Mercury 85

by Dan Johnson

supported by
  • Streaming + Download

    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
    Purchasable with gift card

      $5 USD  or more


  • Full Digital Discography

    Get all 6 Dan Johnson releases available on Bandcamp and save 25%.

    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality downloads of your own true man, Magic Guitar, Suck it Up, Cupcake, Mercury 85, Bound for Abiquiu, and Sleep on the Way. , and , .

    Purchasable with gift card

      $27 USD or more (25% OFF)




released May 15, 2014


all rights reserved



Dan Johnson Burlington, Vermont

low key folk music - five studio recordings, a few years worth of weird gigs, guitar bass pedal steel accordion and banjo... no pressure y'all...

contact / help

Contact Dan Johnson

Streaming and
Download help

Redeem code

Track Name: Out on the Road
Eating hotdogs and frito lays
out on the road for seventeen days
the inside of my car smells like a dirty sweat sock
i don’t got a boss and i don’t have to punch a clock

Drinking more coffee than Juan Valdez
I just drive to where my agent says
I got my name written on the back of my hat
And I never worked a day once I figured out where it’s at

Out on the road
Looking for a sign
I’m looking for someplace I can’t find
Out on the road
Lord I’m losing my mind
In the rearview there’s the troubles that I leave behind

Drive all night and I sleep all day
In the back of my Lincoln is where I stay
When the sun comes up I pull to the side of the road
And when the gig is done I pick up a pile of gold

I seen a thunderstorm on the Texas plains
I seen a lot of people look at me strange
I seen an old man and his hands was all curled up
I seen a waitress pouring some more coffee into my cup
Track Name: Rose
She was dancing in a bar
I was playing in the band
At the end of the night
I had ten dollars in my hand
We went to a diner
And sat there in a booth
Drinking coffee
And dancing around the truth

If you ever meet a girl
With a tattoo of a rose
Tell her that I miss her
When the chilly wind blows

She walked me to my door
I invited her inside
I poured her Carlo Rossi
And told her my best lies
We stayed awake all night
In the morning light she left
I kissed her one last time
As she was tripping down the steps

I been around the world
I been in every place
I looked all around
But I could not see her face
Tell her that I love her
That I can’t forget her name
Tell her that I love her
And I know she feels the same
Track Name: Down the Line
Adam’s back on the farm I haven’t talked to him in years
He always looked so drunk when he was fighting back the tears
His brother’s banjo with a broken string on the porch with a mason jar
Waiting for Jimmy James in the back of the car
I know you heard all about how I behaved on that trip
Nobody talked on the ride back home I was mad but I bit my lip
You must have been in Oregon looking for Casey when she changed her name
We all went through a change or two but we come out just the same

Take me to the tracks and let’s burn one down
Talk about leaving this dead end town
Watch the fire burn as the stars all start to shine
Talk about the good times we’ll have further down the line

I’m living up north and I heard you moved down south
The weather here suits me but sometimes I have my doubts
I look down the road but I can’t see around the bend
So I’ll send this letter to you my dear old friend
Track Name: Having a Good Time
Somebody's telling somebody a joke
Everybody's laughing as I put on my coat
The crowd is crying and shouting for more
I hear my name as I open the door
You were sitting on the hood of my car
I could see you smile in the light from the bar
How did we ever take it this far
Like the light from some burnt out star

You like to keep it all between the lines
My life gets a little bit messy sometimes
Love is everywhere but truth is hard to find
A lot of dumb stuff gets done in the name of having a good time

I was smoking on the porch outside
I saw Jimmy I heard he had died
You left with him you said you needed a ride
I went out in the yard and I cried and I cried

I fell into the fire last night
I didn't get burned I was all right
I lost my shirt and I got in a fight
I woke up on the lawn just at first light
Track Name: Sweet Little Jane

I have walked on a lonesome highway
Where I dreamed a lonesome dream
I saw the stars in the endless skyway
Like the sand in a summer stream
I saw the moon rise on the desert
Spilling milk wherever she could fall
I saw the sun set on the ocean
From the top of a cold and distant wall

Oh my sweet little Jane
How I long to hear you say my name
I have traveled in the rain and the snow
How I love you, you never will know

I hitched a ride on the southern coast
With a man who turned and then he said
Since adam left the garden
He’s had to work to earn his bread
I slept by the shore with a sailor
She gave her life to dreams
Her daddy’s up country
Her son is way downstream

At the station I stood by the tracks
I watched the trains passing me by
I saw the sun rise on the mountains
Spilling gold and blood across the sky
I hear a whistle from across the bay
Don’t it sound to me just like your sweet breath
I hear a dim and mournful howl
How I long to kiss your sweet lips
Track Name: Learning to Live With It

I moved back home, can’t find a job
Just finished in college and the money's all gone
And I don't know what I'm gonna do
Cats are sick, car’s broke down
Got a hundred fears that I can’t pin down
And I don't know what I'm gonna do

I’m learning to live with it
Take it as it comes
Learning to live with it
Then I let it go

Lucky in love never my name
Women I've loved left like they came
And I don't know what i'm gonna do
Tired in the morning, tired at night
Try so hard but I can’t get it right
And I don't know what I'm gonna do

All I got left is a black ink pen
The teachers couldn't take it out of my hand
And I don't know what i'm gonna do
Empty page looking up at me
I guess I'm as free as I want to be
And I don't know what I'm gonna do
Track Name: What Doors Are For

