Workman Song has all of the hallmarks of the well-kept secret, it’s just that the secret has been getting out. At the center of this peculiar labor of love is prodigious singer-songwriter Sean McMahon, his soul-stirring voice and his storytelling: a dialogue with friends, lovers, and God which forms a prolific body of work spanning the intimately folksy to the oddly psychedelic, drawing lines between Dylan, Bowie, Buckley, and the Dead. A native of Western Massachusetts, McMahon founded the project in Brooklyn in 2013 as a vehicle for his vision, an earnest, multi-faceted world of creative sub-plots, characters, and special guests. McMahon embodies the plaintive troubadour, soul laid bare; Ruben Smiley, the glam rock neo-con; Ion Zelig, the avant-electro-pop biblical archaeologist; or he is one of the Brothers McMahon, the classic live lineup which prominently features his brother — and Justin Vernon-approved organist — Griffin McMahon and an infinite setlist that shamelessly drops hits by The Smiths, Aerosmith, and Fleetwood Mac. If the story seems convoluted, it is, and will continue to be. Such is Workman Song. As a performer, McMahon, that rare combination of vocal powerhouse and guitar hero, is a powerful and unpredictable chameleon: a “half-ghost” with a “wraithlike presence,” a “shaman-esque leading man” with “casual…neo-psychedelic hippy swagger,” and even “that classic glam rock sex driven Robert Plant like force…with the voice of an angel and a screaming fisher cat combined.” McMahon, as Workman Song, has released 5 EP’s, 1 full-length mixtape, and has several singles on power rotation on Northeast radio. Recent festival appearances include Green River Festival, The Wild Honey Pie’s Welcome Campers, and The Outlaw Roadshow. He has shared bills with Big Thief, Margaret Glaspy, The Ghost Of A Saber Tooth Tiger, and even Carly Simon (“once, at a fundraiser — unexpectedly.”)
Lyrics:I don't care who you voted for, I'm overloaded I'm amazed how the picture's all double exposed, yea I don't need to be right, just walk beside me Or were you born like this? Who cares if were poor, the Lord is our portion Who cares what we lose, the work is the worship We're here, let the people walk in through the doors yea We're here, playing music with soul and distortion but we don't need to be right, just take it all in stride we're gona heal, gona light up all night were you born like this? i heard something new that i never knew yea And i seen something coming that we never been through yea fork in the road cracking the code salvation of the soul steady as she goes were you born like this?
Lyrics:I want to have more fun My life has just begun I feel so wide awake I feel the give and take I want the green and the blue I want the sea and the dew I want the push and the pull I want to feel so full I want to be with you I want our dreams to come true I want to work through my pain No need to feel ashamed I want to be lifted up I want to fill my cup I want to be with you I want to be with you I want to hold your hand I want to be your man I want share my heart The light and the dark I want to understand I know that I can I want to be seen straight through I want to be with you I want to take the cake I want to want to raise the stakes I want to live life wild I want to have a child I want to see it all Its all so beautiful I want to fight the good fight I want to join together our lives I want to be one, not two I want to be with you
Lyrics:If theres anything Ive learned Its how to play it cool If you play with the fire than burns The fire makes a play for you And you could be consumed And you could be consumed And if you look into the eye Of a stranger you cant trust Beware of superstitious lies Lurking round that strangers luck He might try to pass the buck He might try to pass the buck Lessons from my life Less or more of the same Well, I fail sometimes when I try But theres always a better way And I bet I will win today I say! I bet I will win today Wow, man! Im a King of a Castle Made Of Sand -- A stand-in for a Kingdom without end...
