THE ORPHAN TRAINS

THE ORPHAN TRAINS

BandFolkAmericana

"Beautiful harmonies, poetic lyrics, really stunning stuff."--Alexis Dow, THE PATRIOT-NEWS

Biography

The Orphan Trains met on the wild savannahs between the countries of poetry and song. Amanda Birdsall had spent the previous decade performing on stages from Florida to Canada, recording three acclaimed albums along the way, playing with such powerful voices as Sloan Wainwright and Edie Carey. Wolff Bowden had published two full-length books of poetry, including nearly thirty poems which had appeared in literary magazines. He had won several major poetry awards, booked a reading with former Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky and had been named ARTEXPO ARTIST OF THE MILLENNIUM in Miami for his mixed-media paintings.

Inspired by American history, the duo adopted a new name, The Orphan Trains, and has been roaring along ever since, playing festivals, art galleries, conferences, libraries, listening rooms and botanical gardens. With songs forged in the haunting fires of life, and music which moves with its own secret pulse, The Orphan Trains take listeners on strange, uplifting journeys through the grit and glory of time.

Jon Connelly, PHD, who booked The Orphan Trains as headliners at his psychotherapy conference, said their songs were, “Like Leonard Cohen on a roller coaster.” Delivering their well-crafted lyrics with both male and female vocals, two guitars, a ferocious violin, harmonicas, harmonies, piano, banjo, drums and tambourine, The Orphan Trains have warmed the ears of thousands of discerning listeners.

While touring with their debut album: On The Night You Were Born, The Orphan Trains have dropped in for live performances on radio and television shows and performed with great singer/songwriters, including folk legend Danny Schmidt. And they’ve been garnering beautiful reviews from Portland to Port St. Lucie, where NPR’s Willi Miller said their music, “Took me way back to the old kind of folk music (Woody Guthrie & Bob Dylan). The music is great! People are going to enjoy this.”

THE ORPHAN TRAINS take their name from the 1800’s trains that ferried orphans from New York City to farms of the west.

AMANDA BIRDSALL WON 3RD PRIZE IN THE SUSQUEHANNA MUSIC FESTIVAL'S SONGWRITING COMPETITION

THE ORPHAN TRAINS' ALBUM On The Night You Were Born WAS A PERFORMING SONGWRITER MAGAZINE DIY FINALIST

FOR MORE INFORMATION, VIDEOS AND SHOW DATES, PLEASE VISIT OUR WEBSITE:

WWW.THEORPHANTRAINS.COM

Lyrics

You & I

Written By: Wolff Bowden (Jay Thomas Wolff Bowden, ASCAP)

When I look in your eyes
I watch the carousel ride
blue horses are spinnin with all of the children
who want to fly

You say you want to change the world
You couldn’t stop it changing if you tried
Everything’s changing day after day
except you and I

That’s a life I want to live
A life I want to try
Everything’s changing day after day
except you and I

We meet in the trees of the night
and kiss as if setting a fire
somehow I know, wherever we go
we’ll be burning bright

You say you want to change the world…

So let that old carousel spin
as tigers and unicorns sigh
forgiveness is wind on all of the things
that we’ve left behind

You say you want to change the world…

There’s an ocean we have to swim
like swans in the water of time
but somehow I’m sure when we reach the shore
you’ll be by my side

You say you want to change the world…

On the Night You Were Born

Written By: Wolff Bowden (Jay Thomas Wolff Bowden, ASCAP)

Your father ran out through the hospital doors
and he started to shout, I’ve got me a boy.
Your mother lay vanquished and smiling and sore.
You were too young to thank her
on the night you were born.

Through night blooming Cactus your grandmother came
and said that the angels put your soul in a frame.
And while logs in the fire crackled and roared
the world thought of lions
on the night you were born.

Woooooooo Ooooooooo

Deep in the ocean, two whales sang a song.
Some say that you heard them, that you hummed along.
You opened your eyes and you stared at the door
but you were tired of swimming
on the night you were born.

