Speeding Up the Process

by Kelly Howerton

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This collection of songs is a revisiting and a re-recording of some material I wrote as a younger man. At the time of their conception and recording, I could not do them proper justice in their presentation. And yet, I still can’t. I have poured as much of myself as I can into my music, only to press it and condense it down into teeny tiny digital computer files, which you now listen to. It was Schopenhauer who said that music is the only art form that is not a copy of the phenomenon. When a musician plays a note on their instrument, it is here and then it is gone like the wind. You cannot keep it like you can a painting or a sculpture. Of course, Schopenhauer did not live to see the dawn of musical recording. Nevertheless, the spirit does not reside in a recording, no more than a breeze exists in a jar of air. To listen to a recording is to admire a taxidermied animal mounted on the wall.
I hope you enjoy what I have killed.


released August 28, 2014

I would like to thank my old friends from Oskaloosa Iowa whom I used to rub shoulders with when I lived there. (You know who you are.) I may have used many of you as a soundboard once or twice in testing these songs out. Thanks for smiling, nodding, and telling me they sounded great. You really boosted my confidence.
I would like to thank my wife for having the courage to tell me that she didn’t really like the way I sang the songs. I would also like to thank my wife for being patient with me in learning to accept and appreciate her honesty.

All songs were written by Kelly Howerton between 2009 and 2010, however the “the funeral”, was written in 2012 and “a hole left to fill” was written in 2013”.
All songs and instrumentation were performed and recorded by Kelly Howerton.
All of the album artwork was created by Kelly Howerton.



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Kelly Howerton Durham, North Carolina

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Track Name: the dutch elm rag
The Dutch Elm Rag
Well got that Dutch elm disease coursing through my veins
And I fear the ice of coming winter days
Well when you stand next to me oh so tall and green
My barren leafless branches stand out for all to see
Well when you go down that old road to the Elephant Rock down where the Fabi overflows
You can see me leaning on that old hedge fence; I’m rotting and decaying from the inside out
When you stand next to me, oh so tall and green, my branches never looked so dead
Well when I’m old- and tired of living
And my body starts to decay
Well when my feet can’t keep a walking
My head can’t keep a talking
Take that axe, clear me out, start a chopp’n

Well the other trees start swaying when that chilly north wind blows
but my limbs just ain’t as limber as they used to be one day
the ground beneath me’s littered with the branches that are broke
and I cannot help but wonder if I’m bout to fall apart
I can’t help but fear, the ice of coming years, come next winter, good, good bye

I got that Dutch elm disease coursing through my limbs, like cancer through the veins
And that fence line running next to me’s been sitting there for years, when I fall I’ll take it out with me
No it ain’t no spiteful vengeance, I just wanna be remembered when I die, think of me
Track Name: faith not hope
Faith not Hope
Have faith, faith, that things won’t go your way
And you won’t be disappointed when they don’t
If the cards ain't in your favor don’t just fold the hand you’re dealt
Raise the bet play the bluff, fate is for fools
Sure miracles are nice when they come around

But miracles don’t happen on a day to daily basis
So don’t waste your time with wishes, they’re just Hollywood cliches
No don’t sit around a wondering what may or could have been
What you see is what you got; better learn to make it work
Sure miracles are nice when they come around

So have faith not hope, and you won’t be disappointed
When things don’t go your way and they usually won’t
Keep your expectations grounded, cause life can let you down
So have faith not hope, hope’s over-rated
Sure miracles are nice when they come around

But how many times have I walked through the valley
Unharmed, unscathed, does that mean there was no danger?
Or was someone watching out for me for threats I didn’t see?
Maybe miracles mean living in God’s continuous care.
Track Name: the farmer's apprentice
The Farmer’s Apprentice
Walking through the fields at night, walking hand and hand
The Farmer and his apprentice
He said son listen closely; learn from my mistakes
I’ll teach you everything I learned to instill myself in you
There’s work to be done I can’t finish
I’ve been forced to resign too young
Oh there’s work to be done I can’t finish
So I’m sending you boy in my place

Back along long time ago, many years ago
It would seem I’d wrote the book on success
But time has a way of bringing about change
A few stormy seasons with no insurance can put you in the red
Listen to the winds of change rustl’n through the trees
If you’re stuck in your ways they’ll blow ya down
And don’t trust the lenders or anything that’s free
If it’s too good to be true then it’s probably not for you
Look at these here hands if mine, they’re weathered and they’re worn
I worked them til the cancer took my head
And I expect you’ll do the same, work until you dig your grave
There’s no more time for idleness the harvest time is near
Track Name: wish I'd been there
Wish I’d been There
Looking through your photographs I see your smiles I see your laughs
Another captured moment in which I missed out on your life
And once upon a time I might have seen me with you in that frame
But that time is non-existent, oh am I the one to blame?
Oh I wish that I’d been there- with you
If your life was a movie, would I be casted in
As a supporting actor, or just an extra in the crowd
As the years keep slipping by before my very own unwatching eyes
You will hardly know me, and I won’t wonder why
Oh I wish that I’d been there- with you

If I had one golden opportunity to change my world
I’d place myself in your photographs and fake some memories
And the next time when we get together and you pull out all your picture books
We’ll reminisce the good times that you really don’t remember
Oh I wish that I’d been there- with you
Track Name: since my eyes met you
Since My Eyes met You
Your Face is quite familiar but I don’t know your name,
But I have never seen the clouds so pale, since my eyes met you.
Oh how I tremble, how I shake, I cannot help but hesitate,
To come on over and introduce myself, cause I love you, or at least I’d like to try.

