Deeper Dance

by James Olin Oden

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  • Deeper Dance Compact Disc
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    Contains liner notes with descriptions of each of the songs, and some beautiful art work from Jenn Hales

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Our lives are filled with innumerable interactions with one another covering a gamut of emotions and complexity. These interactions could be seen as a kind of dance playing out throughout our lifespan. Normally, the connections we make are limited and superficial, as we struggle through the limitations of our bodies to express what lies in our heart. But what if we could communicate on a deeper level not impeded by flesh and bone; what if we could dance a Deeper Dance?


released May 1, 2016

All songs and music written by James Olin Oden
Produced by James Olin Oden and Greg Elkins
Cover Art by Jenn Hales (
Photography by Charlotte Edens
Layout by Skillet Gilmore

Autumn Rose Brand - Violin
Brian Quast - Drums
Caitlin Cary - Vocals
Crystal Bright - Vocals, Saw
Dave Beards - Tabla
Donovan McCain - Mandolin
Emily Musolino - Vocals
Kaitlin Grady - Cello
James Olin Oden - Classical Guitar, Guitalele, Vocals, Bones, Shruti Box, Sussato G Whistle, Tony Dixon C Whistle
“Jeffro” Holshouser - Vocals
Joey Arcuri - Standup Bass
Michael Rank - Vocals
Rodger Lenhardt - Washboard
Ruffin Daniel McCoy - Classical Guitar, Throat Singing, Tenor Banjo


To Katherine, my wife, thank you for your patience, understanding, and love. These last few years have been very hard and you’ve made them so much better. To clan O’Connor thanks for all your support, even when you might think I’m a bit mad. To all those that helped with this album, thank you so much. We made something great together. To “Kill-basa” Bill thank you for allowing me to join the dance with you. My life was ever changed by your kindness, and I learned much from sitting with you in your camp. Rest in peace brother. To Alethea, fly like a butterfly dear! Carter I can still hear your laughing on the wind and was ever appreciative of your earnest support. To Zemo, you’ve given me wisdom in the midst of my foolishness. I am ever grateful. To little brother, and middle brother (aka Eric and Elrod), I love you greatly. You are the balm to my ever too serious soul. To Pauly (aka Joe Hippy) I am ever honored by your hospitality. To all the musicians I have worked with over the past few years, thank you for sharpening me and making me better. To all my supporters and fans, let’s dance!

Finally, to the caller of the dance and the singer eternal whose story never ends, I give thanks. Hodu L’Adonai Ci Tov Ci L’Olam Chasdo!


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James Olin Oden Raleigh, North Carolina

It's always been about what moves the heart. The songs I sing are compelling stories whose telling must be told over and over again. The stories range from dark acts that should not be forgotten to the silly revelries that we should never forsake. My hope is that as my heart is moved by the music so too may yours be moved.

Sláinte Mhór...James

Licks and Lyrics Interview on WCOM 103.5: http://t
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Track Name: Deeper Dance
I have watched ever longingly at the echoes of your soul,
Every subtle passing move, the corners of your lips and eyes,
Speaking of your inner life to me.

What more needs to be said, what message could the wind bear,
That I've not already heard, most truly observed,
As you stand right before me.

Let us dance a deeper dance,
No more echoes through dust and clay,
All hearts beat as one.

Now who is master and who is slave? are we not now one body?
Let us beat in time, let us all now align,
To the one true living heart.

The music it ever plays, the eternal voices singing,
Down through the ages, upon the Earth's very stage,
It's only the beginning...

Track Name: Love's Tattoo
The sun's going down,
And I can hear the sound,
Of fiddles lightly bowing,
Voices a crowing,
Couples gently flowing round the fire.

The moon riding high,
The stars high above,
Light my crooked path,
Never had to ask,
I make my way through the darkness, through the darkness.

I need someone,
To show me the song,
That my out of step heart might beat love's tattoo!

Assemble together!
Strike the banner!
Hatred’s come a calling,
Brothers and sisters are falling.
Give it no place or quarter in our hearts.

Wind gently blow,
Away all our fears,
Till we're all but blinded,
Transformed and beknighted,
Till complete is love's ríastrád.

Track Name: The Day I Told Her Mícheál Domhnaill Died
No I never knew him, Mícheál Domhnaill, no,
But heard his recordings and they moved me so,
A keening voice in the tongue of the Gael,
He was an inspiration to young and old.

Then I read one day of his terrible fall,
How of Mícheál Domhnaill we’d hear no more,
Well sure I was saddened to be reading the news,
Another great one had passed out of this world.

I was outside The Station in Carrboro, NC,
Playing me whistle, whilst enjoying a pint,
Twas Saint Patrick’s day, I’d be on stage soon,
When she called me o’er for to talk a while.

She told me how she knew Mícheál and Triona,
How they lived in this very town so many years ago,
I could tell by her tone she had not heard the news,
So sadly I informed her of Mícheál ’s fall.

On the day I told her Mícheál Domhnaill died,
Was a day of celebration, of Irish pride,
The Wearin O’ the Green, Twas Saint Patrick’s Day,
On the day I told her Mícheál Domhnaill died.

Well her countenance was stricken, she was grieved full sore,
But I’d no time to comfort as I headed for the door,
My time had come to be singing gay songs,
As she mourned the passing of Mícheál .

Then I had to leave for Raleigh town,
To Tír Na Nóg to again recount,
The Pride O’ Erin, The Wearing of the Green,
On the day I told her Mícheál Domhnaill had died.

