Lennie Loftin

Lennie Loftin

BandAmericanaCountry

My father trained as an opera singer in NYC, my brother played 60s soul and rock-n-roll, my sister played piano, and my mom ruled Saturday night with Porter Wagoner and Hee-Haw. Quadrophenia, The White Album, and Animals are my lyric touchstones. My sound slides between Willie Nelson and Pink Floyd.

Biography

Lennie Loftin - The Cape Fear Sessions

One of my most vivid childhood memories is of my mom cooking in the kitchen, patting her thigh and swaying to the songs on the Country radio station… songs like Ode to Billy Joe, Tall Dark Stranger, and Coat of Many Colors. Pink Floyd, The Beatles, and The Who were more my style… but the hick-soul sounds that cried out of our little counter-top radio were undeniable. Both genres influenced the way I write songs today… howling dogs… love found and lost… and the things that go bump in your mind.
I grew up next to the railroad tracks on a dead end street in a tiny North Carolina tobacco town. My mom and dad weren’t happy together. At age eight I knew I wanted to be an actor. I started doing the little kid roles in the local high school plays. I needed to be out at night, out in the world, even then. Maybe it was the tension at home. Maybe I was just born with an acting jones. I don’t know. But, I wanted more… more attention… more everything. I never felt like I choose acting. It chose me. I had a chatty little monkey on my back. I loved music and played in bands in high school… but by college I was sure that acting was my real ticket out. Skip forward four years…
The day I graduated, I got into a car and drove six hundred miles north to New York City. In eleven years, I only had two different Manhattan addresses: Amsterdam between 95th and 96th, and 9th Avenue at 44th. Those neighborhoods were like exotic, tight knit small towns dropped onto an urban concrete grid. There was protocol among the locals. There was opportunity or danger at each corner. Ever see the film “After Hours”? It was just like that, I swear. The streets were populated with pizza shops, stockbrokers, painters, swank restaurants, rats aplenty, pimps in dive bars, doll-faced prostitutes… and the pregnant one with the cigarette clamped in her teeth and a halo brace screwed into her skull. There were con men, cops on horseback, cats in alleys, needles on my doorstep… and there were actors… actors everywhere. They came. They went. They worked… or, they never did… the barmaid from Montana who came seeking fame but only found another place to disappear. Without my friends from college, I may not have made it there two years. Who knows? But, I stayed and I worked on the stage, and I worked in restaurants. I flourished and I floundered. It was home for a while.
In 1993, I landed a job in the film The Quick and the Dead. I can’t completely tell the rest of this story without mentioning my buddy Russell Crowe. I already know that he would prefer that I simply talk about the music… but our friendship and our connection through music definitely influenced this project…
We met on the movie set, the scene where Russ wakes up shackled to the fountain in the town square. My dirty hand reaches into frame. I strike a wooden match off his grizzled beard, light my cigar, and challenge him to a gunfight…
We worked all day until just after dark, then rode back to Tucson in a film company transportation van. With the radio blaring, our conversation naturally veered towards music. He told me about his band, Thirty Odd Foot of Grunts. I told him I had played and written songs in high school, but nothing since… and I told him about my brother, J.K., a monster guitarist with his own recording studio in Wilmington, N.C. We ended up having a couple of pints and talking about work and music all evening.
Over the next few years, I hung out at a couple of recording sessions with the Grunts as they tracked their albums. I sang backing vocals on The Photograph Kills and Swept Away Bayou. That time in the studio got me itching…
In late 1997, a song popped into my head out of nowhere. That Christmas, I asked my brother to grab his guitar and help me work on the song in his studio. He did. The next Christmas, I had a few more songs. This time my brother gave me his old Alvarez acoustic and told me I should learn to play again… said my songs were pretty good.
In 2002, Dave Wilkins (Grunts) and I sat down a couple of evenings and talked about my songs and about the instruments I imagined inhabiting the arrangements… “Acoustic guitars, sweeping pedal steel, and a lot of Hammond B3 organ… something between Willie Nelson and Pink Floyd.” He agreed. I worked on the film “Daredevil” that June and July. In August, we went to record at my brother’s studio for a month.
I could yammer on and on about how everything came together, but maybe it’s time to shut my pie hole and let you check out the tunes. I’d like to mention a couple of the main players first: Terry Nash learned to play keyboards on the Hammond organ. He’s a wizard. Donny Wynn (Robert Palmer) and Jon Blondell laid down drums and bass respectively at Willie Nelson’s Arlyn Studios… Amazing! Clyde Maddocks, a local N.C. pedal steel and Dobro player bent some tasteful, twisted notes… check out Tarantulas Dancing, Rat on a Wheel and The Deadest Man Alive. Derwin Hinson, t

