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by Johnny High Ground

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One acoustic guitar, one vocal track, three songs. Many, many words.


released February 16, 2011

all songs written and performed by Joe Rybicki



all rights reserved


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Johnny High Ground Cleveland, Ohio

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Track Name: Slow News Day
On an average payday in Flint, Michigan,
a hundred and seventy thousand workers
have a paycheck coming in.
And seven hundred thousand people,
living well in San Francisco,
have a home to go home to.

While eight million New Yorkers
made it through another year,
somehow avoiding being victims
of all those shootings we all hear about.
And Cleveland keeps bragging
about the Cuyahoga River:
it’s not burning anymore.
But, you know, no one wants to hear it.

Because the sponsors pay
by the market share and ratings,
and the networks know that fear is fascinating,
so the news may be bad,
but it’s never as bad
as the newsman wants you to think.
It’s never as bad as it seems.

On an average work day on Capitol Hill,
they stoke that paranoia with another knee-jerk bill.
But today, two hundred thousand were not killed
in South Central L.A.
Like most days, it was a good day.

And last year, in spite of lawyers
dragging quibbles into court,
a hundred million married couples did not get divorced.
That’s a hundred times the number that they tell you,
but of course, you know statistics always lie
beneath the perfect hair and the power tie.

We go live onto the scene;
it’s like we’re warmed by the ashes
of the American Dream.
Ever wonder why you see the same old stories
every channel that you turn to,
hoping for an escape?

Now, we all know bad things happen.
And life is full of dangers.
I just thought you’d want to know
before you lock that fallout shelter
that a hundred million dollars
in the past twenty-four hours
have been spent to make you think
you should be terrified of strangers.
Track Name: Always Maybe Tomorrow
Broken angel in hospital sheets,
plastic tubes and strobing machines.
And somewhere, someone’s singing “Amazing Grace”
as I hide my face.
And oblivion may have been dark and deep,
but I had promises to keep
of warmer words
and sweeter songs to sing.

But in the end there wasn’t enough time.
And I can’t say, this time, I’m doing fine.
But that’s fine.

Because I know, one day, I’ll head down to the ocean
to wash the cemetery mud off of my shoes,
while putting words to songs of resurrection.
Because what you have, one day, you’re bound to lose,
but that don’t mean it won’t come back to you.

And so we put these words aside,
store them up for some better time,
and look to the heavens for some unavoidable sign,
for the stars to align.
But astrology is fantasy, that story we all want to read,
where the hero saves the day again.
But sometimes, stories just

And in the end there wasn’t much to say.
All the words were hollow anyway.
But that’s okay.

Because I swear, someday I’ll head down to the ocean
to wash the cemetery mud off of my shoes,
while putting words to songs of reincarnation,
like “what you have, one day you’re bound to lose,
but that don’t mean it won’t come back to you.”

“Maybe tomorrow,” we say, “when the money shows up
or the stress goes away.”
We say, “Maybe tomorrow we’ll get things done.”
Until tomorrow doesn’t come.

And in the end, there won’t be much to say.
Won’t feel much like talking anyway,
but that’s okay.

Because I swear, today, I’m heading down to the ocean
to wash the cemetery mud off of my shoes,
while putting words to songs of resurrection,
like “what you have, one day, you’re bound to lose,
but that don’t mean it won’t come back to you.”
That don’t mean it won’t come back to you.
Track Name: R-Complex
How many times have we been through
this conversation before?
You’re terrified to step into the world
right outside your door anymore.
You answer empty hands with empty words of sympathy
and clutch the silver in your pocket like a rosary.
You’d love to help, except
you know he’d take it to the liquor store,
which is what you planned to use it for.

And maybe I should be upset, but
mainly, I’m just sick to death of
what lies behind your reptilian eyes.
Why am I surprised?

Now here’s a new wave of nostalgia
for the glorious Eighties.
That mercenary ethic just ain’t what it used to be.
You count your profits
while you tie the scapegoat to the stake.
You talk of “decency,”
and laugh through the commercial break.
Now we’re back, for an attack on charity,
with no time for replies today.

So how’s the view from that high horse you rode in on?
Watch where you step around here.
It’s all so distant from behind your podium,
swearing your motive’s sincere.
Pay no attention to this intervention;
you’re not likely to, anyway.
But it may not always be so easy to turn away.

Who needs compassion when your money
tears all obstacles down?
But who’ll be there to catch you
when your time to fall comes around,
and that paper cushion’s pulled out?
You stand behind your indefensible philosophy.
It’s gotta take a lot of work
to build up to that kind of stupidity.
You must get up pretty early in the morning,
but how do you sleep at night?

Oh no, we’re out of time…