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Moonshine and Mischief

from Blackbirds by Alex Hickey

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Jimmy and Lorelei McGee showed up and told me the first two verses of their story on Christmas Day, 2007. The rest arrived in the spring of 2010. Tom Terrell of the Modern Grass Quartet graciously agreed to join me on this recording in the role of Jimmy McGee.


There’s arsenic in the wells
There’s moonshine in the stills
And it feels like the hills are closing in
On the slow, slow poisons in my veins.

I’ve known whiskey and warnings all of my life
And my momma told me never become the wife
Of moonshine and mischief
like Jimmy McGee.
But I was just 17 when he first courted me
And he seemed so strong and
so certain and free
Oh, moonshine and mischief
will you marry me?

I’ve known whiskey and women all of my life
And that pretty girl shot through my heart like a knife
I promised moonbeams on the hillside if she’d be my wife
And her momma’s against me
I know that it’s true
That her brothers and sisters and friends warned her too
Said, “That Jimmy’s all moonshine and mischief.
He’s bad news.”

I married in haste; I’m repentin’ at an easy pace
And I catch people pitying me
’Cause it’s all moonshine and mischief for young Mrs. McGee
I believe he still loves me but it keeps me up nights
He can’t say no to whiskey or women or fights
Yeah, he’s always got moonshine and mischief
In his sights

Well, I made a promise
I never can keep
Sometimes I sit up nights
watch my pretty wife sleep
While moonshine and mischief keep calling to me
I wish I was stronger but I’m not and I know
That they will keep calling and I’ll get up and go
Ah, moonshine and mischief are killing me slow


from Blackbirds, released September 18, 2012
Tom Terrell - vocals, guitar


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Alex Hickey West Dublin, Nova Scotia

Alex Hickey is a Nova Scotian songwriter whose songs walk a delicate line between cynicism and a passionate love for the world. Clever and poignant, funny, heartbreaking and punch-to-the-guts honest, every CD or live performance should come with a packet of tissues. ... more

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