Track Name: The Fool Amongst The Keeners
Circle up, now sing your songs, bare your naked soul,
With temperamental majesty, declare the years toll,
As the withered audience listens to the mournful keen,
There's no beer strong enough to mellow this dread scene.

Well I'm the fool amongst the keeners, the joker amongst the pride,
There's tears a plenty to be shared, for the mourners road is wide,
I'm laughing when there's frowning, I'm your man at the wake,
For I'll surely be a dancing, down the narrow road I take.

The dirge and blues are coming,the singer's in full bloom,
Let's all sit and listen, to this sordid private doom.
But you know the lark's still singing in the morning time,
And after the storm's washing you're sure to hear his chime.


I've sung my share of dirges, and murder ballads more,
But I'll ne'er leave you hanging in that rotten sullen moore,
Sure there's death a plenty out there and around each corner doom,
But life was made for laughing and dancing round this womb.

Track Name: Love Is Not Tame
Why sing drinking songs if you're not gonna drink,
Why act wild when you prefer your cage,
You can love a lion, but she'll never be tame,
She wants no part of your gilded cage.

Come to the waters and lap them up.
There is no time to make your hands a cup.
The war is raging do you have the love?
Love is not tame, it will not give up.

Sing songs of the road, yet you lay in your house,
Dance like a warrior but you tremble inside,
Act like a lion, but you're really a mouse,
Acting, just acting, in your play house.


Don’t Worry about what you might become,
Don't think about where the road may lead,
What's done is done, now you're on your way,
No need to fear what you cannot see.

Track Name: Dear John and the Big Red Pickup Truck
It was wonderful night, ah the moon was bright,
I determined not to drink much at all,
So I brought one beer, and Keller Williams was tight,
But my friends had other plans...for me that night!

Well There was bourbon and beer, whiskey, moonshine,
We danced together, we had us a time!
There was Jason, and Jesse, Luke and Elrod,
Whiskey galore and friends...friends more!

Then I stumbled off into the night, somewhere I lost my sight,
They tell me I played well that night,
Round those fires of Shakori!

Dear John, Dear John, Why’d you get so drunk?
Why’d crawl under that big ol pickup truck?
Whiskey, beer, I’m sure moonshine,
Now you can’t find your way....back home!

When I came to my senses once again,
I decided it was time to turn in,
So I started off on my way,
When I heard a voice from underneath...a big red pickup truck.

I’s gonna move on, I didn’t wanna bother,
Until I heard yet another holler,
“Help me, help me I can’t find my tent!”
I said who’s that there...then John cried my name.


Well I pulled John out and he clung on tight,
I said John, dear John where’s your tent,
He did not know but told me he loved me.
I love you too, John, but where’s your tent.

We disappeared into the night, stumbling along, it was such sight,
Made a wrong turn, but it turned out right,
Round those fires of Shakori

We came to the border of his camp,
There was a big ole ditch and a hobo’s ramp.
John, dear John, how’m I gonna get you across?
“I can do it James!”...then like a rocket he launched!

He was fine getting over but then could not stand,
I stumbled across to give him a hand,
I said we’re here John; now where’s your tent,
I love you James....but I don’t know.


There was a fire and friends, so I drug John over,
Said “anybody know where’s John’s tent?”
I was met with silence so I asked again,
Then a girl said, she knew of three and one them’s his.

So I set John by Sara, she later thanked me kindly,
And followed the girl to the three tents,
There were burning coals in the middle the path,
I said me a prayer...don’t let John burn,


So I got John from Sarah, and we were off,
Then I heard, “Hey John, don’t get in my tent”,
“You know where his tent is? Then please show us now!”
Grudgingly he did...and we found John’s tent.

I got John inside, I thought we were done for the night,
But then he said “I gotta go”,
He got out of his tent, stumbled into the woods,
The the drums started playing,
He screamed “Drum Circle!”,
Shot off like a hare,
into the woods,
I gave him chase,
but I soon gave up,
When he stumbled in a ditch,
But it didn’t slowed him...

He disappeared into the night, chasing those drums under the moonlight,
I bid him adieu as he ran out of sight,
past those fires of Shakori!

Track Name: Dance Right Out of My Grave
Lying here in darkness, in Silence,
I cannot taste, I cannot feel.
A weary heart of stone, cold and still,
buried neath the layers of worry and doubt.

The seasons change all around me
I am unmoved in my winter time
The hoary frost gathers all around,
My lonely beggars tomb.

Like a mighty trump from above,
the fiddle plays full of love,
My heart starts to beat in time.
I’ve no more time to spend,
Lying here in silence,
Oh I feel so alive!

You make me want to dance out of my grave,
You make me want to dance out of my grave,
Oh you make me feel alive!
You make me want to dance out of my grave,
You make me want to dance out of my grave,
Oh you make me feel alive!

Each chord shimmering with life,
Harmonies cut like a knife,
Through the darkness surrounding me.
How can this song be contained,
In this cold cold clay,
Breaking through the Earth I bloom to see the day.

You make me want to dance out of my grave,
You make me want to dance out of my grave,
Oh you make me feel alive!
You make me want to dance out of my grave,
You make me want to dance out of my grave,
Oh you make me feel alive!

A mighty wind from above descends upon us,
As we beat as one,
Fiery tongues of love rest upon us,
And we speak what the world has never heard.

Oh we’re dancing, we’re dancing,
This is life.
Oh we’re dancing, we’re dancing,
This is life.

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