Gary Nichols

Gary Nichols

 Panama City, Florida, USA
BandAmericanaSinger/Songwriter

Nichols writes songs that reach you. Tightly crafted lyrics, memorable melodies and surprising harmonic changes characterize a style that is unique but rooted in traditional music, while drawing inspiration from a wide array of songwriters and composers.

Biography

Most of us born before 1960 remember the first time we heard the Beatles. I'll never forget the radio in our '62 Belair changing from a meaningless grill with indecipherable numbers and knobs, to a living, screaming creature, like a mouth opened on the dashboard. As a teenager I remember hearing Guy Clark, Jerry Jeff Walker, Willis Alan Ramsey for the first time, too. Those guys molded my ideas about what a great song should aspire to be. For starters a great song should have a real purpose. It should know what it wants to say. Unfortunately, in much of our popular world songs don't say much that matters. Not that every song should be a dogmatic lecture, but they should all have substance. That's what I strive to bring to my repertoire of original pieces. Each song addresses aspects of the confusion that is consciousness, hopefully bringing clarity and insight.

Lyrics

Old Clay Road

Written By: Gary W Nichols

You loved me and I should have loved you back.
But I loved the road instead.
Those innocent days
turned from colors into grays;
I chased my dreams wherever they led.

And it's just too hard a road for my mind-
the way it twists and turns and winds.
And I'm right back where I thought I'd never be...
A little further down the road
still looking back at you and me.

The moon chases the sun around us all
and dreams of shining brighter than the stars.
It's like she's never known
she's got no light of her own.
Me and her, it's fools is what we are.

And it's just too hard a road for my mind-
the way it twists and turns and winds.
And I'm right back where I thought I'd never be...
A little further down the road
still looking back at you and me.

So take me down that old clay road
where our old homeplace used to stand;
to a sunny sweet September,
I swear I can remember
how your cotton dress felt in my hand.

And it's just too hard a road for my mind-
the way it twists and turns and winds.
And I'm right back where I thought I'd never be...
A little further down the road
still looking back at you and me.

Ghost Town

Written By: Gary W Nichols

Went out walking late last night,
Round and round the old downtown.
All my ghosts was waiting there,
Following me everywhere.

Them haints was faded grey and black
Silent swirling shades of night.
Called their names and they turned away.
Woke it was another day.

Hey, Mr. Beam you fooled me again.
Hey, Mr. Beam you fooled me again.
Turned that searchlight hot on my brain.
Oh, Mr. Beam you fooled me again.

Some nights their shadows hardly form
In doors, and cracks, and alleyways.
Bottle of Beam and a late night walk
I swear that I can hear them talk.

I search for things I’ve long forgot-
The rush of love in tender times.
Just dusty memories laying around,
Every time I go downtown.

Hey, Mr. Beam you fooled me again.
Hey, Mr. Beam you fooled me again.
Turned that searchlight hot on my brain.
Oh, Mr. Beam you fooled me again.

Sleepin's just a practice run for dyin'.
Dreamin' is the hereafter now.
Laughin' only takes the place of cryin'
for a little while.

The dead are dead as dead can be
And wander round my memory.
They perpetrate a special crime,
Stealing into dreams of mine.

No amount of whiskey stops
My ghost town meandering
But hard, cold ice and a white hot dram
Sure puts the life back in the damned.

Oh, Mr. Beam…

San Juan Range

Written By: Gary W Nichols

He always said all he wanted in this world
was to be a free man
on a little piece of land.
And maybe live long enough to forget
all the things that he'd lived to regret.

San Juan Range-
where the wind tastes like gold
and the rivers run like silver in the spring.
And a free man can be anything at all.

By '65 he'd seen enough of his fellow man-
seen what he could do.
It tore him half in two.
So he built up high on that Coal Bank Pass
where the world wouldn't mind him-
maybe never even find him.

San Juan Range-
where the wind tastes like gold
and the rivers run like silver in the spring.
And a free man can be anything at all.

He worked through the days
and he struggled through the nights.
In his battlefield bed he skirmished with the dead.
He never won, but then he never lost.
A free man in this world
don't give a damn for the cost.

San Juan Range-
where the wind tastes like gold
and the rivers run like silver in the spring.
And a free man can be anything at all.
Yes, a free man can be anything...

When I Lay Down

Written By: Gary W Nichols

The sun's behind a cloud,
the wind is in my face.
I'm looking for a shroud
and a quiet little place
to lie down.
Lord, to lie down.

Shaking off the dust
of a hundred-thousand miles.
Walking all this way
just to slumber in your smiles
when I lay down.
Lord, I lay me down.

I will rest by the river
I will sleep by the shore
I will dream of my darling evermore.
No dawn will break
no new day will be born.
I'll have seen my last morning
When I Lay Down.

Little Ginnie Rae
was my heart my only one.
For her I dreamed my nights away
when the working day was done
and I lay down.
When I lay me down.

Spring of Sixty-Three
they called me for to go.
Broke my Ginnie's heart for me
and Lord, it laid her low,
in the ground.
Lord, they laid her down.

I will rest by the river
I will sleep by the shore
I will dream of my Ginnie evermore.
No dawn will break
no new day will be born.
I'll have seen my last morning
When I Lay Down.

This is the last day
I'll walk these hills,
the last day I will roam.
My heart is growing cold and still
as I'm walking to my home
to lie down.
Lord, to lay me down.

I will rest by the river
I will sleep by the shore
I will taste of her kisses nevermore.
No dawn will break,
no new day will be born.
I'll have seen my last morning
When I Lay Down...

We Drown

Written By: Gary W Nichols

Silken words cannot disguise
the thing I'm seeing in your eyes-
the wheres the whens the whats the whys
I can't explain.

Tacet truth within them lies
while on one cheek a teardrop dries.
I feel my paranoia rise
like coming rain.

And I'm going to the place outside my mind.
Where dreams and other things go unrefined.
Silence is a wave that pulls us down.
And we drown, we drown.

And tho' the sea recedes at times
what washes up ain't worth a dime
cause all I got's this sorry rhyme
and a told ya so.

Creeping doubts a poison pill,
a stranger at the window sill,
it's midnight-cold and danger-still,
don't ya know?

And I'm going to the place outside my mind.
Where dreams and other things go unrefined.
Silence is a wave that pulls us down.
And we drown, we drown.

I know I should be more inclined
to say what's really on my mind,
but fear has got me in a bind.
Oh me, oh my.

For tho' the words fight to get free
they're beaten back inside of me
by cold waves of uncertainty.
See how they die.

And I'm going to the place outside my mind.
The world my foolish dreams have designed.
Silence is a wave that pulls us down.
And we drown, we drown, we drown.