Fruits of the Underworld- Music

Dedicated to James Ritter (1989-2021)

All songs and lyrics by Paul Willson ©

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1. Most of What You Can Do 

When we watched the leaves at play
That faintly glowing autumn day 
You stood with your shoulders braced 
Your thoughts were all of winter 
When we watched the flowers open
The first words spring had spoken 
Your brow was furrowed you were hoping 
That summer heat would not wither 

When we played at politics 
I won some ground I took some hits 
But I had other wounds to lick 
I was only coping
When we raced to the finish line 
I ran well and made good time
But I looked at my feet to find I was treading an ocean

Every step in the hall of dreaming 
Every door that you can choose
Don’t you know that waking up is 
most of what you can do

If a day of judgment comes 
The cosmic scales of justice hung 
I don’t know what will be done 
but I have my suspicions 
That they all will laugh and tell 
of how a snowball’s chance in hell 
Was not a wholly untrue description

Every step in the hall of dreaming 
Every door that you can choose
Don’t you know that waking up is 
most of what you can do

Guitar- Paul Willson (tuning: standard)
Vocals- Paul Willson 
Drums- Kevin Johnson 
Bass- Eric Godsey 
whistle- Paul Willson 
All synthesizers- engineered by Eric Godsey and played by Eric and Paul 
Mixed by Curtis Fye and Paul Willson
Mastered by Curtis Fye

2. If You Fall Asleep

I can’t be too worried about it sweetheart,
That things will fall apart, they will
But build just the same there is no shame in breaking nor shame in aching when you do
Have you forgotten the heart’s for feeling 
Wounding and healing in them we’re human
So let us break more 
Let us not be so concerned for
Our own little world 

My shoes and shirt, My own patch of dirt
My success my work, My sense of my worth 

it gets lonely and harder to see 
Beyond the walls of a castle of me

But we can be free to let fall these walls
As it turns out they were only imaginary barriers

Do you believe that one day you’ll get there
You’ll reach that top stair
And walk through the doors
The final reward 
That place that’s untouched by sorrow
Where night never follows the day

There that peace the one that you long had dreamed for 
Still and pure as a bed of water 
encircled by trees 
Whose leaves never fall 
from the tall branch’s reach 

If we are good and act as we should
I’m sure one day we’ll go to heaven
But what of the hell we make for ourselves
To need somewhere else to never have enough 

Have a look around 
Beauty and death are chatting at the bar
There is no escape
Freedom comes when there’s nothing to be freed from

You fell asleep darlin, that’s alright, wake up again
The day is blossoming the moon appears
It would be so nice darlin to have you here 

Guitar (tuning:DADGBD), Vocals and Violin- Paul Willson 
Drums- Kevin Johnson 
Bass- Evan Sarver
All synthesizers- engineered by Eric Godsey and played by Paul 
Ambient water sounds made by water
Mixed by Curtis Fye and Paul Willson; Mastered by Curtis Fye
3. How Can You Tell Me

How can you tell me all is well?
When my angel’s stuck in hell
What it does to her body 
And does to her mind
It seems that there’s no place in her
The demons can’t find
I’m not giving up, but I’m letting go
I will weather wild winds and waves, but won’t be drowned below

How can you tell me all is as it should be? 
The world is on fire or did you not see?
The earth is resilient perhaps it is true
But as if that is license for the harm that we do
I’m not giving up, but I’m letting go
I won’t turn my back but I can’t be the one to take these blows 

Everything that I see 
Is stricken with a gray streak 
Smiling like a sick child stewing in its own shit
Bleeding from a bad wound shortly to be septic 
Schlepping through samsara is there really recourse?
Everything that I feel 
is burdened by a dead weight 
Sorry as a sad sack 
Dropping like a drunk troll
Tethered to a tall truck 
Idling in the alley 
Cranking out carbon 
like the world is waiting 

How can you tell me justice exists? 
When our means of correction 
Is doing more business
How often does crime and its punishment fit?
And how could you trust to administer it?
I’m not giving up and I can’t let go
I won’t be resigned to sit and watch this tragic gruesome show 

Look a little longer, look a little further, tell me what is there
Its not that you have been wrong but there’s something missing, absent in your stare
An eye you haven’t opened let it now be opened 
Tell me what you see, to make friends with all that is is not to agree

