Song of the Day: Buddy Greene Covers Mark Heard on TOKENS


Last night I had the pleasure of attending (with novelist and Rabbit Room contributor Jonathan Rogers) the second taping of Tokens, a journey through books, music, humor, and theology in the spirit of A Prairie Home Companion. This week the special guests included Buddy Greene, band leader and consummate musical genius Jeff Taylor, Annie Moses Band, Native American singer Bill Miller, and the excellent Julie Lee.

I visited the website today to see if they had posted any of the clips from the show (they haven’t yet), and stumbled on this great performance by Buddy Greene and company from the first show. I know this Mark Heard song from the Pierce Pettis album State of Grace. It’s such a rousing song that it’s easy to miss how great the lyrics are.

Words and Music by Mark Heard

Nobody asks to be born
Nobody wishes to die
Everybody whiles away the interim time
Sworn to rise from the ruins by and by
The engines are droning with progress
The pistons are pounding out time
And it’s you and me caught in this juggernaut jaunt
Left to rise from the ruins down the line

We will roll like an old Chevrolet
The road to ruin is something to see
Hang on to the wheel
For the highway to hell needs chauffers
For the powers that be

Go and tell all your friends and relations
Go and say what ain’t easy to say
Go and give them some hope
That we might rock this boat
And rise from the ruins one day

Ever try to carry water in a basket
Ever try to carry fire in your hand
Ever try to take on the weight of the everyday freight
Til you find that you’re too weak to stand

Why so pale and wan, fond lover
Why so downcast and desperately sad
We can walk, we can talk
We ain’t yet pillars of salt
And we will rise from the ruins while we can

Andrew Peterson is a singer-songwriter and author. Andrew has released more than ten records over the past twenty years, earning him a reputation for songs that connect with his listeners in ways equally powerful, poetic, and intimate. As an author, Andrew’s books include the four volumes of the award-winning Wingfeather Saga, released in collectible hardcover editions through Random House in 2020, and his creative memoir, Adorning the Dark, released in 2019 through B&H Publishing.


  1. Curt McLey


    Thank you, Andrew Peterson. No doubt, this version by Buddy would bring a big smile to Mark Heard. I like to think of myself as a lyrics guy, and I’ve been a long time Mark Heard fan, but I have to admit that I missed the full coolness of the lyrics in this song. Even more than the excellent version by Pierce, this version somehow shines the spotlight on the lyrics more than the other versions. It makes me want to dig out my one Buddy Greene CD and listen to it for the first time in years.

    I’m really excited about Tokens. I used to listen to Prairie Home Companion occasionally. I’ve also been to the Grand Ol’ Opry quite a few times, which in some ways reminds me of the vibe from Prairie Home Compassion.

  2. Chris Slaten

    I love that song and this is such a great rendition of it. The Tokens band is so stinkin’ good. The line, “And it’s you and me caught in this juggernaut jaunt” has always stuck out to me. I’m inspired to dig out my Orphans of God CD’s; I haven’t listened to them in too long There are some great you tube videos that my brother-in-law showed me a while back of a young Pierce Pettis on tour with Mark Heard.
    I’m a long time PHC fan and I really appreciate Tokens theological spin on that type of radio show. Looking forward to see how it continues to evolve into its own.

  3. DrewSmusic

    The site didn’t mention a full podcast, but I’d love to be able to listen to the “tokens” as a whole. I’ll need to catch one of these live soon.

  4. Wendy V

    Isn’t Tokens wonderful? I’ve covered the first two shows on my blog. I enjoyed your performance on the first show, too.

  5. Jason Gray


    Thanks for this, Mr. Proprietor. As you know I’m a huge Mark Heard fan and I’ve been promising a Mark Heard post for quite some time. I’ve got two drafts and promise to post them soon!

  6. Jeff Taylor

    The second Tokens show proved once again, if I surround myself with enough brilliant players and singers, I can actually look like I know what I am doing.
    We covet your prayers for the continuation of the show, and His guidance in the direction. Lee Camp has had a dream for a show of this nature for some years, and it is thrilling to see it take shape. Looking forward to the Proprietor’s return in a future episode.
    Buddy and I are huge Mark Heard fans and cover a few of his songs when we play out.
    Thanks for Rabbit Room:)

  7. Wayne Shepherd

    It has been a real delight to find not only the Tokens website, but this blog as well. Be assured, Mr. Proprietor, that I will read it regularly and look forward to some more music and conversation with you on IN THE STUDIO with Mike Card.

  8. Steve Gimbert

    WooHoo for great Christian Radio, albeit, not mainstream….which says way more about the shape the listeners are in than the state of this programming. Similar are my thoughts re: Andrew Peterson and his music. Let’s celebrate this uniquness in a way that makes others wonder what’s happening at this party!

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