Greg Ryder

Greg Ryder

BandFolkAmericana

I write and perform mostly my own Folk and Western songs, some in the tradition of the Old West, and some in the tradition of the Protest Movement of the 60s-70s. All are stories of personal character, place, love, or injustice; some lighthearted, some heavy, most are uplifting. (www.gregryder.com)

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Biography

Gordon Lightfoot, Ian Tyson, John Prine, John Hartford, and of course, Bob Dylan are among my songwriting influences.

Lyrics

Silvertown

Written By: Greg Ryder

River run down from Silvertown
Finds her way out West.
Eagle soar'in above the roar'in
A black iron horse northbound, northbound to Silvertown.
No summer sounds, she's damp way down
Dead man's gold unfound there in Silvertown, Silvertown.

Turn her 'round, load her down, she's southbound
Turn her 'round, load her down, she's southernbound from
Silvertown.

Arms of iron hands of steel
Glittering veins of gold there in Silvertown.
A minor song, rough and strong
Gleaming eyes of greed there in Silvertown.
Turn her 'round, load her down, she's southbound
Turn her 'round, load her down, she's southernbound

Hustlers and whores, backroom doors
Deals have on down there in Silvertown.
Whisky nights, barroom fights
I'm melancholy bound here in Silvertown.

And when that whistle blows, I'm takin' that train
I hear a bell a ringin', a minor bought a round
The minor bought the round in Silvertown.

Sun slipped down on the Silvertown
Mines are all awash.
Tourists stroll the sidewalks now
A black iron horse northbound northbound to Silvertown.

River run down from Silvertown
Finds her way out West.
Home no doubt to a cut-throat trout
The might brown swims down from Silvertown, from Silvertown.

Death Of A Fool

Written By: Greg Ryder

Hardend by a howlin' wind
Wending through his soul
No one dared to know him
No one did he care to know
He walked out in the street that day
The sun was in his eyes
"I can't see you anyway.
The years have robbed me blind."

"Who is it you used to be?
They can tell your kin.
I know you don't understand
this peril that you're in."
I was young and fast and tough.
My hands began to shake.
I realized he'd come from hell.
My soul was his to take.

His howlin' wind touched my soul
And froze me in my stance.
I was not one of his kind
And could not shake his trance.
I heard a death-drum sounding.
The pounding of my heart
"Take a breath, it's your last.
You fool, I'll let you start."

"I have killed so many fools
who've had a life like mine.
I'd just as soon kill a fool.
Make your move, it's time.
A man like me has got no home.
I'm always on the ride.
You're standin' there already dead.
I feel you're paralized."

"I can raise you from the dead.
Just turn and walk away."
Faces flashin' through my sleep
Men rotting in their graves
"Why you could go and join a church.
Get married, have a son.
Turn around, walk away.
Your time has surely come."

"Turn, turn, lay your guns aside.
I won't say it anymore.
You fool you must decide."

I watch my grandchildren play.
My heaven on this earth
That old gunman lived in hell.
Hell paid him for his work.
And every breath I take
I owe to that old man from hell.
He let a fool walk that day.
This story I can tell.

Turn, turn, lay your guns aside.
I'll say it while I breath.
That day a fool inside me died.

Eternally

Written By: Lyrics by Julie Ryder; Music by Greg Ryder

When I was a younger man
of tender age and fair,
and bent upon a lifelong plan,
my music I would share.
I spent my days at work
with my guitar and violin.
Music my devoted search
for God was there within.

"It won't be long," I used to say,
"a master I will be.
Others then will come my way
with their camaraderie."
And so it was, my name was known
and welcomed everywhere.
Upon the eve success mine own
a woman brought my heart despair.

"Come unto to me and taste my wine,
And feel the warmth of love devine.
And let me soothe your weary soul
So I may aid you toward your goal."
And so I loved her endlessly.
I was hers eternally.
In lover's weakened sleep I lay.
My music did she steel away.

But she had want of more than me
so others shared my misery.
And deeper was my sorrow driven
until with madness I was ridden.

My violin, it would not sing.
My hands did shake upon the strings.
My sure guitar had lost it's song.
My life no more could I prolong.