Lyrics:Everything is different now, Sing the winds of change All the love I have in my heart Is enough to heal all the pain For love is true infinitely And through the truth is the way And love is tall, and love is wide And love is good and gay What you see That you are Let it be Who you are Without intermediaries, Liberty abides Beyond the broken boundaries Behold, the Human in the Heights Forgiving all apologies A name, renewed, is prepared Embracing all identities The godless, the queer What you see That you are Let it be Who you are
Lyrics:Following yous the strangest thing Ive ever done Im torn in two by two by one by one My animals angry and he growls within my heart He wants to tear me apart By libertys burning beacon I navigate my drive The engines strong but they hate me in the hive Theyd like to sting me and theyd like to string me up They swarm me with their buzzin lies -- enough! You gotta take that highway home You gotta burn the fuel alone Cause a bitter end awaits a rolling stone You gotta rage against the night You gotta learn to do whats right By and by to live you got to die Arise! (solo) (quiet) Now i played games in my blindness as a man You learn to lose, you come to understand now im constrained by the pain of loving God I got out of that game and changed my odds so im white knuckles, blood-shot eyes, wide awake Pedal to the floor with severed brakes And While theres revival theres no arrival, no not just yet, NO Not until i get where i need to get (build) Lord, light the way, lest i forget You gotta take that highway home You gotta burn the fuel alone Cause a bitter end awaits a rolling stone You gotta rage against the night You gotta learn to do whats right By and by to live you got to die Arise! You gotta storm those iron gates You got to face what you cant face You gotta change your heart before the times too late You better settle in your mind You better open up those eyes You gotta learn to die if you want to be alive You gotta take that highway home You gotta burn the fuel alone Cause a bitter end awaits a rolling stone You gotta rage against the night You gotta learn to do whats right By and by to live you got to die Arise! You better settle it in your mind You better open up those eyes Just because you breathe dont mean youre alive arise!
Lyrics:take yourself back and see if you can track all the hurt and the pain that you've suffered where did it lead, what did you learn? was it meant to be? did you get tougher? take all your chains to the smith melt them down into a crown, pass it round round and round and round, the wheels they turn, all in all, content, without concern by and by, arise, the dawn of the morn on and on and on, the torches burn for the sake of our illumination take all your faith to the to the fish cast the net down for the lost and for the found pass it round! take all your chains to the smith melt it down to a crown pass it round!
Lyrics:everybody's waiting to lock you in a cage yea fickle fates to which we are bound jeez if that's the spirit i cannot bear to hear it the priests show off their rags around town they pay your sons for labor while they kill their lord and savior bristling at the bricks coming down But the building's built-in downfall shares a blueprint with the commonwealth the humble must compete with the proud the bar is now closed the trail has gone cold but it's under your nose the rainbow of stains upon the emperor's clothes come hither young millennials if your trouble is continual And heavy is the cap and the gown and while the love is shriveling that keeps the chaos reeled in i know you know where it can be found the bar is now closed the trail has gone cold but it's under your nose the rainbow of stains upon the emperor's clothes whispers from the water fountain say life reverses frowns laughter cuts the marionettes from the strings that tie them down repeat or reframe it defeated, deprave'd release or regain it beat it or bathe it petticoats of enslavement familial estrangement nuclear containment providential arrangement, a lake of fire a bouquet of flowers a form a title registered and saddled so subtle, so flagrant! but no one wants to say it -- the emperor's clothes
Lyrics:I spilled my colors onto the floor like a newborn babe unto the earth. I thought that it was righteous, but no, its not. I watched your fingers dancing on my guitar. I watched the empires rise and fall. I watched as daggers rained down from the clouds. I watched your fingers dancing on my guitar. I spilled my colors onto the floor like a newborn babe unto the earth. I thought that it was righteous, but no, its not. I gave you apples from our old tree. I gave you wisdom under the sun. I gave you something that we could not see. I gave you You, and to me, you gave Me. I spilled my colors onto the floor like a newborn babe unto the earth. I thought that it was righteous, but no, its not. I laughed at my footprints swimming away. I laughed at preachers with nothing to say. I laughed with all the dead men til they were all out of breath. I laughed at my body for being made of flesh. I spilled my colors onto the floor like a newborn babe unto the earth. I thought that it was righteous, but no, its not. And I thought that a dream was never coming true. And I thought it was strange that Me, instead, is You. I thought that oceans only waved when I looked their way. And I thought that Jesus Christ was dead, but I touched His wounds and I saw His face. I spilled my colors onto the floor like a newborn babe unto the earth. I thought that it was righteous, but no, its not.
Lyrics:If indeed you are listening, why dont you raise your hand? Show me what youre feeling. Show me how you feel. Im drowning in this country trying to get to the Promised Land. For I am offering water as we stand on this scorching sand. And I wanna find my brothers, and gather all my sisters. For we were dead on arrival, awaiting a calling voice or a hand. Well, if you would be the living, then you would let go your life. And listen to its voice. Pass along its song. I aint alone in this aching darkness. Im staying warm in your light. If indeed you are listening, why dont you raise your hand? Show me what youre feeling. Show me how you feel. Im drowning in this country trying to get to the Promised Land. I am waiting in a station for the train to take me home. And my friends, youre all beside me. And I want to take you with me. The engines getting louder, so it must be time for us to go. So let us head home back to Eden. Forward is the way. And if we carry all the wounded, and stay pure as little children, then we will get through this night of darkness and be home by the break of day.
