Steve Coffee

Steve Coffee

 Falls Church, Virginia, USA

Original Americana. Steve Coffee is a singer-songwriter with the Harley String Band. Supporting each other on various instruments, this trio mines the deep veins of American music aspiring to breathe new life and fresh ideas into traditional musical forms.


Tired of being old and in the way, three musicians, two of them recently divorced, two retired, and one a biker, met through the Songwriters Association of Washington.

The Harley String Band is developing a following in the Northern Virginia area. The band offers a rich array of textures from its diverse collection of instruments.

Primary influeces are "the masters", Townes van Zandt, John Hiatt, John Prine, Lucinda Williams, Carter Family, and the Celtic-Appalachian tradition in general.


Give it Up if I Wanted To

Written By: Stephen R Coffee

I feel like another cigarette
I’ll probably give it up some day
But not yet

And I won’t need no stinking patch
I’ll suck it up and tough it out
Got a match

I ain’t looking for nobody to sue
Wish you could understand:
Give it up if I wanted to

I’m sick and tired of being dissed
It’s not like I’m lighting up a bomb,
not a terrorist

I’ll go and stand out on the street
You’d be surprised at what nice people
You can meet

And everybody’s got a light for you
And anyone will tell you: they’d
give it up if they wanted to

Here comes that cool springtime feeling
Here comes that cool springtime taste
Feels so, feels like…
I feel like another cigarette

An early grave is not my goal
That’s what my Daddy always said
Rest his soul

These aren’t the worst odds that I’ve had
They only take one out of three
That ain’t bad

Grandma smoked till she was, what, 62
Last thing I heard her say:
Give it up if I wanted to.

I feel like another cigarette

Where You Going with my Heart?

Written By: Stephen R Coffee

Where you going with my heart
I don’t think we said Goodbye
Can’t you look me in the eye

It was broken from the start
There was nothing you could do
It’s enough you wanted to

Where you going with my heart

Was it me who was leaving
Did I tear us apart
But you kept on breathing
Where you going with my heart

See the love come rushing out
See it running down my chest
Like a thousand sins confessed

From the undertow of doubt
I could never reach your shore
And you can’t hear me anymore

See the love come rushing out

(repeat bridge)

You’ve gone far on down the road
But I still see you standing there
Catching teardrops in your hair

Shouldering your heavy load
Well here’s your chance to put it down
You don’t have to haul it around

Where you going with my heart (put it down)
Where you going with my heart
Where you going

Chiggers, Ticks, Spiders and Snakes

Written By: Stephen R Coffee

Is it hot enough for you?
Can’t you set a spell?
Have a tall glass of water from the drinking well
We got fat to chew we got tales to tell
About chiggers, ticks, spiders and snakes

Well you like to go on about the good old days
Helping out Grandma on the old home place
Blackberry juice dripping down your face
Well don’t you think you might have forgot? There were…

Chiggers and ticks
Spiders and snakes
Itching so bad got to throw you in the lake
There’s berries to pick
We got cobbler to bake
Chiggers ticks spiders and snakes

Who wants to eat? Hey that’s the ticket
But if you want food well you go to pick it
Or catch it or shoot or gig it or lick it
Or trick it into jumping in the pan

Well the moccasins they stay down by the water
The spiders they’d just as soon not bother
But a berry picker’s Grade A chigger fodder
And you oughta check for ticks right now. Cause there’s…

(repeat chorus)

Well you’re bound to leave bound to move away
Maybe go to the city find a job that pays
Got to find out if you’ve got what it takes

But now the berries are shining in the morning light
And you know some varmint is just waiting to bite
But you know something good will be cooking tonight

The catfish are jumping. The bullfrogs they just
Set real still like the rock of ages
The worms are getting restless. They’re banging on their cages
They may just have to take a little swim

Y’all quit your fussing and don’t let me catch you
Messing around down in the berry patch
If you cross your grandpa well you’ve met your match
You better scratch that mad spot and get glad. Cause there’s…

(repeat chorus and out)

Cloud Shape Animals

Written By: Stephen R Coffee

Noses and toeses
Point to the sky
Backs on the grass
My daughter and I
Watch as all the beasts of heaven
Go floating by
And oh what a memory we’ve made
It’s a cloud shape animal parade

I see a panda, I see a whale
I see a tiger, but he’s got a funny tail
The more I look up the more animals I see
I think clouds have made a monkey out of me

Here comes an elephant
You can tell by his size
Whoops, he turned into a rabbit
Before our very eyes
A hippo dances into view
Then metamorphosize
It seems as though nothing stays the same
Is it me, or is this mother nature’s game

From antelope to zebra
My daughter finds them all
She has amazing powers
For someone three feet tall
My poor eyes struggle
Just to see over the wall
And like a shadow slips into the shade
I look away, the image starts to fade

But what about the tiger that walks upon the earth?
And the dolphin that swims beneath the sea?