Guitar- tuning: standard, Vocals and 3 Violins- Paul Willson 
Drums- Kevin Johnson 
Bass- Evan Sarver
Synthesizers- engineered by Eric Godsey and played by Paul 
Mixed by Curtis Fye and Paul Willson; Mastered by Curtis Fye
4. Wicked Witch Wail

Wicked Witch Wail
Fill the night’s black sails
Tear the waves right from the sea
Beckon ships to bed down in the deep

I’m yours 
A dream i forgot i dreamed before
Candle light
For a romantic dinner
On the ocean floor tonight 

Wriggle white worm 
Wait but never miss your turn
Ravish apple rot the tree
Every body shows up at your feast

I’m yours 
A work I’d forgot I’d seen before
A short play 
For the amusement of the birds 
Before their luncheon today

Lightning laugh late 
Strike the bell, the hour that waits 
Lick your lips and loose
Your clouds 
Smile with a lover’s hungry mouth

I’m yours
A song I 
Forgot I heard before
Falling rain
A red sacrifice 
To make the earth green again

Guitar- Paul Willson 
(tuning: DADGBbD capo 5th fret)
Vocals- Paul Willson 
Drums- Kevin Johnson 
Drum programming- Gabriel Jessee and Paul Willson 
Bass- Evan Sarver 
Synthesizers- engineered by Gabriel Jessee and conceived and played by Gabriel Jessee and Paul Willson 
Mixed by Adrian Olsen and Paul Willson; Mastered by Curtis Fye
5. Simply Circuits

Yes you are right 
When you say that I am not afraid 
The path has already been laid
And there’s no other way 
But the choicelessness becomes the real freedom 

Yes we are in love
We are always in love
Its got nothing and everything to do with us

I know it’s real though I can’t always see or feel it 

Whenever I forget you remind me of it
Wherever we may be the world reveals its beauty
It’s so easy to see to feel to be
When you’re with me

It’s true too that I have been and I may be again
Afraid of a time when
I feel I’ve lost a best friend
It’s then that I’ll remember your prayer we shared

That we may fully be open in simple devotion
Simply circuits for love

Guitar- Paul Willson (tuning: DGDGAD)
Vocals- Paul Willson 
Vocals Hannah Standiford 
Tabla- Kevin Johnson 
All Synthesizers engineered and played by Evan Sarver
Low D Whistle – Paul Willson 
Mixed by Curtis Fye and Paul Willson
Mastered by Curtis Fye
6. Cookie’s Walk on the Rainbow Bridge

5 Guitars- Paul Willson (tuning: standard)
4 Violins- Paul Willson 
Mixed by Curtis Fye and Paul Willson
Mastered by Curtis Fye
7. The River Waits

Walking in the woods at night alone
To look over my shoulder 
Perhaps I’m not alone at all

The air is as heavy as the moon
I keep on walking 
The river must be soon

Solitude knows me best 
It knows my secrets
And leads me to where the 
winged mare nests 
Way up high we fly but not tonight 
The river waits 

The air is sweet enough 
to drink right down 
And the frogs and the bugs weave 
A blanket of sound 

Many times I thought 
That I’d arrived 
As if in a labyrinth 
The river seemed to hide 

but now I descend the steps
And take off my clothes 
And slip into the water

Dark moving mirror
Everything is here 
Let me be as free and clear 
Let me also be a mirror 

Dark moving mirror
Everything is here
Let me be as free and clean
As your flowing stream

Guitar- (tuning: standard), Vocals and 3 Violins- Paul Willson
Drums- Kevin Johnson 
Tabla- Kevin Johnson 
Bass- Evan Sarver
All synthesizers- engineered by Eric Godsey and played by Eric and Paul
Cricket sounds made by crickets 
Mixed by Curtis Fye and Paul Willson; Mastered by Curtis Fye
8. The Grip
That grip that you’ve got 
Are you sure it’ll hold?
Are you sure that your hands are even on the controls?
How long can you grasp a burning coal?

That part that you play 
Does it speak for your soul?
Did you learn all the lines 
and identify with the role?
And forget that it was just a show?