Your grandpa in Georgia saddled his horse
and rode down to Valdosta where whiskey was poured.
Snow fell like secrets that had never been told
and you learned to keep them
on the night you were born.

Woooooooo Ooooooooo

The windows were open in your nursery.
The treefrogs were singing while you fell asleep.
The people were sleeping but the animals roamed
and you dreamt you were with them
on the night you were born.

Your parents went down to the lake late that night.
The water was silver, the wind was alive.
It lifted their voices and turned them to song
and the stars were all smiling
on the night you were born.

If I Was Away

Written By: The Masked Fantastic (© Wolff Bowden 2007 )

Maybe next winter I’ll send you a ring
to wear on your finger, to help you to sing
a song for a man who is too far away
who sits in the distance with nothing to say.

If I was a radio, I’d tune this song for you
about the things I might have been in worlds we never knew.

If I was a record I would spin and spin and spin
‘cause time is just a needle on this skin I’m living in.

If I was some speakers I would roar to outer space
and if I was awaaaaaay, I’d come back to you someday
and if I was awaaaaaay, I’d come back to you someday.

This is the distance between you and me.
How many footsteps more do I need?
How many fires until we find wood?
How many nights don’t we sleep when we should?

If I was a river I would flow right through your life
and wash away the darkness like day erases night.

If I was a house I would hold back heavy snow
and keep your books and blankets warm each time you go.

If I was a dancer I would cross this open stage
and if I was awaaaaaay, I’d come back to you someday
and if I was awaaaaaay, I’d come back to you someday.

Maybe next summer or I don’t know when
I’ll drive across Kansas and find you again.
In your yellow dress with those tears still on your face
I’ll lift you and kiss you and take you away.

If I was a breath, I would fill your empty chest
with all wind that I could fit inside my fishing net.

If I was a fire I would burn right through this wind
and let you know the kind of smoke and ash I’m living in.

If I was a poet I would know just what to say
and if I was awaaaaaay, I’d come back to you someday
and if I was awaaaaaay, I’d come back to you someday.

Orphan Trains

Written By: The Masked Fantastic (© Wolff Bowden 2007 )

A thousand ragged orphans board
a train on Saturday.
The sun is out there somewhere
though the sky is damp and gray.

Little Alfred sits with his
small cardboard suitcase,
his face pressed to the window New York
City falls away.

The Orphan trains
roll west through the rain
and no one knows these kids are coming
no one knows their names
And all the orphans sit beside their windows, cry and say
Who would ever really want to love me anyway?
Who would ever really want to love me anyway?

The Orphan trains, The Orphan trains,
The Orphan trains, The Orphan trains.

All the children line up on a
broken plywood stage.
Their faces have been washed and
their clothes are clean and straight.

A farmer fingers Emma’s teeth
just like he would a mule.
But Emma kicks him, screaming
I’m not going home with you!

The Orphan trains…

Emma is adopted
grows up laughing by a pond.
Into Texas into Kansas
the train moves Alfred along.

When they reach Nebraska
a town merchant takes him in,
sits him on his knee and says
from now on you’re my kin.

The Orphan trains
roll west through the rain
and no one knows these kids are coming
no one knows their names
And all the orphans sit beside their windows, cry and say
Who would ever really want to love me anyway?
Who would ever really want to love me anyway?

The Orphan trains, The Orphan trains,
The Orphan trains, The Orphan trains.


Jenell

Written By: The Orphan Trains: Amanda Lee Birdsall (Dakota Rose) & Wolff Bowden

when you were a little girl
you were taken from your family
your mama was young and wild
your daddy was a mystery

Hey..........Jenell, I wish you well
Hey....... mmm hmmm

when the circus came to town
you rode on an elephant
but in your secret heart
you loved the lion best

Hey..........Jenell, I wish you well
Hey....... mmm hmmm

you spilled your ice cream cone
down the front of your yellow dress
trying to save a baby bird
that had fallen from its mother’s nest

Hey..........Jenell, I wish you well
Hey....... mmm hmmm

you dream you’re an angel
you dream that you can fly
you sleep on a bed of stars
while the moon sings a lullaby

ooooo.....

