
got nothing to hang my hat on
familiar faces long gone
from a world I used to know

Ain't it a drag
just can't keep the facts straight
And no one's listening anyway
I wish I could go home

Dislocated
Dislocated aren't we?
Dislocated aren't we all?

Ain't that the way
Each and every day goes
There's a stranger in my clothes
And I don't like his friends

Ain't that the truth
Got nothing to lose but my soul
Fall in line and watch it go
A blowin' in the wind

Dislocated
Dislocated aren't we?
Dislocated aren't we all?

Aren't we all, Aren't we all

Dislocated
Dislocated aren't we?
Dislocated aren't we all?
Track Name: Prairie Lullaby (Song for Steven Fromholz)
If I could sing a song for you I'd sing about the land
Of old cowboys and depot men and nights on the Rio Grande
I like to think the words would bring a twinkle to your eye
And leave you restin' easy with this prairie lullaby

If I could sing a song for you I'd sing about the road
Of hard times and good women and lightenin' up your load
I like to think tequila's what you're drinking when you're dry
as I drink to you compadre with this prairie lullaby

If I could send a letter to you telling you all you meant
I'd spend the whole day writing and just get one percent

If I could tell a tale to you I'd set it in the west
And fill it full of all your friends and things that you love best
I like to think you'd lose yourself in good memories gone by
Free in quiet reverie with this prairie lullaby
Free in quiet reverie with this prairie lullaby
Track Name: Ain't Nobody
Ain't nobody gonna bring me down
Taking my worries to the lost and found, tonight
I got a little money I wanna throw around
Ain't nobody gonna bring me down

So long sorrow, time I set you free
Hello heartache, make a fool of me, tonight
I wanna hear some music in a major key
So long sorrow, time I set you free

Fixing my troubles with a wrecking ball
Set 'em up mister, gonna watch them fall, tonight
Cause I've been running since I learned to crawl
Fixing my troubles with a wrecking ball

Ready for the party I wanna see my friends
Good Time Charlie is finally on the mend, tonight
Please don't tell me how the story ends
Ready for the party, I wanna see my friends

Ain't nobody gonna bring me down