By the Side of the Lake

by Wes Weddell



WW Band digs deeper...

“Wes Weddell is a master craftsman as a songwriter...a must-have album.”
-Wildy Haskell, Wildy’s World


released March 29, 2010

Produced by Wes Weddell & Alicia Healey

Recorded at The Winterblue Room: Seattle, Wash.
Engineered by Alicia Healey
Mixed by Alicia Healey & Wes Weddell
Mastered by Mark Guenther, Seattle Disc Mastering

All songs written by Wes Weddell, ©/(P) Dusty Shadows Music/ASCAP

Cover Photograph: Erika Sheehan

*Physical copy also contains cover of "Below" (Slaid Cleaves/Nicole St. Pierre), available via other digital outlets (iTunes, Amazon, etc.)



all rights reserved


Wes Weddell Seattle, Washington

Wes Weddell hit the scene in 2001 with a grant to gather regional stories and turn them into songs. More records followed, along with the occasional award, increased sideman appearances, and the founding of a Seattle-area non-profit dedicated to creating community live-music spaces. No signs of slowing reveal themselves... ... more

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Track Name: The Gap
Outside, it’s colder than it ought to be,
Looks like it’s starting to rain
Dark clouds’ve been rolling in and out,
And this one’s decided to stay

Sometimes I go a little crazy
When I don’t have quite enough to do
Tonight I’d planned to take it easy,
But I’ll just end up thinking about you

Another day here getting older
Beats another day off wasting time
Trying to bridge the gap between what I say
And what’s on my mind

When I was nothing but a stranger,
Stranger things would find me every day
Now my defenses lie in tatters,
and everyone just looks the other way


Tonight I feel all right, and I’ll take it
Someday soon, I’ll share it with all of the world

Inside, my heart drops like a thunderbolt
Rattling the windows from within
Five counts since lightning hit the ground,
Feels like it could always strike again

Track Name: Remember When
No way out of the city
Living wall-to-wall
Stacked on top of one another’s dreams
Big trucks keep on rollin’ by
Doors stay locked all day
Nightfall oozes silhouettes and steam

I don’t want to live this life forever
This is not where I was s’possed to be
I fall asleep at night counting daydreams floating by
Saying: “Remember when you could’ve been me?”

Grew up smaller just like you
Promised everything
Didn’t know what I had till it went
Not the kind to stick around,
But they changed the locks on my hometown
Left me counting chips already spent


I’m just one of the fifty percent
Who’d rather live someplace different
Opportunity came and went on its own
Maybe I’d rather live with kin
Or go see the world before clocking in
One thing I know for certain:
I ain’t alone

Track Name: By the Side of the Lake
Well, it’s that time of year
When the weather turns ’round,
And, despite all the promise,
You want out of town
You’d trade all you have,
Do whatever it’d take
To pick up and move
By the side of the lake

When I was a kid
The world just was that way
It was mine to discover,
It lay frozen in place
And when I saw the chance
To choose what road to take,
I’d follow the one
By the side of the lake

The soft-spoken hillside,
The smell of the pines,
The flash on the water,
The sun in your eyes
Can lift you above
Whatever’s at stake
It’s hard to be down by
The side of the lake

These days I watch
And I wonder aloud
Just where on the timeline
We find ourselves now
Has this all been coming
As steady as rain?
Or are we now authors of
New rate of change?

