Steve Earle
The Hard Way

Last updated:  27 October 1997


The Hard Way album cover



The Other Kind
(Steve Earle)

I woke up this morning and I took a look around at all that I got
These days I've been lookin' in the mirror and wondering if that's me lookin' back or not
I'm still the apple of my mama's eye
I'm my daddy's worst fears realized
Here of late all this real estate don't seem all that real to me sometimes

I'm back out on that road again
Turn this beast into the wind
There are those that break and bend
I'm the other kind, I'm the other kind

Now my old buddy, what's his name, says, "Man what the hell are you thinkin' 'bout
Fool, you got two of everything, but you hang your head just like you was down and out"
And I'm damn sure not suffering from a lack of love
There's plenty more where that came from
Ah - but leave it up to me to say something wrong and hurt someone before I'm done

You see it used to be I was really free
I didn't need no gasoline to run
Before you could say Jack Kerouac you'd turn your back and I'd be gone
Yeah nowadays I got me two good wheels and I seek refuge in aluminum and steel
Aw, it takes me out there for just a little while
And the years fall away with every mile



Promise You Anything
(Steve Earle, Maria McKee, Patrick Suggs)

No curtains on my window
Outside the sun is sinking low
I feel you letting go
I will promise you anything

Wind whispering in your ear
I'll tell you what you want to hear
If you'll only let me near
I will promise you anything

Well, I don't have to prove my intentions are golden
I don't have to tell you where we're goin'
Feel somethin' wild baby out there blowin'
If you follow me

Run with me if you dare
Hold on I'm gonna take you there
Solemn as a prayer
I will promise you anything

No curtains on my window
Outside the moon is hangin' low
True colors start to show
I will promise you anything



Esmeralda's Hollywood
(Steve Earle, Maria McKee)

Nights fall hard on Hollywood
The stars don't come out like they should
Up above the world so high tonight
They can't outshine the neon lights
Now the golden days are gone for good
In Esmeralda's Hollywood
She comes out when the sun is gone
But she don't have to walk alone
Cause once the darkness takes this town
She ain't the only ghost around
Waitin' by the public phone
If it don't ring she heads back home
Esmeralda, Esmeralda girl, what are you waitin' for
Esmeralda, Esmeralda, can't hang around this place no more
Searchlights rip the L.A. sky
When you look in Esmeralda's eyes
The people come from miles around
To see the kings and queens they crowned
Behind the barricades they stood
In Esmeralda's Hollywood
Aw, wait until the sun goes down
Listen for the lonely sound
Esmeralda's hanging round
No one shed a tear that day
When Esmeralda passed away
All up and down the strip they say
It was just like any other day
The evil struggled with the good
Down in Esmeralda's Hollywood



Hopeless Romantics
(Steve Earle)

You can love most of the people
Most of the time
Now and again if you're lookin' I'm sure
You will find
Someone who's helplessly hoping
That someday
They'll finally find the one
Hopeless romantics keep hoping that
Someday will come
Used to be you could be sure that a
Warrior was true
Nowadays everyone knows that it's cool to be blue
Constantly circling close to the flame And then stopping on a dime
Hopeless romantics will go down in flames every time
Hopeless romantics drop everything and run
When they find a broken heart
Always afraid that they're missing someone
With time on their hands and a missing part
So one of these nights when you're
Sitting at home all alone
And you've finally admitted you're lonely
Right down to the bone
You might as well get on out in it
'Cause you've got everything to lose
And hopeless romantics are always
At home with the blues
And a broken heart
Find the missing part
Hopeless romantics are usually
Hopelessly true



This Highway's Mine (Roadmaster)
(Steve Earle)

I'm running down this highway
Don't remember where I slept last night
I just remember halfway through the night
I woke up stiff with fright
I dreamed there was no asphalt
I dreamed there was no gasoline
Felt like a rat caught in some nowhere town
I woke up and screamed

This highway
This highway
This highway
This highway
This highway
This highway's mine

