by Gold Light

Johnnie drove in from Elim last night to meet the love of his life He'd been working for his Ma out on the farm Just after her Daddy'd died Jess was on the porch in a red velour dress drinkin' wine and lookin' oh so fine She was smokin' slims as she waited for him beneath the pale moon light And as he walked up the stairs he saw the gold curls in her hair and that starry look in her eyes And I saw the way she kissed him for he'd been gone a long time And the romance of life makes itself seen tonight down on Cannon Street Boys calling up to girls in their windows like drunken Romeos they meet defeat And Johnnie listens to them and remembers back when he was so golden at that age But he's just drinkin' his life away now Can't seem to win the race It's such a hard pace to keep up with these days Johnnie grew up on the Myers Farm some misty years ago And as a young boy he got a hurt in his heart he never wanted to show But the day he met Jess she took that mess it met it's match in her eyes And the fear that once had gripped him so tight fell by the wayside So this mornin' for fun they got up with the sun down to the beach they did ride And I saw the way she held him in the sand like she'd known him her whole life And the poetry of life writes itself out tonight down on Cannon Street Girls callin' down to boys from their windows like fair Juliets in this heat And Jess listens to them and remembers back when she was so golden at that age But she's just wishin' her life away now Can't seem to win the race It's such a hard pace to keep up with these days Now Jess is sittin' on her bed thinkin' something complex when Johnnie bursts through the door And he's fallin' down drunk at her feet and he's bleedin' all over her floor He says I done something tonight I know ain't right and I'm gonna have to pay for And I don't know what the future might bring but I know what it has in store So meet me down on the block if ya still wanna give me a shot but right now I gotta go and settle this score And I saw the way she hugged him like she knew when she let go she wouldn't ever hold him no more And the tragedy of life plays itself out tonight down on Cannon Street And them boys up the block they'll be waitin' for us layin' low in the backseat And Johnnie listens to me as I lay out the scene for this whole world is our stage But we're just dreamin' our lives away now Can't seem to win the race It's such a hard pace to keep up with these days
The Score 04:06
I'm on the run Smoking gun I hurt someone Under a setting sun I left the city Drove all night Didn't stop a lick Til I saw sunlight Now you won't see me around Won't see me no more Tell me how you expect To settle the score I'm on my own Long way from home And all my gold From you I stole You asked me to stay Said there's a price to be paid Said there ain't no such thing As a clean getaway I turned on my heels Right there on that floor As I walked out the door I just said "Sorry, babe, But you settle the score." I made my way Across the border Didn't know the weight Be so hard to shoulder Now I don't know what The future might hold But I got an idea What it has in store There's a little town In El Salvador With a little bar Right there by the shore And if you got the guts Can't stand it no more You come and find me there I'll be waiting up We can settle the score
I killed that man with my own bare hands Went on the lam in West Texas Me and my lover we had to pretend We was brother and sister born and bred We'd work long days in the summer's heat Damn near broke my back killed my feet But come the nighttime in the cool tall grass Me and my lover would meet at last Bossman was a wealthy man Oh but death was close at hand So my lover took to be his wife Hoping that soon he'd lose his life But our plan went awry For the bossman never died Then my lover fell for him So I had to kill me another man One day I will pay for all my sins My only prayer is that I will ascend With my lover into the promised land Dreaming of days made of heaven Dreaming of days made of heaven
Devotion 03:19
Where the tobacco grows in rows Like golden roads of old And the trees all reach for the sky Like loving hands held up on high Sun going down o’er the hills Soft breeze rustling through the fields Your belly wrapped up in my arms Feel a little one inside just’a kicking up a storm Stars all scattered like diamonds 'Cross a big black stretched out canvas Moon’s shinin’ layin’ low Fireflies glowin’ in the grove Crickets singing in the air As my fingers run through your hair Little one cradled in your arms As we sit on the porch and listen for the coming storm Be as it may in Heaven may it be here on the Earth Sky above me, below me the dirt I see it all laid out before me In all it’s heavenly glory All things divining, all things shining Come the grey glory of morning Red sun lets out a warning Bringing everything back to life Everything that didn’t die And it all sinks back in slow motion As to you I pledge my devotion Holding that little one in my arms You by my side and all I feel is calm You by my side and all I feel is The Calm
Strangeman 03:12
Strangeman Hutchins was a hard workin' man Made his living off of the land Ain't nothing ever come easy for him Gettin' by just the best he can Strangeman was my neighbor for years Over yonder quarter mile from here Evenings he'd sit nursin' a beer Front porch in nothin' but his underwear And sometimes I'd hear him whistlin' When the wind carried over this way And he didn't know I was listenin' As the sun went down on another day Strangeman Hutchins was a handsome man Townswomen all would turn their heads But they had dreams he didn't understand Strangeman had no interest in them Strangeman never married no one But that don't mean he didn't have no fun At night he'd have some women around Next day it'd be the talk of the town And sometimes I'd see 'em laughin' Watch 'em there across the way And they didn't know I was listenin' As the sun went down on another day Strangeman became a pious man Baptized down by the river's bed Did his best to be born again Believed every word the good book said So no more drinkin' no more women Givin' up all'a his hard livin' Crossed his heart that til the day he died He'd live by faith with God on his side Sometimes I'd see him come home Drop down to his knees and pray Out on his porch all alone As the sun went down on another day And if I was ever to leave my man You can bet I'd go over to Strangeman's land
Blood 04:15