Lyrics:Jesse Winters found himself alone at 12 oclock. It occurred to him slowly that loneliness is a path hed rather not walk. Poor, poor Jesse, he told himself, hes on his hands and knees! Hes got no pride! Preparing a letter addressed to the friends and the foes that he happened to have known, he scrawled in ink what was torn in his heart: his tormented feelings and his woes. Poor, poor Jesse, he told himself, Hes on his hands and knees! Hes got no pride! Ah! He picked up a rifle, then he stuffed an envelope with his letter to world, and tied his boots with the laces that he once used to hang himself, but broke. Poor, poor Jesse, he told himself as he loaded up his ammunition. He dropped his letter then he started shooting at the sky in the city square. And as they dragged him away, he told them about the letter to read it out loud at the fair. It said: My names Jesse. Im angry at God, I aint ashamed to say. And so at noon, Im gonna shoot Him down from his throne in the sky in the middle of the day. And when He falls down from the earth, my friends, were gonna have a trial for each and every tragedy and genocide and every single problem He has made. Im hoping Hell apologize. Do you think Hell apologize? I dont know. But I hope so. Jesse Winters.
Lyrics:I will sing of all the things I wish I could see in the world: a real idea, something new that hasnt been done before; a brotherhood staked on the hearts of the peoples goodness; a spiritual force that dont need no rules to make it worthless and dead. An isle redeemed, stable and free. Patient like a lamb. I will sing of all the things I wish I could see in the world: a new idea, a way of being that aint misunderstood; a faithful heart that need not be given, or taken, or taught, or unlearned; a candlelight at night that never darkens and always burns. And I think that Ive seen such things in my dreams. So it must not be too far. So Ill be patient like a lamb.
Lyrics:If I blind my eyes to my love, I cannot protect you with my hate. Maybe you are the Adversary and The Friend. And if I am at war with myself, and I am trampling down each border between us well in that case, I may become extinct like a dead nation. And so, you would then conquer yourself. And when our flag is billowing over nobody when that day comes, I wont know where to begin. Maybe you are the Adversary and The Friend.
Lyrics:Ill cut your throat if youll squeeze mine. Ill shake your hand. Butterflies will fly out from our union, and theyll see what we have shown. I aint asking about violations or how to stop. Im bored to death, but now Im not. So go refresh your mind on your broken soul. This country lane is stretched and older than the execution that removed your head. We aint on no diamond rainbow road, its just crust and mold that makes you think and do as told. But youre so well-prepared that your destitute of all the words that could help the truth to blossom out from within you. Wed do anything to be near you! But you cant see what youre being shown. Yea, youre just some assholes food, and youre out of the loop with the shape of the droop of your own head swooping down. And youre out of your mind because its running on time, and the fuels eaten up and theres a clog in the line. So you tap the glass on your broken watch, and hope that what you are is all that you are and it may not be enough, but it could keep the vomit down. Yea, the going could get rough, but you cant keep this damn varmit down. Ill cut your throat if youll squeeze mine. Ill shake your hand. Butterflies will fly out from our union, and theyll see what we have shown.
Lyrics:You would think that love is dead This is for people with broken heads Word gets around People live in fear But the big baddest in town Is the person of the year You would think that love is war Which is what weve done before Word gets around People live in fear But the big bad baddest in town Is the person of the year They tell you at the party that the party cant stop They tell you on the boat that the boat cant be rocked They tell you what they tell you cause they aint telling you a lot They tell you at the party that the party cant stop Round and round and round A circular cycle of fear But the big baddest in town Is the person of, the person of, the person of, the person of the year
Lyrics:In your heart there is a cemetery filled with graves, filled with memories. Your soul is a cup filled with anxieties, filled with anxieties. Your love is a well. Anyone can drink, anyone can drink. Well some -- some, some they say -- some bones are not yet dry. I know I've seen them walking, so I know that they're still, still alive. Why, o why? In New York there was an ambulance. The sirens wailed a song of circumstance. And a lonesome man listened from within, listened from within. A medic and a friend were the only ones with him, were the only ones with him. Well some -- some, some they say -- some bones are not yet dry. I know I've seen them walking, so I know that they're still, still alive. Why, o why? Into your loneliness, let a lover in. Bare all your sin -- she'll help you carry it. And when you make it to the door, you'll be welcomed in. You'll be welcomed in.
