The Mysteries of Mad River

by Keppie Coutts

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The swampy, honky-tonk, blues-folk narratives call on a musical ancestry that includes Nick Cave, Tom Waits, and Leonard Cohen.

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released September 15, 2017

All songs written by Keppie Coutts. Produced, engineered, and mixed by Brian Campeau at The Plex. Mastered by William Bowden. Featuring Keppie Coutts (vocals, acoustic and electric, guitar), Evan Mannell (drums and percussion), Nick Hoorweg (double bass), Daniel Pliner (piano, keys, and organs), Ben Romalis (slide guitar), and Brian Campeau (additional vocals and percussion). Photo by Leslie Liu.

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Keppie Coutts Sydney, Australia

Blend the mellow tones of Norah Jones with the quirky pop of Feist and the fire of Ani DiFranco into a Chagall painting, and you get Keppie Coutts. Keppie's tunes are earthy, sophisticated, and direct - heart-squeezing, uplifting, and sometimes hilarious. ... more

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Track Name: The Scientific Mind
Dear Eliza
My office is too small
They stuck me down here
at the end of a long grey hall
The carpet reeks
I can hear the rats in the wall
There’s no view, in fact
No windows at all

But who needs all that?
Surely not, surely not I

Dear Eliza
My worst fears are confirmed
My peers are as dull as ball lint
And their theories are absurd
Yet it seems as if careers can simply be made
By those who are so inclined to shake hands
and play the game

But who needs all that?
Surely not, surely not I
But who needs all that?
Surely not the scientific mind

Yesterday, I called Jerry a prick
He told me I was sick
And a waste of space
So I showed him the taste of a first class fist
And before they could sack me, I quit

But who needs all that?
Surely not, surely not I
But who needs all that?
Surely not the scientific mind

Dear Eliza
No progress is made without its critics
No visionary is without their cynics
And I have theories of my own
I’ve made discoveries as yet unknown
To the scientific mind!

Dear Eliza
I haven’t heard from you in a while
I think I’m losing, I’m losing, I’m losing track of time
I fear that my name will not be etched
In gold upon a marble arch
Or even scratched onto the door
At the end of a long grey hall
I haven’t heard from you in a while
I think I’m losing, I’m losing, I’m losing my mind

Surely not, surely not I!
Who needs all that?
Surely not the scientific mind
Who needs all that?
Surely not, surely not I!
Who needs all that?
Surely not the scientific mind
Track Name: Bury the Hatchet
The air was stale
I was thin and pale
As I wheezed the words of my last breath
Though death was near
I was crystal clear
I said, mark my words, this is not the end

The town was terrified
as I closed my eyes
they knew they had done me wrong
For there’s a weight in the chest
Though they might try their best
They’ll never get it gone

Bury it down, deep deep down
Go bury the hatchet
Bury it down, deep in the ground
Go bury the hatchet somewhere else

I can hear my baby crying
his temperature was rising
Oh I could feel them burning to keep the village pure
There was fever in his blood
When they drowned him in the mud
And buried deep what they could not endure

Bury it down, deep deep down
Go bury the hatchet
Bury it down, deep in the ground
Go bury the hatchet somewhere else

The wind is howling with a sound like shouting
so loud it reaches the deaf
And brings a heat so hot that it melts the crop
and truly angers the dead

Bury it down, deep deep down
Go bury the hatchet
Bury it down, deep in the ground
Go bury the hatchet somewhere else

Bury it down (make sure to hide it)
Go bury the hatchet
Bury it down (where they’ll never find it)
Go bury the hatchet somewhere else
Track Name: Setting the Sail
We’ll be setting the sail for Taipan
If the sun ever gets out of bed
But the liquor of light is an indigo leak
The wind is as cold as a witch’s tit
And it’s whipping the dogs into a frothing fit

We all want to know
Which way will the wind blow?

We’ll be setting the sail for Taipan
If the bandages come off soon
But a yellow has set in around Billy’s lips
And I swear that I can smell his wound

We all want to know
Which way will the wind blow?
Coz the minnows are all swimming south
Which is a most peculiar show
Which way will it blow?

