Apprentice to Ghosts

by Wrinkle Neck Mules



(c) 2012 Wrinkle Neck Mules / Gold Dust Twin Music (BMI)

All songs, except track #5, recorded live December 1-5, 2010 at Bernice Lane Studio, Ruckersville, Virginia and engineered by Chris Kress. Track # 5 recorded on the Dog Chow Mobile Unit, 2009.


released February 21, 2012

Produced by Wrinkle Neck Mules

Edited and Mixed by Chris Kress at PMD Recording, Charlottesville, Virginia

Art and design by Adam Stockton at The Martin Agency



all rights reserved


Wrinkle Neck Mules Richmond, Virginia

Don Imus once said that the Wrinkle Neck Mules “don’t have what it takes to make it”. Despite Don’s prediction, the band has garnered a cult following in their 14+ years of creating a “righteous Americana mishmash”.

To date, they have recorded 5 albums on Atlanta’s Lower 40 Records and Germany’s Blue Rose.
... more

contact / help

Contact Wrinkle Neck Mules

Streaming and
Download help

Redeem code

Track Name: When the Wheels Touch Down
Caught up in glue
Living like a daydream
Looking like somebody new
All stitched up in your tight seams
Raised in the ripples
Call for the drinks we need
It looks plain and simple
But when they cut, they don’t bleed

Up on the stake
When the wheels touch down
The shovels and rakes
Bury us right down in the ground
I know what’s at stake, when the wheels touch down

No points in the quiver
The headwall comes crumbling
So hot that we shiver
And our mouths they start mumbling
But you can try to defend
And stay off of your back
But the lips get swollen
As the widow makers they make contact

Let the tongues speak in tongues
And let the starts get finished
Let the necks get hung
Before they even know what the sin is

Why don’t you just let it come clear?
I have been passed over
Track Name: Stone Above Your Head
Take your harvest from the soil
That is blacker than the color of the coal
But you’re never gonna keep anything you try to reap
If you pull it from the dusty Georgia bowl

All the blossoms from the Magnolia
Have shriveled up and fallen to the ground
And I know I should have told you
That the rust was gonna tear your engine down

When the stone’s above your head
And you’re driving in the nails
When you’re gone what kind of song are they gonna sing?
When the clay falls upon the pine
All that remains is what you leave behind
When you’re lying with that stone above your head

Sit and listen, tune them in
Hear the trials and the hardships of my kin
Taken by the tones of the Cactus and the Rose
And the rhymes that Garry Stewart used to spin

All the easy people running to me
You can see their chickens running through the yard
Put them on the table every Sunday
Then they bow their heads and give thanks to the Lord
Track Name: On Wounded Knee
Back of the napkin scratch out
The words that I’ve learned
But they don’t come, just cracks and hums
Like nothing I’ve ever heard
No place to stay no fire or rain
No number or ratio
No gauge to give a warning sign

I guess we all should have known
What the downside might be
As we swore and prayed and stood and gazed
At some beast we never did see
Coming winter’s chill in Charlottesville
With no leg to stand on
That’s about where I draw the line

Scrape off the time elapse
Push myself right up to the collapse
Will you know me when I’m down on wounded knee?

Well the blood ran down and covered up
Everyone I’ve ever known
Mangled hands and best laid plans
My my haven’t we grown
Back to the mirrors where we can’t hear
The screams and shouts below
I tell you boys it’s about time

There are high towers and deep wells
There are strokes and heart attacks and spells
Will you know me when I’m down on wounded knee?
Track Name: Apprentice to Ghosts
Sky was turning pink
Day began to think
It won’t be long till night is taking over
Coming with the winds
The trees began to bend
And the August heat gave way to mid-October

Take the timber and turn it into gold
Because the yearlings are no more in the field
Save the branches and the stories you been told
Because the ones who were no more are still here
Apprentice to Ghosts, I’m learning to be
Apprentice to Ghosts and dead leaves

The high beams start to shine
Illuminate the eyes
Of the possum and the white tail on the shoulder
Light off into the night
Like a sparrow taking flight
Starry skies just echo what he told her

Just like water to the seed
It provides you everything you need
And you’re running from the house
But no screams are in your mouth
Track Name: Patience in the Shadows
Puff my chest to fill my lungs up
Spread my hands as if they’re wings
Everything is in doubt again
Feel the back tires spin
On the dirty couch once again I lie awake
While morning sucks the nighttime dry
Well it’s good that it’s overcast today
But I’m at home if I close my eyes

Patience in the shadows
And driving nails into thin air

Silently in the backrooms we wait
Paragraphs of nods and grins
I hope we can stand when it’s time to go on
But it’s alright if we don’t even try

Well, I guess we’ve made no progress
The same talk we had 18 years ago
Let’s just get our guns and rob them
And hope to hell our cover is not blown

Open wide to scream my lungs out
But I don’t say a thing
Everything is in doubt again
Track Name: Double Blade
Banjo moon in an Autumn sky
Hollow back but ringing bright
From the North it’s blowing strong
Telling sign that it won’t be long

