Ghost Towns

by John Statz

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about

Inspired by grimey, war-torn Balkan towns and dying, broken down American cities, “Ghost Towns”, the brand new album from John Statz, is the direct result of several years of hard touring around the United States, Canada, and Europe. Whether it was bullet holes and bombed rooftops in Sarajevo, or desolate abandoned buildings and decaying main street America, the album title seemed very pertinent to the state of the world today. Many of the songs were written on the road, in varied locations such as West Virginia, Colorado, Hungary, and on a night train headed into Bosnia-Herzegovina.

While the title does not tread lightly, the album is full of upbeat tracks, as this is John's first full-band record. Joined by a talented group of Madison, Wisconsin musicians (including Blueheels/Blake Thomas drummer Adam Cargin, and songwriters Jeremiah Nelson and Whitney Mann), the album finds a comfortable mix between the straight-ahead rockers and the mellower tunes. Tracking locations for the record varied from the 100+ year old farmhouse his father grew up in to the new Blast House studio in Madison, to Jeremiah Nelson's bedroom and “sonic laboratory”. Two of the songs were actually written, recorded and mixed at Budabeat Studios in Budapest, Hungary.

credits

released August 12, 2010

Produced by John Statz & Jeremiah Nelson

John Statz: vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, banjo, toy keyboard
Ben Johnson: electric guitar, mandolin
Matt Donoghue: upright bass, electric bass
Adam Cargin: drums
Whitney Mann: vocals
Jeremiah Nelson: electric guitar
Shawn Drake: violin

Tracks 1-6, 8, 9 Recorded & mixed by Jeremiah Nelson & Andrew Hartman at the following locations:
Drums at the Statz Family Farmhouse in Dane, WI - November 2009
Vocals at The Blast House Studios, Madison, WI - February 2010
Everything else on Sommers Ave., Madison, WI - Nov. 2009 - May 2010

Tracks 7 & 10 Recorded & mixed by Adam Szabo at Budabeat Studios in Budapest, Hungary - January 2010

Mastered by Justin Perkins at The Mystery Room, Milwaukee, WI

Layout and Design by Jeremiah Nelson
Front cover photo by John Statz
Other photos by Jeremiah Nelson

Pressed at Sooper Dooper, Madison, WI

All songs written by John Statz © (BMI) except "The Wichita Waltz" by Statz (BMI)/Nelson (BMI)/Hoshaw (ASCAP)/West

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about

John Statz Denver, Colorado

One of the more prolific and hard-working young songwriters working in the Americana genre, John Statz has released seven studio albums, and performed all over North America (including Canada and Mexico) and Europe, all in just a shade over a decade. Throughout that time he's been writing "the kind of songs that float through your mind and stay nestled in your thoughts" (American Songwriter). ... more

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Track Name: Ghost Towns
Like Cleveland, Janesville, Camden,
or East St. Louis, where they used to make,
the things that we would all use every day.

Now we've shipped it to Korea, China Indonesia,
left like Ghost Towns, of the old west laid to west,
and left decayed.

They say, "lets get with the program,
there's nothing like the globalization"
of our paychecks, bank accounts, and place to stay

Lets give free trade to the masses,
cuz Americans have assets,
like satellite tv's, big cars, iPods, and fancy dress.

Left you drowning in the street,
bills a rope around your neck
and that big ole flatscreen tv,
wont mean a thing to me when you're dead.

We're kept separate by the waters,
cut off from one another, where we used to play,
in fields as kids at night time with the moon.

Now lets get out of the suburbs, these modern sprawling deserts,
and take back all,
the cities, towns and counties we once knew.

Left you drowning in the street,
bills a rope around your neck,
and that big ole flatscreen tv,
wont mean a thing to me when you're dead.
Left you drowning in the street,
well bills a rope around your neck,
and we'll talk about the hard times,
the ones we ain't be leaving yet.
Track Name: The Wichita Waltz
It was cold in the spring,
we lived under turpentine skies.
The blue prairie wind,
kicked up the dust in our eyes.

With your dad in the war,
and your mom working doubles each night.
Well she gets home at daybreak,
sits at the table and cries.

"Where have you gone, my truest one?
Where have you been, my lonesome love?"

That summer went fast,
and we'd become lovers by fall.
We saved up some cash,
for a place outside Wichita.

Kept missing our payments,
and the bank it took back our home.
And I took to drinking,
and left you late nights a lone.

"Where have you gone, my truest one?
Where have you been, my lonesome love?
What could I have done?
What could I have done?
What could I have done?"

Now the house sitting empty,
and I'm on the road every week.
Moving freight 'cross the country,
missin' you though we don't speak.

And I kicked the bottle,
but you picked it up is what I heard.
Just watch yourself darlin',
cuz that stuff wont leave you un-burned.

"Where have you gone, my truest one?
Where have you been, my lonesome love?"
Track Name: Disclaimer
Well tell me how far gone are we, cuz I keep losing track.
There's better men out there than me, and I can't help those facts.
Some talk to god, some talk to Jesus, well I talk to myself.
Sometimes the best laid plans are broken, by everybody else.

You could say, "hello", but you don't need to.
Thats the kind of thing you can't predict.
I could clean up, but, I don't want to,
domestication never seemed to fit.

I could play guitar for hours, and you could hang alone.
I could go out with my friends, and you could stay at home.
I could get you something special, buy you that new dress.
You could follow me from town to town, and never rest.

