John Chambers

John Chambers


Acoustic renditions of stories, dreams, and streams of consciousness.


John was raised in a little town by the Chesapeake Bay, fell in love with the power of songwriting in folk, rock, blues, and jazz, and moved to New York to add his songs to its ever-expanding repertoire of great music. In the past year he has written and recorded a full-length demo, collaborated with other local artists in the studio, and played the majority of the local circuit, including venues such as the Knitting Factory, Tonic, Lucky Cat, Trash Bar, Sidewalk Cafe, and any number of bars and cafes. Distribution of the LP has been consistent both at shows and online at iTunes, and the creation of an acoustic ensemble is in the works. Songs for the next recording project have been written and the search is on for reps and agents who want to get involved.

The important thing in this music is the writing. These are songs that were written to make you think, and the point is to discover something new every time. Happy listening.


Simon and Ophelia

Written By: John Chambers

Simon and Ophelia

Ophelia he writes
My ship sails tonight
I’m thinking I just might change my mind

I’ve thought of it twice
Its been seven nights
My heart is a hole and as cold as ice

You said it before
I’ll find nothing more
Than what I have here if you’ll let me come home

The fog will arise
I’ll come back tonight
And all will be well when I look in your eyes

Simon she says
I can’t be your friend
How can you ask me so close to the end?

It was you that left
You said it was best
All of your dreams and the world and the rest

You left me alone
Had places to go
My love is as small and hard as stone

The time for this past
Send me a message
Tell me you’re leaving and make it your last

And its hard its hard when you don’t know what to say
Its hard its hard with the distance in your way
And its hard when you think you might not make it through
And its hard you can only do what you must do

Your bitter heart
Tore us apart
It wasn’t me leaving it wasn’t my fault

I know what I said
The night that I left
Some things a man must do fore he’s dead

I’m calling my bluff
The world’s not enough
You can’t resent me you know that its tough

It could kill us both
I know that you won’t
I’ll live if you’ll give and I’ll die if you don’t

You know that I’ll what?
Your self is your love
I could empty the sea and it won’t be enough

For you and your heart
You think you’re so smart
So tragic and broken and wholly set apart

No one just gives
Everyone lives
And who ever gets back for something they give

There’s nothing I’ll do
Someone other than you
Is here for me now all we had then is through

Ophelia but please
I’m hard on my knees
Tell me your thoughts and your secret need

I lost it before
I’ll have ten times more than
The depth of your eyes and the smile I adore

We just passed Bombay
Soon round the cape
But our hearts are the only things that get in the way

Three days from the bend
Our letters will end
Be on my side, be my love, be my friend

Simon it was
The enemy is just us
The best things in the world only pass for loss

Our wandering hearts
Are so far apart
Seperated now by that country so dark

Let this be the end
One last letter I send
Eternally, painfully, truly your friend

This girdle is furled
Our only mistake
Was trying to live a simple world

The Only Way To Fight

Written By: John Chambers

The Only Way To Fight

There are some who catch your eye
And others you turn aside
But its those who get in your mind my friend
Against the only way to conquer is to fight

You can win and you can lose
But it really isn’t up to you
You can only try to make it look right in the end
And the only way to do that is to fight

I don’t look when she enters the room
I don’t want to know too soon
The way she catches the light from my head
The only way to win against her is to fight

I’ve been fighting for so long
And some might say its wrong
But they’ve never had to try, have they friend
They don’t know the only way to win her is to fight

Ode To Autumn Leaves

Written By: John Chambers

Ode To Autumn Leaves

Cast against the aching red
The skyline lays awake in bed
The concrete mutters soft to sleep
The dreaming day

I need to break out of this mold
The night is young I must take hold
If my luck runs out
I’ll be nothing when I’m old

I’ve seen the worst pull thru
If they can, so can you

Baltimore remains my home
Philadelphia breaks my soul
I’ve been strung across that wire
Just like you

New Orleans was wasted low
New York City is where I go
Just to break this state of mind
From kind of blue

