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.