Written by Jason Isbell in 2003 as a tribute song "for and about a couple members of The Band who are no longer with us."
Jason Isbell: "When I started writing this one, I wanted to capture some of Levon Helm's feelings about the deaths (and lives) of Richard Manuel and Rick Danko. The longer I worked on the song, the more impossible that became. I felt like the best I could do was to explain my own attitude toward being a working and traveling musician."
Recorded in 2003 by the Drive-By Truckers for the 2004 album The Dirty South. The lyrics are copyrighted. Please do not copy or redistribute.
Let the night air cool you off. Tilt your head back and try to cough. Don't say nothin' about the things you never saw. Let the night air cool you off. I ain't livin' like I should. A little rest might do me good. Got to sinking in the place where I once stood. I ain't livin' like I should. Can you hear that singing? Sounds like gold. Maybe I can only hear it in my head. Fifteen years ago they owned that road. Now it's rolling over us instead. Richard Manuel is dead. God forbid you call their bluff. Like the nightmares ain't enough. Remember when they used to say that we were tough? God forbid you call their bluff. First they make you out to be the only pirate on the sea. Then they say Danko would have sounded just like me. "Is that the man you want to be?" Can you hear that singing? Sounds like gold. Maybe I could make it bigger overseas. Fifteen years ago they owned that road. Now it only gives us somewhere else to leave. Something else you can't believe. Can you hear that singing? Sounds like gold. Maybe I can hear poor Richard from the grave. Singing where to reap and when to sow when you've found another home you have to leave. Something else you can't believe.