Corolla

by Jake Wasson

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about

Corolla is a collection of fifteen songs recorded in three different cities between June 2013 and May 2014. The title comes from the events described in "Soybean Apocalypse," and has to do with perseverance, uncertainty, being on the road, and my complicated relationship with the concept of home, which have been the themes of the past two years of my life (and probably my foreseeable future). It's been rough, but I'm not totaled yet.

credits

released May 27, 2014

Jake Wasson - Guitar, vocals, ukulele, harmonica, mandolin, mountain dulcimer, melodica, fake bass, weird mixing effects
Eli Van Sickel - Dobro on track 8
Marble Anderson - Backing vocals on track 15

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about

Jake Wasson West Warwick, Rhode Island

I'm a wayfaring troubadour and longtime busker, currently based in Rhode Island. Folk and blues are at the heart of what I do, but I like to get weird. Enjoy!

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Track Name: Exile from Circadia
Thus concludes another day
Peanut butter by the spoonful,
And staring into space
On a futon in a room full
Of dishes I could wash
Songs that I could write
Books that I could read
But this is every night

It’s not as if I come alive
In the witching hour
After the cicadas’ song has died
All I do is hold the cushions down
The worst night watchman in this whole town
The axis of a blindly spinning mind

I’m becoming a deadbeat
Synapses locked in a dead heat
The amber glow from my window
The only light on the dead street
I’ve done nothing of import
Even though the moon is long gone
Like Dallas Green, I’m wondering
Whose side the night is on
Track Name: 94 Proof (Release the Kraken!)
“Put a beast in your belly,” the label said
And I’d heard nothing but good things
‘Bout the fresh fifth of rum in a brown paper bag
In my hand as I made my way out of HyVee
She was off in St. Louis for reasons I’ve forgotten
And while I won’t say I was glad she was gone
She sure could be a killjoy when I went out to parties
Whether or not I took her along

Oh, 94 Proof
You’re sobriety-proof
Never been quite this shitfaced
To tell you the truth
There’s a storm in my gut
And a chip in my tooth
And it’s all thanks to you
My 94 Proof

So tonight, I’ll mix my rum and cokes 50-50
And spend my time with anybody I like
Don’t worry, darling, I won’t be unfaithful
I just fully intend to have a damn good night
There’s a reason it’s best not to fuck with sea monsters
That any seafarer or drinker should know
Whether ye be a Sailor or Captain or Admiral
Those eight arms will rise up and drag you below

I awoke in the bathroom with unemptied pockets
Still drunk as could be, but more or less OK
I staggered to my feet and reached for the doorknob
To fix myself one more and rejoin the fray
But I entered the den and I stood, stunned, on sea legs.
I found myself squinting, sunlit, and alone
In the kitchen I found a now much lighter bottle
I took a swig, grimaced, and stumbled on home

I found our bed too big with no one else in it
But passed out despite myself and woke up at noon
Our blue and green, splat-painted room whirled around me,
Left all by myself to throw up and miss you
The best night this year was one I spent without you
And our romance behooves me to badmouth my friends
But as I lie sprawled out, hung over and lonesome
I wish you were here to hold when the fun ends
Track Name: Autobiographical Singer-Songwriter Blues
It seems to me
That the world is in need
Of a new support group of sorts
For people who want
To write songs and make art
About key events in their lives
Naturally love
And the loss thereof
Are often inspiration's source
But it's a fine line to walk
If you let the muse talk
When friendship with exes survives

I want to write
What I want to write
But I don't want to piss off the people I like

If a song is good
I don't want to hide it
And it almost never really represents
The way I feel now
I just needed an outlet
For what was on my mind at the time
Just because it was true
Doesn't make it an indictment
Of sins for which I think you should repent
All it is now is an
Experience I had
That I scribbled down and strong-armed into rhyme

Art gets complex
When you're friends with an ex
And yet you write lyrics that damn her
There may be no hard feelings
About your past dealings
But the tune comes out sounding like slander

So, if you have the will to burn
Every bridge after you cross it
Then, godspeed! Ignore this invitation
But otherwise, I think
You'll find yourself among friends
In this new organization
Track Name: Soybean Apocalypse
All I want’s to go home, but that’s not in the cards
I’ve been staring South and sighing ever since I crashed my car
It got smashed up like a squeeze box in the light December rain
That truck drove away unscathed, but in Normal I remain