Tomorrow they will bury me
beneath the whispering willow tree,
So I may hear it sing to me
it's gentle tune
eternally.
It's gentle tune ....

Yellow Birch Glen

Written By: Music by Greg Ryder, words by Greg Ryder and Benny Galloway

At the yellow birch glen
Where you walk with the wind.
Where there's never a care
And the smell of the air,
Take me back once again
To the yellow birch glen.
I won't be here long.
So you'll have to be strong.
The boys will be fine, just a matter of time
They'll grow up and be gone.
I won't be here long.

Deep water is still,
The days gone until
The stars light the sky
And the moon's risin' high.
Above the road on the hill,
Deep water is still.
You're a diamond my dear.
When will you be here?
Please meet me again.
I'll wait until then.
At the yellow birch glen.
At the yellow birch glen.
At the yellow birch glen.

Life Is Flyin' By

Written By: Greg Ryder

Whisky in the kitchen, chicken in the pie.
Smok'em while we got'em.
Drinkin' rock and rye.
The old folks was right boys.
Life is flyin' by boys.
Here's to you and I boys.
Life is flyin' by.

Cookies are a crumblin'.
Cookies make me fat.
My baby loves my cookies.
What you think of that.
The old folks was right girls.
Life is flyin' by girls.
Here's to you and I girls.
Life is flyin' by.

Well, as you have probably guessed
Your cookies are the best.
We'll put our aprons on
When the store bought ones are gone.

I sure do love your peaches.
How's about some cream.
One thing life can teach us
Go and live your dream.
The old folks was right baby.
Life is flyin' by baby.
Here's to you and I baby.
Life is flyin' by.
Here's to you and I baby.
Life is flyin' by.

Uncle John

Written By: Greg Ryder

Uncle John was a muskellunge.
Up in northern Wisconsin
Deep in the forest of Chewamegon
The Chippewa flow to Namakgon.
He roamed the waters
Of the Buffalo.
A Muskie that no man would hold
I dreamt his spirit called to me.
This could not be him calling me.
“Swim with me.
You’ll want to roam.
Come swim with me.
You’ll want to roam.”
I dove into the dark and it felt like home.

I breath the cold waters in.
My legs and arms turned into fins.
Uncle John said “I’ve been watching you.
You tried to catch me with your lures.
You and me, we are the same.
Solitary we’ll remain.”
We swam to the points.
We cruised the bays.
Circled three islands along the way
I said “You’re imprisoned by the lake.”
He said “Your thinking is a mistake.
My spirit roams the universe.
Humanity is a prison.
That’s a curse.”
Humanity is a prison.
That’s a curse.

Uncle John led me to the deep.
He turned in a circle and gnashed his teeth.
I flew for the top and I jumped so high.
I flipped out of bed, ass in the air
Cracked my head

Uncle John lived thirty summers of life.
When he died the snappers fought for his hide.
Sometimes I’ll open my eyes at dawn
And I’ll have dreamed of Uncle John.
On the Bayfield-Ashland county line
Throwin’ hell-benders in the warm sunshine
Uncle John will ease me mind.
Buffalo Lake and the summer time
Buffalo Lake and the summer time

Rotten Punks

Written By: Greg Ryder

When you rotten punks all find Jesus
And a good woman to set you straight
Free you of the rotten stuff that you done
All the booze and the trouble and the hate
Rotten punks better find Jesus
Don’t want to feel that razor’s edge
You may wind up in prison punks
You may just wind up dead

There are medications rotten punks can take
Until they found Jesus’ love
They may see funny things for a while
Till they’ve raised their eyes above
Anything that work just to get ‘em through
Those stormy and windy seas
Would be beneficial to everyone
Their mothers will be pleased.

Once you rotten punks have found Jesus
Get down on your knees and pray
Confess of the rotten deeds that you done
Get ready for judgment day
Anything that works just to get ‘em through
Those stormy and windy seas
Would be beneficial to everyone
Their mothers will be pleased.

Now rotten punks
Don’t take too much time to find Jesus
And in him to believe
I guess you’re one behind them steely bars
It’s just easier to receive
I don’t know why Jesus is so hard to feel
Or touch or even see
Hell, I take them medications myself
He’s standin’ right here next to me.