Our relationship was fine 
As long as I agreed 
That you are the person 
that you think yourself to be 
I can be the bad guy 
if that’s what you wish 
But I won’t ride passenger 
while you drive off a cliff 
I’ll be damned 
if I live 
by the grip 

That face that you wear
Are you sure that it’s yours?
Is it the face that you wore 
before you were born?
If you leave it at home 
Which face is worn?

Guitar- Paul Willson (tuning: DADGBE)
Vocals- Paul Willson 
Tabla- Kevin Johnson  
All Synthesizers- engineered by Gabriel Jessee and conceived and played by Gabriel Jessee and Paul Willson 
Mixed by Curtis Fye and Paul Willson; Mastered by Curtis Fye
9. When You Start To Hear
There’s a song that I have heard that’s brought me to my knees 
I know I’d do anything to sing such beauty

So I asked the dharma department clerk how much it would cost
She smiled at me and laughed and said “nothing, but everything you’ve got”

So I dumped out my bag of tunes to see what I had sung
Some were meek and some were grand and some were simply fun.
i thought of all I stood to lose if  i should let them go
But what was there that I could keep besides an echo?

Why sing with half a heart
The songs you fear to lose
When the song of songs can always be the one that’s sung in you?

Why withhold part of yourself
 And cling to it in fear
when you give up all you are
is when you start to hear

It’s happening
Even now
Can you hear the ordinary glory of the sound?

It’s happening everywhere
Though it may be silenced by the sounds of all your cares

2 Guitars- Paul Willson (tuning: standard)
Vocals- Paul Willson 
Drums- Kevin Johnson 
Bass- Evan Sarver
Mixed by Curtis Fye and Paul Willson
Mastered by Curtis Fye
10. I’m Walking Away

I’m walking away but not from you 
If I seem to be less bright 
To flicker like a distant light 
It may be true 
I’m walking away but not from you 

I’m walking away from a vacant house 
At first it appeared 
There were people living here 
But I know now 
I’m walking away from a vacant house 

When we are there we aren’t somehow
Though we seem unaware 
Or perhaps we do not care 
Absent now
When we are there we aren’t somehow 

No matter how a house is built 
The rain and the wind
Seem to find their way in 
They always will 
No matter how a house is built 

What I gave to that place 
It seems I could only see 
What I wanted it to be 
it’s time to face
What I gave to that place 

So I’m walking away but not from you 
There’s a fledgling part 
Of my own living heart 
That I can’t lose 
I’m walking away but not from you 

Concertina, Vocals, 3 Violins and Walking sounds- Paul Willson 
Mixed by Curtis Fye and Paul Willson; Mastered by Curtis Fye
11. A Place That You Know (song)

No thoughts but the wind 
No God but the stream echoing on
No time but the sun 
No home but the ground under your feet

A place that you know 
Perhaps too close to be seen
A place that remains 
There for you if you find the way

3 Concertinas- Paul Willson 
Vocals- Paul Willson 
Mixed by Curtis Fye and Paul Willson
Mastered by Curtis Fye

Out of the Bog, Back On the Path (tunes)
Fiddle- Paul Willson 
Concertina- Paul Willson 
Concertina accompaniment- Paul Willson (special thanks to Andy Cleveland for a very helpful arrangement idea)


Guitars, drums, tabla, violins, low d whistle, concertina, birds, whistle and Paul’s vocals recorded by Paul Willson

Synthesizers tracked by Eric Godsey and Gabriel Jessee

All Bass recorded by Evan Sarver except bass for ‘Most Of 

What You Can Do’ recorded by Eric Godsey 

Hannah Standiford’s vocals recorded by Hannah

All songs mixed by Curtis Fye and Paul Willson except ‘Wicked Witch Wail’, which was mixed by Adrian Olsen and Paul Willson 

All songs mastered by Curtis Fye 

                                       About the Musicians 

Paul Willson 

       Paul Willson was born in Charlottesville, Virginia and is currently based in Richmond, Virginia.

He has released five albums and three double-albums as a leader/primary composer and been a collaborator and/or member with several artists including Rumput, Matthew O’Donnell and the Blue Ridge Bards, Psalm Swarr, UTV Chamber, Compass Rose Orchestra, Stag Baron, Old Soul, Hannah Standiford, Max Wareham, Abakis, Poojaa Shah Talwar and others.

