The Road To Panama

by Ken Dirschl

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1.
I get the window on the way back 'Cause you got the front and I got Smack, dab, in the middle of Someone says something nobody laughs 'Cause it's three am and they're mostly half asleep On the road to Panama I'm on the freeway for real this time The smell of the wind, the dust in my eyes Leaves me delirious Drunk on the flavour of the night The stars are out and I know that I'm alive On the road to Panama Wake with the sun in my eyes Guess I forgot to close the blinds Or then again maybe this is not a dream this time I've got it down I'm rehearsed Even if worse comes to worse I'll never budge from the center of the universe You take the window on your way back 'Cause I got the front and I am smack, dab On the road to Panama
2.
Offer Up 04:06
Offer me a part I'll play myself You ain't going to need nobody else Offer up your violins I will dance and I will sing Won't you raise a glass up to my health? I might be the best thing you've ever had I will turn your daydreams into fact Offer up a conversation I accept your invitation Really feel a need for being bad What you've got has got me going wild You come off as some kind of mystical child Offer up your energy Lay your body over me I'd really like to stay like this awhile Offer what you've got in store I taste your tongue now I want more I'd really like to thank you for my smile I'd really like to thank you for my smile I'd really like to thank you for my smile
3.
Look at where you're ending up Rattling your own tin cup on the street Crying about the sons you lost When you never even gave a toss about keeping the peace It's bad for the soul Everyone knows Now you're on the radio Shouting on a late night show with an angry host You wonder how you got caught up into something Far from what you need the most It's bad for the soul Everyone knows Oh you act like the heroes you know that you're not So your hands will come clean of the bodies you bought By giving up all the control of your thought To the ones who want the show to go on To the ones who want it all to go on and on and on and on... It's bad for the soul Everyone knows Everyone knows It's bad for the soul
4.
Everyday it's the same same same I take my place in the long parade I put my wheels in the grooves that got made From every year they've been rolling And every hour of the day day day I'm working for the big escape I don't know how far away we are from being golden But I like it But I like it anyway And every mouse in this maze maze maze Is having doubts on the deals they made They're desperately trying to find a way To get back what's been stolen And I don't have the remedy I'm still working on a philosophy But I know there will always be Some things that are worth holding And I like it And I like it And I like it anyway And I'm standing up for life 'Cause I know it isn't right To settle on sick and tired I'm standing up for life I know it won't come twice And I am not the type to mess up being inspired 'Cause every night when I'm drained drained drained And I get home to your arms again It's worth it just to hear you say I missed you so much darling And I like it And I like it And I like it And I like it anyway.
5.
Sooner or later I'll be leaving Sooner or later I must go And from the signs that I've been reading You've been busy digging holes Sooner or later comes the season A man is forced to face his ghost And he must fight that voice of treason That likes to preach and shout and gloat You failed to make your mark You failed to make your mark Well I've been here before In the not too distant past Well I've been here before I thought I kicked your ass Well I've been here before I've been here before Sooner of later you'll be grieving When what could have been is what was And all your spinning and your weaving Has twisted you away from love You failed to make your mark You failed to make your mark You failed to make your mark You failed to stop and start You failed to notice it was all coming apart Well I've been here before In the not too distant past Well I've been here before I thought I kicked your ass Well I've been here before I've been here before Sooner or later I'll be leaving Sooner or later I must go
6.
Come on fellas would you try to explain What's the intention behind what the words mean? And why do your stories always end the same? Come on fellas you're free of your chains But your gangster glory won't let anything change You made your millions but your hands are stained So how about a song for Jane? Arms aren't twisted, choices are made Now you're the singer up on the stage And every listener is feeling your rage So how about a song for Jane? The day after Christmas voices are raised Who let the killers out of the cage? It's gangs it's guns it's cops It's black white and grey It's nothing different just how the game's played Take a position then hand out the blame But don't forget that she had a name So how about a song for Jane? Let's sing a song for Jane
7.
Woman 05:16
Woman it's never gonna be enough And I wonder why I can't stop Trying to get you to see the stuff You'd think by now I'd know you're not Woman it's starting to get too rough And I can't afford this kind of love It's not like time is something there's plenty of And woman I ain't exactly young You made your mind to get love You know you need enough of What's going to get you to happy You see the path that lights up And every notch that makes up What's going to happen to me But it's not what I see Woman they're flying flags at half mast For the vanished and broken And I wonder if you'd be proud at that If it was me who was one of them You said in life you trade up You flash you crash you work up To the sound and the fury All your dreams are made dust And every lash is what must Be what happens to me But it's not what I see Woman it's never going to be enough
8.
Volunteer 08:21
I've been eight months in-country Can't believe that I am still here Missed home for my birthday Oh well maybe I'll make it next year And it's not just the sand in my eyes that makes them dry But I can't show any fear I'm a volunteer They had so many reasons Now they don't seem to be very clear And high-minded opinions from civilians Who'll never get near But it's not just their tricks and lies and money ties That make a soldier appear I'm a volunteer Now I'm finding out what this thing is all about Not for freedom, god or changing things Not for heroes, girls or earning wings Not for bugles, duty, flags or kings Not for right at all Not for right at all
9.
Maybe some other reason Maybe some other sign Could make me believe in Giving up on this life But the same situation won't change my mind Maybe some other feeling Maybe some new design Could get me to weaken Let the whole thing unwind But even in tattered And crumpled up pride There's more than a glimmer left in these eyes 'Cause I'm always dreaming about reaching the line The worries are leaving Those blessings arrive I'm always dreaming of that sweet special time When the tires stop squealing on this crazy ride And I've got the power to stay in the light Kick back at the darkness Keep dawn in my sight 'Cause I'm always dreaming about reaching the line The worries are leaving Those blessings arrive I'm always dreaming of that sweet special time When the tires stop squealing on this crazy ride The tires stop squealing on this crazy ride On this crazy ride On this crazy ride The tires stop squealing on this crazy ride