I grew up on the dragstrip
I used to shut em down
I used to take their pinkslips
There's a sucker born in every town
I never showed no mercy
I blew them all away
They stood there and cursed me
As I towed their lives away

I used to run the cocaine
I used to run the weed
These days I'm just running
Tryin' to make this highway bleed
Sometimes the only difference 'tween me and this machine
Is I run on desperation
She runs on gasoline

I'm the Roadmaster
The Asphalt Blaster
Mess with me and I'll shut you down
The bad thing
The highway king and I've come to claim my kingdom now



Billy Austin
(Steve Earle)

My name is Billy Austin
I'm Twenty-Nine years old
I was born in Oklahoma
Quarter Cherokee I'm told
Don't remember Oklahoma
Been so long since I left home
Seems like I've always been in prison
Like I've always been alone
Didn't mean to hurt nobody
Never thought I'd cross that line
I held up a filling station
Like I'd done a hundred times
The kid done like I told him
He lay face down on the floor
guess I'll never know what made me
Turn and walk back through that door
The shot rang out like thunder
My ears rang like a bell
No one came runnin'
So I called the cops myself
Took their time to get there
And I guess I could'a run
I knew I should be feeling something
But I never shed tear one
I didn't even make the papers
'Cause I only killed one man
but my trial was over quickly
And then the long hard wait began
Court appointed lawyer
Couldn't look me in the eye
He just stood up and closed his briefcase
When they sentenced me to die
Now my waitin's over
As the final hour drags by
I ain't about to tell you
That I don't deserve to die
But there's twenty-seven men here
Mostly black, brown and poor
Most of em are guilty
Who are you to say for sure?
So when the preacher comes to get me
And they shave off all my hair
Could you take that long walk with me
Knowing hell is waitin' there
Could you pull that switch yourself sir
With a sure and steady hand
Could you still tell youself
That you're better than I am
My name is Billy Austin
I'm twenty-nine years old
I was born in Oklahoma
Quarter Cherokee I'm told



Justice In Ontario
(Steve Earle)

Oh you who hail from Ontario
Know the tale of the Donnelly's Oh
Died at the hands of a mob that night
Every child and man by the oil torch light
Jim Donnelly was no angel sure
But they burned his barn, broke down the door
Well the children cried while they killed old Jim
Then they killed his wife, then they turned on them
No judge, no jury, no hangman, no justice in Ontario

A hundred years or more have turned
And you always hear how much we've learned
Well a man lay dead in a Port Hope bar
And the blood ran red on a hardwood floor
And the big men ran through the nearest door
Only one man knew what had happened for sure
Well one and all wore the outlaws' brand
And the big bikes roared through the Great Northland
When you live on the edge of the law
You know, justice in Ontario
Blue smoke still hung in the air
No one spoke when the cops got there
Well the local constable made the call
Send us Corporal Terry Hall
They all sang a different tune
When Corporal Hall walked in the room
With his picture book and a list of names
One by one the witnesses came
And they told him what he wanted to know
Justice in Ontario
The provincial cops searched far and wide
And the outlaws ran but they could not hide
And they brought em in every single one
Save the man who actually fired the gun
It was down in London, they were tried
And the guilty man stood free outside
When he took the stand to pay his debt
The judge was blind and the jury deaf
In Kingston Town they're locked up still
When the sun goes down and the air is chill
You could swear you heard Jim Donnelly's ghost cry
"Justice In Ontario"



Have Mercy
(Steve Earle)

He was standin' on the corner
A hundred dollar bill in his hand
Said I could feed a lot of these people with this
But that ain't the business at hand
Ain't but one reason for a white boy to be
Over on this side of town
He gave that money to the man and he
Bought a little mercy for now

Have mercy on me
Have mercy on me
I'm a sinner Lord can't you see
Have mercy on me

Old Joe don't know how it got started
I guess it was the fire in her eyes
He loved his wife and children
And he wasn't into telling all these lies
But she gave herself so freely
In that room at the top of the stairs
He'd go to her in hope he'd find a little mercy there