And all the great beasts of the field
Will they still be around
When my daughter with her children
Lies here on the ground?
Will she find they’ve slipped into the sky without a sound
Should our imaginations fail
The tiger, the panda and the whale?

Drifting Away

Written By: Stephen R Coffee

Through the darkest night
Shines the promise of morning
On the wings of light
Comes a day a-dawning
But now we nestlings, yearlings,
Creatures great and small

Are drifting away
Forgetting all our sorrows
Drifting away
‘cross oceans of tomorrows
Slipping away
Falling away
We’re drifting away

Through the coming years
I will keep the fire burning
You can find me here
Waiting for your returning
May you fly east, fly west
Circle back to me

We’re drifting away
Forgetting all our worries
Drifting away
No longer in a hurry
Slipping away
Falling away
We’re drifting away

Listen to the breeze
Whispering at the window
Shadows of the trees
Dancing in the moonglow
Is it your dream, my dream,
Do we dream the same?

We’re drifting away
Forgetting all our sorrows
Drifting away
We’ll work it out tomorrow
Slipping away
Falling away
We’re drifting away

Island in Time

Written By: Stephen R Coffee

The way the light embraced your skin
As the sun was going down
As if it couldn’t bear let go
Such a perfect brown

The way the wind played in your hair
As we lay among the dunes
Feeling the rhythm of the waves
And the pull of the moon

If I could catch the rising tide
And drift back to that night
If only I could reason with the wind
Get the waves to break just right
Then maybe I could find you
Touch you
Hold you
Once you
Were here on our island in time

The music carried on the breeze
As we gave in to the night
Watching the spray rise off the sea
To scatter the light

For those hours beneath the moon
I touched perfection’s face
But daylight found me stranded here
In time and space

(Repeat chorus)

These memories are like the shells
I find
In my daily vigil the shore
A shadow of what lived before
In every one I hear your voice

The seasons find their way around
To the place where they began
There must be cycles in the waves
And clouds and man

So now I search along the seam
Separating sea and sand
Hoping to slip between the cracks
In heaven’s plan

If I could catch the rising tide
And drift back to that night
If only I could reason with the wind
Get the waves to break just right

If I could weave a net of stars
And sweep it through the sea
If only it would yield its secrets up
To reveal eternity
Then maybe I could find you
Touch you
Hold you
Once you
Were here on our island in time

The Foundation

Written By: Stephen R Coffee

You never would have known it was out there
With the tall grass grown up all around
If you hadn’t wondered about those flowers
Every time you drove to town
And were you driving into town

And if today you hadn’t stopped there
Left your car out by the road
And walked out into this old hayfield
To see if those were really roses
Who would have planted roses?

Shining like a dinosaur bone
A rectangle of neatly laid stone
You’ve walked into the ghost of someone’s home

A broken step up to the south side
You stand where once there was a door
A woman calls the kids to dinner
A wee one scoots around the floor
One or two centuries before

Of course they would have planted roses
To help mark every special day
Pinned to the bosom of a fair bride
Placed on a mantle, or a grave
Where would they have dug the grave?

And there’s not a trace of timber to be found
Just rows of limestone slowly wearing down
And these stubborn roses pushing through the ground

You see your shadow getting long now
Soon your footprints will be gone
What have you built what have you planted?
You’re the one who travels on
And so you walk back to the highway
Just once more you turn around
You always wondered about those flowers
Every time you drove to town
Better get on into town


Written By: Stephen R Coffee and Jim Johnson

Down a drunken alleyway - High above Lake Atitlán
Mayan priests sit on Pepsi crates - And offer smokes to Maximón
Candles light the concrete walls - Flower petals and paper cups
Where Maximón sits silently – A tourist curiosity
Such a hard way - for a God to fall