I’ve seen this city shining and toiling
Through the ages and the smoke
Burning my thoughts of you like memory,
The future past is causing me to choke

Goodbye your lovers ran away
Best of luck getting new ones
To take their place

The sun is setting mostly done
The night has conquered finally won
The autumn leaves are falling like they do in song

The seasons change and so do I
Your days are numbered so are mine
I’ll make it one day I’ll be on fire
Before I die

The strange thing you ought to know about living is
You’re caught between the cages and the show
The future man, it holds your cards and
It’s never gonna let, never let ‘em go

Doubt is ever one to blame
But true love it can’t be said
That you’re the same

Words And Worlds

Written By: John Chambers

The world began with a spoken word
Born of a spark of light that God unfurled
So words are all that make us known
Your words like light that cut me to be shown

I can abide by the raging storm
I cut the ties that bind to sail the sea
I travelled canyons of water deep
And all for the love of dreams I’ll never see

The sea has its mystery
And so do I and so do you and you have me

In each casual conversation
Lies a clear abbreviation of the soul
But just in case you read it wrong
I never claimed to have complete control

I was chained inside the strangest doubt
The sounds don’t pierce the quiet in your eyes
Soul from souls are ripped apart and
The silence did it but no one realized

Simple faith is a gift of God
But only put in words both pure and true
Simple faith in a lie is death
If the lies you're living by you don't see thru

You said believe me all I say is true
But that’s the only thing you said you would commit to

I held your gaze just for a minute babe
Hard to believe you didn’t feel
Yea but ain’t that just the way it goes
Little that you think in life is real

There's a darkening ship in Bermuda square
And a soldier on the gallows there
Who thought he heard the call to march
But he turned around alone

The waters took me all around
I breathed my last and hit the ground
I cried the night I took that flight
Your words did bring me home

Hatred belies a measure of love
Love is just hate you can’t get enough of
Faith is just fear to bring you through
Trust to control the things you do

Promises sink like a boat in the sea
People just think what they want to believe
Honesty sells for the highest bid
Forgiveness never forgets what you did

Words are a cluster of hazy dreams
Nothing you say is ever what it seems

You said believe me all I say is true
But that’s the only thing you said

Rumors of Wars

Written By: John Chambers

Rumors Of Wars

Cold wet steel but his hands don’t feel
He gazes at the field
Lieutenant John Mill his blood frozen still
Has taken the hill

“My brother” he cries
“Why take their side?”
Now its you who must die
And the deed must be mine

Two birds in the sky scatter and cry
The rain overhead falls turning red
And it beats on his head
And the bullet takes his own life instead

Ah cruel world cause a man to die
To enslave, set free, save the remnants of his
Its in our hands, but wisdom comes late
If you light a fire, you deal with the flame

In a trench filled with mud
He lies in water and blood
In a hole now abandoned

Seargent Ben Myers
Demands to know why
Here he should die
The enemy close in
How did it begin, he prays
“Forgive me my sins”
Tries to dig in

But there stands the man
Death in his hand
Surely the end
And they meet eye to eye
Sees the wound in his side
Sees no hope and he
Passes right by

Ah cruel minds make the world so insane
Despite fires, quakes, sickness
And flood from the rain
You have to ask, when will we learn
For all we have, our ideas are just words

What should our grandfathers say
If the wars that they waged don’t matter today
And God alone knows what it takes for us to change
Ages to ages we wager the same
But now we can travel the world in a day
We all talk the same, we think the same way

It must be some answer we lost in the dirt
God, I’m not even sure what its worth

Wickedness lives
Self-righteousness gives
To saving our own skin
To find fault in others

One day your child
Will demand to know why
You lived or they died
What do you tell them

Bakari Shoma’s just
Lying in the dust
His home laid to waste
And the anger’s in his face

They came through the trees
Like a Hutu disease
So he reaches for his gun, cause they killed everyone
And they took hold his wife, its hard to survive
Cause there’s no food anywhere
And the damn rest of the world just doesn’t care