So hand me down my chopping stick
Put that blade up to my lips
Going to brave the winds and head on down
Bury that blade right in the ground

And it’s on its way
On your knees and pray
I keep my faith in the double blade

Now the limbs and leaves are getting thick
Push that flame into the wick
When I catch my eye in the polished steel
Before the winds I bow and kneel

Lord the list is getting long
Ain’t nothing I’ve tried that I ain’t done wrong
Can’t explain how I know how I know
To find my way on the long road home
Track Name: Parting of the Clouds
In my line of sight, particles are swimming
I can reach up and touch outer space
This hospital room is no good place to spend the night
But from myself in here I will be safe

Somewhere along the river my hands start talking to me
The left in disagreement with the right
Like Vincent Van Gogh, I cut myself in two
There’ll be no coming morning to this night

It’s not the truth but it’s the answer I gave
A forked tongue speaks every word I say
Is this the point, where the whole thing comes unwound?
Stand by for the parting of the clouds

The back eddies swirl, hot like a temper
I catch them in the riffles and the runs
When this all got started, that much I don’t remember
But they tell me I’m not the only one

There’s a light at the end of the funnel
Strapped down and hit up with something good
There’s a storm brewing out on my equator
I think it’s time I throw myself before the judge
Track Name: Leaving Chattanooga
Oh, you’re never gonna find me
Up Lookout Mountain down in Tennessee
Think I better cross that line
Leaving Chattanooga Behind

Down in the valley people all the same
So I turned 12, changed my name
Dropped my accent and hopped a train
You’re never gonna find me no more

I was too young to fight but I took my turn
Flying in the belly of a big iron bird
30,000 feet, I saw the world
You’re never gonna find me no more

Back in the soil I became a spy
Working for Hoover and the FBI
Rolling undercover with aces high
You’re never gonna find me no more

From the Tennessee Valley to the D.O.C.
Hiding up yonder in Germany
I left Tunisia at the break of day
Landed in the water down in Tampa Bay
Track Name: Liberty Bell
Much has been written from the droppings
My ears and eyes are sinking low
Why don’t we just sit down and have a conversation
There’s no telling where the words might go

I hear that you ran off with the weatherman
From that Baltimore station
Any fool can tell when it’s raining
In fact, I can see a storm brewing now

Net worth and networking
Well, you know, it’s just not working for me
All alone sitting here at the table
With all the other punch drunk honorees

I’ll ring you the liberty bell
Many times we stumbled, we finally fell

The gold don’t laugh and men they cast no shadow
It might look deep but here the water’s shallow
The soil might look rich but the seeds will prove it fallow
The drugs might feel good but it’s a bitter pill to swallow
Track Name: Banks of the James
River was running, trembling low
Just like your voice on the payphone
Words have been whispered but none were so sweet
As the promise you made to betroth

Down by the trusses and crossing of ties
Where the black water touches the land
The light from the city and the light in your eye
Would witness me taking your hand

But all the lights of Surry County never saw anything
Reflected across the river and fell upon me
Light is fading to day
Waited around
On the Banks of the James

Long are the hours that pass in between
Dusk and the blanket of nightfall
Bright are the beams that shine through the branches
Eager to see your arrival

Currents run strong and they carry along
All debris that they pass on the way
Carry you down slowly turning to brown
Like the man you came to betray
But you never came back up that day

Where the black water touches the land
You gave me your word you’d give me your hand
Why’d you go and betray your man?
Now you’ll never come back up again
Track Name: Central Daylight Time
The roof blew off the club in Oklahoma City
The fireman said, “the show can’t go on”
So we spent another night somewhere in New Mexico
Drinking until all our money was gone
We had a day to kill so we climbed up a mountain
Walked straight down the other side
Picked up a hitchhiker on the way back to Taos he said, “thank you boys for the ride”

If I could separate what’s real from what I’ve been dreaming
I could live to fight another day
If I’d have listened to my mom
When she said don’t be believing everything those writers say
There’s no line at the door and only 30 people bothered to advance pay
If I could separate what’s real from what I’ve been dreaming
I could live to fight another day

We unpacked everything and we set it all up to play 3 songs on a radio show
You never can tell if anyone is listening
And I guess it won’t kill us what we don’t know
So we play them just the same and we tell them our name
And where to find us on the computer screen
When we’re packing it up I hear Stu on the phone saying, “baby I’m living the dream”

We’ve got to sell 10 t-shirts or 20 cds to get from Stephenville to Houston town
There are people there who care a little about me
And you know they won’t let the poor boy down
Well its 5:29 Central Daylight time
When the 5 of us come strolling in
And its smiles all around because its 76 hours before we got to be leaving again
Track Name: Dry Your Eyes
The time has come to blow out the candles
Pardon me if I was confused
Dry your eyes and never grow old
There’s no need to stoke up the fire
It’s warm enough when you breathe

Stack the wood high, like the king of the castle
Warm red wine makes me so bold