Chris Goertzen

Chris Goertzen

 Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN
BandAmericanaSinger/Songwriter

Chris Goertzen wraps blues soaked rawkers, epic country murder ballads, dirt in your fingernails folk and the defiant howling's of rock n' roll, around narrative songwriting that questions and explores our human experience.

Biography

Chris Goertzen spent more than a decade fumbling and stumbling from factory to factory, construction site to construction site, bar to bar and town to town, looking for something he couldn't quite name or find. During this time he began writing songs and honing his craft to a point where it became obvious to those who heard his songs that there was something very real going on. As is so often the case though, bands were formed and disintegrated, songs were written and abandoned, cigarettes and bottles were remorselessly murdered, hearts were broken , faces slapped, a mother cried, and a puppy disappeared, possibly the victim of extraterrestrial abduction.

In 2005 Chris walked into a bar after a Steve Earle concert and lo and behold his old guitar playing fiend of a lost friend, Ryan Maier, was sitting and plumbing the dig down deep depths of ancient histories. Somewhere between Constantinople becoming Istanbul (uhhhhmn....), the beast that is Chris Goertzen and the Hazy Pilgrims was born.

Showcasing a voice Darryl Sterdan of the Winnipeg Sun describes as "toggling between a dusty drawl and a rusty wail," and that "makes you want to drink bourbon and smoke unfiltered Camels," Goertzen's songs weave together narratives that not only take you into vivid landscapes, but also squeeze out your most closely guarded emotions. Rounding out the songs, the Hazy Pilgrims enhance the soundscapes through Ryan Maier's soul searing "I’m going to make you cry or hit something" slide guitar moanings, Steve Silver's "fatter than your Grandmother's frying pan" bass guitar, and Juno award winner Anthony Giancola's "I just read your mind while bending spoons with mine" drum musings.

The music blends together of a variety of roots music influences. Their live show is TRULY something to see.

Some of the highlights since the release of their critically acclaimed debut recording “Devil Rawking Chair” in April of 2008 include: Garnering regular airplay on college radio and CKDM in Dauphin, raising the roof as a showcase artist at the 2008 CCMA's, blowing the doors off the Watson Arts Centre in Dauphin, and continuing to win over audiences in and around Winnipeg with their fearless, heartfelt Rawk and Roll. The boys are currently recording their follow up CD and looking forward to their first Western tour.

“Winnipeg's only Rock n' Roll band. If your looking to get your ass kicked, go check them out!”

- Stu Reid of CKUW Radio's “Twangtrust”

Good Advice...

Lyrics

The Oath

Written By: Chris Goertzen

I took the Oath at the end of spring
Did proud my family name
Then I resolved to see my mother and
So did find me on a train

The sun gave way to the evening stars
On tracks fate laid clear
There came a cry about 9 pm
Is there a doctor here?

You can't stop a train
You can't stop a train
You can't stop a train
You can't stop a train

He reeked of Irish whisky
An empty pill bottle in his hands
His pupils were dilated
He was in the borderlands
His face was gray as November
As we braked for Sherbrook Town
You never know when Luck will pick you up
Or when Luck will take you down

You can't stop a train
You can't stop a train
You can't stop a train
You can't stop a train

Her name was Stephanie McGuinn
A beauty kind and fair
Of all the nurses there in Sherbrook Town
She had the blackest hair
Her laughter rang like silver
Her whispers pulled him through
And when she gave her heart to a damned man's soul
Her eyes still sparkled blue

You can't stop a train
You can't stop a train
You can't stop a train
You can't stop a train

The account here in the paper
Reads they were married that same June
Further down the page I read
How their love did come to ruin
How the police tracked and chased him
And shot his legs to bring him down
So they could hang him from the gallows pole
In the heart of her hometown

You can't stop a train
You can't stop a train
You can't stop a train
You can't stop a train

Lonesome, Wild and Blue

Written By: Chris Goertzen

Funny how your brown eyes always leave me blue
Funny how the ghost of your touch, always cuts right through
Now I'm out here running with the diesel and the fumes
The road dogs are screaming between the silence and the moon

