Before the Bright Lights

by Anthony Quails

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about

Before the Bright Lights draws influences from radio theater and Americana storytelling, resulting in a work that Anthony says “feels very old – much older than I am.” The lyrics harness the power of allegory to discuss themes of forgiveness, perseverance, and love that overcomes adversity.

credits

released July 15, 2016

PRODUCTION CREDITS:

All Songs by Anthony Quails © BMI 2016 Vibraslap/Folktone Music

Tracked and Mixed at Clubmen Recording Studio in Blairsville, GA
by James S. Smith

Additional Recording at the Nehemiah Foundation in Sugar Hill, GA
by Michael Minkoff, Jr. and Justus Stout

Produced by James S. Smith

Tracks 1, 3, and 9 produced with Michael Minkoff, Jr. and Justus Stout

Mastered at The Hit Lab in Nashville, TN by Nathan Dantzler

MUSICIANS:

Anthony Quails: Guitar and Vocals

Kaleb Garrett: Bass (1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10); Upright Bass (8); Acoustic Guitar (2, 8); Classical Guitar (2); Electric Guitar (4, 5, 7, 10); Banjo (4); Mandolin (8)

James S. Smith: Electric Guitar (1, 5, 9); Acoustic Guitar (5, 7); Bass (3); Piano (2, 5, 6, 7); Percussion (2, 4, 5); Sequencing (2, 6);

Clayton Schmidt: Drums (1, 3, 4, 5, 9)

Michael Minkoff, Jr.: Drums (2, 6, 7, 8, 10); Percussion (6, 10)

Philip Hodges: Organ (3); Bass (9); Electric Guitar (9)

Julia Watkins Hill: Violin (1, 5)

Darrien Davis: Violin (2, 8)

Tim Hamilton: Pedal Steel (4, 8, 10)

Ryan Cribbs: Piano (6)

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about

Anthony Quails Chattanooga, Tennessee

Anthony Quails masters the classic genre of old-time country story-telling. Weaving personal and patriotic history, Anthony’s new album Before the Bright Lights presents a set of Americana parables meant to marry our very real existence with transcending spiritual truths. These are real, tangible, simple stories that are meant to resonate and inspire in the deepest places. ... more

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Track Name: In the Name of the Lord
We saddled up the horses before the morning light
and headed out to battle amid the black of night.
We sharpened up the axes and stormed the village gates.
We set fire to the town for the sake of Jesus’ name.

Singing, “Oh …
Keep us safe in the name of the Lord.”

We set out for the Holy Land the year of 99
to punish Jew and Muslim for the Christ they had denied.
Yeah, they suffered for the unbelief found within their hearts,
and we drove them from Jerusalem with a Bible and a cross.

Singing, “Oh …
Keep us safe in the name of the Lord.”

We sang, “Oh …
Keep us safe in the name of the Lord.”

Yeah, I stormed the synagogue and drove the children out.
I set fire to that temple and burned it to the ground.
I took their holy book, convinced that I was right,
until I heard those children crying through the night.

Singing, “Oh …
Keep us safe in the name of the Lord.”

And they sang, “Oh …
Keep us safe in the name of the Lord.
Keep us safe in the name of the Lord.
Keep us safe in the name of the Lord.”
Track Name: Life is a Sea
I was a young lad, but still I remember,
as though it were yesterday,
the time that was spent with the one they call Captain
in a ship full of castaways.

I boarded the vessel, crimson in color,
adrift on the open sea.
The mast it was sturdy, the crew in a hurry,
and this is the song they would sing:

“Oh, oh, life is a sea,
rough as the journey and current may be.
Oh, oh life is a sea,
a voyage we’re on, my Captain and me.”

We took to the ocean, life was our lesson,
and sailed for the great beyond.
Through every season, through every storm,
I joined them in singing along:

“Oh, oh, life is a sea,
rough as the journey and current may be.
Oh, oh life is a sea,
a voyage we’re on, my Captain and me.”

A few of the crew were lost in the autumn,
swallowed up by the deep.
We mourned for the fallen, the lost and forgotten,
never again would they sing:

“Oh, oh, life is a sea,
rough as the journey and current may be.
Oh, oh life is a sea,
a voyage we’re on, my Captain and me.”

Oh, oh, life is a sea,
rough as the journey and current may be.
Oh, oh life is a sea,
a voyage we’re on, my Captain and me.
A voyage we’re on, my Captain and me.
Track Name: City of Bridges
There’s a river that runs through the valley
to the sound of slow-moving trains.
Connecting the shorelines are several bridges
built long before I became.