Lyrics:When my life comes to close, I want you to burn all my clothes. Goodness gracious! Nobody knows where my soul is going at the end of the road. When I finally close my eyes, that's alright, everyone dies. Goodness gracious! Heavens don't cry. No one -- not you, not I -- holds onto their lives. Because life is built to end. You get it while you can. Yes, life ain't made to last. But love is made forever, though life may go fast. When I can no longer hold your hand, all that I ask is that you still stand. O! Goodness gracious! I know that you can. I may not be here, but I'll still be your man. Because life is built to end. You get it while you can. Yes, life ain't made to last. But love is made forever, though life may go fast. When I'm no longer here -- when I'm gone -- and everything just seems so wrong, goodness gracious! Don't you wait too long. I am here, my love, I am here, I am singing this song. Because life is built to end. You get it while you can. Yes, life ain't made to last. But love is made forever, though life may go fast.
Lyrics:Jealous they make me, the sinners and saints. They pray to their gods in their gardens of shame. And worthless the season that bears no good fruit. So truthless, so used, so passed over, nude. Naked on the baked clay of the desert. Chasing pleasures, chasing pain. It's all the same when you can't find your way. No excuses nor pardons, nor saving of face. Beauty is ugliest in the shadows of grace. Naked on the baked clay of the desert. All the trains on their tracks, they're teaching a lesson. Keep your foot off the tracks, let the wheels within wheels go round. Let it take you under the river and across the top of the city. Cross the bridge that God has built out of iron & water. Naked on the baked clay of the desert. So, foolish I follow on Jesus' narrow maze. I'm looking for water to quench my thirst and wash my face, and hoping for a dancer to help me along my way. She'll teach me how to help her without getting in my way. I'm thinking that I'd really like to see her now, naked on the baked clay of the desert. Take all my clothes off! Wash me in the water! Soon will come the wintertime and I'll be on my knees, begging for a blanket or a dream. And while the fall's still warm & crisp I'm dancing in the streets spending all my days on everyone. Lately I've been thinking about Jesus and his cross, the way it seems I'm living with these feelings. Everything so vivid, everything so good. Everything is so fucked up and painful. Bury me in my grave, I know I'm already dead, but I want my pain! I want my pain! Living in the world feels just the same, my spirit's joy is in my pain! I want my pain! That's the way. Who knows what this smile is for? It serves me just the same. Blooms from something beautiful. Now everyone around me is within their little worlds. Everyone within me is around me all the time. And I believe it's perfect 'cause it's so pitiful it's pure -- everyone around me singing "beautiful." Hearing all them singers singing all their songs, their voices light my way and make it simpler. Bury me in my grave, I know I'm already dead, but I want my pain! I want my pain! Living in the world feels just the same, my spirit's joy is in my pain! I want my pain! That's the way.
Lyrics:O, don't you feel dangerous skirting along this sinister edge? O, to be in love again, staring into her pretty eyes. Friend, your job & your savings, your automobile, your concert ticket stubs, your Red Sox hat backwards: you know all the right people but you don't know what to say. You get along with all the prisoners but you never feel safe. You know all the right people but you suffer like a fool! Yea you're the prince of the party now, they say you're still cool. This heat can't be measured by this cup of sweat. After all, it's something you feel. La, la, la, la, I think it's safe to say I told you so. You fell in love before, you didn't fall too far, yea. O, to be in love again! Well, the roof caved in as you kissed her feet and you waltzed over to the bar. You know all the right people but you suffer like a fool! Yea you're the prince of the party now, they say you're still cool. Cool. O, to be in love again! O!
Lyrics:This one's for the kids, 'cause they don't have any beautiful music. All they got is overpriced education, but they won't get paid to use it. And I know you all get high but your little brothers and your little sisters don't yet, and you're the apple of their eye, but you're just doing what the Man has shown you. You should try to be a better example for them all! You should be like Jesus Christ and grow a pair of balls! Idiots give speeches, radiation in the beaches. Not enough artistic pieces that make us more like Jesus! Not enough liberation, let's rise to the occasion. Too much violent action, too many hardline factions. This one's for the kids -- may God grant them protection. We should aim to make amends with enemies and friends! We should sing more pretty songs and stop glorifying sin! I could rant and rave about this on and on and on -- but this one's for the kids who all sing "La, la, la, la, la!" So spit out all the Babylonian Kool-Aid, la, la, la, la, la -- 'cause this one's for the kids who all sing "La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!"