’Cause with each passing day
And the spread of the news
It’s same as it ever was,
Maybe times-two
Off’ring mem’ries to new fam’lies
Out on the take
Who can score themselves spots
By the side of the lake


The growl of the diesel,
The lock on the gate,
The shiny new fiberglass
Bought out-of-state
Was I just a lucky one
Stumbling through fate?
’Cause now it’s hard to be down
By the side of the lake
Track Name: Out of the Way
There’s a halo of dust hanging over the hills
From the work on the road and the work in the fields,
And we’ll pay for it later once we breathe it all in,
But it sure makes the moon look good

’Bout five miles away there’s a pond and a dock,
But they’re just not as cool as this hot parking lot
Where you wait for your buddy whose brother
Can pass for eighteen

I can still hear it calling
’Bout this time of year
Take me just a little bit out of the way
For summer

At the edge of the steppe near the county line
Amber waves give way to knotty pines,
And though daylight has faded, the workday has not,
And everybody’s got something to cut

Peter and Mack are headed down the grade
With their jake brakes flapping every inch of the way
When the short-line pulled up and the boxcars pulled out
It never did sound the same


You spend a few years wishing you were just a little bit older
And a lifetime after just wishing you could take it back
But take me just a little bit out of the way for summer
And I can

The great-horned owl works the graveyard shift
When its finally too dark to shoot hoops or fish
Or to make one more pass through these
Endless rolling hills

Grain in the bins, hay in the barn,
Logs on the truck, and kids in the park,
And a whole lot of people who’re only just
Passing through


Head south on 95
Don’t expect to follow signs
Turn the radio on, roll the window down
Pull your foot off the gas when you blow into town
Track Name: Not Now
My name is A.J. Kirby, lived here all my days
Took the hand that I was dealt and never once complained
It ain’t what most would seek, but I believe it takes all kinds,
And I wouldn’t trade a penny here for any other dime; oh ...

Grew up like the others, spread around the bay
Learned what elders taught me, settled debts in trade
Made it through the winters that carved me into shape
Never viewed my simple life as anyone’s escape; oh ...

The grass is always greener, ’specially by the shore
And one can have it both ways now come darkening my door
Not that all is black-and-white—more people means more sale
But you never see a sign for schools or hospitals or jail; oh ...

Keep a candle burning in the window here tonight
Make yourself at home, I’ll be back before it’s light
Eat and drink and carry on for time waits for no vow
Not here, not now

Change has come to Washington, it’s found its way here, too
And you’d be surprised by friends of mine who helped to see it through
But the devil you don’t know may be a different kind of man,
And I hope that he won’t write us out of any future plans; oh ...

This ain’t no Copperhead Road, it’s just a dead-end drive
If you’re cursed to be the age you are still working to survive
The folk who come ’round half the year may one day up and find
That in that place where you have everything, there’s nothing left behind; oh ...

Track Name: I Like What She Did to Me
I was finally moving on something,
Couldn’t sit still anymore
I’d had a thing for her cousin
And I thought I’d get a foot in the door
There was a dance at school on the weekend
I’d probably have to wear a tie
And say all the right things
While I leaned on her folks for a ride

She taught me a lot about heartache
She was never who I wanted her to be
I fell down hard,
Then shuffled the cards,
And I like what she did to me

A few months later the story broke
I guess I was ahead of my time
Soon she was turning ’em down
Just as fast as they could form a line
Now I’d all but forgotten the cousin
Don’t know what made me think that I had the right
To crown her perfect—
Thank God she didn’t bite


It’s hard to hum along before you know the tune
But you can fall in love before you know the rules

We’re still in touch and stay friendly
I see her every now and again
I’ve got a whole other set of questions
Than I did back then
She looks more and more like her mother now
Can’t say that’s what first drew me in
But it’ll string me along,
Wishing after leaves in the wind

Track Name: Dear Abby
If I saw myself in Dear Abby, would I know it was me
In that letter filled with troubles like those that I’ve been known to see?
Would I stand tall on the mountaintop, or the nearest gentle rise,
And shout to the world, “I’m changing my ways,” or just turn to the funnies and sigh?