I don’t know where you are today
but I hope that you’re alright
10 years since you left my door
I still pray for you every night

Hey..........Jenell, I wish you well
Hey....... mmm hmmm

Roberta

Written By: Dakota Rose (© 2007 Amanda Lee Birdsall)

You woke up in a wedding dress
outside of New Orleans
something borrowed, something blue,
somebody else’s dream

and you heard the organ playing
as your families shuffled in
and you knew that it was over
even before it would begin

sometimes when what you’ve waited your whole life for
finally comes along
you find your heart gave up long ago,
packed her suitcase and moved on

and you ache but you cannot deny
the truth that haunts your sleep
so you break another heart
but it doesn’t make you free

Roberta, rest your weary head
You were born to roam
and never to wed
a woman as bold as truth
you did the only thing
that you could do
Roberta

you are sure that in your life
you’ve let a lot of people down
you keep trying to start over
in another rainy winter town

but these bars are filled with gamblers,
the downtrodden and the mean
and you’re just one more loveless face
in the shadows on your knees

sometimes you feel like you’re the only one
who ever did somebody wrong
but whose life are you living,
someone else’s or your own
we all do the best we can
in this life with what we’ve got
each day a little wiser for knowing
who we are and who we’re not

Roberta, rest your weary head
You were born to roam
and never to wed
a woman as bold as truth
there was nothing else
that you could do
Roberta

You woke up in a wedding dress
outside of New Orleans
something borrowed, something blue,
somebody else’s dream

Independence Day

Written By: Dakota Rose (© 2007 Amanda Lee Birdsall)

I was born a poor girl
on the 4th day of July
Nothing to look up to
but that eagle in the sky

Mama took in laundry
and Daddy hoed a field
We had a little wood shack
with a john out back
and a beat up Oldsmobile

Daddy liked his whiskey,
and Mama loved to dance
Between the booze and the fightin’
and the runnin’ ‘round at night
Lord I never stood a chance

And it’s a long way back to Redbird
If you want to, you can go
If you ask me, you’re just wasting your time
But what the hell do I know

I was held by hard hands,
red and cracked as that Colorado dirt
Seems we should’ve had it better,
long and hard as Mama and Daddy worked

But Josie had a TV
and we watched it late at night
Seein’ all the fancy people
doin’ fancy things
under them neon lights

Swore that we’d get outta this town
before we turned 18
Just a couple of starry-eyed country girls
in dollar-store blue jeans

And it’s a long way back to Redbird
If you want to, you can go
If you ask me, you’re just wasting your time
But what the hell do I know

Now I’ve been waitin’ tables,
and I’m still waitin’ for my piece of the pie
But it looks like it passed me over,
like that eagle in the sky

Mama calls me up sometimes
and asks me to come home,
Sayin’ “Your pop’s a sorry shit,
and I’ve been sick,
and I never felt so alone"

"Baby come home and take care of us,
that’s what a daughter’s for”
But I got plans,
you gotta take a chance,
And make your own way in this world

And it’s a long way back to Redbird
And I have no desire to go
If you ask me, you’re just wasting your time
But what the hell do I know

Oh Mary

Written By: Dakota Rose (© 2007 Amanda Lee Birdsall)

oh Mary we’ve been praying
for a peaceful end
you’ve been in this bed for years
no sign of waking
and please forgive me now for saying
that I’ve been a loyal friend
but it seems like my life too is being taken

so now I will send you home,
all the angels to meet
with the true love of a friend in your heart
and a rainbow around your feet
mmmm, mmmmm, and a rainbow ‘round your feet

oh Mary I’ve been knitting
these bright socks to keep you warm
you know it helps to keep my mind
and my hands busy
and all these years that I’ve been sitting,
you know it doesn’t seem that long
since the days when you were often the one giving

oh Mary you were with me
on my wedding day
when I feared it all was happening too quickly
and all those cold nights in my kitchen
when my baby passed away
you said the best thing I could do was go on living

and now my friend it’s come down to you
the only precious thing I have left to lose

oh Mary they’ve decided
it’s time to let you go
I don’t think my heart has ever felt this quiet
but I know I’ll see your smile
at the end of my own road
when my feet have walked
ten thousand lonely miles