Once you rotten punks have found Jesus
Get down on your knees and pray
Confess of the rotten deeds that you done
Get ready for judgment day
I don’t know why Jesus is so hard to feel
Or touch or even see
Hell, I take them medications my own self
He’s standin’ right here next to me.

Sometimes rotten punk who’ve found Jesus
Stumble from the righteous path
Their mothers say they’re really good boys
In spite of pictures of the aftermath
If rotten punks could find Jesus
Cashiers in convenience store
Would all breath a hold lot easier
‘cept for them holy wars.

Once you rotten punks have found Jesus
Get down on your knees and pray
Confess of the rotten deeds that you done
Get ready for judgment day
If rotten punks could find Jesus
Cashiers in convenience store
Would all breath a hold lot easier
‘cept for them holy wars.

Sunday Blues

Written By: Music by Greg Ryder, words by Greg Ryder and Benny Galloway

I've got a low down helpless feelin'
Way down deep inside.
It's cold and it's hollow.
No more tears to cry.

I woke up and I was dreamin'
You left me in the rain.
Was a night ago, or the night before
Don't want to dream like that again.

I feel I'm losin' you.
I feel I'm losin' you.

Saw the Sunday Blues this mornin'
Just past'em on the street.
The Sunday Blues beneath my shoes
It was the sidewalk and my feet.

The thing that hurts the most
That makes me ache inside
Was the way you always looked
With the love left in your eyes.

I feel I'm losin' you.
I feel I'm losin' you.

Be sure I'll love you always
Beyond a bitter end.
The Sunday Blues, the worst of news
I've learned to live'em now and then.

Oh, but honey, we're still here
Though it's just a matter of time.
In a heartbeat we'll be gone.
Hell, we're already down the line.

I feel I'm losin' you.
I feel I'm losin' you.
I feel I'm losin' you.
I feel I'm losin' you.

Winter Snow

Written By: Greg Ryder

Winter set in.
Summer's just a memory now.
Late night regrets
are harder to forget,
as the snow falls deep,
and I dream of spring.

It's a shame to wish
for the time to fly
when there's so little left
as the snow falls deep,
and I dream of spring.

In my dreams I see
the green of spring,
and I grow and flourish
with the seeds of fall
that endured
the deep winter snow.

If souls are reborn
I'd like the wings to fly
where the only law
is the will to survive
the deep winter snow,
the deep winter snow.

It's too unkind.
It's a cold and lonesome way
when the distant drum sounds,
and as you search you may stray
into the drifts along the way.

It's too unkind.
It's a cold and lonesome way
as the distant drum sounds,
most times it won't be found,
and souls are lost
along the way.

If you walk this path
you may see
the drifting ghosts and bones
that were lost
in the deep winter snow,
the deep winter snow.

Winter set in.
Summer's just a memory now.
Late night regrets
are harder to forget,
as the snow falls deep,
and I dream of spring

If souls are reborn
I'd like the wings to fly
where the only law
is the will to survive
the deep winter snow,
the deep winter snow.

Timberline

Written By: Greg Ryder

When I'm ridin' through the Aspen climbin towards the timberline
I can see you clearly darlin' and the days you were mine
Oh, the days you were mine
and we would ride far beyond the timberline

Days of joy and days of sorrow,
and nights holdin' you and you were mine
Love can show folks through their hard times,
I wish us well love of mine, of love of mine, as I recall
We would ride far beyond the timberline

When I'm flyin' down the mountain
The wax is fast and I'm feelin' so damn fine
I can see you clearly darlin'
And the days you were, oh the days you were mine,
and we would ski down and through and beyond the timberline

Yeh, we always lived a dream,
Dreams can be left behind
I'll breath and dream of you and the days beyond the timberline

When I'm lyin' in the moonlight
Summer night are cool and the sky's a shine
I can hear you clearly darlin' songs we sang of yours and mine
Oh, the songs we would sing
and we would raise our voices beyond the timberline
Yeh, songs of joy and songs of sorrow
Nights holdin' you and you were mine

