September 23, 2007

Iron & Wine 'The Shepherd's Dog' Lyrics + Tour Dates

Iron & Wine's 3rd full length album, The Shepherd's Dog, will be released on September 25th via Sub Pop. The lyrics offered here were found in several places online and could very well have errors. If you spot an outstanding error and would like to correct it, please do so in the comments.

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1. Pagan Angel and a Borrowed Car
2. White Tooth Man
3. Lovesong of the Buzzard
4. Carousel
5. House by the Sea
6. Innocent Bones
7. Wolves (Song of the Shepherd's Dog)
8. Resurrection Fern
9. Boy With a Coin
10.The Devil Never Sleeps
11.Peace Beneath the City
12.Flightless Bird, American Mouth

09-24 Cleveland, Ohio - Beachland Ballroom
09-25 Toronto, Ontario - Danforth Music Hall
09-26 Montreal, Quebec - Metropolis
09-27 Boston, MA - Orpheum Theatre
09-28 Upper Darby, PA - Tower Theater
09-29 Washington, DC - 9:30 Club
09-30 New York, NY - Town Hall Theatre
10-23 Leeds, England - City Varieties Music Hall
10-24 Gateshead, England - Sage
10-25 Manchester, England - Academy 2
10-26 Belfast, Northern Ireland - Belfast Festival
10-27 Dublin, Ireland - Temple Bar
10-28 Bristol, England - St. George's
10-29 Edinburgh, Scotland - Queen's Hall
10-31 London, England - Shepherd's Bush Empire
11-01 Cardiff, Wales - The Point
11-02 Brighton, England - St. George's Church
11-03 Nottingham, England - Rescue Rooms
11-04 Reading, England - Reading Arts Concert Hall

1. "Pagan Angel And A Borrowed Car"
Love was a promise made of smoke
In a frozen copse of trees
A bone cold and older than our bodies
Slowly floating in the sea
Every morning there were planes
The shiny blades of pagan angels in our father's skies
Every evening I would watch her hold the pillow
Tight against her hollows, her unholy child
I was still a beggar shaking out my stolen coat
Among the angry cemetery leaves
When they caught the king beneath the borrowed car
Righteous, drunk, and fumbling for the royal keys

Love was a father's flag and sung like a shank
In a cake on our leather boots
A beautiful feather floating down
To where the birds had shit on empty chapel pews
Every morning we found one more machine
To mock our ever waning patience at the well
Every evening she'd descend the mountain stealing socks
And singing something good where all the horses fell
Like a snake within the wilted garden wall
I’d hint to her every possibility
While with his gun the pagan angel rose to say
"My love is one made to break every bended knee"


"White Tooth Man"
Said the plain clothes cop to the beauty queen
“I’ve seen nothing but a spoke in a wheel”
So she gave up her crown to a kid with a crutch
And they both felt cheated after closing the deal
And the white tooth man, I ran with him
Got all cut up from pissing out in the weeds
And a fight upstate with a broken blade
And a wife whose finger never wanted a ring

Said the plain clothes cop to the Indian chief
“I’ve made nothing but an honest mistake”
The postman cried while reading the mail
And we all got trampled in the Christmas parade
And the white tooth man who sold me a gun
A map of Canaan and a government bond
Said, “I love this town, but it ain’t the same”
The ski mask ripped as he was putting it on

Said the plain clothes cop to the holy ghost
“I’ve heard nothing if it wasn’t the wind”
And we all got sick on a strip club meal
While the statehouse was frying all the witches again
So the white tooth man with his kids in the car
And a wad of money that was already spent
Said, “I love my dog but she just ran away
She’ll keep running like the world never ends”


"Lovesong of the Buzzard"
In the failing light of the afternoon
Lucy in the shade of the dogwood blooms
Yesterday the solace of a poison fish
Tomorrow I'll be kissing on her blood red lips

No one is the saviour they would like to be
The lovesong of the buzzard in the dogwood tree
With a train of horses laughing through the traffic line
And the cradle's unimaginative sense of time

Springtime and the promise of an open fist
A tattoo of a flower on a broken wrist
Lucy tells me jokingly to wipe her brow
With a pocket map to heaven and the sun goes down