Lyrics:In all Ive lost, what should I have retained? How am I not much better off this time around? Look at all Ive done. Look at all that pain! Look at me, o look at everything, o soul of mine. I hear all the voices telling me, Itll always be the same. Crooked ways they push my body through: crooked voices, crooked aim. Shame, shame, shame, tell me your sweet story now and Ill surely pay the price with my pain, with my pain. Pain, pain, pain, you and my everlasting love are gonna bleed together now, writing my name, writing my name, writing my name. I know youve waited so long to walk along the wounded way, to find a secret you can make me stumble on. But I stumble so well, I can make it look like dancing, always leaving things to chance and no one else. Well thats the dream were dreaming in our heads, its so dense, and its so strange. But thats the way our bleeding wounds do heal. Well come out perfect through the pain. Shame, shame, shame, tell me your sweet story now and Ill surely pay the price with my pain, with my pain. Pain, pain, pain, you and my everlasting love are gonna bleed together now, writing my name, writing my name, writing my name. O Holy Ghost, I tried to teach you right and wrong. Tried to keep you in a stack of books and lies. But now I see what I now see: see you looking through my eyes at everything, have a look around. Heaven and the stars all tumbled down, learned to die, then I arose. Beauty in a dream that looks like me lives within me Im her clothes. Shame, shame, shame, tell me your sweet story now and Ill surely pay the price with my pain, with my pain. Pain, pain, pain, you and my everlasting love are gonna bleed together now, writing my name, writing my name, writing my name.
Lyrics:You're bulging and disgusting. Cropped out of my frame. You're counting rings on my woodcut so you can keep track of all my pain. And you wanna call me liar, but you know that's what I am called. And you can't stand to say my name, you look past my eyes into the wall. You've been avoiding me all the weekdays, and now come the day of rest, you've come to tell me something -- well I'm already unimpressed. This day is no longer holy. The ink's faded from the page that called you to be friendly, that condemned your stupid rage. My pain is on a canvas and you took a photograph to chew on in your mouth, to digest and then pass. Well I am not like Jesus, and I am not very kind. I much prefer to push aside undesirables in my life. So with a sharpened blade and with a broken heart, I will command your image to darken and then fade from my art. And there will be no living memory when you are cropped from the frame, for I am etched into a woodcut -- but you are struck from the page.
Lyrics:i will live a life engorged on the meat of spectacular experiences i will shoot on sight anyone who tries to take it away and they will evaporate into nothingness my mind is empty and capable of empathy with other empty minds my heart is dark my heart is bright it is empty and resonating full of second chances and first times but where o where will i sleep tonight? where o where will i sleep tonight? i pour myself some tea of lavender oh love eludes me baby Im confused but i cant help it because Im chasing it through an emerald labyrinth hildegard von bingen baby teach me how to heal every broken heart with a medicine made from lavender i will never sleep at night i dont need no sleep at night Im in love with a little lady named lavender my body is a nexus of two thousand and sixteen points of christian convergence and this body is much more than a resurgence Im the resurrection of the dead man and the woman pray for all the priests, just kiddin baby baby, pray pray for me, pray on your knees with your precious mouth wide open, hormones pumping lets get them little white rabbits jumping thank god there is no god above us to control us but who is there among us to console us? who will lead the humans in the chorus? lavender tea, pray pray pray pray pray for me
Lyrics:The world has gone completely mad And I dont care You can taste it in the water You can smell it on our breath The world has gone completely insane They lost their minds inside of their brains The world has gone completely mad But thats alright Let em fight The world dont give a fuck bout your shit So who gives a shit? Hey, it doesnt really matter Fecal human waste of flesh The world wont need to end if it ends Before we kill this ungodly suspense The world dont give a fuck bout your shit And its about time, Let em die The world is overlooking the facts But relax You can tweet it on your twitter Once you figure out the superior source The world has gone completely mad No reason to feel sorrow or sadness The world is on the brink of collapse But relax -- listen to the sax
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