In a Whelming Tide

by John Davey

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Produced by Jordan Banks & John Davey at Greyhouse Studios in West Lafayette, IN between May 2010 and June 2011
Engineered by Jordan Banks
Mixed by Dallas Johnson (except where noted)
Track 8 mixed by Steffen Yazvac
Track 10 mixed by Jordan Banks
Mastered by Benjamin Lau at Double Phelix in Kalamazoo, MI
Design & Layout by John Dvorchak

All music and lyrics by John Davey except additional arrangements (duly noted) and portions of "Down by the Willows" which was taken in part from variations of a traditional American Ballad.


released June 22, 2012

John Davey – guitar, vocals, bass (track 7), keys (track 10)
PJ Pence – drums
Joe Brown – bass guitar
Jordan Banks – keys (tracks 8-10)
Dustin Sendejas – cornet, glockenspiel, rhodes piano
Jon Weiss – accordion, trumpet, french horn, trombone, euphonium
Jack Rogers – trombone
Tory Kirgiss – drums (track 3)
Craig Meinhart – bass guitar (tracks 2 & 5)
Jared Bartman – piano (track 3)
Lauren Joyce & Steffen Yazvac – additional vocals

Brass arrangements by: John Davey, Dustin Sendejas, Jon Weiss
Additional arrangements by: Jordan Banks, Jared Bartman, Craig Meinhart

Far too many people that I love and admire to thank individually. But for this project in particular, thanks especially Jordan Banks for sticking with and believing in it enough to see it through from start to finish. Also thanks to my tremendously supportive and gigantic family, my unusually talented, generous, clever and caring circle of friends, my dream team for playing on the album, Dallas Johnson for taking time out of his busy schedule to tackle this project, Nate Jones, Shane Evans, Hope Davey, and Evan Jackson (respectively) for their hard work and generous contributions, and all of my tour buddies ever. You make my dreams come true.

May life and joy and great delight come in a whelming tide.



all rights reserved


John Davey Marquette, Michigan

From Indiana’s Wabash River Valley to Music City, Nashville, Tennessee to the wilds of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, John Davey has been on the move during the last couple of years. The words and melodies of Middle-America follow him everywhere.

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Track Name: 21 Gun Salute
when he died they gave him a 21 gun salute
seven rifles, seven faces, fourteen shining boots
and the burning pavement burned their faces
as each of them expended three blank cartridge cases

and the woman dressed in black was looking very pale
as she tried to hide her milky tears behind the darkened veil
and the children left their inhibitions stranded in the car
and they cried and wept and carried on til they couldn't cry no more

well the consummate professional rarely has good friends
and the man that's in the service hardly gets what he deserves
until it ends and they ship him home in a white pine box
with a piece of metal on his chest that doesn't cost a lot

and the wives all dress in navy blue
will point their withering glares at you
'cause the grief feels like a vacuum that wants to pull you in too
but the children left their scruples stranded in the past
and their lives are all just goin' downhill, goin' downhill fast

but if there's good for me then there is good for you
if there's good for me then there is hope for you
if there's hope for me then there is good for you
Track Name: May
we speak of all the holy burning oils
we speak just like the daughters of the soil
who dress themselves in pretty queen anne's lace
and smear all of the red dirt on their faces

and we're wandering like all the souls at large
reluctantly agreeing to take charge
and stake our claim on tiny bits of land
to hold the simple glory in our hands

and all the bull finches and all the meadow thrushes
shall spread their slender wings like the bristles of the brushes
and the elevated symphony of all the insect choruses
shall call out our names as they desperately implore us

and our eyes see even through the gloom
the rows and rows of shallow graves and tombs
of all of the ancient and the old
of all the saints who let their spirits go

and we stand quiet above the braes and vales
our eyes take in the morning in all her minor details
oh! I want to walk with you!
Track Name: Down By the Willows
he sneaked up to his lover's window
bade her go with him
but she did so hesitantly for the moon that night was dim

Said he "oh, my own true Emma! haste, do not delay
and we will ramble through the hedges
set our wedding day
and we'll go..."

down, down, down, down by the willows
down by the drooping willows

but there amongst the violets he cursed her up and down
and he told her of his jealousy and pushed her to the ground
but she had loved no other and she begged him for her life
but no amount of pleading could stop his steely knife


down, down, down, down, down
(down by the river)
(down where the violets grow)
(down by the willows, down, down)
and the birds sang in the morning their awful, weary songs
where the truest love of Edward had never done a wrong
but now beneath the willows where the violets fade and bloom
resides the ghost of Emma near her cold and silent tomb
the willows

