Loose Lips, Sunk Ships, Bruised Hips, and Booze Sips

by Ben Balmer

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released September 19, 2015

Ben Balmer: Guitar, Vocals, Harmonica
Josh Flowers: Upright Bass, Vocals
Aaron Parks: Drums and Percussion
Jeff Plankenhorn: Dobro, Weissenborn, Plank, Electric Guitar, Mandolin, Baritone Acoustic, Vocals
Guy Forsyth: Saw
James Anderson: Fiddle
Dylan Rieck: Cello
Grace Park: Vocals
Vivienne Wilder: Vocals
Douglas Jay Boyd: Vocals

Recorded as live as possible at Rivertone Studios in Martindale TX, by Mr. Mark Jungers.
Mastered at Congress House Studios by Mark Hallman
Original artwork done by Nicholas Quiring
Layout by Jim Balmer

This album is dedicated to James Gilmore Balmer Jr, Helen Balmer, Randy Solis, and Joseph Dulin. I miss you all.


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Ben Balmer Austin, Texas

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Track Name: Dark-Haired Girls' Tattoos
The first ink i saw was on her neck, an anchor that said no regrets,
her grandaddy died in the second world war,when a U-boat put him on the ocean floor,
i guess every mark upon her skin is a way to take her back again,
to a special place, within her mind, a catalogue where she can always find,
a friend.

Don't be afraid to push down hard,
she's been down this lonely road so many times,
she just don't know where it starts,
paint a picture with this ink,
drag the needle cross her skin, so she can
finally have a place to stop and think.
all these old stories seem new....
on that dark haired girls' tattoos.

She rolled up her sleeve and showed an ace of spades
said she got it after winning in a card game.
it was the first time she ever got a little bit of cash,
bought her very first car and crashed.
Yeah she's bled for every decision she's made,
that's why her knuckles read "stay away"
so every lie she told, ever curse she threw,
ever man she loved then broke in two,
won't fade.


She's got a lightnin' bolt for how fast time fades,
a compass to guide her wanderin' ways,
six little keys on a ring built for more she won't tell me what those are for.
yeah our mind's a canvas too easy to forget,
but her flesh is papyrus to a prophet.
they're her secret runes, her holy glyphs,
a portal through some ancient rift,
she lept.
Track Name: Worth
she's a wild one, she convinced herself of that,
she's just pages of a magazine, torn out for scrap,
she'll race you anywhere, just as long as she comes first,
but she'll only take the love she thinks she's worth.

She'd be my huckleberry, with a pistol in each hand,
quote passages from books i'll probly never understand,
she'll stone me til i'm bloody, til my hearts about to burst,
but she'll only take the love she thinks she's worth
yeah she'll only take the love she thinks she's worth.

Just give it up, just a little bit,
it's not the burden, that you think it is.

She's rolling stone, yeah she's a lover and a tease,
she's that paralyzing feeling that you get before you sneeze,
she'll make a castle crumble just to hear stones hit the earth,
but she'll only take the love she thinks she's worth,
yeah she'll only take the love she thinks she's worth.


I'm a spyglass, to the fissure in her throat,
i'm the space between the words she thought before she got em' wrote,
it's a holy blessed thing, to see her smile at a curse
but she'll only take the love she thinks she's worth,
yeah she'll only take the love she thinks she's worth.


Don't be afraid, to push that stone away
Track Name: The Gunslinger
A bitter taste, that's left on the tongue,
a smoking gun, i knew it was wrong.
he tried to draw first, but he knew i was faster,
i shouldn't have kissed her,
that man would have loved her.

her name was Irene, she was patient and clean,
that man's worshipped dream, a heartbroken queen.
Just a flick of my wrist, and i end that mans life,
i widowed his wife, just a roll of the dice.

On my chain another link, i can't help but think,
that bullet looked better on me,
i'll just turn another page, watch life pour away,
to the river that i love to miss.
just a kiss... just a kiss...

Now the years pass by, i ride through this town shy,
i see Irene from time to time, i can't look her in the eye.
she gets worse every day, all the folks in town say,
got no words left to pray, just watches life slip away.


I had to save what was left, of my soul to be kept,
so through that window i crept, i came in while she slept.
i put the gun on the bed, said i need to be bled, if you wish it i'm dead,
just put that iron to my head.

She said i wish you to hell, her words rang like a bell,
her voice healthy and well, and turned the gun on herself.

Track Name: Juniper
Hand through my hair surprised me,
my old habit was denied me,
they're smooth and they're terrifying,
they're big and they're beautifying.

Ruminating, cloven pacing, why should i, have to be the one,
who bears the brunt.
Juniper there is no cure, this crown is mine, i'm entwined with this,
uprooted mind.

Sprouts from my brain, watered by rain, towards the sky from my mind i will own my own pain,
leading towards heaven, away from this place,
there's no going back from this forresting lace.

Mirrors never told me the truth,
just lied and pushed me right out of view,
i tried to bind them back with bandage,
stop myself from doing some damage.

Branching breathing, constant weeding,
now my crown, cuts me to the quick. In the thick of it.
careless thinking, too much drinking,
tried to stop, them just please slow down,
just please slow down.


