Poor House

Dustin Welch, Super Rooster Music (SESAC); Scotty Melton, Scotty Melton Music (BMI)

Orphan child ain’t got no one to love
Angels cry in Heaven above
Hell’s bells and buckets of blood
Shovels brake the cold hard ground
You ain’t never heard such a lonesome sound
Pray, tell me Lord what have they found
When her momma’s singing sweet and low
She tells the bitter winds to blow
And I know they’ll always be alone

Every night I go to town
Blow for blow, and pound for pound
C’mon pass that bottle round
We’re bound to bring the poor house down

Into this wicked world she’s cast
Paying for someone else’s past
I won’t lie if you don’t ask
In the distance there’s a rumbling train
The whistle wailing through the rain
Just give me whiskey for my pain
Send shivers up the devils spine
The moon is shining through the pines
Like pennies from a dead man’s eyes

Repeat CHO

I’m heading back to them lonesome hills
Now I know just how they feel
One more drink and I’ve had my fill

Repeat CHO (2x)

Dustin Welch: banjo, vocals; Micky Braun, vocals; Drew Smith: acoustic guitar, vocals; Kyle Ellison: electric guitar; Trisha Keefer: violin; Joe Beckham: electric bass; Joe Humel: drums

On the return of the trip me and Cory took to Charleston (see ‘Don’t Tell Em Nothin’), we stopped off in Johnson City, TN to do a couple gigs with our buddy, Scotty Melton. This is gonna be hard to explain to anyone who’s never been to the Tri-Cities area of East Tennessee or has never encountered the Melton family. Regardless, Scotty was telling about this place way back in the holler his dad used to take him to where there were always tons of kids running around, all with mothers but never any sign of their fathers. Scotty finally asked his dad about this once he got older, and was told that since there were moonshiners on practically every ridge, one of the ways they would boost their business would be to whore out their daughters, which led to a significant amount of wild children running around. I had recently read a book by a guy named William Gay called ‘Provinces of Night.’ The book opens with a scene where a construction crew are digging up a river bank, plowing the area to prepare the valley to be flooded to build a dam. They dig up a dusty mason jar, which at first they figure is full of cash, but it slips from the guys fingers and shatters as tiny bones scatter everywhere. It comes out later the moonshiner up the road had been offering his daughters as extra incentive to his customers. Like I said, it’s a different kind of place. So, I showed Scotty this banjo part I had and the beginning of a lyric, and we wrote the rest of this thing about the character on the other side of the story.