Ah cruel world cause a man to kill
To enslave, set free, or just establish his will
Its in our hands but wisdom comes late
You light a fire, you deal with the flame…

What will our grandchildren say
If all that we did was just filled with hate
And oh God what it takes us to change
Ages to ages we wager the same
But now we can travel the world in a day
So many die of disease anyway

It must be some answer we lost in the dirt
God knows I’m not really sure what its worth

Love Merits The Lover Little

Written By: John Chambers

Love Merits The Lover Little

We’ve come back from our exploits running, stealing thru the night
You never thought about it but I knew it wasn’t right
You stole my heart and broke my will with your single glance
Since God ordained the world I swear I never had a chance
Bring my memory back to me before I dream away
Of love and lies and sins and things that happen every day
Love merits the lover little and the loved not at all
Its true…

The stars can shine so brightly in their purple cherry night
And crash into the dust without a sound its quite a sight
I’m out here in the swirling dust and valleys that I roam
I’ve landed somewhere strange a hundred miles from my home
You said you would say yes, for all eternity
What you said and what you did, doesn’t matter much to me
Cause nothing that is said can really matter in the end
The only thing that matters is your soul and where its been
Alisa is an angel sent down from the stars above
I’d drive her round the world and back to give her all my love
And shout back from the ocean waves to the starts gathering dew
I’d give it up, the world, the hate, my pride if all for you
Still somewhere something coils and snares in the basement of my mind
All love is cold, all red is bold, and my heart is far from blind
Love merits the lover but little baby and the lover not all
Like this, one shot left to miss, goes to pieces, believe me in this, yea yea yea

The trees can flower oh so fair on cherry blossom lane, they say
Its quite a thrill when death comes round if you can stand the pain
By my heart is only more open now I know it sounds absurd
An open misconstruction of an incandescent word
The universe has spit me out like a needle in the hay
You used me for your aching pride, but I wanted it that way
Just to think that it all began on an uneventful morn,
The paradox to life is that we’re never fully born, always
Bound up with convenience, never giving right a chance
Like always in the mood for love but never for romance
Always right outside my window, beauty oh so grave
Never what I want but somehow always what I crave, Never
Speak in absolutes, always absolutely right
Now we’re cheating once again into that dark and sacred night
Lover merits the lover but little baby and the lover not at all
And that’s fine, cause most of the time,
Her sugar coated body, your sawdust plated mind,
Like aged but cheap wine, is far from my mind, yea yea yea

A girl can smile oh so sweet while giving you the eye
And speaking from the corners of her mouth she’ll feed you lies
No one wants to hear the truth, man, honesty is pain
The best that you can do is stand aside the driving rain
I gave an angel my heart, but my soul’s not mine to give
God I wish it was, cause surely life would be easier to live
If I was lying in the gutter dying one last song to sing
I’d sing of you like I knew I would it’s a haunted frightening thing
But I’m turning my attention now for a backbone and a vow
To face the world not to look away you’ll never take me down
I sing my song to the raging moon and the angry vicious sea
To the velvet dark pine forest night that swallows you and me
I remember the way you burrowed into my heart that burning 3rd of May
We wanted the same thing baby we just got there different ways
There isn’t a lot that you can do in life, there’s never much to show
You can never say you’ve learned all that much, but there is one thing I know
Love merits the lover but little baby and the lover not at all
But I’ll get by, with the sun still far behind,
And the miles yet to rise, rub sleep from my eyes
Don’t ask me why, I’ll fail but I’ll always try, yea yea yea

Endless Rhyme

Written By: John Chambers

Endless Rhyme

Through endless roads of black and coal
I met a maid who said she stole
And offered me the chance to know
The secret behind her dancing

Though lancing out with steep and shear
A feather red she held so dear
To ease the pain and remove the fear
Of those she dreaded fiercely

I knew right then I should see through her guise and stay away
But its kinda hard when your hearts doing all the thinking anyway

I nearly aimed to hit amiss
When yonder came her blue mistress
Who blind took aim and ripped her dress
Before the whole ensemble

