The Quail Song

The Quail Song

The Quailsong

Lyrics:

The Quailsong - words by John Carter Cash, music by Tim O’Brien / Auriga Ra Music / No Bad Ham Music / ASCAP

When winter’s rain is hardened cold
By winds from north and high
We will not hunger days untold
Nor weep for opened sky

We’ll eat the finest golden grain
Among the sanctified
In that field beyond the darkened door
Of this life’s briefest light
In that field beyond the darkened door
Of this life’s briefest light

Around our mother’s welc’ming nest
We’ll gather safe and warm
Beneath her gentle wings we’ll rest
Forever free from harm

In that field beyond the darkened door
With no future and no past
In that field beyond the darkened door
We’ll know the truth at last.
In that field beyond the darkened door
We’ll know the truth at last.

Credits:
Recorded April 19, 2013 at Cash Cabin Studio
Engineered and mixed by Chuck Turner
Produced by John Carter Cash and Tim O'Brien
Second engineer Trey Call
Byron House – bass
Matt Combs – fiddle
Mark Howard – guitar
Tim O’Brien - mandolin, bouzouki and vocal

Song Notes:

Soon after moving to Nashville in 1996, I met John Carter Cash, son of Johnny Cash and June Carter, at a pickin’ party, and we’ve crossed paths and stayed in touch over the years. He produces recordings in his dad’s cabin studio and has hired me a time or two as a sideman. One day he sent me the lyric to this song and asked if I’d consider writing music for it.

The poem is from John Carter’s book Lupus Rex. A children’s novel inspired by The Book Of The Dunn Cow, and written in the tradition of Watership Down, it’s an exciting and meaningful tale told from the point of view of two quails named Ysil and Cormo. The quails call the passageway to the afterlife “the darkened door”.

My music went in a Celtic direction and John Carter approved, so we recorded it as a promo track for the book, which was published in the summer of 2013. Some fine pickers came by to play that day. Bassist Byron House has played with folks like Sam Bush and Robert Plant over the years. Matt Combs is staff fiddler for the Grand Old Opry, and Mark Howard’s credits as musician include stints with John Hartford and the Clusterpluckers. Mark’s also an in demand recording engineer and producer. For years he owned a studio that was very near my home.

Catalogue Number: 
SOS-20
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by R & T