In a moment we’ll cast off of this coast
Before the fisher boys haul in their nets
Before they’re throwing their fists
In repayment of debts
Winning women but losing bets
We’re all out here winning some and losing the rest

We all want to know
Which way will the wind blow?
We all want to know
Which way will it blow?
Track Name: I Hate Everyone
You started a sentence
that begins with the words “I hate”
Then took a troubled breath
And made me wait

Coz you don’t seem to notice
Or maybe you don’t care
That I cannot breath with those words
Just hanging

You started a sentence
Where does it lead?
I’m trapped inside this moment
Waiting to bleed out

Then suddenly you see
The state that you put me in
And pull me in like a loose balloon
To start your sentence again

It’s a sentence that begins
In the same casual way
With a whisper from your lips
Shaped in the words “I hate”

But this time you add something new
When you say, “I hate”
You say I hate everyone, but you
You say I hate everyone, but you
Track Name: The Revenge of Willy Rose
1
I used to be a teacher in a sweet little town
Where everybody knew each other’s interests
you couldn’t grab a drink or wash your hands in the sink
Without your fingers getting wet in someone else’s business
It was nice, and infuriating
Ahyahyah ayayay
They’re all keeping secrets hidden away

2
I taught the kiddies at the local school
I wouldn’t call myself overly strict
But sometimes the best type of education
Is a sting on the knuckles with the sharp end of a stick
Oh there’s always some parent complaining
Ahyahyah ayayay
They’re all keeping secrets hidden away

3
Willy Rose was in my class, he was quiet and pale
The other kids would tease him, pretend to be kind just to be cruel
And right after that they would sneer behind his back
You’d never believe what little horrors were at this school
And the devious plans they were always making
Ahyahyah ayayay
Children keep their secrets hidden away

4
Little Stacey, Stacey Gables
With curly blonde locks atop her head
She put a shiny copper thumb tack right on Willy’s seat
And laughed so hard that her body went all red
It was mean enough to deserve retaliating
Ahyahyah ayayay
They’re all keeping secrets stuffed away

5
But I don’t think anybody saw what was coming next
It was just so orderly in this corner of the world
But little Stacey Gables turned up dead in the stables
she had choked on a chunk of her own golden curls
Her body all blue and beyond resuscitating
Ahyahyah ayayay
They’re all keeping secrets hidden away

6
And Lionel Cobbett, a vile little hobbit
I saw him stuff the dead squirrel into Willy’s locker, I must confess
It stayed there all week until the whole building wreaked
And poor Willy Rose had to clean up the mess
No one could blame Willy for hating him
Ahyahyah ayayay
They’re all keeping secrets locked away

7
Then Lionel Cobbett went missing for a week
He was finally found resting down by the lake
He looked so peaceful sitting up in the branches of a tree
But the squirrels had nibbled out the eyes from his face
That’s when suspicions began circulating
Ahyahyah ayayay
They’re all keeping secrets whispered away

8
Yes Willy Rose was conveniently absent
When Gershwin and Keith were found frozen
floating beneath the wrong side of the ice
That night a party started to bring Willy Rose in
The police found Willy about to burn my house down
Ahyahyah ayayay
That kid had a secret he had to let out

9
The cops rushed in and stopped the flames erupting
Everyone thought that was the end of the case, until
they saw a curly lock of blonde hair on my floor
And took a look around down inside my basement
They found quite a lot of stuff coagulating
Ahyahyah ayayay
We all keep our secrets buried away

10
Little Willy Rose was as innocent as a peach
He must have seen me cleaning up down by the lake
It was me all along, and I know you think it’s wrong
But children are honestly just the worst
And there’s literally billions of them on the earth
A few less in Mad River shouldn’t really hurt
Ahyahyah ayayay
A few more little secrets tucked away

