Steeped in tradition, while showcasing her talent for creative, personable songwriting, Kramer’s songs are poetic and illustrative; speaking of ruin and heartache, but also reminding us that beneath the scars, there is hope, faith and ultimately, redemption.
— That Music Mag, Jane Roser

Carnival of Hopes

 

When you come back down the mountain, let me know

I will be waiting with the champagne down below

With my clumsy love a-shinin’, it's really something when it glows

If you change your mind, there’ll be a light on in my window.

 

Your momma says you’re fine and happy too

Says you’ve got a farmer girl who’s quite taken with you

I see your momma in the market, what am I supposed to do

I fill my empty hands with bread, stare down at my shoes.

 

This new love of yours grows living things from dirt

I’ll bet she’s got tattoos on those sturdy arms of hers

I can’t keep a house plant alive and it ain’t no wondering why

You found some better arms than mine to call you home at night.

 

So I’ll lay down my hammer

I will lay down my busted carnival of hopes

‘Cause I ain’t getting any younger

Uncurl my fist, all you’re gonna find is fraying rope

Just a woman getting older holding a fraying rope.

 

Now this morning there were two crows by the road

They were flying curiously close and swooping dangerously low

And I couldn’t tell if they were lovers or if they were fighting foes

I think God lives in the things that I don’t know.

 

And when my feet are feeling light leaving the bar

In some strange city where I cannot find the stars

This fellow here knows I like whiskey, he don’t know nothing ‘bout my heart

Tell me, is Orion burning bright wherever you are?

 

I was a crazy thing of just 19 years old

When I took that Mason Dixon Line over the Pennsylvania coal

And I should have left you right alone, but the heart knows what it knows

And now your face is tattooed on my bones

 

I’ll lay down my hammer

I will lay down my busted carnival of hopes

Because, well, I ain’t getting any younger

Uncurl my fists, all you’re gonna find is fraying rope

 

You know you were my evergreen tree in the snow

That don’t matter much now, but all I know

Is I am built for many things and none of them are lettin' go

None of them are letting go.

 

So if you come back down the mountain, let me know

I’ll throw a big old country fair down below

With my clumsy love a-shining, it’s really something when it glows

If you change your mind, there’ll be a light on in my window.

                                   

©2016 Jane Kramer ASCAP

 

 Good Woman

 

I am not a good woman

I lie and I cheat

I’ve got this ugly wandering

Tattooed on the soles of my feet

And I’m not striving for greatness

I am just trying to sleep

Since all this not being a good woman

Has caught up with me.

 

So you’ve sent me a-packing

It’s for good now, you say

If I were you, I’d have sent me long ago

Don’t get me wrong, love, I wanted to stay

But you dream of hopeful things like wedding rings,

A settled down soul to share your days

I tried to settle down my soul

But the damn thing just wandered away.

 

Now it’s 34 years and I still can’t rock myself to sleep

So I’m hanging my hopes on this bar stool ‘cause I just can’t trust my feet

I bathed myself in your river

I used words like forever

I left my skin on your sheets

But that didn’t make

A good woman out of me.

 

I could drive up Saint John’s Bridge

And do a swan dive straight in

Or deposit myself at the nunnery

Do the hard time for my great many sins

That river bottom calls to me

It’d be so easy, but I can’t unlearn to swim

My love a magnet pull

It keeps me here in this lonely skin.

 

Darlin, I want to be better

But what if better’s  not enough

My days have turned to dying embers

It’s fear, not wine that’s filling up my cup

 

Darlin, I walk by the river

Darlin, I walk on the stones

Darlin, I’d hoped love was bigger

Than the burden I carry alone

But I am the mistress of my misfortune

I am the owner of my woe

And if I don’t get right with me

There ain’t no loving arms gonna carry me home.

 

Now it's 34 years and I still can't rock myself to sleep

So I'm hanging my hopes on this bar stool 'cause i just can't trust my feet

I bathed myself in your river

I used words like forever

I left my skin on your sheets

But that didn't make a good woman

Can't nobody make a good woman

I hope someday I can make a good woman

Out of me.

 

©2016 Jane Kramer ASCAP

 

Truck Stop Stars

 

When a broken woman leaves her little mountain town

Where she knew every river, every bar and every store clerk’s name

She’ll put a country between the love that made her bleed

And the hope that she’ll be whole again someday.

 

She’ll gather up the hollow that’s beneath her skin

Take off on 40 West like she’s caught fire

As the Blue Ridge recede and the corn fields begin

She’ll count the blackbirds of her loss with every mile.

 

Till one night when she’s filling up her car

 

She’ll find if she looks real hard

Above the neon and the diesel on the wind

She can see the truck stop stars

Just like a map of everywhere she’s been

That brought her there to meet herself again.

 

It’ll take her 30 something years and crossing 3 state lines

To know that love’s got teeth and you’d better bet you won’t be spared the bite

You can hide inside the bottle, you can hide inside the bible

Neither one’s got arms to hold you close at night.

 

Somewhere in Montana she’ll hear a song he used to hum

Then she’s riding with the ghost she thought she was running from

She’ll leave her wedding band in the Clark Fork River sand

And stumble up the banks into the sun.

 

Till one night when she thinks she went too far

 

She’ll find new lines around her eyes

In the motel bathroom light

And recognize the face there as her own

               

And when she fears she’s never getting home

 

She'll find if she looks real hard

above the neon and the diesel on the wind

she can see the truck stop stars

Just like a map of everywhere she's been

That brought her there to meet herself again.

 

©2016 Jane Kramer ASCAP