Almost home
When I missed the bottom stair
You were braiding your gray hair
It had grown so long
Since I'd been gone

And the perfect girls
By the pool, they would protest
The cross around their necks
But our sons were overseas
And we all know about the hive and the honey bees

Almost home
With an olive branch and a dove
You were beating on a Persian rug
With your bible and your wedding band
Both hidden on a TV stand

And the cruel wind blew
Every city father fell
Off the county carousel
While the dogs were eating snow
All our sons had sunk in a trunk of Noah's clothes

Almost home
We got lost on our new street
While your grieving girls all died in their sleep
So the dogs all went unfed
A great dream of bones all piled on the bed

And the cops couldn't care
When that crackhead built a boat
And said, "Please, before I go
May our only honored bone
Be the kinship of the kids and the riot squad"


"House by the Sea"
There is a house by the sea
Two jealous sisters, they're waiting for me
And one is laid on the floor
And one is changing the locks on the doors
And I've been buying the time on my knees
And I've been selling their blankets to bleed (on)

Around the house by the sea
The scent of roses and raspberry leaves
And there is smoke in my clothes
Too much time with just smoke in my nose
And I've been making the meaning they lack
And I've been burning that book they come back too

There is a house by the sea
And an ocean between it and me
And like the shape of a wave
The jealous sisters will sing on my grave
And I've been living to run where they led
And I've been dying to rise from their bed
And I've been sparing my neck from their chain
And they've been changing the sound of my name
And I've been swimming to them in my sleep
And I've been dreaming our love and our freedom


"Innocent Bones"
Cain got a milk-eyed mule from the auction
Abel got a telephone
And even the last of the blue-eyed babies know
That the burning man is the color of the end of day
And how every tongue that gets bit always has another word to say

Cain bought a blade from some witch at the window
Abel bought a bag of weed
And even the last of the brown-eyed babies see
That the cartoon king has a tattoo of a bleeding heart
There ain’t a penthouse Christian wants the pain of the scab, but they all want the scar
How every mouth sings of what it’s without so we all sing of love
And how it ain’t one dog who’s good at fucking and denying who he’s thinking of

Cain heard a cat tumble limp off the rooftop
Abel heard his papa pray
And even the last of the black-eyed babies say
That every saint has a chair you can borrow and a church to sell
That the wind blows cold across the back of the master and the kitchen help
There’s a big pile of innocent bones still holding up the garden wall
And it was always the broken hand we learned to lean on after all
How God knows if Christ came back he would find us in a poker game
After finding out the drugs were all free but they won't let you out the door again


"Wolves (Song of the Shepherd's Dog)"
Wolves by the road
And a bike wheel spinning on a pawn shop wall
She leaned on her coloured hair
Like a butterfly wing in a summer rainfall
And the roll on the kitchen floor
Some fucker with a pocketful of foreign change
Song of the shepherd’s dog
A pitch in the dark in the ear of the lamb who was going to try to run away
Whoever got that brave?

Wolves in the middle of town
And the chapel bell ringing through the wind-blown trees
To wave to the butcher’s boy with the parking lot music everybody believes
And then out like a dying bird in the ?? in the corner of the penny arcade
Song of the shepherd’s dog
Waiting around the jack call of the rooster
On the rooftop waiting for day
And ain’t nobody’s gonna say

Wolves at the end of the bed
And a postcard hidden in her winter clothes
She beat in the back of a truck
To the trailers when we trying to find the bullet hole
And then run down the canopy rows
Some mother and a baby with a cross to nail
Song of the shepherd’s dog
Little brown flea in the bottle of oil for your woolly wild hair
You'll never get him out of there


"Resurrection Fern"
In our days we will live
Like our ghosts will live:
Pitching glass at the cornfield crows
And folding clothes

Like stubborn boys across the road
We'll keep everything:
Grandma's gun and the black bear claw
That took her dog

When sister Laurie says, "Amen"
We won't hear anything:
The ten-car trains will take that word
That fledgling bird

And the fallen house across the way
It'll keep everything:
The baby's breath
Our bravery wasted and our shame

And we'll undress beside the ashes of the fire
Both our tender bellies wound in baling wire
All the more a pair of underwater pearls
Than the oak tree and its resurrection fern

In our days we will say
What our ghosts will say:
We gave the world what it saw fit
And what'd we get?