Lonesome wild and blue

There's times I smell your skin in the stillness of the night
There's times I see your face but it's just a trick of the light
If I die here in the darkness tell me would it let you down
As soon as I'd give up the ghost it'd just become your clown
And wander

Lonesome wild and blue
Lonesome wild and blue

I listen for your voice but there's just dead leaves on the wind
I'm praying to what gods may be our paths will cross again
I can't remember how it started I can't forget how it ends
I still see your tail lights disappearing around the bend
Leaving me

Lonesome wild and blue
Lonesome wild and blue
Lonesome wild and blue

Killdeer

Written By: Chris Goertzen

The water tower's standing like it was the day before
We've got all the smoke and mirrors here, but there's no strangers at the door
Annie's drinking Kerosene and climbing up the walls
It looks so smooth and pretty right before she falls

Davey brings salvation to the ladies of the night
He says \"Jesus gave his love away, so come on hold me tight\"
Delilah rolled in at 5 am, and Sampson looks distraught
He don't mind the teaching, he just hates being taught

This is where I come from
Can you hear the Killdeer call
I wonder what she's seeing
Is there anything at all?
The sky is orange and pink tonight
The sun descends on Dead Horse road
There's something in the wind out here
Puts a silence on my soul

Melanie's seeing visions of the 25th Century
Her eyes are stoned with devotion
The future's something I just can't see
Last night I drove past the glass plant
I guess it was building up with time
Gas pedal kept goin' down, down, down, and down
I took that engine out, I opened it up wide

This is where I come from
Can you hear the Killdeer call
I wonder what she's seeing
Is there anything at all?
The sky is orange and pink tonight
The sun descends on Dead Horse road
There's something in the wind out here
Puts a silence on my soul

Indian Head

Written By: Chris Goertzen

Up on Black's Mountain where the tall pines grow
It gets so much darker than any prairie boy could know
I left my baby east of Indian Head
I'd never seen a mountain, lord
I guess I made my bed

Lights of that big city shine warm and bright
But folks down there seem so cold, they never look you in the eyes
I left my baby east of Indian Head
I'd never seen a mountain, lord
I guess I made bed

The sun was going down across the prairie wide
I pulled into her daddy's farm
A new boy was at her side
I could see her dress was tighter
Tears streamed down her face
That new boy acted tough
While my heart filled with rage

Sheila, won't you wait for me
I got a little lost it's plain to see
Someday soon I swear just you and me
Sheila, won't you wait for me

I turned myself around but I nursed that feeling like a child
I didn't recognize my face in that mirror crazed and wild
Two days passed, his dog lay dead
Someone poisoned the alarm
At night, by a two inch rusted pipe
That new boy bought the farm

Sheila won't you wait for me
I got a little lost it's plain to see
Someday soon I swear just you and me
Sheila won't you wait for me

Highway 59

Written By: Chris Goertzen

She had a bad day, spiders in her hair
She had an invite to a party but there was no one there
She tried to transcend it, looking for new clichés
She ended up painting flowers out on the highway

She took Highway 59 where death comes out to play
Speedometer's rising she got nothing left to say
And a cross swings gently from the rear view mirror
With a feather on a roach clip to take away her fears

And she says
I'm looking for a round church
So the Devil can't corner me tonight
There's seven angels singing
But a dirty little voice says nothing ever turns out right

Some said it was the grass
Some said it was the rain
Either way when it happened
She felt no guilt or shame
She reached the pearly gates
Her family knelt to pray
The angel standing there said
What do you have to say

And she said
I'm looking for a round church
So the Devil can't corner me tonight
There's seven angels singing
But a dirty little voice says nothing ever turns out right

I'm looking for a round church
So the Devil can't corner me tonight
There's seven angels singing
But a dirty little voice says nothing ever turns out right

I'm looking for a round church
So the Devil can't corner me tonight
There's seven angels singing
But a dirty little voice says nothing ever turns out right

High and Angry

Written By: Chris Goertzen

The skyline was on fire, we saw it on T.V.
They said she was pissed and she was headed northerly

