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Willows Motel

by Jason Paul Johnston

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Traveling Map (4:03) © 2004 Jason Paul Johnston Been in this town for a while, so it's time, Tired of watching all the clocks round here unwind. Throw my bag into my '79, It's all that I own, leave the rest behind. Somewhere out in Indiana State, Came the only dollar that I made. I was forced to spend it there that day, I wished I could save it for the train. Somewhere in Kentucky it got late, Later than the sun wanted to stay. So I got a room and stayed away, From the only friend that I had made. Then I poured over the map again (to see that I was off again) I'm lost... So I looked up to the sky And folded the USA over my eyes Tennessee's the place of love and hate, Full of all my family and my fate. The heat it seems to saturate my brain, I'd rather spend my summers off of Maine. Ohio seems to be the billboard state, They've got a highway with some taste. Everywhere I drive it looks the same, Farms are being replaced by buffets. Heading in the wrong direction Too much pride to pull aside I hate to stop for some correction Cause I feel like it just takes too much time... Don't want to waste my time.. Shaking out the sleep at some rest place My coin bought meal, I stopped and ate I was all alone and yet I faced All the friends I passed, there in that space Brothers and sisters in this race Not talking 'bout the kind you win first place I'm thinking 'bout the way we looked the same Squinting at the state map in the rain
Willows Motel (4:36) © 2005 Jason Paul Johnston Get me out of this house cause it's Monday, I don't want to be here all alone. When the rest of the week piles upon me, I just can't bear the weight here at home. All my options laid out on the table. They're just two so I get out my coin. Will it be rent a room with free cable? Or stay right here with my laundry to fold? So it's pack up the bag, grab my guitar again Head to the front counter, checking out to check in Live from the Willows motel It's Live from the Willows motel I'm surrounded by fans who adore me, Just a flick of remote and they come. I've got women who follow me closely, From the very top shelf they all run. And they scream and they shout, they're all singing my lines Like they're right in my head, they've got my name on a sign... I've got clean sheets and towels and small soap All I need here to make a fresh start When I come on back home I'll have new hope I'll return with a nice folded heart
Temptation 03:33
Temptation (3:31) © 2005 Jason Paul Johnston I've got my reasons, so I won't go back. You see I start to pleasing and I come detached. A piece of duct tape and I'll stay intact. But I'm bad, so bad, yes I'm bad. Temptation, Temptation. Temptation, Temptation. Yeah she's a looker and she stares through me. She smiles as if she has sin-cerity. I'm getting nervous, think I better flee. Cause I can't, I can't, I just can't. Temptation, Temptation Temptation, Temptation We've got a million ways to go and every step will shape the soul Every path is making new maps, by selection Sow an action, reap a goal, you get the goal and then you'll know You were heading straight in that direction Have you ever heard a bottle speak? Funny, sounds like your own speech. It's making sense and so you start to reach. But it's dry, so dry, yeah it's dry Temptation, Temptation Temptation, Temptation We've got a million ways to go and every step will shape the soul Every path is making new maps, by selection Sow an action, reap a goal, you get the goal and then you'll know You were heading straight in that direction
Lowville 04:29
Lowville (4:27) © 2006 Jason Paul Johnston Welcome to Lowville. Come say hello to all my friends down here. No high places. Only long faces, stretched out by the years. They call me the mayor. I may or may not be all they had in mind. But I fit the profile. And I've stuffed the ballot box with notes in kind. Lowville: Nothing but down is in this town Lowville: So nothing but up can take us out Lowville: I just don't want to go It's no-ville: Nowhere for a family to call home Here's my brother Sorrow. He's got a lot to talk about today. And my sis Suffer. She lived in Hell, so this is an upgrade... There's something about it. Something about this town that I can't place. We've got all the heroes. But we've never held a victory parade... Oh...I don't want to go. Oh my darling oh, but I know..the boat it leaves port tomorrow and I should at least show up long enough to wave. But I've built my life here and all it's troubles and I've even purchased my grave...Lowville, Lowville. Cause this is my home still. It's all that I've known and all I have today I'll raise some children. But I'll pray they find the grace to get away
She's a Friend (3:57) © 2003 Jason Paul Johnston She's a friend - who's never turned me down And always sticks around, but then again... She's no saint, cause her favorite dress is a frown And it turns my head right round, and keeps me in reign If I could leave her I don't think I'd be screaming - like this If I could say so long I would turn tail and run, but I can't Cause she's a smother face blanket in the night The comfort hand of death when I'm reaching for life The voice from the dark as I ponder the ledge But all that said, She's been a friend She's a lover - who steals away my heart And keeps me in the dark, and all my other friends distant She's indifference, but it doesn't matter to me Cause she holds me endlessly, in fact she's insistent She's illusion - that's what all my friends say But she's sits so close today, that I can feel her heart beat It sounds like my pulse - so near to my own skin G But it pumps, and growls and spins - and asks nothing of me
Millie Pertuis (5:09) © 2006 Jason Paul Johnston Millie Pertuis, my days are off or mostly hit and miss But you give a little kiss - a small embrace to help me get through it Millie Pertuis... Millie Pertuis... Millie Pertuis, I am so broken over this But you give a little fix - a daily lift to help me out a bit Millie Pertuis, Millie Pertuis.... I just can't face the day without you paving my way I can't sleep through the night unless you tuck me in tight I think it's all in my head, but that's better left Unsaid like your name cause I'd rather be sane... Am I a junky now? I start to shake the bottle near the end Getting a little monkey now - beating my chest and dragging round my hands Millie Pertuis... Millie Pertuis... I am your flunky now? Singing soft insinuations Don't mean to sulk here now - but what you give me doesn't pay the bills Millie Pertuis... Millie Pertuis... Name me what you like, I will not care cause I will not feel it Maybe it's oversight, but what I feel is more than I'll admit Millie Pertuis... Millie Pertuis...
Vines 05:21