My mind tends to make itself up,
up and up and up and up.
the bird's singing over me now, make their houses in my boughs,
Slowly learning, candle burning,
waxing and, waning hand in hand, trying to understand.
separating, still migrating,
why should i, try and stop this mess, perhaps it's progress.
Track Name: Summer Knees
I remember the two dimples in the small of her back,
as she walked away from me 'cross those railroad tracks,
her boots did crunch and sink in the rocks around the wood,
while mine just stayed rooted to the spot to which i stood.
I tried to be a strong man i tried to be the one,
she could go to with a problem, i tried to be her gun
she's load me with her instincts and pull my hammer back,
squeeze along my trigger and i'd fire, with a crack.

Summer knees, come back please,
take me home petoskey stones.
summer knees, help me please,
if you can, lake Michigan.

I suppose it was my fear, i guess it was my pain,
that pulled her even closer, i was meant to entertain,
each sexy little notion, in her ocean that i took,
spun around and finally found a little nest inside her brook,
but the water kept on spinnin, she left me all alone,
crawled soaking up a beach made of smooth petoskey stones
but i built myself a home there made of better days and rum,
and i forget about the tempest that leaves in my ears this hum.


They say a man who lost his hand can still feel his fingers move,
its a surprise every time when he goes to reach a tool,
does that mean she was a part of me, a limb just like my hand,
severed from my body but my brain can't understand.
I think that must be it, that must be the reason why,
I can't fix this with a hammer, or cut it out with a knife,
you can mend a thing that's absent you just wish that it was back,
while you buckle at your knees, thinkin bout railroad tracks.
Track Name: The Ballad of Mariette DuMarier
She was a lioness a duchess of the dark,
from Chicoutimi, with her husband on her arm,
he was a soldier made his life in Montreal,
proposed to her that winter 'neith the castle carnaval,
their love quickly turned sour when he learned to use his hands,
against her moonlight body, til she could hardly stand.
She waited patiently until one fateful day,
this is the story of Mariette DuMarier

It was their anniversary three years ago this day,
when he promised her a happy life and children they could raise
but last year her dreams of children vanished by his fists,
when his calloused knuckles hit her, and laid her womb to rest,
"Bonjour my loving husband," Mariette did smile and say,
"i've made for you this breakfast, lets celebrate this day,"
it was his favorite three eggs and corned beef hash,
rye toast and apple butter, left over succatash.

au revoir, au revoir, mon amour, mon amour,
On ne me trouve plus 2x

Those hands that struck her daily, they showered her with gifts,
strung pearls round her neck, and brushed her smiling lips,
last of all a box was placed upon her milky thighs,
just another bribe she knew for all her blackened eyes,
she opened up the lid revealing silken lengerie,
garter belts and corsets, a whale-bone bustier,
"you'll wear these for me tonight" he said, "to celebrate our love,
these past three happy years, and countless more to come."


the evening came quickly and the moon was shining bright,
he called to Mariette his plan was beating her that night,
she said "lets take a lover's stroll, let me just change my clothes,
i've fixed you buttered rum inside your thermos by the stove"
they walked round the frozen pond where he had drilled a hole to fish,
he sipped his buttered rum and was feeling quite refreshed,
Mariette undid her winter coat to reveal what was within,
that bustier and garters, and flawless porcelain skin.


She pranced onto the pond and her husband followed close
her steps were light and sure, while his were drunk and slow
he stumbled on that ice, his hands were slow and stiff,
Mariette just danced ahead, and teased him with her hips.
"i hope you like that rum she said, i was worried you'd suspect,
i guess its' just that poison takes some time to take effect"


His breath was slow and ragged as he heard the words she spoke,
he fell down to his knees and struggled not to choke,
Mariette began to drag him towards that hole he drilled for fish,
"this is for my body, that you promised to cherish,
it's also for the children that i will never bear,
explain that to the devil, when you see him under there"


Her skin shone in the moonlight as his body sank away,
This is the story, of Mariette DuMarier
Track Name: The Last Time
This road is long, but my tires have traction,
just smile in my rearview, just to get a reaction,
there's no hope in sorrow, so why do i feel like there is,
Puttin miles between us, so i can forget her,
but my car smells just like her, like a half-wrote love letter,
not finished or signed, sweet words crushed, and thrown on the floor.

Well we said we were done, said there'd be no more seein,
but she stayed every night, despite our agreement,
suppose i'm a fool for thinking this wouldn't be tough,
i just wish that i'd known it'd be the last time we'd ever make love.

Now the nights seem longer, i'm longing to hold her,
had a dream about touching that tattoo on her shoulder,
i can't help but wonder, if she dreams about me at all.
But thinkin' like that that'll get me nowhere,
just lead to another night, of grief and dispair,
we never did work, but how quickly i seem to forget.