My old man grabbed a trash pump
Something in his eyes
Said, \"It's coming down to sink or swim
Maybe hell's not all that dry\"
Red river she run angry
Red river she run high
Red river she knows all the sins
Your daddy would deny

River's high and angry tonight
River's high and angry tonight

We stood out on the dike
Watching sandbags disappear
We thought '96 was bad
This is a whole new year
My mother started crying
My old man he just stared
She beat him on the chest but
His eyes were lost somewhere

River's high and angry tonight
River's high and angry tonight

The pulpits filled with sermons
Of Noah and the Flood
Some of the impending Apocalypse
Ours just filled with mud
Nothing good or bad
Is ever built to last but
That's only so much comfort
When your life goes floating past

F5 Tornado Skronk

Written By: Chris Goertzen

Tell me all your secrets
I swear I'll keep em' hid
You can tell the world you didn't
But I'll know you did

Call it tea and crumpets
Call it something sweet
But darling when we picnic
We best be discreet

Cause' I'm gonna paint you in blue
I'm gonna paint you in green
I'm gonna paint you in positions
This world ain't never seen

I've been out in the cold
I've been out in the rain
I ain't no big bad shark
But I got flesh on my brain

Now I'll play the fool
I'll play the clown
You're an F-5 Tornado
And I'm a trailer park town

I'm gonna paint you in blue
I'm gonna paint you in green
I'm gonna paint you in positions
This ol' world ain't never seen

Now I'll play the fool
I'll play the clown
Your an F-5 tornado
And I'm a trailer park town

Dark Eyed Dana

Written By: Chris Goertzen

I see dark eyed Dana laughing across the floor
Starry necklace shines on curves I've never seen before
I am just a poor boy, playing a rich man's game
Working in the sunshine
I've been working in the rain

I play me an old guitar strung with silver strings
It's songs got nothing on her laughter as it sings
An old man told me long ago never want what you can't own
But the nape of her neck is killing me
And her words just leave me stoned

To taste the kiss upon her lips
To taste the kiss upon her lips
To taste the kiss upon her lips

I want Dana when the sun goes down
I want Dana when autumn skies are winter bound
I want Dana when the cold damned world lets her down

I captain a wind borne ship across the windswept skies
I captain a wind borne ship when I see her shining eyes
I see dark eyed Dana freckles on her skin
To make love to every one
Questions where to begin?

Just a kiss upon her lips
Just a kiss upon her lips

I want Dana when the sun goes down
I want Dana when autumn skies are winter bound
I want Dana when the cold damned world lets her down
And the kiss upon her lips

Crowsfeet

Written By: Chris Goertzen

Signs are the same, it's the profits that change
Such a pretty kitty, now the dogs got mange
Harrows brown and rusting, the rooster still crows
Bank is on the line, looks like the cows are coming home

There's crowsfeet around his windburned eyes
He knows damn well there's something just beyond that sky
He used to hold the thunder and the lighting in his hands
Now there's just this feeling like he's holding onto sand

Tombstone's off the level, cemetery is overgrown
Swears he hears the old folk in the wind as it moans
They're tapping on the window, they're rapping on the door
Banging in the attic and they're creaking in the floor

Come dawn the sun come up
Come dusk the sun goes down
Comes one bound to kill you
His father's own father walked this ground
And his grandfather's father walked this ground

And there's crowsfeet around his windburned eyes
He knows damn well there's something just beyond that sky
He used to hold the thunder and the lightning in his hand
Now there's just this feeling like he's holding onto sand
Now there's just this feeling like he's holding onto sand

Discography

Currently recording the follow up to the critically acclaimed:

Devil's Rawking Chair (2008)
1) The Oath
2) Lungs
3) Lonesome, Wild and Blue
4) Killdeer
5) Indian Head
6) Highway 59
7) High and Angry
8) F-5 Tornado
9) Dark Eyed Dana
10) Crowsfeet

Set List

Two 1 hour sets, all original
One 45 minute set, all cover

Covers: Bruce Springsteen, Steve Earle , Warren Zevon, The Band, Buck 65, Townes Van Zandt, Gram Parsons, Drive By Truckers, Van Morrison, Ryan Adams, David Olney