11
The food in here is bland, but I don’t make it so that’s grand
It’s swell to sit in a cell in silence alone
If I’m being honest with you, which I can’t help but do
I feel a lot better in a class all of my own
They tell me that I’m beyond rehabilitating
I think that’s okay, I enjoy the medicating
When they locked the me in the cell, I didn’t need persuading
No more little ratbags disobeying
I find the lack of stimulation liberating
If I never see a kid again, I’ll keep celebrating
Ahyahyah ayayay
We all keep our secrets
Ahyahyah ayayay
We all keep our secrets
Track Name: Hallelujah on the Shore
I sit alone in a low-lit room
Wondering what the hell I’m meant to do
With these useless thoughts
Because the distance feels too wide
On an endless rolling tide
That brings my hallelujah washed up on the shore

Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah on the shore

I’m cashing in, gonna stash canned goods
And hunker down in the deep of the woods
wait it out here away from the storm
I’ll forever close my eyes
Because I’d rather be blind
Than see my hallelujah washed up on the shore

Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah on the shore

Can you see the flicker of your god
getting thinner inside each word
when your hallelujah comes

Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah on the shore
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah on the shore
Track Name: The Money I Gave to You
What did you do with the money I gave to you?
I’m going to want it back pretty soon
But you’re still smiling like boxer after a fight
Like a crocodile about to bite

You’re draggin your shadow through the dirty streets
Flashing your teeth like a midday show
You huff and puff and blow and you don’t seem to know that
Most of your friends have had enough

You can’t go and fuck it all up
And then pretend like everything’s okay
You can’t just swing like a wrecking ball
Then try to make amends
Believing that your world won’t break

Your tryin to find the words to say you’re sorry
But a word does not apology make
My sympathy is ending
My patience is bending out of shape
Whatever stops bending breaks

You can’t go and fuck it all up
And then pretend like everything’s okay
You can’t just swing like a wrecking ball
Then try to make amends
Believing that your world won’t break

So what did you do with the money I gave to you?
Track Name: Solid Ground
When the night
comes washing in
I will keep the light
I will help you swim

When the tidal waves
come crashing down
I will be your solid ground

If you ask me to hold you, hold you up
I will hold you til my arms grow sore
Ask me to hold you, hold you up,
Well I will, but I will not tell you you won’t fall
Coz we all have to fall

If the demons
Call your name
While you’re sleeping
I will run them away

Whenever you’re feeling
Like you’re coming down
I will be your solid ground

If you ask me to hold you, hold you up
I will hold you til my arms grow sore
Ask me to hold you, hold you up,
Well I will, but I will not tell you you won’t fall
Coz we all have to fall
Track Name: Never No More
I ain’t never
I ain’t never no more
I ain’t never no more gonna think bad thoughts
Coz I need to pocket the blessings of my sweet Lord

I spat in the cracks
Lied through my teeth
Til it was hard to breathe
But you better believe
That I covered my tracks

I ain’t never
I ain’t never no more
I ain’t never no more gonna think bad thoughts
Coz I need to pocket the blessings of my sweet Lord

I’m down on my luck
So I’m down on my knees
I got no one to blame
And there ain’t no shame
In getting what you need, I swear

I ain’t never
I ain’t never no more
I ain’t never no more gonna think bad thoughts
Coz I need to pocket the blessings of my sweet Lord

I’m going weak in the legs my knees are….shaking
I got a mind filling with ghosts who are...waking
And I know that I been stranger to...praying
But I swear that I’ve been changed

I ain’t never
I ain’t never no more
I ain’t never no more gonna think bad thoughts
Coz I need to pocket the blessings of my sweet Lord

I’ve got a belly full
Full of regret
That’s what you get deep inside
It’s a side effect of being alive

I ain’t never
I ain’t never no more
I ain’t never no more gonna think bad thoughts
Coz I need to pocket the blessings
I ain’t never
I ain’t never no more
I ain’t never no more gonna think bad thoughts
Coz I need to pocket the blessings of my sweet lord
my sweet lord
my sweet lord
my sweet lord

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