Last Call

by Stephen Simmons



Last Call was recorded in Nashville by producer / engineer Eric Fritsch (Scott Miller, Carter Little, Rowland Stebbins). Features performances by Kenny Vaughn, bassist Dave Jacques, drummer Paul Griffith and cellist David Henry. Album folk art by Preacherman Eric Pace.


released June 14, 2004



all rights reserved


Stephen Simmons Nashville, Tennessee

Stephen Simmons was raised in the small town of Woodbury, Tennessee. As a songwriter and Ten years as a Road Dog, Stephen’s vision has grown to entail more than just reflections of rural America. Stephen’s records (which were compared to everyone from Johnny Cash to Ryan Adams) combine virtuosic songcraft and musicianship with unparalleled artistic honesty. ... more


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Track Name: The Good Life

Well I’m laying on your pillow baby
Your glass full of wine
The finest of chocholates baby
That money can buy
Sheets made of satin
Carpets strung with gold
It’s the good life baby
God forgive your soul

So you’ve read Steinbeck baby
You’re well versed in this world
And you’ve read those urban poets
I know you studied up North
But tonight you’re slumming girl
Your class be damned
You wanna show me the good life baby
So God’ll forgive your soul

Well I’ve got problems baby
Your money can’t solve
And I’ve got issues baby
I’ll probably never resolve
Maybe you’ve got a good heart
Maybe you’re really so blind
But if you’re looking for redemption now baby
This ain’t where you’ll find it

But you know the sun’ll come up
To replace the moon
And you know I’ll always think of you baby
If’n I leave too soon
And I know that good heart of yours will
Probably cry till noon
But you’ll get used to it baby
Just like the rest of us do
Track Name: Last Call

Well last call for all you sinners
I thought I heard the bartender say
And I took it kinda hard
Though I’m sure he didn’t mean it that way
The next thing that my mind knows
I’m sitting right there in those stiff wooden pews right on the front row
Preacher’s gotta Bible in one hand and a fist in the other
And he’s got one last chance to try and save my soul
But then I’m jerked back to reality with all my fellow sots
And I look around the room
And I have a drunken thought
And I think of how the two situations are alike really a lot
You know, for two things that well really are not

Mamma get off the phone
I’m waiting on Jesus to call
He said he wouldn’t be gone long
But it’s been over ten years now
I think it’s time he finally called me home

So there I was there in my quandary
Finally having to come to terms with all my dirty laundry
Now I’m no worse than any other man here
Just by far probably the thirstiest
Thirsty for sin, but yearning for knowledge
Thirsty for gin man, and learning what I’d forgotten
You know I ain’t looked in a mirror man in over ten years
At least not looked in one honest


Now I’ve made up my mind, it’s time for this to end
Tired of this lifestyle tired of all this sin
Tired a going to bed man and just not knowing
If I’ll ever wake up again
Now I don’t know what’s got me on the ball
Ready to get down on all fours and start to crawl
Maybe it’s intuition, maybe it’s gall
Could be intervention, Hell the writing’s all over the wall
Don’t remember how I got down here, don’t care, don’t recall
But it don’t matter man, once you’re gone

Track Name: County Lines

There are boys here in this county
Who can race and shoot and run
Lead you to an early grave
Really show you how it’s done
Drag you through these gravel roads
And blind you with their shine
Make you wanna lose your breath
Make you wanna lose your mind

And there are girls here in this County
Who can tease you with their love
Control you with a wink
The way they smell, they way they look
They lay down by the lake
Until they’re brown and golden tan
They can take you out at night
And turn your truck into your bed

County Lines
Run in funny ways
But once they draw ‘em up
They don’t ever change
They say you can’t go back
So don’t even try
Take one more step
And kiss your County goodbye

Things down here don’t ever change
That’s just the way they’re done
Before you’re ever born
We decided for you son
That boy’s just like his daddy
And his grandpa on and on
Makes it hard to leave behind
But so easy to be from

And you may think you’ll have some say
In when you come and go
Just cause you drive all over town
All over every county road
But you’ll be sick when you wake up
And realize it’s gone
Yeah you stayed here all your life
But your life left you alone


