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Burying the Dead

by Richard McGraw

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If I lose all my muscle tone and the flesh wraps too much around the bone, will you still want to sing that old song in the bed where you once lay alone? How many men must have pleased you dear, for you to lose so many fears? And I can’t say my kingdom has come, but if it has well it aint too much fun. I wish I could spend some more time at home. How many wounds did it take to make me a mess and us a mistake? And if I lose all my sanity will your ghost stop visiting my dreams? Will the hungry beast finally be set free? Will the thoughts of the end bother me? Will the grace I need finally come and visit me?
My Life 03:15
Lyrics by Billy Joel Got a call from an old friend We used to be real close Said he couldn't go on the American way Closed the shop, sold the house Bought a ticket to the West Coast Now he gives them a stand-up routine in L.A. I don't need you to worry for me cause I'm alright I don't want you to tell me it's time to come home I don't care what you say anymore, this is my life Go ahead with your own life, leave me alone I never said you had to offer me a second chance (I never said you had to) I never said I was a victim of circumstance (I never said) I still belong, don't get me wrong You can speak your mind But not on my time They will tell you, you can't sleep alone in a strange place Then they'll tell you, you can't sleep with somebody else Ah, but sooner or later you sleep in your own space Either way it's okay to wake up with yourself I don't need you to worry for me cause I'm alright I don't want you to tell me it's time to come home I don't care what you say anymore, this is my life Go ahead with your own life, leave me alone
Oh I know it’s all wrong. Couldn’t write a good hit so I’m writing you this song. And you’re not even a ghost since you moved back home. Yeah, everything’s cool. Gonna go back to school and earn how to be some kind of fool. Gonna learn a trade cause that’s what we do. Gonna find another girl and make myself another small world. And if I could set aside this hurting heart. I’d bear your ring at your wedding. Cause I don’t want to own it and I don’t want to show it. And all of the pretty girls don’t want to know it. And I heard you’re teaching the blind. Well you taught yourself fine on how to let go of me. And I could teach you how not to let go, but why you’de want to learn that girl I don’t know. Cause your bohemian friend has got you tied up now and I don’t think that you’ll ever come down down.
I remember you well in the Balmville Motel. Neglecting me was what you did well. Gave to my friends your charms without end. And to me you gave nothing but hell. And those were the reasons and that was Newburgh, I was thin I was nothing I was flesh. And you were a beast whose flesh did not cease, for tyrants to rule slaves to say please. And those you have saved lie still in their graves with stories dirty and true. Those you have hurt, well they found their worth in stories they did not choose. Cruelty of taste, was it my face? Cruelty of sin, was it my skin? I remember you well in the Balmville Motel like the future you could not foresee. Me unemployed in song and in void, and you gave birth to someone like me. I took the guitar that your father once wore and I laid my songs down at your feet. And what did I win, your heart without skin? Is that something you’d feed to boys who say please? And those you have saved lie still in their graves with stories dirty and true. Those that you hurt well they found their worth in stories they did not choose. Cruelty of taste, was it my face? Cruelty of sin, was my body too thin? I’ve been focusing well on the things I must sell. After ten years you learn to be fierce. Like an old Balmville tree you might never see me. And after thirty or more we’ll be no more.
Your Lover 01:13
Tell me bout your lover and how good it goes. He must give you some pleasure before to sleep you go. My tears fell like a babys. You held me in your bed. Is this what you call mercy, burying the dead?
On Our Knees 02:36
Isn’t it glorious my love? Christ has risen from the dead. Isn’t it wonderful my love? All the things I never said. One day happiness will find us even if it finds us dead. You might be a nun in Newburgh. I might be beside your bed, on my knees. If you meet the Daley sisters you might burn all that you own. Give the ashes to your neighbors Maybe then you’ll see their home. Give your wife a painted manger. Give your child a big squeeze. Take back all your words of anger you might need them when you’ll be on your knees. If you meet the Daley sisters, you might lose your faith in God. You’ll stop asking for His mercy when all things he made seem wrong. Grace and glory be upon you with your terminal disease. Give the love back to the lovers and the rest of us will be on our knees.
Asheville 03:05
Oh brother what have you done, grown your hair in the sun? You left your mother, your hometown scene for some crazy dream. You left your will in Asheville, now you’re coming back home to the place where Gods grace goes gleefully unknown. Did all them trees and starry nights cure what can’t get better, your hungry heart, your uncertainty and tell me, did you forget her? Your brother is ill, that’s nothing new, now you’re coming back home. Your mother’s here, your deepest fear come on, come on back home. You took a man from Gods plan and now you’re coming back home. If God where here to see you steer would he grab that fucking wheel? Everyone will ask you how have you been?
I'm Cool 03:24
Jesus was a reasonable man. I love him more then I love what I am. My mother loved me, my father loved me. I’m cool. I wanted a life full of love, people around me like heaven above. Now I’m all alone and I feel like a fool but I’m cool. If I burned bridges of bastards I knew with my gold, if I learned how to grow old, time would be kind, so would I so would this heart of mine. Let it shine, let it stay, resurrect or decay. I wanted to live like a king, the wonderful things that greatness brings. But I can not rob and I don’t have a job, so I’m cool. I took out the old pair of pliers, twisted myself into what I admire. So now I talk about work and I feel like a jerk with no humble desire. If god had a place in the base of my heart, I might not mind when I find everything falling apart like these plans to be a gentle man. With everyone looking for something to do, I was there looking for you. Now you’re not here and your ghost is here too, just as well, cause you aint exactly a savior and this ain’t exactly hell. I had the most wonderful dream. I fell in a pool, blue water, chlorine. When I lost all my air I did not care. I was cool.
The Faith 03:17
Lyrics by Leonard Cohen The sea so deep and blind The sun, the wild regret The club, the wheel, the mind, O love, aren't you tired yet? The club, the wheel, the mind O love, aren't you tired yet? The blood, the soil, the faith These words you can't forget Your vow, your holy place O love, aren't you tired yet? The blood, the soil, the faith O love, aren't you tired yet? A cross on every hill A star, a minaret So many graves to fill O love, aren't you tired yet? So many graves to fill O love, aren't you tired yet? The sea so deep and blind Where still the sun must set And time itself unwind O love, aren't you tired yet? And time itself unwind O love, aren't you tired yet?
Young Men 02:45
I took cab she took a train. Don’t know when I’ll see her again. She said she changed and walked through the door. Guess that means she don’t want me no more. Fare went up pain came down, touched the heart made me frown. I wanted to cry, I even tried. But only one lonely tear reached my eye. She said she changed, said I changed too. I guess I was telling the truth. Oh young men so bold, when will you learn lovers turn cold. And so we’re told that it might get easier as you grow old, oh as you grow old. No one home called everyone, except for the father, the ghost and the son. And what would he say if he saw me this way half in pain and half okay. He might say I’ve changed or stayed the same like the first or the last man made. Like every child must pay a toll for all the things they can’t control, for the things that are never told cause she won’t tell me and I don’t blame her, but it could help me. Oh lady so true what can I say? Wounds are like diamonds or demons at play and it might get easier for you one day oh, as you grow old.
Her Town 03:04
This is her town now, her body her bed. The roads are all closed and she is in my head. My friends became good husbands. That’s when I sold my nights. She bought her self three years worth so now I run but I can’t hide. My family turned to acting. Each one played their role. But they played their parts so poorly, they might have sold their souls. And I am just the same Lord my knife against her heart. I could not stick it through Lord so I tore it all apart. And your ring will do no good here, I heard the sheriff sing. Cause this is her town now and you’re not even a friend
Grace 05:04
Thanks to the merchant class you taught me how to sell my ass. Thanks to the working class you taught me how to bust my ass. Alone in this apartment thanking our good president for teaching me how to lose and still save face. I need Grace. Holy sister what went wrong? You used to be in all my songs. Now you’re just a working girl loving someone elses world. But thanks for the time we spent, the body and the sacraments. A better man might have found a better way but I need grace. Dearest friends the time is near. We meet again just once a year. The hometown air the birth of Christ, the tucked in shirts the house looks nice. Thank you for the warm embrace, for accepting me in my old age. I used to be so fun now I’m just out of place. I need grace. Alone in this apartament. The mirror says my beauty’s spent. The ceiling says one day I’ll fly. The mind asks where the wisdom lies. The heart says you are still a child. The holy sisters drive you wild. And here I am looking for a better way. I need grace.