Calling You Home

Written By: Dakota Rose ( © Amanda Birdsall 2007)

they tried to warn you
you had to find out
always the one
in the horse’s mouth
how many times
have you walked down this road
I’m on your side
I am calling you home
calling you home

these dreams have burned
a home in your head
you’ve always been
too hard on yourself
I know you’re trying
to make it alone
but I’m on your side
I am calling you home
calling you home

one rainy winter
you’ll turn around
I’ll light a candle
you’ll lay it down
I know it’s hard
to be out on your own
I’m on your side
I am calling you home
calling you home

Glad Man

Written By: Wolff Bowden (Jay Thomas Wolff Bowden, ASCAP)

I can hear my neighbor’s windchimes they are chimin’ in the night
and you won’t be here tomorrow though you were here tonight.

And I’m a sad, sad man, saddest man I ever been.

I can see you in your nightclothes I can feel you next to me.
When it’s time for you to go I curl up in the sheets.

And I’m a sad, sad man, saddest man there’s ever been.

I listen to the whippoorwills in the woods outside my house.
I don’t want you someday, baby I want you right now.

And I’m a sad, sad man, saddest man I ever been.

You’ll be back again love when your hard work is done
until then I close my eyes I cannot stand the sun.

And I’m a sad, sad man, saddest man there’s ever been.

And though it’s only Thursday night I know it won’t be long
‘till you’re right-here-with-me in this room till you’re right here in my arms.

And I’m a glad, glad man, gladdest man I ever been.

I can hear my neighbor’s windchimes they are chimin’ in the night
and you’ll be here tomorrow though you were not here tonight.

And I’m a glad, glad man, gladdest man there’s ever been.

World To Change

Written By: The Masked Fantastic (© Wolff Bowden 2007 )

I woke up this morning with this song in my hands.
The dreams of our fathers were turning to glass.
I saw the Statue of Liberty shaking her head.
I threw on my boots and I leapt out of bed.

We won’t wait for the world to change.
We won’t wait for the sleepers to wake.
We’ll step out into the streets and be brave.
We won’t wait for the world,
world to change.

We’re just trying to make some sense of this place.
This country of colors and hungers and shapes.
There’s a parrot perched on our shoulders who says
that the earth is collapsing right under our beds.

We won’t wait for the world to change…

It’s not about spinning the people with the press.
There’s a deal being made between the living and the dead.
Between the queen of the trees and the ocean’s sweet depth.
Between earning a buck and taking a breath.

We won’t wait for the world to change…

They say you can only keep what you give.
Let’s stop building mansions and learn how to live.
And the hurricane’s coming, so give me a kiss
while the moon turns the night into morning again.

We won’t wait for the world to change.
We won’t wait for the sleepers to wake.
We’ll step out into the streets and be brave.
We won’t wait for the world,
world to change.

Discography

On The Night You Were Born (2008)
PERFORMING SONGWRITER MAGAZINE DIY FINALIST

The Animal Groom (Release Date Summer 2010)

On The Night You Were Born has been described as “Really Stunning Stuff” (The Patriot-News) and features 12 Songs and a Lullaby. This album takes you on a journey with: orphans on an 1850’s train, laughing trees, a lion-loving foster child, a shotgun-wielding father, a runaway bride in New Orleans and a man who imagines he is a record spinning beneath the needle of time.

For More Music please visit:
sonicbids.com/AMANDABIRDSALL
WWW.THEORPHANTRAINS.COM

Set List

All originals. Two 45-60 minute sets.