You keep moving
Trying to leave it behind
Just end up in some other small town
Behind some other County Line

Take one more step and kiss this County goodbye
Track Name: Betty I'm Married

Well this beer’s as cold
As the night is hot
And Satan’s own coals
Ain’t as hot as Shreveport tonight
I’ve been down here working
But tonight I’m playing
And I’m going home Sunday
Back to Macon

Well I knew that she
Was trouble when I seen her
And I told myself I was just being nice
Till her hand was on my knee
And I know that she saw
Saw my hand and saw that ring
But I swear that’s when Betty
Moved a little closer to me

Betty I’m married
Betty I’m taken
But she ain’t here with me
Tonight to save me
Yeah I’ve been lonely lately
And you got me thinking
That you sure look good to me
But Betty I’m married

Well the band did play
And Betty did sing
And she kept pouring drinks
And she kept playing me
And I found myself
Out on the floor, out in her arms
Swaying to the music
Of a beat that I can’t keep


Well the morning light
Is always bright with no blinds
And she lay sleeping there
So beautiful in my eyes
And she wakes to find me staring
And she’s glad that I ain’t gone
Yeah it’s Monday morning
And I’m glad to be home
Track Name: Calling

Can’t you hear him calling
Your Lord is calling you home
Best you head the warning
Find him before he comes

I dreamed this song last night in my drunken head
Woke up this morning but I still wasn’t dead
Can’t you hear him calling
Your Lord is calling you home
Track Name: Loserville

Well it’s another dead night around here
Another Saturday night here in Loserville
And all us losers are looking for something to do
Well Robert Earle’s my best friend
And my Daddy used to work with his
Way back before they shut down the Textile Mill
Well Bobby and William both live up the road
And I’ve known ‘em for years now forever I suppose
Not a bad group all in all as losers go
Well I stole a twenty from my old Man’s wallet just cause it was there
And we took off down the road just drinking our beer
A dangerous combination of nothing to lose and nothing to fear

I didn’t know just how fast life goes
Took it for granted just because it wasn’t fun I suppose
I suppose

Well old man Johnson lives on the outskirts of town
That crazy old man, nobody goes around
Nobody ‘cept for punks like me and my friends
We’d pull up in his yard and throw bottles at his house
Open all his gates and let his cattle out
And just for a laugh drive back by again
Well I guess he finally got tired of all of our shit
The day he came running out of that house choking that thirty-ought six
I just prayed to God that he’d miss
Well I heard the glass shatter and blood hit the dash
Heard Bobby screaming but William didn’t make a sound
And I was going too fast to ever slow down
Well I tried to gain control but I ran off the road
Ran right through his front yard right through his soul
The look on that old man’s face forever etched in stone


Well William’s been dead for almost six years
Heard Bobby moved off and had a couple kids
And they say Robert Earle these days most of the time don’t even know where he is
But he was in the front seat with me on that cold January day
The day that old man bloodied that rusty Chevrolet
I still remember him screaming “Look Out!”, guess those were the last words that he’d ever say
Well me I finally got out of that town
Got thirty more years and I figure I’m Hell bound
Sometimes I’d like to say that I’m sorry, but I don’t know just who I would tell


But me I can’t help wonder tonight in my cell, what’s going on tonight…..
down in Loserville.
Track Name: Dirty Side Of Me

Your eyes how they sparkle
But I’ll never know why they shine for me
Cause mine are dark and guilty
Ashamed of all they’ve seen
And Girl your image of me’s distorted
But mine is sharp and keen.
And I’m a lot more like something that you’d fear
Than something that you’d dream.