Love can show folks through their hard times
I wish us well love of mine, oh love of mine, as I recall
We would raise our voices beyond the timberline

If I'm cryin' in the sunlight, tears of joy and a melody in mind
I can feel you clearly darlin' and the nights you were mine
Oh the nights you were mine,
and we would climb far beyond the timberline
Yeh, nights of joy and nights of sorrow
Nights holdin' you and you were mine

Love can show folks through their hard times
I wish us well love of mine, oh love of mine, as I recall
We would raise our voices beyond the timberline
The timberline, the timberline, the timberline

Colorado Shadow

Written By: Greg Ryder

Colorado shadow
Climbin' down the cliffs
Driftin' off to drift
No one can resist your light.

Colorado shadow
Hoverin' on a hill
Silhouettes a whippoorwill
Just a ridin' on a wave
Oh and comin' up clean
Slidin' round the bend
Comin' this way again

Yeh, and I ain't gonna leave to roam no more.
Honey I'm'a comin' home for sure.
This time I'll bring my mind.
I was crazy leavin' you behind.

Colorado shadow
I came here to be with you.
When my days are done and my nights are through
I'll be in the shadows too.
Just a ridin' on a wave
Oh and comin' up clean
Slidin' round the bend
A'comin' this way again

Colorado shadow
I didn't come to change a thing.
Just bring what I could bring.
And those gone before
Yeh, the shadows by the door
Those faces in the leaves
I see them and they seem pleased.

Swingin' In the Saddle

Written By: Greg Ryder

Swingin’ in the saddle
Singin’ a cowboy song
Horse knows what to do
We been together for so long
Mike lets out a yodel
Old griz knows we’re around
Good to be out West
Yodelin’ along
Life is like a yodel
She’s got her ups and got ‘er downs
City makes me crazy
I’m on the outward bound
Where I can see the star
The big bang made for me to see
While the universe expands
I’ve been set free
--- yodel ---
Cookie’s bakin’ biscuits
Red-eye gravy’s in the pan
Bacon beans steak and coffee
A feast for any man
Cobbler for a sweet dream
A dream, a dream’s what I’m in
Mike recites “A Cowboys Life”
We all got the grins
Peaches in the whisky
Rick expounds upon the day
Starin’ the camp fire
Man, it’s hard to look away
A hush surrounds the boys
Just a listenin’ to the night
Better than anything I know
That anything I know has the right
Everybody’s dozin’
Another day’s soon a hand
A ropin’ and a ridin’
Hey there’s another one to brand
The west is where I’m livin’
Rocky mountains what I need
I’m getting’ sort of tired boys
Someone please take the lead
--- yodel ---
Sleep beneath the sky
All lit and set a shine
Never been this sleepy
Never felt so gol-durn fine
Dream of Julie Ellen
Sleepin’ by my side
Life’s a pretty rainbow
I’m so satisfied
Well I sure can’t retire boys
Why would I leave this life
Till I cannot ride or rope
Or cook or just survive
Lean beneath a tree
The sun and moon will set and rise
I’ll die there with my boots and hat
And old horse a grazin’ by my side
--- yodel ---
Swingin’ in the saddle
Hummin’ a western tune
Old river is a runnin’
Mountain flowers are a bloom
Aspen seem to sway
In rhythm with my song
There’s another little doggie
Move along little doggie, move along
--- yodel ---

Men Of Science

Written By: Greg Ryder

Men of science
young and vibrant
write their papers
and report
that human life
can be much longer,
could be fuller,
it's much too short.

Charlie waits for
a driver.
All day long
sittin' by the door.
Marguerite plays
"Jesus loves me,"
a song
she learned when she was four.

They take some pills
to help them sleep.
The next day
is a repeat.
Their dreams and memories
are gone.
Their bodies
linger on.

I've heard some people say
"they hate to pay
to help the need and the poor."
And the folks
that have the assets
will loose their homes
and all that they've worked
so hard for.

Charlie's son
lives out in Denver.
A thousand miles
away from home.
Marguerite has
outlived her daughter.
She can't remember.
She's all alone.