Lyrics

The Deputy of Galveston

Written By: Lennie Loftin (w/David Wilkins)

THE DEPUTY OF GALVESTON By Lennie Loftin & David Wilkins
Copyright 2002

Verse 1:
Buddy Lee Baker… that bottomless need
Lit a fire to the farmhouse, that killed my Marie
I can’t remember how I got that gun in my hands
It shook like the devil when I shot that man

CHORUS 1:
I’m on the run from the Deputy of Galveston
Living on lies, and dying for my woman’s touch

Verse 2:
Flea bitten motel… a tumbler of gin
Basking in neon, and soaking in sin
I never wanted to get no blood on my hands
But I shot Buddy Baker… I swear I’d do it again

CHORUS 2:
I’m on the run from the Deputy of Galveston
He’d see me die for the murder of his only son

BRIDGE:
That jealous man terrorized Marie
She once wore his wedding band
That vile debris, that mediocrity
Took all I loved and ever had

Verse 3:
The judge and the jury
They all took my side
Deputy Baker…
Turned his badge in that night

CHORUS 3:
I’m on the run from the Deputy of Galveston
Got blood in his eyes… and his hand on a gun

Soakin' Wet

Written By: Lennie Loftin

“Soakin’ Wet”
By Lennie Loftin
Copyright Library of Congress, 2004

Last house on the left
A railroad track
A river on the other side…
A little slice of Paradise
Wind in the saw grass
Iron horses thundering by…
A fixer-up Corvette
That I ain’t got to yet
Sittin’ in the rain…
Soakin’ wet

Carolina cloudburst
Hangin’ like a canvass
Heavy as a widow’s sigh…
I hear a train wailin’
As the sun tears through the grey
And paints the sky…
My baby’s comin’ home tonight
We’re gonna light a fire
And we’re gonna get soakin’ wet…
Soakin’ wet…

Bullfrogs on the riverbank
Singin’ like a gospel choir
Steel wheels in the distance
Keepin’ time…

Standin’ at the station
Roses in my hand
Magnolia in the air…
I can’t wait to get her home
I can’t wait till we’re… alone
Dancin’ on the back deck
Me and Antoinette…

Soakin’ wet…
Soakin’ wet…
Soakin’ wet…

Why's Everybody Crying?

Written By: Lennie Loftin

WHY’S EVERYBODY CRYING?
By Lennie Loftin, Copyright 2007

Why’s everybody crying?
Wipin’ swollen eyes…
Why’s everybody praying?
Did somebody die?
Why’s my mama shaking…
Screaming ‘why my baby, why?’
Why the Red, White, and Blue?
Why the bright light?

Last thing I remember
I was crawling on my hands
Had a case of cottonmouth
There was blood in the sand
A man in a long white robe
Sandals on his feet
Flashed a knife before my eyes
And told me ‘God is great…’

Why’s everybody crying?
Does anybody know?
Why’s everybody crying?
Does anybody know?
Why’s the dog outside…
Tied to a tree?
Why’s everybody crying…?
Tell me mama please.

Shake the dirt from my shoes
Run your fingers through my hair
Turn the lamp down low
Rock me in your chair

OooOoooo…

First thing I remember…
I was four years old
Toy soldiers in a firefight…
On a hot dirt road...

Why’s everybody crying?
Does anybody know?
Why’s everybody crying?
Does anybody know?
Why’s the dog outside…
Tied to a tree?
Why’s everybody crying?
Tell me mama please…

The Road Less Traveled

Written By: Lennie Loftin

THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED
By Lennie Loftin

VERSE 1:
Running through the woods
Catching fireflies in a jar
Holding hands with Peggy Sue
And kissing her in my backyard
If I’d stayed…
There’s no telling who I’d be today
But I took the road less traveled…
Man I’ve seen some things along the way

VERSE 2:
Many is the night
You could catch me swinging on a star
With famous friends in foreign lands
Smoking on a fat cigar
If I’d played…
The game… no telling who I’d be today
But I took the road less traveled…
After spinning out in the fast lane

BRIDGE:
The future is before me full of possibilities
The past is like a good old friend… I wouldn’t change a thing
Standing here beside you, girl, is where I wanna be
Cause when I look into your eyes it all makes sense to me

VERSE 3:
Every single thing I’ve ever done…
Has led me here to you
All the endless nights alone…
And all the endless parties, too
Here today…
I will take your hand and I’ll be brave
Out here on the road less traveled
I have found true love and found my way…
Found my way
Found my way
Found my way