Braving the weather, the first of the settlers,
watched as their dream took on life.
Their vision was carried through many a century
by the sweat of who kept it alive.

’Cause I live in a city of bridges.
I live in a city of dreams.
Built on a hope for the ages
here in the land of the free.

Now most of those bridges, with concrete for columns,
carry traffic from shore to shore.
And now more than ever they stand as a symbol
where a hope and a dream were once born.

’Cause I live in a city of bridges
I live in a city of dreams.
Built on a hope for the ages
here in the land of the free.

On every corner, a lifetime of stories.
Every street sings a song
of the dust and the rubble, a great many struggle
shaping the place I call home.

’Cause I live in a city of bridges
I live in a city of dreams.
Built on a hope for the ages
here in the land of the free.
Yes, here in the land of the free.
Track Name: When There’s a Mountain
We hollowed a hole through the Great Divide
in a Colorado town over near the Utah line.
Dug a tunnel with a shovel and some dynamite.
Then a few years later we landed in the paper when we reached the other side

It started as the dream of a millionaire.
He was a real estate king when he moved out there.
He built a railway line over that mountainside,
but when the ice got thick and the rail to slick, not a train could make the climb.

When there’s a mountain standing in the way,
you can face it or choose to walk away.
In that moment, you will find an answer waiting every time:
Just tunnel through on to the other side.

Every single dime spent before he died,
the time took to reach the other side.
Some would even say that both were just a waste,
but to others he forever changed their life.

When there’s a mountain standing in the way,
you can face it or choose to walk away.
In that moment, you will find an answer waiting every time:
Just tunnel through on to the other side.
Track Name: The Gold Inside
Long before the bright lights lined the city streets
hidden in the hillside, a wealth that none could see.
We shoveled deep into the dirt that ran beside a stream.
What we soon discovered was the fortune of our dreams.

There are diamonds in the dust, treasure in the hills.
Just like every one of us, all the same but different still.
Until you take the time and peel away the grime,
you may never find the gold inside.

Word spread like a wildfire, clear across the east.
Many came from mile and miles, left their family.
We dug a mine out in the hill and hired a couple hands.
Before too long, we grew into a couple hundred men.

There are diamonds in the dust, treasure in the hills.
Just like every one of us, all the same but different still.
Until you take the time and peel away the grime,
you may never find the gold inside.

Some walked away before they struck it rich.
It’s funny: what you give is truly what you get.

There are diamonds in the dust, treasure in the hills.
Just like every one of us, all the same but different still.
Until you take the time and peel away the grime,
you may never find the gold inside.
Track Name: John Harvey Walker
In the spring of ’35, West Virginia mountainside,
the winter still melting off the arbor,
with a dogwood tree in bloom, they gathered in a courtroom,
a jury and John Harvey Walker.

In that sleepy little town, every person gathered round
to hear him defend his very honor.
But much to his dismay, they convicted anyway,
a man of cold-blooded murder.

The judge asked him to rise,
John turned to face his wife,
and spoke the only words that came to mind:

“Forgive them; they know not what they do.
Although it’s the hardest thing to choose.
If I die within the time before the truth comes to light,
I’ll see you there on the other side.”

Sixteen days from that hour, they marched him toward the gallows
through a crowd spewing anger and despise.
They wrapped that rope around, making sure his hands were bound,
and tightened as the tears rolled from his eyes.

Before they took his life
underneath that April sky,
they asked if he had any last reply.

“Forgive them; they know not what they do.
Although it’s the hardest thing to choose.
If I die within the time before the truth comes to light,
I’ll see you there on the other side.”

In another sleepy town 2,000 years ago,
a Jewish carpenter paid a debt he didn’t owe.
Unlike John Harvey Walker, he chose to pay the fee.
Not a victim of the noose,
instead, they nailed him to a tree.

And he said:
“Forgive them; they know not what they do.
Although it’s the hardest thing to choose.
I would die to pay the price with my very sacrifice,
so I could be with you on the other side.”
Track Name: Acres of Faith
Small-town Nebraska where the corn and cotton grow,
when your brother was your neighbor ’bout three miles down the road,
hadn’t seen a decent rain in at least a couple years.
When you visit that city, there’s a story that you’ll hear.

The crops had withered up back in 1948
when the farmers gathered at the church, praying for rain.
Most were in their overalls and dusty, worn-out boots,
but one old man came dressed in a yellow rubber suit.