These roads look the same, but there's comfort in that,
things simple and strong tend to keep me on track,
there's no drama in gravel, no heartbreak in rubber or steal.
but my eyes keep wandering o'er to the west,
i still can't tell the difference, tween relief and regret,
there's no honor in running, so i guess that's why i'm in this car.
Track Name: Gasoline
A subtle truth is clear, that you and i together melt with icarus' feathers,
while our ankles still stay tethered but not to fear.
for while my love has cheapened, it's also deapened, despite, the things you put me through.
i can hear you calling, through my falling in love, with falling out of love with you.
you gotta help yourself.

Falling through this old device, of boy and girl together recreating stormy weather,
while we think ourselves quite clever we're cold as ice.
but while i'm slowly sinking, i can't help thinking, bout' love. and why it's not enough.
without some milk and honey, cars and money, you're out, goodbye you lose life's tough...
you gotta help yourself.


Just that rainbow sheen of gasoline,
Pulls my focus in entirely,
Far away from that awful dream,
of that live oak tree.

Words are easy not to mean, for though my calloused sentences are underbelly sensitive, words screaming they're not tentative to me.
but while my feet keep running, you know i'll be gunning for more, exciting things to come.
For if my heart's still worth breaking, you know i'll be taking the time, to smell that bloody rose.
You gotta help yourself.
Track Name: Her Kestrel Voice
Well you found yourself a missing perch,
sank talons' slowly in a pale birch,
what better place there is for you to start to chew,
the words you threw the words you knew would run me through.

It was the day that i noticed a change,
saw the glimmer in your eye start to fade,
saw the outline of your feathers pressing up under your skin,
it made you sin, it made you sin, it made you sin

So take to wing, my darling,
leave me in peace, for i'm longing to sleep.

When i heard your kestrel voice at last,
oh you gnashed and clacked your beak it moved so fast,
opened arms that used to hold revealing wings that now can fold,
you made me old, she made me old, you made me old.


With a feather-tipped hand you waved goodbye.
and a cloud of down and pinions left behind.
flapped your wings across the ground, a breeze came strong without a sound,
it made me drown, you made me drown, she made me drown.
Track Name: Biscuit
Just look at those shelves boy, see how they're only filled with memories.
and look at your frame boy, you're empty and i can't fill you up with stories.
i know she's your friend boy, she held you up when you took your very first two steps,
but this is the end boy, believe me when i tell you that she knows it's for the, best.

Sometimes you gotta let someone you love deep inside of you, side of you,
call her by name and she'll come without thinking she'd die for you, die for you,
she's your guardian, she's giving in, oh oh oh.

So c'mon girl, don't act like you've never been on this walk before,
don't you whine girl, you won't have to worry once i lead you out this door,
you're beautiful now girl,
you kept us safe with your every living breath,
but this is the end girl, i tied the knot, on the rope around your neck...


Choking through this toxic mist, slowed by all of the obstacles that we hit,
stifled life in grey and brown, the bridge ain't far where we used to cross into town.
knotted again just in case, the choice is made, we must not waste.
she sees it suddenly betrayed, pendulum twitch into the calm decay...


Put it over your shoulder, you know this isn't over,
don't forget, don't forget your grace boy,
you're not a four-leaf clover,
well it's an old rule, this give and take is bearable,
don't forget don't forget her face boy cause every angel is terrible
Track Name: Show You My Love
I don't think i'm not the one,
just an explanation come undone,
of a lofty thought i must confide,
i wanna show you my love and make you mine,
i wanna show you my love and make you mine.

I can't promise you you'll be satisfied.
but we can't know if it works if we don't try,
so just think on it and then decide,
if i can show you my love and make you mine,
i wanna show you my love and make you mine.

It's not like i am claiming all or nothing,
just take your time and claim that you feel something

It was the first time that i heard your voice,
or maybe just the way you showed your poise,
well no matter what it was i can't deny,
i wanna show you my love and make you mine,
i wanna show you my love and make you mine.


I'm such a sucker for that accent now,
the way you shape your words and make those sounds,
it's so funny that a misspoken line,
will make me wanna show you my love and make you mine
i wanna show you my love and make you mine.


Take courage man, before your heart goes broke,
there's a cord of smoldered wood that i must stoke,
lodged deeply under all my flesh and bone,
it's petrified so long it's turned to stone
it's petrified so long it's turned to stone.
Track Name: Goodbye/War Like Boys
It's the birches that I miss the most,
those pretty white trees on the coast,
with a Michigan smile, and love in her eyes,
the only thing left to say is goodbye
So goodbye, goodbye,

My father taught me how to be a man,
how to fight with my words not my hands,
but on days such as this, i clench up my fists,
just looking for something to hit,
so goodbye, goodbye

But all of her chances and all of her friends,
are falling asleep at the wheel again,
it could have been envy it could have been pride,
that fractured the piece of her deep inside,
but loose lips and sunk ships and bruised hips and booze sips,
she don't wanna be asleep when she dies.

So goodbye, goodbye

My mother prayed for me every day since i was born.
she asks the lord to keep me safe and warm,
but on days like today, i forget how to pray,
i forgot how to ask her to stay,
so goodbye, goodbye


Can we war like boys tomorrow,
can we wrestle like two lovely young men.
can i write you your sweet song tomorrow,
can i write it then.

I've got a lot to say, not enough to write down,
but when it's gone, oh sinner, it's gone.


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