"...this is some of R. McGraw's best stuff! the songs are mysterious, and amazing! already a best of 2010 album."
-Paste Magazine

"...Burying The Dead, a lyrical tour-de-force, covering familiar themes (life, death, religion, love, heartache, God and Godlessness) with a candid freshness. With production from Andrew Spencer Goldman (of Fulton Lights) and musical direction from Jay Foote (bass player for Sufjan Steven's The Welcome Wagon and Diane Birch) the record seamlessly covers diverse sonic landscapes and styles: from the orchestral rock ballad of Balmville Motel to the 70’s singer/songwriter style of “Young Men”; From the Tibetan overtone singing in “Asheville” to the Indian inspired “Grace”; From the sparse Matt Bauer Banjo in “On Our Knees” to the dark distorted guitars of “Her Town”. McGraw also pays homage on the record by covering Billy Joel’s “My Life” and Leonard Cohen’s “The Faith”. In the song “Balmville Motel”, McGraw rewrote the Cohen’s classic “Chelsea Hotel #2”, to tell his own tale of teenage heart ache and growing old."


released January 15, 2010

Produced by Andrew Spencer Goldman
Musical Direction, String Arrangements
and additional production by Jay Foote
Mixed at the Isokon by d. James Goodwin
Cover art by Kevin Sprouls


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Richard McGraw Jacksonville, Florida

A record on Leonard Cohen's kitchen table and one in Lou Reed's hands.

A few loyal devotees have kept this man's art afloat for over 20 years.

"He is an unknown legend in his time."
-Neil Young
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