Stuck here in Normal at the end of the world
Stuck here in Normal at the end of the world
If you’re hearing this song, it means I got out alive
From being stuck in Normal at the end of the world

I booked a Greyhound home but then the weather went to shit
Every bus was cancelled on the evening of my trip
The next night’s Greyhound bus showed up a couple hours late
I missed the next one down the line because of the delay

Stuck in St. Louis at the end of the world
Stuck in St. Louis at the end of the world
If you’re hearing this song, it means I got out alive
From being stuck in St. Louis at the end of the world

Midnight of December 21, 2012
No sign of Armageddon, but I think this might be Hell
Waiting at the station for longer than it’d take to drive
They’ll make a six hour trip last twelve and that’s if the bus arrives

Stuck on a Greyhound at the end of the world
Stuck on a Greyhound at the end of the world
If you’re hearing this song, it means I got out alive
From being stuck on a Greyhound at the end of the world

The sunrise on the North side of my hometown stung my eyes
No idea when I last slept, but it seems that I survived
Now let’s see how long it takes until I want to leave
Those Mayan priests were liars so I guess I'm relieved?

Stuck here in Springfield at the end of the world
Stuck here in Springfield at the end of the world
If you’re hearing this song, it means I got out alive
From being stuck here in Springfield at the end of the world
Track Name: Queen City Blues
There ain’t nothin’ left in this town for me
It may be where I’m from but it’s not where I want to be
I feel a little more alone
Every time I come back home
And there ain’t nothin’ left in this town for me

Old friends scatter like marbles on the floor
Just like me they left for something more
And now it seems like every time
We come back, our lives don’t align
And I show up as they’re walking out the door

There’s a CVS where the grass and trees grew tall
And at some point someone put a carpet down in the Mall
I know that nothing stays the same
But I wonder sometimes how much change
It takes before you don’t recognize a place at all

But who the Hell am I kidding, anyway?
I’ve never been the staying kind
Is it really that absurd to say
I never really loved this place
But, damn it, it was mine?
Track Name: Black Walnut Stains
The hills of my homeland are honeycombed with caverns
And my heart is tattooed with black walnut ink
And try as I might, despite how far away I’ve come
I can’t drive the twang from my voice when I drink

I’m a boy from the hills
Lost in a field of soybeans
And I can’t see a damn thing
When I gaze across these plains
55 South’s a fiddler
Who sold his soul to call me
Back to where my heart
Got these black walnut stains

In Illinois they grow corn, but not to make moonshine
Chicago’s got a lake, but it ain’t no Pomme de Terre
it took being miles away from home for months and months on end
To recognize the beauty of the world I know down there.

44 East is carved
Deep into cliffs of limestone
And no matter where I stray I know
My roots are deeper still
I’ll put a girdle ‘round the Earth
But something calls me home
A piece of me lies buried
In those rugged Ozark hills

I am a poor, wayfaring stranger
Traveling through this world alone
There is no sickness,
Toil, or danger
In that fair land to which I go
I'm going there to see my father
I'm going there no more to roam
I am just going over Jordan
I am just going over home
Track Name: The Blackest Crow (ft. Eli Van Sickel)
Traditional

As time draws near
My dearest dear
When you and I must part
What little you know
Of the grief and woe
In my poor aching heart

'Tis but I suffer for your sake
You're the girl I love so dear
I wish that you could come with me
Or I was staying here

I wish my breast
Was made of glass
Wherein you might behold
Oh, there your name
Lies wrote, my love
In letters made of gold

In letters made of gold, my love
Believe me when I say
You are the one I'll love the best
Until my dying day

The blackest crow
That ever flew
Would surely turn to white
If ever I
Prove false to you
Bright day'd be turned to night

Bright day'd be turned to night, my love
The elements shall mourn
If ever I prove false to you
The sea would rage and burn
Track Name: Matty Groves
Traditional

A holiday, a holiday
And the first one of the year
Lord Donald's wife came into the church
The Gospel for to hear

And when the meeting it was done
She cast her eyes about
And there she spied young Matty Groves
Walking through the crowd

"Come home with me, come home with me
Come home with me tonight
Come home with me, young Matty Groves
And share my bed tonight"

"Oh, I can't come home, I won't come home
And share your bed tonight
By the rings on your fingers
I can plainly see you are my master's wife"

"But if I am Lord Donald's wife
Lord Donald's not at home
He is out in the far cornfields
Bringing the yearlings home"

And a servant who was standing by
And hearing what was said
He swore Lord Donald he would know
Before the sun would set

And in his hurry to carry the news
He bent his breast and ran
And when he came to the broad mill stream
He took off his shoes and he swam

Matty Groves, he lay down
And took a little sleep
When he awoke, Lord Donald
Was standing at his feet

Saying, "How do you like my feather bed
And how do you like my sheets
How do you like my lady
Who lies in your arms asleep?"