We can build more
facilities .
It will help
to keep the market strong.
And the youth
that erect these places
will have a place
where they can linger on.

There are people
who believe
that life
can be too long.
When one's lost
all worth living for
it's lonesome time
for those who aren't so strong.

Men of science
young and vibrant
write their papers
and report.

Charlie

Written By: Greg Ryder

Charlie is a workin’ man goin’ on 45
Charlie’s got no benefit plan
Makin’ $9.95
He shows up every day
Shows up right on time
It feels like 20 to life
That is for no crime
For no crime

Charlie’s tumbling’ down
That heartbreak hole
What’s down below
No one looks or cares to know
No one cares to know
No one cares to know

The doctor found a tumor
Way down deep inside
Of Charlie’s wife
He figures it’s the stress she’s had
Of livin’ hand-to-mouth for life
Charlie’s workin’ man wages
Cannot meet their need
Charlie gets down upon his knees

Charlie’s tumbling’ down
That heartbreak hole
What’s down below
No one looks or cares to know
No one cares to know
No one cares to know

The Company make sure it give plenty
To the United Way
That’s a good tax write-off for them
Their company lawyers say
But Charlie’s wages haven’t changed
Since the days
35 cents would buy his family
A dozen eggs
Some things never change

Charlie’s tumbling’ down
That heartbreak hole
What’s down below
No one looks or cares to know
No one cares to know
No one cares to know

Politician sit around
Expound about crime
Being on the rise
Fund raisers on their yaughts
I’m sure they must realize
Sometimes an hones workin’ man
Goes bad
Just to meet his family’s needs
When all he wants is a fair
Living wage
Enough to clothe and feed
Clothe and feed

Charlie’s tumbling’ down
That heartbreak hole
What’s down below
No one looks or cares to know
No one cares to know
No one cares to know

Streets of Durango

Written By: Greg Ryder

Sittin’ on a stool
The old Diamond Belle
Hangin’ kind’a loose
In the Strater Hotel
The old man said
“I seen ‘em come and go ya’ know.
Walkin’ the streets of old Durango.”

“Sir may I get you
A shot and a beer?”
He saddled up and said
“Set ’em right here.”
Listened to his stories
I could see him as a child
As his eyes lit up
And his mind ran wild

“I seen ‘em come and go ya’ know
Still on a roll ya’ know
Walkin’ the streets of old Durango
Old Durango.”

We shared some laughs
By the end of the night
Had fun with everyone
That came in sight
In a nice way though
We were on a roll
Talkin’ bout the streets
Of old Durango

He said “Bartender,
My friend will pay for my bill.”
I’m ahead’in on out
I’ve had my fill
Gonna watch ‘em come and go you know
I’m on a roll
Walkin’ the streets of old Durango.”

“Bartender, I’ll pay for that old man
That was sittin’ here.”
Bartender said “Now Greg,
Ya’ ain’t been a’talkin’ to no one near.
Been talkin’ to yourself
Just a guzzling’ beer.
You been on a roll, Greg
Mumblin’ something’ bout
The streets of old Durango.”

Folks might think I’m crazy
But from time to time
I see that old ghost
Ridin’ the Silverton Line
He’s on a roll
Watchin’ ‘em come and go
And that train whistle blows
Through the streets of Durango

Still warmin’ up a stool
In the old Diamond Belle
Actin’ like a fool
Hell, I know it damned well
Folks say what they want to
Yes they do
Say I’m a’goin’ to hell
Well, to hell with ’em too

I like it here
Just like this
Mr. Barker has a room for me
If I’m a little at risk
I was livin’ on a dollar
Makin’ just a dime
You might say
I’m from another time
Somewhere in ‘tween 1800
And 1969.

If you close your eyes
Look inside your mind
You can see that see
That cowboy ghost
From another time
You’ll be on a roll
Watchin’ ‘em come and go
Walkin’ the streets of old Durango
Walkin’ the streets of old Durango
Old Durango.

Discography

The three CDs I have released are:
Life Is Flyin' By, released in 2005
Where The River Goes, released in 2007
American Western, release in 2008
Visit gregryder.com.

Set List

I perform my own material for the most part. Any covers that I do are obscure songs.