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John Wayne / Darkness

by Nathan Xander

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  • More Music by Nathan Xander

John Wayne 05:28
A six-gun, a guitar and I don't want you anymore. I'm feeling kind of untouchable. Kind of like John Wayne. I leave a graveyard behind as I ride into the sun. 'Cause a dead man never saw anybody steal all the silver from his wagon train. It's a hundred miles between here and the next outpost. I'll name a new horse and steal a ribbon for her mane. It's a bareback ride but I hear there's gold in California. Mixed with the silver stolen, that gold could buy me a new saddle a day. I left my lover in Chicago. She's a writer of books there, don't you see? She boarded a train going, down south, to El Paso. She snuck south of the border to wait for me. Now that I got your attention, let me offer you forty bucks a piece to sneak me down through to Juarezä hey hey. My woman's waiting for me there with two fresh horses and a rifle. We plan to trade this metal for Pesos and hide away.
Darkness 04:59
I spend too much time waiting for the pain to come. Sitting down between Heaven, Hell and the Blues. Drawing lines and connecting dots but the picture never seems to come fast enough. At least that's the way I feel but don't know how to say it to you. Long road and a slow roasting of souls. Cards and letters and names that nobody will ever know. A short end to a week with no time to spend alone. And Darkness becomes a fixture in everybody's life I suppose. It's my Father's birthday today. We haven't spoke in a month or two. I've got him a whole bunch of presents. Just got no way to get them through. Just spent a week at my Mother's house...blacked out. Everybody's moved away. Ain't got a single friend in that whole goddamn town. But I met some people there that I've never seen before. We were all hiding from the morning staring out of the window of no-one that I know's back door. I guess a few hours don't matter this month anyhow. Just wish the dark end of the street were farther away from where I'm standing now. This broke up smile gets me in trouble almost every day. Cracking jokes at the wrong time that are never ever funny anyway. I'm just trying to lighten the air around me. Drop my tears only when I'm tired of feeling low. I pray for a few hours of sleep to bring me back up and to find a new place to go. Straw bones, dirty hands and a crooked nose. Feel I'm sitting out there some place somewhere where nobody ever goes. I hope I'll be allowed back when the timing feels right. Carrying a bucket full of rain. Chewing on a sliver of light.


"NATHAN XANDER writes songs that are steeped in the quiet, restrained tension of what Greil Marcus called the 'Old, Weird America': the treasure-trove of strange, needling, often bizarre folk, blues, and country music pervasive in early 20th century rural America. With bright harmonica bursts and shadowy lyrics, the music serves as both a reverent nod to Xander's influences and a window into his own individualism. This is a delicate balance; many a young songwriter apes his predecessors at the cost of ingenuity, and perhaps even more plunge into the waters with little knowledge of the debt they owe to their forebears. Xander walks the line ably, dancing slowly with the past but moving surely toward the future." - T.C. Heany, WNUR 89.3 (Chicago)

This time Nathan has teamed up with Witchouse to release a two song single including new recordings of "John Wayne" and "Darkness." John Wayne first appeared on Nathan's debut full-length "The Fear" which was released in September 2009 by Deep Elm Records to much critical acclaim. Darkenss first appeared on Nathan's self-released album "Swiftly, Surely."

"I consider myself an American songwriter" says Xander, who was first inspired to write his own material by the music of Neil Young, Kris Kristofferson, Waylon Jennings and Gram Parsons amongst others. "I'm drawn to honesty in the music I listen to and it's what I try to do when I'm writing. I wake up and fall asleep thinking about honest songs" he says. "Soon after releasing The Fear, I started playing with Witchouse and wanted to do these songs more justice with new recordings. I guess you could say I'm a perfectionst and I've always wanted to record these again to perfect them. These songs are very special to me. Both came from me being burnt out on things happening around me in Chicago. Ironically, both songs end in happiness" adds Xander.

Nathan Xander wrote the songs, sang, played both acoustic and electric guitars and also harmonica. Witchouse is Jay Bennett (lap steel, guitar), Brian Morrissey (keyboards, accordion), Keith Rowland (bass, effects on John Wayne), Ryan Juravic (percussion, vibraphone). Additional keyboards and piano on John Wayne by Ezra Reynolds. Recorded at Strobe Studio in Chicago, IL. Engineered by Nick Broste, James Wagner and Kevin "Corn" Carroll. Mixed by Nick Broste. Mastered by Paul Gold at Salt Mastering. Artwork and design by Brendan Misset and Ryan Duggan. A native of Union City, PA, Nathan currently resides in Chicago, IL and tours extensively.

"I guess then the Dylan comparison is real. Nathan Xander has that kind of shelf life." - BIlly's Bunker

"Nathan Xander has transitioned himself from coffeehouse troubadour to Roots Rock major leaguer." - City Beat

"Xander has harnessed his fears to establish himself as a truly great American songwriter." - Stereo Subversion

"Simple and homespun, with a gentle sense of folksy melody and an endearingly earnest and honest sensibility." - Jersey Beat

Recommended For Fans of: Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Ryan Adams, Magnolia Electric Co., Townes Van Zandt


released October 5, 2010

Recorded at Strobe Studio in Chicago

Nathan Xander – Acoustic and Electric guitars, Vocals, Harmonica
Jay Bennett – Lap steel, Electric guitar
Brian Morrissey – Keyboards, Accordion
Keith Rowland – Bass, Effects on John Wayne
Ryan Juravic – Percussion, Vibraphone
Ezra Reynolds – Additional keyboards and piano on John Wayne


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