You could take one last look, in that shop window,
the view inside will never be again.
I could take this old number to the limit,
these songs have got me like they're cigarettes.
Track Name: Jackson Hole
Keep your eyes on the Mississippi River,
ain't no river gonna tell you any lies.
Forget about that girl down on Jeni Street,
she'll tell 'em while she looks right in your eyes.

Don't sing your songs for the half-drunk students,
they're too busy singing songs about themselves.
Just sing your songs for the broken people,
they're just trying to put some groceries on their shelves.

Take a ride up the St. Lawrence River,
I'll bet Montreal is shining just as bright.
Its getting darker now, feeling the winter coming,
she'll be cold but she can't have your light.

I ain't talking about that time,
that we went down to Jackson Hole,
and camped among the bears.
I ain't talking to you until,
its over and done,
and there is nothing left there.

All them women, they just tell you that they miss you,
if you want to keep them you can't leave their site.
They'll tell you, "boy, don't you listen to the river,
all the promises the river makes are lies."

I ain't talking about that time,
that we went down to Kansas,
and you let down all your hair.
I ain't talking to you until,
its over and done,
and there is nothing left there.
I ain't poking 'round for someone else,
to fix my problems,
I ain't got a problem with myself.
I ain't waiting 'round for you,
to talk it over,
maybe some day you'll be back with someone else.
Track Name: Everything To Me
Lock up the front door, and throw away the keys.
Leave no footprints on the floor, this house means everything to me.

This house means everything to me,
This house means everything to me,
And I never thought I'd leave,
This house means everything to me.

Heading down along the coast, waves as far as I can see.
When I'm in that driving mode, it means everything to me.

It means everything to me,
It means everything to me,
Feel that old, chill, highway breeze,
It means everything to me.

Leave me my old record player, that old time music's what I need.
The sounds of A.P. Carter wailin', those songs mean everything to me.

They mean everything to me,
They mean everything to me,
Reminds me that my time is leased,
They mean everything tome.
Track Name: Best Girl
Well back in the summer of '16,
there was a young woman I was seeing,
and I'd pine for her and sometimes she'd respond to me,
well back before the war and everything came in between.

Well when I got back was March of double 19's,
had gone 'cross the ocean, protecting the land of the free,
well France was as much of the world as I wanted to see,
back to Kansas City to find my best girl of '16.

On the train through Illinois,
well she is restless on my mind,
hoping that she is unwed,
and that she took her time.

Well pulled into Union Station, military bands played loud,
nothing there was ventured, and nothing there was found.
Climbing from the rail car, my eyes gleaming 'cross the crowd,
well I found my best girl waiting, and I kissed her on the mouth.

Now we got us a place in Jackson County,
my God and my country say they love me,
but Uncle Sam, well he still owes me money,
and I'm flying home 'cuz my girl is my country.
Track Name: Julija
Julija, wont you bury me,
down the hill from your first home.
I taught you the smallest things,
you taught me to live alone.

Julija, don't remember me,
as I was when I'd grown old.
Keep in youthful company,
keep your heart from growing cold.

When I was young, I lacked patience,
Now I'm older and I can't shake it.
You'd think I might want repayments,
for all the times that I have wasted.

Julija, do you not believe?
You played muse and helped my song.
Keep a copy by your bed,
play it soft when I am gone.
Track Name: How Best To Survive The Flood And Save The Girl
I dreamed I saw a levee crumble,
fall and turn the rivers red.
Disturbed, I wandered to the doctor,
told him what was in my head.

He told me I could tell him things,
whatever's on my mind,
but as he watched me closer then,
all I told were lies.

Back to my home in the Delta,
laid along the river banks.
Suitcase packed my wife was leaving,
told her that she must come back.

"This world is just too big for you,
too big to careless through".
She said, "its not that you aren't beautiful,
its torture leaving you."

Woke that night the storm above had opened sky and drenched the dirt.
Ran outside, the house was breaking,
from its foundations and the earth.

The house could find itself a place,
to stay and rest awhile.
Treading water thinking fast,
I swore my love, I'd find.

Just when I could swim no more,
had given up on life.
I spied a floating twin-sized bed,
and onto it I climbed.

Floating past the doctor's office,
on his roof watching the scene.
I laughed inside and headed west of town,
to where I knew my love would be.

Her mother's house was gone, instead,
the willow tree she'd climbed.
Hopping down onto my bed,
we just let that river wind.
Track Name: Night Train To Sarajevo
I can't recall,
I can't recall that place anymore.
I'm tempted more,
I'm tempted more than you'd believe me.

We are drawn to the current like a,
moth to a flame.
Drawn to the evidence that cannot be contained.
You can take to the railways, or you can take to a plane.
Drink to your innocence or drink to your blame.

I have to rest.
I have to rest but I'm so wired.
When I wake up,
When I wake up will it relieve me.

We are drawn to the current like a,
moth to a flame.
Drawn to the evidence that cannot be contained.
You can take to the railways, or you can take to a plane.
Drink to your innocence or drink to your shame.

To your shame...
To your shame...
Yes you and I are just the same,
We can all share a little blame.

We are drawn to the current like a,
moth to a flame.
Drawn to the evidence that cannot be contained.
You can take you a message, and
I'll do the same.
Get you some living in with what time remains.