Tears were made to fall
Hearts made to break
Sometimes it feels
Like they just want to know
How much you can take
She was all alone that evening
What was she thinking about
Her mind was made up and
I guess it was the only way out
There's a pistol in a pawn shop window
Made of cold, blue steel
She took it home to find out
How warm a little mercy could feel
God knows that mercy ain't free
Have mercy on me



When The People Find Out
(Steve Earle)

It's late at night
You're all alone
Pale moonlight
Cold as stone
Heart beats fast
Time moves slow
Strangers glance
Does he know
Where you gonna run to
Where you gonna hide
Where you gonna run to
Where you gonna hide
Where you gonna run to
Where you gonna hide
When the people find out
That you lied

They took you in, made you well
They told you things, they never tell
To pay the debt, you made em fools
That's what you get, they trusted you
When they run to the temple and find
That the treasure's gone
Do you think it's gonna be a cross
They're gonna nail you on



Country Girl
(Steve Earle)

She's a country girl
Young and pretty
She wanna see the world
So she headed for the city
She was entertained in all the right places
Knew half of the names, and all of the faces
Just a country girl
If her daddy could see her now
Just a country girl
Well you'd never recognize your little angel now
She comes down from way South,
She talks slow and lazy
When she opened her mouth the city boys went crazy
They fed her pink champagne, give her a headache
Cheap cocaine makes her meaner than a rattlesnake
Reelin' and a rockin' couldn't get enough
Crawlin' when the sun comes up
And payback's hell
There's a bag lady talkin' to her shopping cart
Don't you know the scary part
is she saw herself



Regular Guy
(Steve Earle)

I'm just a regular guy
Never get rich, but I always get by
I got me a wife and a couple a kids
I done pretty much like my daddy did
He always did the best that he could
Took care of mama and us pretty good
He never got rich but he never did try
He was just a regular guy
Well the world goes around
I can't stop it
So I'll sit back and watch the sun go down
If it comes back up then this day's a good un
You know I wouldn't be that surprised
I'm just a regular guy
And I'll work until the day that I die
I'm too young to quit too old to hire
These days a man can't afford to retire
Didn't vote for nobody last time
Cause they wasn't worth a trickle down dime
But one man's promise is another man's lie
And I'm just a regular guy



West Nashville Boogie
(Steve Earle)

I was born in the city
I was born in the city
And I was raised up right around here
Daddy's down in the workhouse
Daddy's down in the workhouse
Daddy's down in the workhouse
Mama say ain't no way he's coming back here
Went to school with some rich kids
Went to school with some rich kids
Went to school with some rich kids
Bussed me half way across town
Call us white trash and no count
Call us white trash and no count
Call us white trash and no count
Say there wasn't no use in me staying round
I'm goin' down to the corner
I'm goin' down to the corner
I'm goin' down to the corner
Don't you wait for me to come in
Nothin' happens till midnight
Nothin' ever happens till midnight
Nothin' happens till midnight
The boys get restless bout then
Sometimes I feel like I'm drowning
Sometimes I feel like I'm drowning
Sometimes I feel like I'm drowning
And I don't know what I'm gonna do
I got a razor in my pocket
I got a razor in my pocket
I got a razor in my pocket and
I got a pistol hid down by the school
Lord get me out of West Nashville
Lord get me out of West Nashville
Lord get me out of West Nashville
Lord get me out of West Nashville



Close Your Eyes
(Steve Earle)

I dreamed you were standing
On the edge of the world
And I thought I heard you call out
With one foot on the rock
And one a cloud
Was it just the wind that I heard
Close your eyes
This world won't stop spinning you know
Close your eyes
Why don't you just let go
Thousands of people searchin' out there
Most of em lookin' for love
But nothing is something
That there's plenty of
In time we'll all get our share
When I was a child
And they put me to bed
They always took care that I prayed
But the part that goes, if I should
Die fore I wake
Echoed all night in my head

© 1995-2001  LiKe  (lisa.k@att.net)      All Rights Reserved

© 2003-2007 Clint Harris  (clint@steveearle.net) – All Rights Reserved
© 1995-2003 Lisa Kemper  – All Rights Reserved

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