      In 2011, he received a Bachelors degree in Jazz Guitar performance from VCU and in 2015 he received a Masters of Social Work degree from VCU. Paul became a licensed clinical social worker in 2018 and provides outpatient therapy to families and individuals; much of Paul’s work has been informed by work in the field of mental health and he believes that creating and using art to process, reflect and express life in all its shades and hues is absolutely essential.

       Paul performs under his own name but occasionally plays the sideman role from time to time. His work has been reviewed in RVA Mag, RVA News and Style Magazine. Paul’s compositions cross into several genres. He sings, plays guitar, fiddle, tenor banjo, concertina, pennywhistle and bowed psaltery. Paul’s past recent releases include “Occasions For Reflections” an album of songs marking specific events or points in time and “I Made Friends With A Dragon”, an album of British, Irish, and Scottish traditional ballads and an album of original songs.

Evan Sarver 

        Evan Sarver is a professional bassist in Atlanta, Georgia with a background in both electric bass guitar and upright double bass. Currently on the road with Southern Avenue, one of the Southeast’s hottest Soul/blues-rock ensembles, Evan continues to work extensively across genres as an instrumentalist, improvisor, composer and arranger on stage and in the studio. From a young age, Evan learned from his father Joe, a jazz bassist himself. A native of Richmond, Virginia, Evan attended James Madison University as a performance major in nearby Harrisonburg. In addition to jazz and improvisation.

         After graduating in 2010, Evan found himself back in his hometown in the deeply original Richmond scene. He worked with and drew inspiration from stellar musicians such as John D’earth, DJ Williams, Devonne Harris, Paul Willson and countless others in central Virginia. It was typical for him to play late nights in regional clubs only to wake up to play in the studio or the church band the next morning. Evan moved to Atlanta in 2012, where he delved further into improvisational music as well as funk/R&B, psych-rock, salsa, country and blues. In 2013, he joined the Madrid Express and spent two years on the road with the late absurdist southern music mystic Col. Bruce Hampton. With Bruce, Evan discovered the psychic parameters of artistic limitation, how to shed the toxic ego to become a true servant of music, and how to guide songs toward to the full extent of their energy.

Kevin Johnson 

        Kevin Johnson was born 1988 in Virginia Beach and started playing drums at an early age, collaborating with different rock and pop groups around the oceanfront area. Moving to Richmond in 2006, he began performing with fellow music students and professors at local venues, clubs and restaurants while attending Virginia Commonwealth University. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree with a focus in percussion and drum set from VCU (2010). While continuing his studies of Jazz, Latin, African, and other world music, Kevin has concentrated on the classical music of North India and studying under Loren Oppenheimer, a disciple of Pandit Divyang Vakil. He is the percussionist with Jouwala Collective and Peña Verde; two world music fusion projects, in addition to freelance performing and studio work.

Gabriel Jessee 

        Electronic  music producer by night, software engineer by day.  Gabriel Jessee has spent years crafting electronic music for the dance floor and film under the moniker time_frame.

Hannah Standiford 

        Hannah lives in Pittsburgh and is working on a PhD in ethnomusicology. She comes down to Richmond frequently to rehearse and perform with Rumput, a string band that also does shadow theater. Hannah also put together an old-time band in Pittsburgh called Howling Mob so that she’d have an excuse to play clawhammer banjo, which has been her covid hobby.

Eric Godsey 

         Eric is a multi-instrumentalist music producer native to the city of Richmond, Virginia. He currently plays in two local RVA bands: Bass/background vocals in  Indoor/Indoor as well as drums/background vocals in the suspender-wearing Wimpy rockers The Wimps. “Mr. Godsey” is also in his 8th year of teaching elementary music. He is in his 5th year teaching at Richmond’s own Patrick Henry School of Science and Arts!

Curtis Fye

       Curtis Fye was born and raised in Richmond, VA.  He began recording and mixing music in his teens with bands of his own.  After spending several years as a professional musician, Curtis decided to turn his focus towards audio engineering.  He spent three years as staff engineer at Omega Studios outside of Washington, DC, and is now Studio Manager at Spacebomb Studios in Richmond.

Adrian Olsen 

       Adrian has been making records for most of his life. As the son of a producer and songwriter, he has been around studios since before he can remember and is definitely at home in the environment; something he hopes rubs off on the people he works with. Adrian owns a studio in Richmond, VA called Montrose Recording and has made many records there.