To St. Jude with Desperation: Acoustic Tracks

by Erik Ritland

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This album is fun! Another personally chosen collection, this one brings together 10 of my best and most interesting tracks without a full band. It's a great companion to my Well There's That best-of release.

Every song on this is from an album that's currently out-of-print, so each track is very rare. "Goodbye" is from my very first recording session in 2001. You can hear my voice crack on "Breaking my own Heart Tonight" because by the time I recorded those vocals I had been up all night recording an entire album.

This, along with the Well There's That collection, are my two compilations that I'm releasing with hopes to recover some money I've lost due to covid-19.

I plan on writing liner notes, including notes on each song, soon. Maybe podcasts. Maybe during Facebook live or something. Whatever there's a demand for.


released March 18, 2020

Compilation produced by Erik Ritland
Re-mastering by Erik Ritland
Original tracks recorded, mixed, and mastered by either Marshall Nystrom, Nate Houge, or Erik Ritland.

Featuring the following (see each track for details):
Erik Ritland - acoustic and electric guitars, harmonica, tambourine, vocals
Marshall Nystrom - acoustic guitar, slide guitar, bass, harmony vocal, percussion
Nate Houge: electric guitar, mandocaster, harmonies, mandolin


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Erik Ritland Saint Paul

Rock n' roll. Country western. Blues. Folk. Americana.

The past is never dead. It isn't even past.

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Track Name: Dark Star
It's hard to find a friend
It's hard to be something nobody else is
It's hard to love and ask for nothing in return
But that's what you are

You're a dark star
But you still shine

It's easy to be down
It's easy to live like everyone else does
It's easy to take and to hold back all your love
But you did not

You're a dark star
But you still shine
Track Name: Whatever Happened to Freedom?
Take a look around you, everyone’s the same
Just another number, just another name
Step outside the matrix and they call you insane
Whatever happened to freedom?

All the myths and stories passed along as facts
The stands of politicians, every one an act
The lying and the cheating
The back door alley pacts
Whatever happened to freedom?

It seems the liars and the thieves do just what they please
And there’s nothing you can do
But it’s hard to turn the tide
When criminals reside in the places above you

The way that we are livin’ plays into their hand
The choices we are given fall into their plan
You’ll always be outnumbered
Don’t dare make a stand
Whatever happened to freedom?

Take a look around you
If you can even try
Before they break your courage with their evil eye
Sometimes it don’t take death before a person dies
Whatever happened to freedom?
Track Name: Help Me Tonight (rare pedal steel version)
I don't know why
We dive so deep
In ways we can't define
I'm a poor, poor stranger
In a dead end town
Where no one's on your side

How can I be sure I'm here
When everything is dust
It's a long, long way to higher ground
When you don't know who to truts

So help me tonight
I'm falling fast
Help me help myself
I'm here
I'm waiting
I can almost see the light.
So please help me tonight

I'll take the walk
But I won't run
The world will run for me
Dawn is coming but always fades
It's all I want to be
Track Name: Wandering
In the beginning there was a sign
Waters too easy, fire next time
Glimpses of freedom saving the curse
The best way to heaven is often the worst

Brought down by daylight, a touch of the true
Blinded by darkness, what else is new?
High on the mountain nothing can last
It's here in a vision and leaves just as fast

I've been here before
And I can't take no more wandering

My train is coming on down the track
But as it moves forward it also moves back
I must be dreaming of moving ahead
'Cuz all of this backwards has got to my head

I've been here before
And I can't take no more wandering

This too shall pass
Track Name: Breaking My Own Heart Tonight
I go about my business like nothing's even wrong
But anyone who knows me can tell what's going on
She was getting restless
So I set things right
I'm breaking my own heart tonight

My mind is tired and weary without her loving care
It gets so sad to turn in bed and find she isn't there

We both knew it was coming
There was no need to fight
I'm breaking my own heart tonight

I have been discouraged since the day I let her go
It's so hard to be apart when I still love her so

I'd go looking for her
But she's out of sight
I'm breaking my own heart tonight
Track Name: It Won't Do Any Good
It’s natural to want what you can’t have
But it doesn’t make the end result any easier
So I confess
You’re the inspiration for my loneliness

I think of you more than I should
Though I know it won’t do any good

I hope that your life is what you want
I bet that you think of me just to pass the time
Sure I’m confused
You’re the definition of nothing left to lose

Between you and me
There’s a fine line
Between dreams and reality
Track Name: Aching Heart
Can't sleep this evening 'cuz there's too much on my mind
The way things are going I won't make it through the night

Always waking up wishing it was morningtime
But it's still so dark and I'm just a little sick of trying

Don't you know
I need you
More than anyone has before
I have this aching in my heart
I'm worried all the day and I can't even sleep at night

Can't think straight with you running all around my brain
I'm thinking too much about when I'll see you again
Track Name: Bluegrass
This old town
It sure is nice
Fields of green
Where rivers flow
But my love
Is not around
So I believe
I'll have to go

I will walk
Both day and night
Through the wind
And through the rain
Just like times
So long ago
I will bring her back to me

I'm going down
To see the bluegrass
For that's where
My baby stays

Though I roam
From town to town
With the wind
Blowing at my back
But the weary sun
It leads me on
Soon I will return to her

I'm going down
To see the bluegrass
For that's where
My baby stays
Track Name: The Secret in Your Eyes
He comes home every evening
You lay down by his side
He can tell ‘cuz you can’t hide
The secret in your eyes

I wonder what he is thinking
He can hear you sigh
They give you away even when words escape
The secret in your eyes

The secret can never be told
It must be held deep inside
Love does not exist anyway
So it’s okay to deny

I am less than empty
Left on the outside
Here I sit trying to forget
The secret in your eyes
I try hard to quit but I can’t forget
The secret in your eyes
Track Name: It Feels Alright
The best part of the party is the beginning of the end
When small talk gets blurry
And you’d rather shut your eyes

I’m not drunk I’m just drinking
And it feels alright

The worst part of the party is after the ending
When time only crawls
And there’s nobody to talk to

I’m not drunk
I’m just drinking
And it feels alright
Track Name: 203k Blues (rare alternate take)
My realtor he told me I couldn't buy a house
The way that normal people do
I didn't have the money
I didn't catch the breaks
My student loan payments were overdue

"But," then he told me, "there's another way
Just jump on the 203k"

After months of looking I finally found a house
Near the place where gang wars first began
The basement had exploded from reasons claimed unknown
I had my doubts but then the realtor said

"Don't you even worry
It's time to celebrate
You've qualified for 203k"

I bought the house for 10 grand
Though they were asking 5
They gave me 40,000 to make it come alive

I fixed the electric
And kind of fixed the heat
But mostly the foundations rotting course
But meth labs do their damage
And one night while asleep
The house collapsed and I died from the force

So now I haunt my realtor
And curse that fateful day
I signed up for 203k
And now I warn you
Don't be led astray
And tempted by 203k
Track Name: Goodbye
Said goodbye to you today
Said goodbye for good
You wouldn't look the other way
You know if I could I would explain my fragile mind
But it's easier said than done

You left me with a soul to give that was empty to the core
And I don't think that I can live without you anymore
I've tried so hard to ease my mind
But it's easier said than done

Are you listening to me?

Never sought to count on you
But I sought you just the same
And I can't take it anymore
My life is wholly pain
I've tried to get you off my mind
But it's easier said than done

Are you listening to me?

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