If I saw myself in Dear Abby, I know just what she’d say
In a kindly response that didn’t mince words and faithfully spelled out the way
She’d say: “Get out, go on home, pick up the pieces and spend time alone
With your heart and your hunger, then pick up the phone and start it all over again”

Well, I saw you once in Dear Abby, easy to see it was you
It was a blustery day in the middle of May, maybe you saw me there too
I said: “Hold on, wait here, I’d like but a bit of your time”
But when I returned you’d up and moved on, and relatives tell me you’re fine

So now I sit with Dear Abby, whose inky heart lies on her sleeve
She smiles to this day, still with plenty to say, but nothing to make me believe
From the barroom to the barbershop, she watches me with her gaze
Daring me still, in a test of my will, to reach down and turn the page
Track Name: On My Watch
It’s a bumpy ride down a rocky road that sometimes disappears
But a half-dozen generations know the way
No one knows why, back in ’75, JP and PJ left their old-world lives
For six-score acres in the palm of the Mitten State

On my watch I’ll keep her standing
On my watch she’ll never fall
As town creeps closer and the years blow by
The mill might stall and the well might dry,
But the house stands guard on Newaygo County line

They don’t make Great Lakes timbers that size these days
And the staircase ain’t to code—
Hell, the lock could hardly keep a mule deer out
And there ain’t much growing on the sandy farm,
But the trees gave way and the bank held off,
And all year long the children come around


Grandpa Charlie’s old fiddle was just a Sears-and-Roebuck dream
That worked its way to one day coming true
He’d tap his foot and pull his bow and tighten down the strings
And Waltz Across Texas with you

It’s a last resort, it’s a treasure chest, it’s an autumn smorgasbord
With logs to split most any time of year
It’s hub-cap hockey on a frozen pond or the springtime promise of another dawn
Where you can chase your troubles out of here

Track Name: Got Out Some
Two things I used to think everyone knew
’Bout the nighttime:
One was that sundown brings quiet;
The other, that darkness is cool

You learn what you see, and, while temperate was me,
I got out some
While chiggers and kudzu be damned,
I’m glad to have traveled the land

One night in Texas will learn you,
One Georgia moon’ll set you straight
Put a Northwestern soul on a Southeastern shoal
And he’ll tell you there’s more than one way

Two things I used to think everyone knew
In the winter:
One was that snowfall is common;
The other, that driving’s for fools

You learn what you see, and, while frigid was me,
I got out some
Though freeways and Freon be damned,
I’m glad to have traveled the land

One night in Scottsdale will learn you,
One Orange County moon’ll set you straight
Put a new mountain man in a high desert land
And he’ll tell you there’s more than one way

From the redwood forests to the oceans white with foam
God blessed America, my home

Two things I used to think everyone knew
’Bout their worries:
One was that everything passes;
The other, that all will be well

You learn what you see, and, while blessèd was me,
I got out some
So callous indifference be damned,
I ain’t giving up on this land

One night in mourning will learn you,
One mission moon’ll set you straight
Ask a fortunate son once his journey’s begun
And he’s seen that there’s more than one way
Track Name: Thanks to the Many
I stood on the port side, reached for the shore,
And watched as the waves rolled themselves out
It was like a moment of knowing in a lifetime of not,
Like the sun breaking through a Jet City winter sky

So I reached in my pocket, pulled out a stone,
And sent it skipping on to someplace better
As I thought to the last time I thought that I knew
And wanted to hang on forever; oh ...

Now, it might take a village, it might just take time
Ain’t no way ’round it but through
Give thanks to the many, treat yourself kind
Count yourself lucky when it’s true

For there have been: lovers and dreamers; fathers and friends;
Sisters and singers; pilgrims and prophets;
There have been dancers and drifters; sailors and saints;
Teachers and tillers; rounders and ringers;
Captains and cast-offs; barkers and beggars;
Nobles and night owls; healers and hold-outs; oh ...

Wherever I wash up, whatever remains
Whoever is standing there with me
Give thanks to the many, treat yourself kind
Count yourself lucky, stay for the credits
All of you: students of wonder; moved by the moment;
Caught in a landslide; stuck in the shadows;
You may be hell on the highway; heading for home;
Or still in pursuit of your pastures of plenty; oh ...