Like stubborn boys with big green eyes
We'll see everything:
In the tender shade of the autumn leaves
And the buzzard's wing

And we'll undress beside the ashes of the fire
Our tender bellies are wound around in baling wire
All the more a pair of underwater pearls
Than the oak tree and its resurrection fern


"Boy With A Coin"
A boy with a coin he found in the weeds
With bullets and pages of trade magazines
Close to a car that flipped on the turn
When God left the ground to circle the world

A girl with a bird she found in the snow
Then flew up her gown and that's how she knows
That God made her eyes for crying at birth
Then left the ground to circle the Earth

A boy with a coin he crammed in his jeans
Then making a wish he tossed in the sea
Walked to a town that all of us burn
When God left the ground to circle the world


"The Devil Never Sleeps"
Dreamin’ again of a train track ending at the edge of the sea
Big black cloud was low and rolling our way
Dog at the barbed wire barkin’ at my buzz-cut friends
Friend with a switch blade shinin’ in the summer rain
No one on the corner had a quarter for the telephone
Everybody bitchin’ there’s nothing on the radio

Dreamin’ again of a city full of fathers and their white clothes
Chatterin’ boys and a chicken at the choppin’ block
All of us lost at the crosswalk waitin’ for the other to go
Didn’t find the field but boy you’re really waterlogged
Someone bet a dollar that their daddy wasn’t comin’ home
Everybody bitchin’ there’s nothing on the radio

Dreamin’ again that it’s freezin’ and my mother’s in a flower bed
Long dead rows of daffodils and marigolds
Changin’ her face like a shadow on the ground
(can't tell what this line is - CAN YOU HELP OUT?)
No one lives forever and the devil never sleeps alone
Everybody bitchin’ there’s nothing on the radio


"Peace Beneath the City"
Here’s a prayer for the body buried by the interstate
Murder of a soldier, a tree in a forest up in flames
Black valley, peace beneath the city
Where the women hear the washboard rhythm in their bosom when they say,
"Give me good legs and a Japanese car and show me a road”

Sing a song for the bodies buried by the riverbank
A well-dressed boy and a pig with a bullet in the brain
Black valley, peace beneath the city
Where the white girls wander the strip mall, singing all day,
“Give me a juggernaut heart and a Japanese car and someone to free"

Sing a song for the body buried like a keepsake
Mother of million mouths with the very same name
Black valley, peace beneath the city
Where the women tell the weather but never ever tell you what they pray
They pray, "Give me a yellow brick road and a Japanese car and benevolent change"


"Flightless Bird, American Mouth"
I was a quick wet boy
Diving too deep for coins
All of your straight blind eyes
Wide on my plastic toys
And when the cops closed the fair
I cut my long baby hair
Stole me a dog-eared map
And called for you everywhere

Have I found you?
Flightless bird, jealous, weeping
Or lost you?
American mouth
Big bill looming

Now I’m a fat house cat
Cursing my sore blunt tongue
Watching the warm poison rats
Curl through the wide/white fence cracks
Kissing on magazine photos
Those fishing lures thrown in the cold and clean
Blood of Christ mountain stream

Have I found you?
Flightless bird, brown hair bleeding
Or lost you?
American mouth
Big bill, stuck going down


  1. you've got the same lyrics for the songs, "The Devil Never Sleeps" and "Pagan Angel And A Borrowed Car." otherwise, great post.

  2. hank - thanks for pointing out that mistake. i've fixed it.

  3. beautiful album, and great blog :)
    i've linked you.

  4. comeonyoupainter - THANKS for your comment and the link!

  5. As far as I can tell the lyrics you are looking for in The Devil Never Sleeps are, "(well this is) what I'm 'a chasin, chillin on a heavy white rose."
    Just got the album (at long last). I'm grateful to find all the lyrics compiled in one place. Thanks!

  6. As for the line in Wolves (Song of the Shepherd's Dog):
    "it's a way to the butcher's boy with the parking lot music everybody believes, and then die like a dying bird and any of you with a dollar at the penny arcade" is what I'm hearing.

  7. thank you =)
    i really wanted a big long block of all the lyrics to read as i listen to the album.