You gotta have hope for the harvest, acres of faith,
when you go to the father and ask in Jesus’ name.
Expect that he’ll deliver when you bow your head to pray.
He is faithful to answer when you got acres of faith.

Well, 30 minutes in and the pew began to shake
with the sound of that old man as he began to pray.
He shouted out “Amen” and stumbled to his feet,
put on his rubber hat, stepped out into the street.

You gotta have hope for the harvest, acres of faith,
when you go to the father and ask in Jesus’ name.
Expect that he’ll deliver when you bow your head to pray.
He is faithful to answer when you got acres of faith.

First came the thunder, then came the rain
filling the rivers and flooding the banks.
But to this day, none have a clue
where went that old man in that yellow rubber suit.

You gotta have hope for the harvest, acres of faith,
when you go to the father and ask in Jesus’ name.
Expect that he’ll deliver when you bow your head to pray.
He is faithful to answer when you got acres of faith.
Track Name: The Cattleman Song
He rides on the prairie and out on the plain,
camps in the canyon at the end of each day.
Night after night, he sits by the fire
and sings with his six-string before he retires.

He works through the winter in snow-covered hills
herding the cattle in that cold, bitter chill.
Sits in the saddle ’til the sun goes to sleep,
then beds on a blanket and quietly sings:

“Lie down, you doggies. Come out, you stars.
Light up the heavens as bright as you are.
Then carry me safely into the arms
of the woman I love before she moves on.”

His hands made of leather, or so I’ve been told.
He’s strong as an ox with a heart made of gold.
But deep underneath, he’s longin’ for home,
but he’s two states away with three months to go.

“Lie down, you doggies. Come out, you stars.
Light up the heavens as bright as you are.
Then carry me safely into the arms
of the woman I love before she moves on.”
Track Name: Back Where You Belong
Down at the end of a boulevard,
looking for love in another’s arms.
Sold her soul for the highest price,
but she was never satisfied.

He drove that road every night
with a broken heart and bloodshot eyes.
He called her name with no reply.
That woman was his very wife.

He’d say, “Come home, back where you belong.
Oh, my heart is growing heavier the longer you are gone.
You could wipe away the pain, if only I could know
that you’d come home, back where you belong.”

Years went by without a word,
but he chased that girl like a long-lost bird.
And while she worked that strip on the boulevard,
his lonely cry was all she heard.

“Come home, back where you belong.
Oh, my heart is growing heavier the longer you are gone.
You could wipe away the pain, if only I could know
that you’d come home, back where you belong.”

She called him up from the county jail.
Yeah, they locked her up and set the bail.
But he broke the bank to pay the fine,
and he won the heart of a wayward bride.

When he said, “Come home, back where you belong.
Oh, my heart is growing heavier the longer you are gone.
You could wipe away the pain, if only I could know
that you’d come home, back where you belong.”
Track Name: When Love Comes
Shots rang out at the break of dawn
in a village off the coast of Africa.
On the floor of a cell lay a refugee,
thrown in prison when he planned to flee.

Thirteen years lying on that floor,
hope of any freedom left long before,
but little did he know running down that street,
a soldier came looking just to set him free.

When love comes, love runs
to free the slave that war had almost won.
When love comes, love runs
to rescue the captive one.

Well, sliding those chains up off his feet,
that shell of a man, he soon began to weep.
He rose up slow and headed out that door,
but clung to his savior like a frightened boy.

When love comes, love runs
to free the slave that war had almost won.
When love comes, love runs
to rescue the captive one.

Well, I’d like to say they made it safe and both of those survived,
but that soldier drew his final breath so that man could testify:

When love comes, love runs
to free the slave that war had almost won.
When love comes, love runs
to rescue the captive one,
to rescue the captive one.
Track Name: Some Birds
Some birds were meant to fly but fear the great unknown,
while some birds will take to flight to find a better home.
Of the ones who fly away and reach the great beyond,
those will never hesitate to fly where they belong.

When I was a younger man, younger than the one I am,
I held a bird inside my hand and let it slip away.
In the years that followed since, I tried and failed in my attempt
to find another counterfeit, but none were quite the same.

Some birds, some birds were never meant to cage.

Now I am much older than the foolish boy I was back then
who loosely held within his hand the bird that flew away.
Now it seems I’ve come to find possibly the choice was mine
to free the bird before the time it settled for the cage.

Some birds, some birds were never meant to stay.
Some birds, some birds were never meant to cage.