Vines (5:19) © 2006 Jason Paul Johnston Creeping around the corners, growing around the bends. It has no friends. No friends. Cutting off all my systems, blocking the sun again. It never gives, only lends. Vines, vines, shadowing vines with arms intertwined they cover all that they find. They suck up the water cause I water them so, they grow and they grow and they grow. They keep holding on until they are long dead, long after the ground, dries them instead of giving to them, it now robs them of life, til they die and they die and they die. Tapping upon my window, scratching on the glass so thin: They're closing in, closing in. Stretching out their arms to heaven, branching out to root me in and my concern keeps deepening... Wedging through every crevice, pulling apart the brick: They tend to stick, tend to stick Crumbling out foundations, setting this house a tilt: Tearing down what's been built, tearing down all we build And it lives and it breathes and it's choking out me And it grows and expands and it takes over my land As it sponges the moisture and dries up the ground And it never gives up, no I'm never alone... And it's green and it's life and it's bigger than I But it reminds me I feel, it convinces me well And it's shade from the sun, as long as it lives Yes it is, yes it is, yes it is...
Shadow 06:16
Shadow (6:15) © 2005 Jason Paul Johnston This shadow is pea soup. This shadow is over, not under. This shadow expects me to step a little slower. Slips up unnoticed, creeps up unseen it covers my eyes, from behind, when I'm weak. Whispers things in my ear, of which I will not speak. Knocks on my door to see if I'm alone. Then invades like there's no one home. Sits down at my table, like it's never eaten before. You say the sun is up and the day is swell. I'm sure the silver lining is somewhere as well. Just ignore all the darkness, that falls around. Come on just turn that frown right upside down. Can't you see it's cloudy and the chance of rain is one hundred percent and now it's flooded again. With long periods of hazy sky and shorter days now, I think I'll just stay inside. Sell me a miracle, peddle me drugs. Give me a cure and I'll gladly hook on. But don't give prescriptions I didn't request. Enough pop psychology, just leave me to rest. Ask me now if I'm happy, if I'm getting by? Nice of you to wonder two weeks after I died. You're only coming round now because you've got no one else. Well then leave me alone right here by myself. But I'm alright, I'm just alright - So don't you cry, I'm not gonna die I just might find a way to survive - If I could just get further inside
Anyone Inside (3:42) © 2005 Jason Paul Johnston Pull the curtains, yes I'm certain, I'm going in so you're staying there. Turn the door lock, barricade out, you're looking in but all you see is glare. Turn the phone off, silence the door bell, you might as well stop cause I'm holding on. You keep on knocking, I'm watching the clock and, I'll give you an hour before you stop. Don't let anyone inside... Sure, I'm making excuses, but honesty's useless when I'm safe behind this barbwire of lies. You say there's always a first step, well tell that to regret. I can't go back now, but I can still hide. I'll buy up some time for us, finance something you lost, that bigger house could be some warmth tonight. Turn on the TV, tune into reality, stare together and maybe we won't fight. Never make eye contact, never make eye contact, never make eye contact, no don't... Please Don't Leave me outside all alone You're all I have and all I call a home Please don't leave me, please don't leave me oh...
Let's Let It Be (3:35) © 2005 Jason Paul Johnston I put down the bible this morning, looking for a little faith. Got nothing but confusion and slight headache. I threw some prayers to heaven, and watched them all fall down. Thought a few might stick there, but I was wrong. This is the moment I ask myself the question: Do I believe, or do you believe in me? It begs an answer, and the silence becomes a lesson. So if we can agree, let's let it be. I paced the old church building, looking for something firm Got nothing but the feeling, that no stone would be unturned Talking to the preacher, he said that I should just believe And I said, Jesus is my saviour, but what does he want from me Turn in place and spin the dial Roll the dice we could be here a while Waiting for the coin-flip to fall When the side that I want is certainty... Stared into a crowed room, the eyes were lost away I wondered bout this generation's future past this day I was watching for the world's end, and the change of all I know But now I'm just waiting to grow old But if we can't agree, let's let it be. But if you can believe, please just believe.
Farther Along (5:21) Written by J.R. Baxter and John Starling.
 Arranged by Jason Paul Johnston and Bruce Anthony Tempted and tried, we’re oft made to wonder Why it should be thus all the day long; While there are others living about us, Never molested, though in the wrong. Farther along we’ll know all about it, Farther along we’ll understand why; Cheer up, my brother, live in the sunshine, We’ll understand it all by and by. When death has come and taken our loved ones, It leaves our home so lonely and drear, Then do we wonder why others prosper, Living so wicked year after year. “Faithful till death,” said our loving Master; A few more days to labor and wait; Toils of the road will then seem as nothing When we pass through the heavenly gate.
Secret Prayers (6:36) © 2006 Jason Paul Johnston Kicking into the atmosphere. Through your goal posts in the clouds up there. I'm no punter, but I am sincere. From the space I take up down here. They're going God knows where....secret prayers. There's a magic spell I've meant to say. But I can't form the words today. Instead I make up some nice phrase. And tuck all the bad ones away. I am so afraid, cause you are right there...secret prayers. I know you've heard all of this before. I've got my problems, but there's so much more. So many banging at your door. Not to mention all the abject poor. But somehow you are never bored. You meet every stare...secret prayers. Going God knows where, I bet he does He hears them, takes them, every one. He fills his mansions, every home, With every word we've ever spoke. They do not vanish, they never die, They only strengthen with each cry. They do not pass into the air, These walls are thin and I think there's someone upstairs. I think it's someone who cares....secret prayers He hears the addict stealing his next fix, Or the homeless begging from the rich, To the lawyer who is out of will, or the mother crying in the hospital, And the inmate strapped down to the chair, Or soldier fighting wars unfair, And the family playing at the park, Or lonely sigh in the dark, This world is a work of art...as the canvas tears. ... secret prayers