"Oh, well, I like your feather bed
And well, I like your sheets
But better I like your lady gay
Who lies in my arms asleep"

"Well, get up, get up", Lord Donald cried
"Get up as quick as you can
It'll never be said in fair England
I slew a naked man"

"Oh, I can't get up, I won't get up
I can't get up for my life
For you have two long beaten swords
And I not a pocket knife"

"Well, it's true I have two beaten swords
And they cost me deep in the purse
But you will have the better of them
And I will have the worse"

"And you will strike the very first blow
And strike it like a man
I will strike the very next blow
And I'll kill you if I can"

So Matty struck the very first blow
And he hurt Lord Donald sore
Lord Donald struck the very next blow
And Matty struck no more

And then Lord Donald he took his wife
And he sat her on his knee
Saying, "Who do you like the best of us
Matty Groves or me?"

And then up spoke his own dear wife
Never heard to speak so free
"I'd rather a kiss from dead Matty's lips
Than you or your finery"

Lord Donald, he jumped up
And loudly he did bawl
He drove that fine sword through her heart
And pinned her against the wall

"A grave, a grave", Lord Donald cried
"To put these lovebirds in
But bury my lady at the top
For she was of noble kin"
Track Name: On the Banks of the Ohio
Traditional

I asked my love to take a walk
Just a walk a little way
And as we walked along we talked
Of when would be our wedding day

And Only say that you'll be mine
In our home we'll happy be
Down beside where the waters flow
On the banks of the Ohio

I asked her if she'd marry me
And my wife forever be
She only turned her head away
And had no other words to say

I drove a knife into her breast
And told her she was going to rest
She cried, "Oh Willie, don't you murder me
I'm not prepared for eternity"

I took her by her golden curls
And dragged her down to the riverside
There I threw her in to drown
And I watched her as she floated down

Was walking home between twelve and one
I cried "Oh lord, what have I done?
I killed the only girl I loved
Because she would not marry me"
Track Name: Grieving and the Empty Sky
I don’t know how to mourn
If there’s no god for you to go to
No better place to which you've
Floated off to ever dwell
And I don’t know who to thank
For the mercy of your passing
Or who to blame for your life collapsing
Into a sterile, senseless Hell.

If there’s no trumpet to sound
No angel band to surround you
And the lack of blinding white light
Confirms that we’re alone
Then who will bear you away
On their snow white wings
To your immortal home?

I guess I should be thankful
That I have had the fortune
Not to lose anyone important
Since my youthful faith ran dry.
But who’s around to thank?
There’s no plan and there’s no reason
And no architect to believe
Is holding all the reasons why

If there’s no grace to guide me
Through these dangers, toils, and snares
And no grace to give my fears relief
Then where’s the hallelujah in the by and by?
Who will save a wretch like me?

I look up from this foxhole
To the unchanged, empty sky
For now I've found that I am lost,
With no one to ask why
I look around for signs of grace
All faithless and bereaved
That sweet mirage is long gone since
The hour I last believed.
Track Name: Outsourcing
My heart is understaffed and ill-equipped
For almost anybody’s basic needs
And almost anything you throw at it
Will be outsourced to neurons overseas.

And while there may be concepts with no cognates
In their native tongue of synapses and rationality;
And though at times they’re at a loss for how to conjugate
They usually can get the gist and sidestep faux amis

So, press one for apologies
Two for advice
Three for my sympathy
Four for a fight
Five for a sounding board
Six for a hand to hold
Seven for patience
But something is lost in translation

You might detect the slightest foreign accent
Or note the shades of meaning don’t quite match
At times I may offend by accident
I’ll always have my share of holes to patch
But with a tiny little bit of luck
You’ll never notice anything’s amiss
My brain has diligently studied up
On proper protocol for sticky situations such as this

What’s it mean to love and hate
When all your lines are scripted,
Pulled from your own detailed notes
That tell you how to feel?
And if it’s second nature now,
Then does it make a difference
If it’s all one big charade
Or if it’s real?