about

In a greasy spoon called 'The Elvis', on Queen street near the Drake, I bumped into a friend of mine over breakfast. He didn't seem himself that morning, more cheerful than usual. I asked what was up, and he told me he was leaving in a van the next day for a plot of land he had bought in Panama, and -- oh by the way -- would I like to come?

It was off the cuff, delivered with a laugh, but genuine. And it dug deep. I didn't take him up on it, but I did go home and write a song called 'The Road to Panama'.

About a decade later I left on a motorcycle to scratch that itch, all the way to Panama and back. That became my real life 'Road to Panama'.

This album is not that story. It is really the space between those two points: the idea of the journey and the actual journey. Eight meditations from that decade that went by so fast, and one outlier from an earlier era. It's pretty grown up. Or growing up. Or maybe it's just a collection of songs I thought up. You decide.

One day I'll tell the story of the motorcycle journey. Meanwhile, this is the road that leads to it. Enjoy.

credits

released December 16, 2019

All songs by Ken Dirschl
Mixed by Michael Phillip Wojewoda
Photography Steve Moretti
Design by Antoine Moonen
Mastered by Jeff Elliot (aka Fedge)
Recorded in Toronto at: Box Office Poison, Lincoln County Social Club & Burlington Street

Ken Dirschl: vocals, guitars, bass, piano
Michael Wojewoda: drums, tambourine, bass on ‘Sooner or Later’, synth on ‘Panama’ & ‘Woman’
Chris Stringer: bass on ‘Panama’ & ‘Offer Up’
Braxton Hicks: Saxophone on ‘Sooner or Later’

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Ken Dirschl Toronto, Ontario

Ken Dirschl has been writing, recording and performing his own music since the early 90's, first with the muscular Gasoline and its "earth-flavoured rock'n'roll" and later under his own name. His music mines familiar ground, but manages to find new and surprising layers, and seasoned lyrics add an unexpected punch to the mix. His vocal nuance and adept arrangements make for a compelling listen. ... more

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