Cause there’s a dirty side of me that you ain’t ever seen
Done things you wouldn’t believe
Things that are evil, things that are mean
And I ain’t trying to scare you
Honey I just don’t want to deceive
Cause your as good as gold and mine’s a ragged soul
But I think that’s why God sent you to me

Your words how they linger
But I’ll never know how they came to me
Cause even though my ears are open
I’m long past listening
And girl your prayers have somehow saved me
From the things I’d stopped believing
And I’m a lot more like something you can’t take back
Than something you’d chose to keep


Yeah, you’re as good as gold and mine’s a ragged soul
But I think that’s why God sent you to me
Track Name: Forgive Me Father

The summer sun was sinking
My lonely heart was aching
Cause I thought that I was breaking that girl
She drew me in the evening
But threw me out in the morning
And I guess I had it coming that way

Oh a strange fair-skinned girl
With blonde hair looks like an Angel when she prays
Forgive me Father
For what I done here today

I told her I was a singer
I knew that she was dreaming
When she laid back on my bed drinking her rum
She never thought I was a scheming
As she laid back just listening
Never thought that I was coveting her touch


She held me tighter than a lover
Who just wants to play
And in some strange twisted way
It’s all that kept her from going insane
Forgive me Father
For what I done here today

I woke up in the morning
Wondered why no birds were chirping
As the kettle was brewing my cup
There weren’t no bells a ringing
No new angel’s wings a singing
Cause the whole time I was clipping them off

Forgive me Father
For what I done here today
Track Name: Shirley's Stables

I hardly take the old road since they built the Interstate
Man I don’t know what possessed me guess I just felt like riding today
I see Shirley’s Stables all boarded up and let go
Truth be known that’s why I always take the Interstate home

Ten years ago these stables were home to the best Thoroughbreds in the land
Danny named this farm after Shirley, this farm he built with his own hands
And Danny was my best friend, but there was talk all over town
Cause Danny was a jealous man, and things were starting to get out

The weeds have all grown up out in the pastures
Where nobody ever rides at all
The barn ain’t nothing but an empty stack of stalls
But there’s a ghost in Shirley’s Stables
That haunts the hills and the dreams of us all

I still remember where I was the day they called the law
I was out back in the main barn shoeing a mare that we just bought
Sheriff had a lot of questions said they found Shirley dead that night
Found a bullet in her chest matched the one in Danny’s 45


Sometimes I miss those days and the horses that I used to train
Working on my best friend’s farm that shared Shirley’s name
Sometimes I miss those nights and the way that Shirley held me tight
All the times that we’d hide out the time that she was mine


I hardly take the old road since they built the Interstate
Man I don’t know what possessed me
Guess I just felt like riding today
Track Name: Lay On The Tracks

Trying to find the silver lining
In this cloud
Is like trying to take a beat up old guitar
And trying to find the sound
I’m down in the floor
I’m out in the trash
I’m the ashtray over in the corner
That you never clean out the ash

Baby you’re gone and you ain’t never gonna look back
But I’m the type of guy you know I ain’t never been good at that
Cause If I can’t ride on the train
I’d just as soon lay on the tracks

You can lay new floors now baby
You can repaint your walls
A different tile every spring
A new color ever fall
But I’m down in the cracks
And the creases of your floors
And I’m in the closets of the rooms
That you don’t use anymore


I see you driving down the road
Adjusting your mirror
You turn it over to the other side
So you can’t see me here
But I’m under your hood
In the plugs and the wires
Still spinning outta control
Down in the tracks of your tires

Track Name: Just Like Love

Sometimes you can’t see
Looks like it should but your heart deceives
Cause it takes up all the space in your mind
And it grips you tight
Freezes you till you’re paralyzed
You know it runs on it’s own time

Well it’s just like
It feels a whole lot like
Almost and close to what you’re trying to find
But it’s not true
And it’s not blind
It’s not love but it’s hard to deny

You know it messes with your mind
Messes with the way you feel inside
She’s got that look boy in her eyes
And she looks as good
As you hoped she would
She comes to you but pulls back when love binds
Back out of your arms boy back out of your life


I want to see you
But you’re busy tonight
I feel relieved I feel pushed aside
And I don’t know you
And I don’t know what you hide
But you give me an excuse to half try

Track Name: Shut-up Samantha

Well Samantha loves her baby
She feeds him everyday
She comforts and cradles him
In the usual ways
She put a lot a thought in what to name him
Puts a lot a thought in what time she bathes him
But if you ask her why she made him
She just looks away
Well Bobby don’t work much lately
Says baby I don’t care what they say about the economy
And sometimes he yells but she tells herself it’s his baby
And she tells herself he’ll change