And even if I’m faking,
The fact remains I make you happy.
Maybe I’m just caring in my antisocial way
Still my outsourced neurons make mistakes
So forgive me
If, at times, I don’t know what to say
Track Name: Jameson and a Hole in the Wall
I usually wait a long time before I try to write about things
Because my brain needs time to boil the events
Down to something that makes sense
But my heart is not a whiskey still
And it demands that I give its pain a voice
As raw as the pounding in my head
And the churning in my gut
And the cuts on my knuckles
I'm sorry I couldn't give you the joy you've found where you are
It must be pretty great if it's worth tearing me apart
It's a joy beyond all my comprehension
Because I thought
Being with you
Was as good as it got

And I don't understand how the part of you that's happy
And the part of you that has the gall to claim to love me
And the part of you that broke my heart
Can exist in the same universe
Much less in the same beautiful woman
There's a hole in my bedroom wall now
But you know that
Because we were still on the phone when I made it
And I know I'll have to fix it
But I'm thinking of framing it
And naming it after you

I get that you want to stay
And I get that you can't ask me to stop wandering
Because you at least have the decency not to be an altar to burn my dreams on
There's nothing for me where you are except for you
And I could give up everything and come back
And I could take a job at a bank or something
But then you'd feel guilty
And I could tell myself I'd be happy but I wouldn't
And the truth is there's no telling
How long you'd have to wait for me to take root somewhere
And even then you'd still have to pack up
And leave the magical happiness you've suddenly found

So maybe in your shoes I'd do the same thing
But that doesn't help me any more than hearing you still care
Or that you're sorry
Because there's not enough remorse in the world to absolve you
Even though you could still undo all of this in a second
Because I still love you
And even though I don't believe in fate
I can't make sense of a life without you
But I know nothing's gonna fix this mess
So I guess I'll dive into a sea of whiskey
And drift from actress to actress to keep from drowning

I'm not sorry for a word of this
And even though I'm not writing it to hurt you
I can't help hoping it does
Because when you break a singer's heart this is what you get.
Still, hating you isn't an option
And anyway you still have half my stuff and I owe you money
The hole in my wall and the scuff mark
Where I threw my notebook
Are right next to the calendar you bought me
And the part of me that wants to burn it
And the part of me that would instantly take you back
If you said this was all a mistake
Somehow exist in the same broken man
Track Name: John Wayne
Eli Van Sickel Cover

I'm sitting here in Clinton,
Watching the cars go by
And when I see what the people are doing
It makes me wonder why.
Is it because I'm faithful?
Is it because I'm strange?
Sometimes I feel I'm in the movies
Just like John Wayne.

I don't have a girl,
Never had one to speak of.
Some people I know give their girls the world
And all the time they call it love.
But I don't believe in that.
I don't believe it's real.
Sometimes I feel I'm like John Wayne,
With the Mexicans, making a deal.

I'm sitting here in Clinton,
Watching the sun go down.
And when I look at this world I'm in
It doesn't make me frown.
Cause I know there is bad things,
But there is also good.
Sometimes I feel like I'm riding the range
Like John Wayne
Track Name: I am a Paragon of Rational Behavior!
I’m not superstitious
But I still tap the ceiling of my car
When I make it through a light
Just as it turns red
And I don’t believe in much
And I rarely wish on stars
After all, they’re light years away
And they’re probably dead

I’m not superstitious
But every time I eat Chinese
I refuse to read my fortune
Until the cookie’s gone
Maybe I just want people to think
I’m quirky and unique
But if that’s the case
Then why do I do it when I am alone?

I’m not superstitious
So I’ll never call Macbeth “the Scottish Play”
Or turn, spit, and swear
And ask to be let back in
Just to prove there’s no curse
I say it thirteen times every opening day
But I get worried sick if I don’t commit
That cardinal sin

I’m not superstitious
But my lucky $2 bill
Never leaves my wallet
No matter how broke I get
Six years ago some guy told me
To take it somewhere cool and pass it on
I took it all the way to France
But I haven’t passed the buck yet

I’m not superstitious
And I laugh at those who are
I mean, come on, dude, clean up the salt
And move on with your life
But maybe I should face the fact
That all this stupid shit I do
Fills the same damn void
And helps me sleep at night