I play our conversations out in my head
Oh how I hope you talk like I rehearsed, maybe laugh at my jokes.
But you seem to be oh so cold, through a smile my way,
I might get the nerve to introduce myself so I can love you, or at least I can try.

You lure me, elude me, oh baby you completely consume me,
Everything just seems so passed away, since my eyes met you
So come on darling help me out, lend me your hand
Come on over and introduce yourself, cause I love you, or at least I’d like to try.
Track Name: time well wasted
Time Well Wasted
Look at my achievements; they’re all hanging on the wall,
My certificates and trophies from events I don’t recall,
But I don’t get frustrated it’s all time well wasted.
We never seem to mention all our past and our mistakes,
I guess we’re just pretending that it never did take place,
But all the times your lips I tasted that was time well wasted.
Whoa I keep on hesitating
Now my opportunity’s fading
It’s gonna pass me by
Whoa I sense my shining moment
Slipping through my finger tips,
It’s gonna pass me by

If loneliness it was a sin
God might never let me in
The pearly gates of heaven that come haunting in my dreams
Track Name: stubborn old man
Stubborn Old Man
Sunday morning church doors open big bells ring and choirs sing the tithers tithe,
I stayed in bed
Feeling quite proud of me, I did not bow my head
The congregation gathered round the alter where the saints began to pray
as I held my breath
Going through the motions, I fooled the rest

I’ll be a stubborn old man
I’ll be a stubborn old man
Oh I’m on my way

I saw you just the other day, we faked our smiles pretended we were both ok
I bit my tongue
I saved you from the words that you well deserved
Cause when we fight the less I try, the more I find that you’ve already made your mind
I’ll say no more
Oh yes I’d like to make amends but not admit I’m wrong

I’ll be a stubborn old man
I’ll be a stubborn old man
Oh I’m on my way

And here I sit with so called friends adopting thoughts of apathy towards everything
I’m up in smoke
I haven’t got a thought, I call my own
And I shake and shiver in my sleep, and in my head I cried out to anyone
To save my soul
But I only want to go to heaven cause I’m terrified of hell

I’ll be a stubborn old man
I’ll be a stubborn old man
Oh I’m on my way
Track Name: speeding up the process
Speeding up the Process
Lord take me away while I’m still in good grace
I’m safe today, but I might screw up tomorrow
Lord take me away just like you did Elijah
But I don’t need no fancy chariot, I could leave in a car crash
Or have an aneurism or some freak accident
It’s a good time for me to leave right now, ain’t got much to leave behind
No large investments Lord, no hearts to break
But I’m still young and healthy Lord, got quite awhile to live
So how bout I speed up the process, how bout I speed up the process
How bout I speed up the process, I’ll speed up the process
How bout I speed up the process

Oh take me as I am, I could die inside my sleep
But if I took my life would you honor it the same?
Oh as far as I know, there ain’t no suicidals in heaven
As far as I know, there ain’t no suicidal in heaven

I was at a funeral; I didn’t know em that well
But I know they didn’t know you either, so they’re probably in hell
But people don’t like to admit that much, we cover it up with clichés
Saying things like, “they were always good ol boys; they were just having fun.”
When things go wrong, everybody’s a saint
Track Name: a hole left to fil
A hole left to fill
Well I’ve been with that old lady a month shy of twenty years
We split the bills right down the middle and I kept her house in shape.
But she willed away her property to all her daughters three
And now I’m just left here a wondering if I’ll have to leave here or stay.
Ain’t it ironic? Who woulda guessed?
You’d think letting go wouldn’t leave such a mess.
But there’s a funeral to plan and pictures to frame
There’s debts to be paid and a symptom to blame.
And there’s always a hole left to fill
Yes there’s always a hole left to fill.

I got a brother down in Missouri; he says I can stay with him.
I think I’ll take him up on his offer and make for some greener hills
And when I cross that southern border, I won’t look back o’er my shoulder.
I’m leaving everything up in Iowa in a hole left to fill.

Well now all you silly Christians, getting buried in the dirt,
Paying for your preservation, waiting for the revelation.
Well y’all just now remember nothing in this life is free.
Being born is just a dowry for a coronary fee.
Track Name: when I'm old
When I’m Old
When I’m old and my hair starts a graying
And my ears and eyes don’t work
Will I have grown to be any wiser?
Or will I still make the same mistakes?
When I’m old will I scorn little children?
Tell them how hard the old days were,
Will I be like I never,
Said I’d be when I’m old?
Then when we retire
Will we have all we ever desired?
In this world we live in for a while
When I’m old and my days grow a fewer,
And my lifetime comes to an end
Will I leave this world any better
Than it was when I arrived
Oh I’ll never retire
I’ll wear my life out down to the wire
In this world we live in for a while
Track Name: the funeral
The Funeral
Well I went to the funeral home today.
I shook some hands and gave some hugs away
And I put on my best sad face
(It was a real sad face)

and I sure as thought that widow’d be a balling out her eyes
but she smiled at me and said she’s doing fine.
And that took me by surprise
Seemed like she was glad her husband up and died

I was feeling mighty awkward, so I just bowed my head
Them folks just seemed to happy, like they’s dishonoring the dead.
So I turned tail and fled
I went home instead
My sad face was simply out of place

I was feeling mighty terrible for that stranger in the casket.
I heard that he died in a farming accident
With no son call an heir
Just his daughters with their suitor’s names.

Well I went to the funeral home today. (Yay)
I shook some hands and gave some hugs away.
And I put on my best sad face
And I practiced it for hours in front of the mirror.
I was going for a look that’d be sincere.
(It was a real sad face)