The Road To Panama

by Ken Dirschl

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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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about

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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Track Name: The Road To Panama
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
Track Name: Offer Up
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
Track Name: Bad For The Soul
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
Track Name: Standing Up For Life
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.
Track Name: Sooner Or Later
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
Track Name: A Song For Jane
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
Track Name: Woman
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
Track Name: Volunteer
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
Track Name: I'm Always Dreaming
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

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