In the summer of '91 back when I was still young Boys climbing up in trees fallin' down scrapin' their knees My daddy come and pick me up carry me home stitch me up He said "Boy, you better act tough, it ain't nothing but blood". In the spring of '83 my mother gave birth to me Brand new branch on the family tree growing roots forming leaves Family traits from my father's side met their match in my mother's eyes And for this much I am much obliged for blood that forms the ties that bind In the fall of '73 my mother turned 18 Her daddy drove her down bus station on the edge of town Never the kind to say much but as that bus pulled on up He said "Babe, you are my blood, and that'll always be enough". In the winter of '51 grandaddy got his gun Shipped him off to some foreign place killed a man never saw his face And the blood that was shed never washed off of his hands He said "In God I have put my trust, but he's spilled too much of my brothers' blood". Well the years they come and go some move fast some move slow And the funny thing about time it can move forward or it can rewind And the stories get retold ain't no rainbow if there ain't no gold Cus in the end only love remains comes from the blood running in your veins
Riverbed 03:22
Walk with me down to the riverbed Watch the preacher as he dunks in your daddy's head It's an attempt to wash away all his sins But you and I know there ain't no getting rid of them So he comes home says he's a brand new man That from here on out gonna be some changes But he always ends up in some sore trance And you and I are the ones that know the rest Well there's questions on your mind can only be answered in time And your daddy ain't the preaching or the talking kind And your search for salvation will leave you nothing to find But you know all this so much better than I Every night I lay you down tuck you into bed Say a prayer o'er you then I kiss your head And there's things that I done that I do regret But you and I know some words best left unsaid Well I know I had it bad but you have it much worse Cus his blood runs through your veins and it's taking it's course But when you get older I hope you know for what it's worth You can always go down to the riverbed for a second birth
Carolina 03:19
Papa always told me there was gold beyond them hills So when I came of age I got me a set of wheels And I came to decide gold was what I wanted to find So I left Carolina behind See Papa'd always scold me and it'd turn into a fight Five fingers make a fist but two wrongs don't make it right So when I went away I didn't even say goodbye Just gathered my things drove out of Carolina Well I made it to Kentucky met a girl who'd come to love me We ran off got married come one Easter Sunday She was patient she was kind I was hers she was mine Carolina was the last thing on my mind Well the next thing that I know got two kids full grown And somehow my father's footsteps had become my own But I do my best to try give 'em roots but wings to fly The way the winds of Carolina gave me mine It was an early day in May when the call came down the line My mama she was crying sayin' my daddy'd died And I thought of all the things I wouldn't ever get to say And my heart just fell apart shoulda never gone this way And I thought about the gold he told me I would find As I drove back to Carolina one last time
Zephyr 06:08
Joe Bill always smelled of gasoline Used to drive long distance for the Crosstown Company From North Carolina to the Northeast Knew the back of his hands like he knew them streets Used to pass through New York City Saw Mickey Mantle play in the summer of '53 It must've been some sight to see Though he always hated them damn Yankees Mary Edna waited tables downtown In a diner where Joe Bill come around Til one day a little courage he found And he asked her out And he'd drive that little girl where'er she wanted to go But when he took her home she'd make him drop her off at the end of the road And walk the rest of the way alone Cus she didn't want him to see how poor they were See the thing about time it's always passing you by Ain't no friend of yours sure ain't no friend of mine But there's a place where time seems to stand still Out yonder beyond the pines just over them hills You'll come upon an old oak tree in the middle of town Where Joe Bill carved their initials with a heart around And sometimes you'll hear it's name coming in on the wind If you're listening So they got married in '55 More and more Joe Bill toe'd that company line Always find himself out on that lonesome road Leaving Mary Edna and a little newborn at home She used to cry every time she'd watch him leave But she waited for him oh so patiently Letters arrived she'd read 'em eagerly Write him back just as fast signed I'm Yours, Affectionately See the thing about time it's always passing you by Ain't no friend of yours sure ain't no friend of mine But there's a place where time seems to stand still Out yonder beyond the pines just over them hills You'll come upon a little house in the middle of some land That Joe Bill built for his love with his own two hands And sometimes you'll hear it's name coming in on the wind If you're listening In the fall of '58 spirits were low Mary Edna got ill so Joe Bill got off the road And at the ripe young age of 23 He drove that little girl down to the infirmary Passed the diner where they met and the old oak tree And that's where she would stay and remain confined Til by and by 1959 The good Lord called her home to be by His side See the thing about time it's always passing you by Ain't no friend of yours sure ain't no friend of mine But there's a place where time seems to stand still Out yonder beyond the pines just over them hills You'll come upon a cemetery in the middle of some land Where Edna's body was buried with Joe Bill's bare hands And sometimes you'll hear it's name coming in on the wind If you're listening


Zephyr is a place in Surry County, NC, called as such cus there's always a gentle wind blowing across it. The only two things really in Zephyr are the Gum Orchard Baptist Church and across the street, the Zephyr cemetery.


released October 10, 2019

Written, Performed, Mixed, and Recorded by JOE CHANG
At BAILEY PARK Asheville, NC Summer 2019.
Additional Mixing and Mastered by NESEY GALLONS at Mouse Mountain, ME.

JOE CHANG: Guitars, Vocals, Harmonica, Keys, Synths, Bass

Album Cover Photo courtesy of the Miles Family.

“Devotion” is for Aaron Graves.
In loving memory of Joe Bill and Edna Miles.

"Til we meet again and never shall part."


all rights reserved



Gold Light Asheville, North Carolina

Tracking through cinematic tales of heartache, love and loss while bouncing between genres from 50’s rock and roll to post-punk to classic country, Gold Light becomes a catchall for Chang’s prismatic take on American music.

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