Shut up Samantha
You ought to hear the crazy things you say
Your life’s in danger
If you choose to stay

She visits her mama on Sundays
Lets her see her grandbaby
Sunglasses and extra make-up
Helps her hide her shame
Well three years ago this Thursday
In her prom dress she was the queen
But the bills and reality
Brought a change in her king


There’s a castle in the sky for kings and queens
And there’s royalty in your mind every night
When you dream
But there’s a dragon on the bridge girl
That breathes pain and fire
And you wake up crying every time

Track Name: Grey Skies

Grey skies, dead trees
Rain slowly rolling down their brittle leaves
Wet roads, can’t see my way
Wipers dragging across my windows with a tattered blade
Left home, this morn
Left a place I’ve been ashamed of since I was born
Driving on, this road
Trying to forget, trying to forgive, trying to move on

The wheels are turning faster now
Why can’t I just get past it now
Just when I think I’ve lost it
It’s back around
Here somehow

Cross words, bloody lips
Years of resentment balled up in a clinched fist
Babies cry, kids hide
But mama and daddy hide too behind their lies
Fell down, silly me
Go out and play child and let your daddy be
He’s had a hard day, a hard life
A million excuses a million lies


Don’t know where, I’m bound for
But I just couldn’t stay where I was anymore
Just driving on, this road
Now I’m driving fast, driving on, but I’ll never be alone
Put the pedal down, turn the music up
Anything to drown out, anything to speed up this truck
Guess I’ll know it when, I get there
Maybe see the sun, see the stars, maybe breathe new air


Grey skies, dead trees
Rain slowly rolling down their brittle leaves
Track Name: Baptism

Water was cold and it was clean
As the Preacher took my hand
Leaves rustled in the trees
Said tonight the Lord shines on you young man

The wind picked up into a breeze
Heart tried to beat out of my chest
He said Son do you believe
Washed me in the blood and made me complete
Track Name: Bow Down

Well I’ve tried to work the land here most all of my life
And It’s run me in the ground
And it ran off my wife
I got a check here in my pocket from some big developer in town
Daddy’s turning in his grave
He never thought I’d sell out

When Becky moved out
She took Justin with her
He’s my only boy
The thing I love the most on Earth
Sixteen years old, but I think he understands
How I hate his momma and he resents his old man

Cause I bow down to a dollar
I bow down to the man
Any thing to ease my pain
Man I open up my hand
And I bow down to the Devil
Take his money in my hand
Prey Jesus ain’t around man
To see me bow down

I took the money that I made from the farm
Got a place just out of town
Took a job with the county patrol
But word sure does get out fast when someone can be had
And say what you wanna say but there’s a price for every man

Them Campbell boys that live out on Red Hill Road
Got a trailer there in the woods
Where they cook up their meth and there crack coke
I look the other way see that they don’t get caught
Cause a man just can’t live off of a state paycheck alone


Well I was working late that night got a call ‘bout 3am
There was a party out in a trailer ‘bout three miles from Red Hill
They’d called in an ambulance some kid was looking bad
Got a call from the Campbell boys don’t let this get out

I walked in the trailer and them kids all scattered out
Paramedics had a body face down overdose no doubt
But I know that hair them clothes and them shoes
There lay my first born dead at my own hands

And I bowed down to my master
I bowed down to my Lord
Fell to my knees
And cried in the floor
And I pray Jesus will forgive me
Cause God knows I never will
Please Jesus swing down
And see me bow down
Track Name: Sweet Salvation

This old white line is longer
Than the time I’ve left to roam
I always thought I was stronger
I thought by now I’d have found my home
But you can’t wait any longer
You’ve been waiting all along
Cause pain ain’t nuthin’ without hunger
And my soul’s been starving for so long

Sweet Salvation
Finally know where I belong
I’m ready for redemption
Ready to finally go home

Well I set out just a young man
Hell-bent to make this world my own
But even the best of laid plans
Can fall apart out on the road
And I don’t know how I found you
In the kind a places that I roam
It’s always the fool that’s the last to see
It was more like you that found me