Empire State Express

Empire State Express

 Chicago, Illinois, USA
BandRockAlternative

Empire State Express is a Chicago-based rock roll power trio, with a sound reminiscent of The Black Keys, Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones. ESE combines whipsmart songwriting with high-energy, neo-classic rock in a series of controlled explosions. Think Elvis Presley meets Elvis Costello.

Biography

Empire State Express is a Chicago-based rock & roll trio, featuring Chris Steele, Tim ODonnell and Derrick Martens. ESEs music combines whipsmart songwriting with high-energy, moneymaker-shaking tunes. Our repertoire of covers and originals spans five hours and at least as many decades. Fans at various levels of intoxication have compared ESEs sound with The Black Keys, The Knack, Led Zeppelin, The White Stripes, Ryan Adams and The Rolling Stones, but everyone can agree that we keep the crowd moving on the dance floor.

Lyrics

Ride

Written By: Chris Steele

You got an innocent man on the passenger side / and a mischievous look in your eye when you sighed and you said, honey we should pull over

By the beach tonight we won't break the surf but we'll still taste the salt when this is over

You've been fooling around with the platinum crowd and the vanity plates / What could you want with a boy who rode up to your door on the CT

By the beach tonight we won't break the surf but well still taste the salt when this is over /
You want to ride, alright. I won't drive your car but I could be your backseat Casanova

And if we're unsafe at any speed, my love, ride it hard until we're through / I may be sober next to you / but my head is spinning 'round enough for two now / 'Cause I've been chasing every falling star and howling at the moon / but I'm the only dog in town who won't be digging up the ashes of your lost and found / 'cause I'm looking for something brand new

Maybe we could be more than the sum of our flirting and pheromones / but honey if that's what you want stop tapping the brakes, take a ride and come on

We'll make the scene tonight, we'll be immaculate if you just keep your nose clean like I told you / Past the city lights, each one dissolving like the shattered pieces of a supernova / By the beach tonight we won't break the surf but we'll still taste the salt when this is over / You want to ride all right. I won't drive your car but I could be your backseat Casanova / 'til it's over

Old Soul

Written By: Chris Steele

Found you at the edge of the dance hall / pants suit and pleated tattersall / Your looks were neo-classic and I passably romantic / well I was sold / Heart-struck in the back of a hired car / Sam Cooke on the hi-fi Aiwa / Had it hard for rock & roll / but that night the DJ played that same old soul / and I knew a change was coming

Old soul, we didn't start with much / Kiss on the cheek and a velvet glove / Give it some time, we'll afford our love / with interest to spare / Never had the golden touch / we were made of finer stuff / So what if the timing's off / we'll make it up I swear / Promise you'll be there

Left for Chicago in a New York state of mind / Jet-lagged and wondering what I'd missed / For every brief addiction I have left behind there's always been a cure / but I've been aching ever since you

When I come back we'll make the last call / Play the heart strings once and for all / and even if the tune is basic and the rhythm's off we'll fake it / 'cause we've got soul / Lip-locked in the back of a fast car / we'll make love like the last of the rock stars / I know the wait will feel like ages but if we're just a bit courageous / we could win it all / so keep the engine running

Old soul, we didn't start with much / Kiss on the cheek and a velvet glove / Give it some time, we'll afford our love / with interest to spare / Never had the golden touch / we were made of finer stuff / So what if the timing's off / well make it up I swear / Promise that you'll still be there

Jiman

Written By: Chris Steele

Jiman, with gold spun 'round his ears / he could bellow like a lion, make it bird song to hear / Even as he led his pride of boys in song / it would ricochet through all our bones and sound us off as one

But time lays low all that rises over its cold throes

And as his mane fell away the light seemed to go / and as his mighty roar decayed a part of us froze / We blinked the tears from our eyes as he stared through death and cried / Take a sad song and play it beautiful / And if we all sing along our hearts may be filled again

A girl with sun flecked in her eyes / we were counting our tomorrows even as we said goodbye / However well we knew we'd never make the leap / still we filled our heads with promises too innocent to keep

But time lays low all that glimmers with a glimpse of gold

And as her eyes turned to gray the light seemed to go / and as our love wilted away a part of us froze / For all the hopes, vows and lies the most we could supply / was a sad song that we played beautiful / And if we both sing along our hearts may be filled again

But time lays low all that rises over its cold throes

And if we must fade away let it burn down slow / 'til the love that we once made is the last thing to go / And as it flickers out and dies let it pass without a sigh / just a sad song that we played beautiful / And while there's breath in our lungs we'll be rising still / Though I know it's a question of will / but if we all sing along our hearts may be filled again

Butterfly

Written By: Chris Steele

Hard to put the flash back in the pan
Well I can take the heat, dear
And I'll be your weatherman

Been just a satellite circling for days
Burning up as I fall to grace

Ride the zephyr in, butterfly
We made it through the funnel clouds and somehow spun out right
I may have been a fool for lesser things
Love has left me wise
And I'll pin my heart on your wings tonight, butterfly

Had a high water line for pain
But when you said you were drowning, it just brought on the rain

And I aint seen right for almost forty days
If you hold me close we'll rise above the waves

Ride the next one in, butterfly
We made it through the tidal waves and somehow spun out dry
I may have been a fool for lesser things
Love has left me wise
And I'll pin my heart on your wings tonight

I've given up on your love, but not on Love

Now it's just a matter of walking separate lines
You always do the white one but I aint your libertine

I'm just bleeding light and when you rip into my veins you won't find love
The fire that now remains

Is the beating of your wings, butterfly
We made it through the funnel clouds and somehow spun out right
I may have been a fool for lesser things
Love has left me wise
And I'll pin my heart on your wings tonight, butterfly

Discography

Old Soul Demos - 2008

Land Speed Record EP - 2009

Land Speed Record (Special Edition) - 2011

Big Bad Wolf - 2012


Set List

ORIGINALS:
Revolving Doors
The Girls I Used to Know
Seismic
Jackie Chan
Skin & Bones
Keys
Russian Doll
Butterfly
Old Soul
Ride
Jiman
Elevenfiftynine
Big Bad Wolf

COVERS:
Empire State Express (Son House)
Little Lion Man (Mumford & Sons)
Shakedown on 9th Street (Ryan Adams)
A Shot in the Arm (Wilco)
What'd I Say (Ray Charles)
Blister in the Sun (Violent Femmes)
Good Girls Don't (The Knack)
Between the Bars (Elliott Smith)