Track Name: Irony Has Propelled Us Thus Far
with a cold light transfixed upon us
and fear up in arms against our sides
the terror of perpetual motion
the laughing of the never-ending tide

so we yearned and ached for some movement
and we all put our key players into play
but we mustn't let them export or input
all the livelong dying of their days

and the disembodied head of Dr. Jones
comes speaking at and to us from the grave
but there's something deeper, something darker
something colder and very old
something much uglier than he

so we converse in hushed tones
between our rows of books
scheme schemes, drink drinks and light cigars
and we can do nothing but become who we are not
and try to look into the future far

but then all our progress, all of our progress
our progress comes crashing, it all comes crashing
yeah, all of our progress comes crashing down upon our heads
Track Name: Five Nights
well the brook that whispers quietly is the same that tells no lies
but our secret's safe within these trees
for few are the passers by

and the man all dressed in white
will give us back our honor
'cause he swears on his honor
that he's not from our time

but we gotta chase him quickly
over roots and down the mossy path
and out into the clearing
or he'll just take, well he'll just take it back

for five nights in a row
our hearts continue to grow
and then lay down like a child
the nights of the extraordinary moon
the next one waxing cannot come too soon

well the fireflies are blinking
like many tired eyes
as we lay down breathless panting
and look out towards the skies

and as we exchange our glances
all superstition fades
the skies are all ablaze
and we're welcoming the change

but we've gotta do it quickly
we gotta dream our dreams
our bodies growing sickly
we've got to find a way to ease the pain

for five nights in a row
our hearts continued to grow
and then suddenly caught fire
like a meteor shower blazing in the sky
the next one burning opens up our eyes
Track Name: Our Name Shall Be Revenge
hear the heavy tread and the muffled, desperate groan
of the thing that's locked inside
and changing clothes and changing bones

well I will never be the one
to loathe to say my shoulders are broad enough
to take the weight of this blame upon myself

and a hundred chivalries cannot undo
what that vile concoction you drank down made you
it changed from red to green to orange to grey
to black to yellow to blue
and that evil creature you let out
that wicked beast was you

and our name shall be revenge
so pick the lock or knock the door off its hinges
and we shall find
the answer to the mystery that's been plaguing us so long
so long my old friend

and our name shall be revenge
so pick the lock or knock the door off its hinges
and we shall find
the body lying cold, a portmanteau intact
with instructions on how to win you back
but you're not coming back my old friend
Track Name: The Process
if I were a bird I would fly to the branch by your window
and I'd watch as you slept and you breathed in and out
so contented and slow

and the night would go by and the sun it would rise
and I'd be there to tell you hello
and to sing you that love song
that you have been waiting to hear
that I wrote you last year

and you'd pat my head and you'd get out of bed
and you'd tell me you loved me the same
and I'd hop through your window and revert to my shape
and we would go on with our day

then we'd go down to fifth street and buy us some coffee
and talk about all sorts of things
but the day would pass and I'd say
"alas, I must return to my habitat"
and with three final words I'd change back to the bird
and we'd start the process again
yes we'd start the process again
Track Name: Mider, Etain, and a Gale Force Wind
into the goblet she fell from the rafters
she was overcome, gave up shortly thereafter
the queen drank her down with the rest of the wine
the days turned to weeks and the months into nine

lo, lo, lover!
where'd you go?
I've searched high and I've searched low
I dare not put up a fight
just sate my lovesick appetite

just dash me to pieces and I'd be content
if you'd only tell me where my lover went
my royal clothes I could leave behind
if I could only know that my lover's mine

I approached on my steed a garden of maidens
and she had the most beautiful of all the faces
sure of foot and steady in speech
she could not recall, but still I beseeched her

lo, lo, lover! there you are!
I've searched long and I've searched hard
this sunny day could be the day
if you would only come away

just dash me to pieces and I'd be content
if you'd only tell me where my lover went
my royal clothes I could leave behind
if I could only know that my lover's mine

blow, blow, don't you go
don't go where the wind goes
blow, blow, don't you go
come away with me
with me

just dash me to pieces and I'd be content
if you'd only tell me where my lover went
my royal clothes I could leave behind
now that I know that my lover's mine
Track Name: Warm as June
it was memorial day
we went marching in the old people's parade
and we left our shoes on the courthouse lawn
we threw candy to the kids and sang our songs

and we bummed smokes
off of ladies in casinos
and watched the desperate play the slot machines

and we burned a boat
pushed it out onto the lake
and the skeletal remains washed up next day

so there we were
we were bragging on our friends behind their backs
and we were sure
that the summer was coming fast
around the tracks

and our hearts were full as the moon
and our hearts were warm as june
Track Name: Grand Emporium
are you like this every night?
are you ever so polite?
call it cold feet, call it fright
just leave on the pilot light

well I forget to send those postcards from Upstate New York
so if you're disappointed seal it with a simple piece of cork
and just cooperate and make all of your movements sound
wear a somber face until I come around, come around

well she moved back to town just as fast as she could
and the devil was nipping at her heels
and while she searched for something that she'd never find
we held onto what we knew was real
oddities and bootlegs and sundry items
purchased from the grand emporium
don't lose your head for sake of fear
'cause upwards is the only way to climb
from all the way down here

wonder what Virginia's like
do you think it's very nice this time of year?
'cause I had a friend there who grew some vegetables
in a compost patch
ain't it weird how something good can come from
something like that?

well I forgot to bring those flowers up from down in Dixieland
so if you're disappointed, look up, close your eyes and clasp your hands
and just cooperate and make all of your, make your movements sound
then redeem the time until our blessed savior comes around, comes around

well she moved back to town
'cause things just weren't working out
and the devil was always at her heels
and while she searched for something that she just might find
we groped around in the dark for years
oddities and second-hands and antique items
purchased from the grand emporium
don't lose your way for sake of fear
'cause redemption is a shining light
that glows from up there all the way down here