Then mumble did I 'fore I ran
Across the ruined blood-white sand
To gain my place and make my stand
Here near this isle I mated

I was stuck in the middle of a hopeless case, I can’t decide
Close your eyes don’t think twice go along for this ride

She stated dear you're much to white
You hold your knuckles much too tight
Why don't you stay with me tonight
It was then I left her

A loner on a muddy shore
Who thought he might find love or more
Now finds that what he holds in store
Are scorpions on the pillow

Don’t look for reason in my words, there’s only rhyme
Which tells the truth always, in all ways, and all the time

A lazy willow pushed by breeze
An honest man without his knees
And now the blue-belled bonnet, geez
What is truly holy?

There are the facts its what I know
You can take it now or let it go
There is only one thing left for sure
Love in metaphor are endless

Don’t look for reason in my words, there’s only rhyme
Which tells the truth always, in all ways, and all the time
Which tells the truth always, in all ways, and all the time
Which tells the truth always, in all ways, and all the time

Audrey's Song

Written By: John Chambers

Audrey’s Song

You close your eyes
To spite the times
You knew you had at least what you deserved
For all the colors in your mind

Is justice blind
You can hope this time
She’ll take a glance beyond the scales to see
What made your lovers change their minds

Augustine Beam
And Charles Bright
They both surround the darkness cast
Aground under the town hall light

But would you care
If they had known
They cast their lives before the end
Into the warmth and darkness of your own

The churches ring the sirens sing a tune
The way you go is up to you

Audrey, you gave me
A little too much, a little too much, too much…

The melody
It can’t belong
To words that don’t have meaning
That have being just so you can sing a song

And in the way
You can’t abide
With words fit to to disguise the life
Which up till now you carried deep inside

Oh Audrey Babe
The past is wrong
What you gonna do to ease the pain
Of past mistakes that go so long?

In spite of these you know they’ll take you home
Held in bed is when you’re most alone

Save me
Is all you think
My baby
Is gone you think

Its just a little too much, too much, too much…

Through the surging seas of doubt and fear
You go
Looking for the answer no one knows

And its still
You’d think there’d be some change
But it never will
The sun is still the same
The price you can’t repay
But what do we deserve
For living anyway?
I did everything I could
Maybe not what I should
But darling just today
Whats the living anyway?

The Ancient Miner

Written By: John Chambers

The Ancient Miner

The ancient miner sat upon a stone one distant day
Caught in time and halfway blind he whispered in his head
Its over now I don’t know how
I let all of my chances slip away

Its cold today there’s hell to pay
When your youth is gone and your thoughts don’t go away

Gather round ye daughters and a story I will tell
The hardest song was ever sung and one I should know well
A tale that love is sad but strong
A tale that teaches much so listen well

I was just a boy of eighteen years in the summer heat
Wild with ambition when my true love I did meet
Anna’s smile was fleeting as the summer day
And just ten times as sweet

Cold the days there’s hell to pay
For the memory of her body lying that way

For six long years I hid my love from Anna’s wistful eyes
Watched as others sought her love behind my vain disguise
But fate brought us together as
My wounded conscience battled with her pride

Down beside the river hidden underneath the tree
She said never before nor again she had a love like me
What my mind would not believe as yet
My heart was all too eager to conceive

It was cold that day there’s hell to pay
When your mind is crying leave and your body stay

Just a year I was bound to leave to dig the mines out west
I took her love and promises and buried in my chest
The night I left she was cold and weak and
Whispered please forgive me all the rest

Her heat struck letters waned in time and muttered on my wall
The April rains and August sands the sad and languid fall
A hard old road to run is love
Inside it time and dreams both slow to crawl

The fall brings colder days theres hell to pay
Time heats your desire and steals the way

I came back from the black hills just December by two days
The platform edge was empty as my sense of loss was raised
Dont take long to all go wrong
Blink just twice your soul has been replaced

She met me with a smile torn like iron from a vice
Her kiss was quick to break and all her words repeated twice
In thirteen months it just took once
Her perseverance had melted with the ice

The coldest day theres hell to pay
When you trick yourself no matter what you say