On his 2009 debut album, ‘Willows Motel’, Jason has delicately created refrains that capture his own journey through 12 engaging Americana tales.

Praise for "Willows Motel":

"Writing about his own experiences, and incorporating other people’s life events, Johnston is able to put the listener smack bang in the middle of it all. At times he could be writing about you or I."
- Phil Edwards, Americana-UK.com

"Jason Paul Johnston’s Willows Motel is filled with songs to care about, acoustic in nature yet adorned with crisp musicianship."
- Chip Withrow, musesmuse.com

"Willows Motel is a must have CD for every Roots and Americana Music Lover in the world young and old."
- Dakota Williams www.brickwallartist.com

"Johnston stews up the influences of alternative country (Son Volt), late '60s country/rock (The Byrds), old country outlaws (Johnny Cash) and today's neo-folk movement (Great Lake Swimmers)." -Mike Beggs, the Mississauga News


released July 14, 2009

co-produced by Bruce Anthony and Jason Paul Johnston. All instrumentation by Bruce or Jason unless otherwise noted.


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Jason Paul Johnston Lexington, Kentucky

Jason is the son of a preacher from the Great White North (Canada) and a music teacher from Tennessee, giving his muse northern and southern winds. Jason released his first album "Willows Motel" in 2009. It was an americana inspired album of eleven originals and one old gospel tune. Jason is now working on a series of follow-up albums: 100 Stories Volumes 1-10 ... more

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