Save a cigarette for Maximón
The Church has left him out there on his own
He’s still attended by a faithful few
Seems even saints need sinners too

(Verse 2)
Fallen women and their customers - And all who cannot cast a stone
Climb the rocks and cross the lake - To offer gifts for Maximón
A gambler may deal an ace - A dealer may drop a dime
As Maximón waits patiently – For a Pall Mall or a few quetzales
A thousand years across his wooden face

(Repeat Chorus)

(Verse 3)
All ye less than perfect ones - Whatever path you walk upon
Set aside a sin or two – And name it for Saint Maximón
An evil deed that’s left undone - A bottle with a few sips left
For Maximon’s proud effigy – To serve an outlaw deity
You don’t know where redemption might come from

(Repeat Chorus)
(Coda )
Seems even saints need sinners too
Even Gods need sinners too

Deepwater Requiem

Written By: Stephen R Coffee and Jim Johnson

Come all ye hale and hearties - gather ‘round and listen to me
For a bit of your time, and a piece of your ear
I’ll tell you a tale of the sea – Yes, I’ll sing you a song of the sea
Our journey begins on no dinghy, nor dock - But a chopper in Bayou LaFourche
You’re barely awake when you look down and take
Your last look over the marsh
In the wake of Columbus, Cortez, and Magellan - We plow the seas for gold
But the treasure we seek is black and it’s thick – And it’s three hundred million years old
Yes, the treasure we seek is black and it’s rich – And its ten thousand . . . feet be - low

A speck on the curved horizon, on the deepwater waves she awaits
A whispered prayer for your family
As you circle your vessel of fate - As you hover in over your fate
Our platform is like no fair schooner nor ship - That ever set sail or was rowed
For it’s pinned in one place and it moves not a trace
As the oceans wash over the globe
A mosquito of steel, with no rudder or keel – It pierces the sea floor below
And drinks from a vein, the fossil remains - From half an aeon ago
It drinks from a vein, the life blood contained - ‘neath the Gulf . . . of Mexico

The earth may yield her treasure – But it doesn’t come easy or free
She’ll fight you inch, by inch on land
And by fathoms ‘neath the sea – By fathoms ‘neath the sea
So “swing that wrench” the driller says – “You roughnecks move too slow”
“And stack that pipe you roustabouts” – “And haul that chain down below”.
It’s a hole so deep, to look down it would suck the - Black right out of your eyes
If the plug doesn’t hold, the gas could explode - And blow us all over the skies
And the more that we drill, and the more that we pump, - The higher . . . the waters rise

So gather we now, to bow our heads - by the shore of the vast unknown
As eleven men pilot their funeral barge
Into a world beyond - gone to a world beyond
We chew on the smoke from the flaming pyre
We scrape the tar from our boots
Then return to our toys and cars and planes - and other earthly pursuits
For its marshes to marshes and coast to coast
And the crude on the waves as they roil
For the harbors, and bays, and beaches
And the beauty . . . that we spoil
God bless us all, each and everyone
And anoint us . . . with oil

Half Moon Bay

Written By: Stephen R Coffee and Jim Johnson

There’s a full moon rising over half moon bay
You always swear you’re coming back to stay
But the plane leaves tomorrow - And you know you’ll be on board

There’s still something missing from that master plan
Hatched in a hammock here in Roatan
You blew in with the breezes - But you’re leaving with the tide

Good bye my good life – My tropical breezes
This is the last time I’m leaving you behind
And here’s to you – senoritas
Look for me by moonrise – Half moon moonrise

Well maybe your first love was the Yucatan
And lying in that warm Caribbean sand
Had you ready to pack up – And you nearly cut the cord

So you’ll dream of the rhythms of Montego Bay
While scraping the windshield in your cold driveway
The frost and the freezes – The risks and the rewards

(Repeat Chorus)

Now the sun is shining over half moon bay
The driver knows you’re coming back to stay
He smiles in the mirror – yeah he’s heard it all before
But you still have work left on that master plan - Caught between money and meridian
The rent and the runway – The breakers and the shore

(Repeat Chorus)


The band is working on two albums, one of them a children's album.

Set List

The band currently has about three hours of material ready to go. About three fourths of that is original (All three members write.) We throw in tradtional Appalachian tunes and a few interesting covers, such as Time After Time and I've Just Seen a Face. Imagine a Native American version of This Land Is Your Land.