Her confused charms were up in arms the months were two or three
She went away with her lover as her nature had foreseen
For deep inside her womb and mind
A seed was sown that never knew of me

For all attempts to reach her I was all but left to wait
And learned myself there’s but a thread dividing love and hate
The seasons turned, then poured and churned
To feel again I’d loved my first too late

Cold grow the days there’s hell to pay
When you cannot feel but you tell yourself you may

Seven wonders, seven sins, seven oceans pound
Seven sisters vaulted in the heavens shining down
Seven years had come and gone
And seven more would chase the seasons round

Then in spring she reappeared a wraith within my door
With hollow eyes and shuttered lips and movements slow and sore
For twenty days she slept away
And fool as I could not have wanted more

Its a cold hard day theres hell to pay
When its all you do to hold yourself at bay

Words did not hold meaning and so none were ever spoke
The ties that bound were there but all their meaning long had broke
We took to bed, as newly wed
But the worst of all we still had to behold
The lights went out, someone cried, the rain was pouring hard
Her lover came with flashing steel and tore across the yard
No cry or shout, a shot rang out
She fell without a sound into my arms

As her last breath swelled inside her chest
She whispered please forgive me all the rest

Its cold today there’s hell to pay
For the memory of her body lying there that way

A Traveller

Written By: John Chambers

A Traveller

Faith was a traveller put to the sword of abuse
Born of true light from light blessed but cursed to be used
She was scorned thru the empire, outlawed, but she wasn’t alone
In 400 years she was wed to the throne

She was sent to the childlike the poor at heart and oppressed
From town to town the least the poor in red and white she dressed
But the shadow of death causing doubt soon to be crept about
To darken a clear and a radiant jewel

For kings traveled miles just to listen and to lay by her side
Put her sign on their shields and in battle her name would cry
So the means she became soon found the most bitter aim
At the hands of those seeking great power and fame

So Faith put her arms with due fear into the hands of the state
In her name wars were waged, blood was shed, and the reason was hate
And the many that she vied for, though she tried for, were laid out to die for
The forgiveness of sins that’ll cost you your life

Time marches on thru the trees and the world’s growing old
For 2000 years in all ways now her story’s been told
Been told with disgust, been told with lies and deceit
To the last and the searching she had yet to meet

But she lives in the crowded stone huts on the side of the road
And her palaces empty now but for the few left who know
And she lives in the near and the far sometimes high mostly low
And in all who are mocked for the truth that they hold

The world’s always bitter and better than those with the truth
So the truth’s always spit on and strung out and so is the church
Bright eyes, dark skin, hair that floats don’t mean a thing to me now
But few can be better, tell me can you?

Grace is a messenger sent back to right all these wrongs
To bring faith to the faithless who are helpless to do it on their own
Sometimes I wonder why its taken so long
And what it means to find faith at all


"Philomusical Fragments" - available on iTunes and Amazon MP3

Set List

The typical set is 45 - 60 minutes of original acoustic ballads, both fast and slow, mixed in with just a couple creative covers from any number of genres. Song selection depends largely on the venue and whether a piano is handy.

Typical Original Set:
Simon and Ophelia
Ode To Autumn Leaves
The Only Way To Fight
Just Like Its Alright
Words and Worlds
Rumors of Wars
Song About Jerusalem
Love Merits the Lover Little
A Traveller
Endless Rhyme
The Night
Worked Out
Love In Metaphor
Green Eyes
Audrey's Song
Old Mistakes
Traded Love
The Fourth of July
The Ancient Miner

Some Typical Covers:
Love's Been Good To Me - Rod McKuen
Hallelujah - Leonard Cohen
A Church Is Burning - Simon and Garfunkel
You Don't Know What Love Is - Raye/De Paul
Hurricane - Bob Dylan
Dienda - Kenny Kirkland/Sting
This Night - Billy Joel
Orange County Suite - The Doors
Mona Lisas and Madhatters - Elton John
Big River - Johnny Cash
Hard Times (No One Knows) - Ra