Told you that I'd write this song for you
You always knew just what I would do
I've always stood outside of your door
I'm the one that knows what doors are for
Chased your love all over the place
Gotten used to doors getting slammed in my face
Took it then but I can’t take anymore
I'm the one who knows what the door is for

You want to follow me
But there ain’t nothing is free
Out here on the dirty dance floor
You better just turn around
You don't want to follow me down
Down and down and down through the open door

One door closes and another gets shown
Lately I’ve been closing some doors of my own
You been drifting far from the shore
Maybe you never learned what doors are for

Here's a number wont you give it a try
It's not mine it might help you get by
Don’t nobody know just what's in store
Maybe you ought to learn what doors are for
Track Name: Allentown

I like to be there when the sun is going down
She lights a candle and spreads a blanket on the ground
It’s a two room flat way down in Allentown
She don’t love me but she says she likes having me around

She makes me coffee in a Turkish coffeepot
She can’t be sold, she swears she can’t be bought
She used to be a rich girl but she gave it all away
Don't believe in god but she gets down every night on her knees to pray

I like to sit here and just wait for kingdom come
There ain’t enough time for me to get anything done
Sometimes she’s high, sometimes I’m low
I've been everywhere but there ain't no where to go

In a world of people who are trying to be heard
My love just smiles she never says a word
She loves so many men swears she loves them all
Whispers in my ear, pride goes before the fall

I go down to the river and I look out at the waves
My love stands before me like the sunshine of my days
Puts it all down and lets the cards fall where they may
Sits there and smiles like there ain’t nothing else to say
Track Name: Mercury 85

I live out in the lonesome hills
Lumberyards and abandoned mills
A million miles from the nearest town
The night bird sings when the sun goes down
I was born back in 81
Went to school and I had my fun
Felt like a king for a time
But the world fell apart like a ball of twine
Got married and we had some kids
Got divorced when we hit the skids
It’s easy now but we’re all alone
Everyone sits on a lonely throne
During the day I go to work
The slow leak hurts the worst
So close but so far away
I’m going to catch up again someday

If you don’t mind maybe you could drive
My Mercury ‘85
I know it don’t sound good but lord
It's got a lot of life underneath the hood

Getting home after dark
Pulling in I hear a coyote bark
Yellow moon up in the willow tree
Can’t tell if I’m lonely or free
There’s a neon light in some old bar
And I know that’s where all of my old friends are
But we don’t talk like we used to
We don’t do the things we used to do
Some of my friends went to Iraq
I didn’t know them when they got back
Some went to college some went out West
I just kind of lost track of the rest
We still smile and tell old jokes
But the good old times disappeared like smoke
Out ahead is a long dirt road
And can’t nobody tell me where it goes

Telephone up in the sky
Call me up when I’m gone to die
Pick it up when it rings
I’ll tell you all about how the angels sing
Though we live in castles made of sand
And things don’t go like we planned
Don’t you feel so alive
When you're driving in my Mercury 85
Track Name: Things That Make Me Blue
There’s a house on fire in the pouring rain
And I hear the whistle of a passing train
Fortune teller and the weather vane
Don't that whistle blow so strange
Town to town and state to state
Rolling stone with a heavy weight
There’s a broken door there’s a rusty gate
Tell the engineer that were running late

Been standing on the side of this road so long
Thinking of a girl I once knew
Try to get it right but I always get it wrong
Running from the things that make me blue

Desert cities how they shine
Like the light at the bottom of a diamond mine
Tangled in these telephone lines
I’m gonna get right when I get the time
I live by the side of the lonesome road
Where the sun just shines and the wind just blows
Peaks and the valleys and the highs and the lows
Deep cold creek and the shining snow

Now all I see is the cars go past
And the signs for the food and the beer and the gas
It’s all going down hard and fast
Don't nobody build a thing to last
So I wrap my blankets all around me now
See the stars are falling all around
There’s a car that’s buried underground
Like a ship that’s sinking without a sound
Track Name: The Fountain

Build me up and knock me down
But you’ll never have my soul
I’ve hidden it in the rainstorm
in the lonely hours

I’ll see you on the other side
Where our names will start to fade
Like the colors of a rainbow
Or a river in the shade

Listening to the midnight
I hear you say my name
I’ve forgotten all my plans
There ‘s nothing left to claim

I started out as pure
As the winter’s deepest snow
Now I am as pure
As the feathers of the crow

I recall the fountain
Where we promised to stay near
I recall the forest
Where we lost all of our fear
I remember my friends
Who have all turned into dreams
They carry all their burdens
Over heaven’s golden streams

So I listen for your whispers
I look for your sign
The clouds all speak about you
The mountains brightly shine

Now I’m going to leave you dear
I’ve places I must be
Promises I made
That I would always stay so free

My memory is weak
I’ve lost every tooth
Holding on to the meaning
I might let go of the truth

I feel there’s something special
I’ve got to recall
A place a face a memory
Of a time before the fall

A time when all I knew
Was the shining of a light
And every trembling of my heart
Was crowned in sheer delight
Track Name: Drive

I like to watch you drive
Watching the night go by
In Tennessee

Little rolling hills
Little rollings pills
In Tennessee

We got pulled over outside of Austin
With a glovebox full of weed
We ditched that van outside El Paso
You could say we'd been received

We went to San Antone
Your brother he wasn't home
But we do what we can
Desert sun went down
Lonesome highway sound
But we do what we can

Sitting there at the wheel
With your eyes open wide
Swear I'm gonna live forever
Just to watch you drive

California's a paradise
I been there once or twice
But you never get free
We took a hand me down
Taxi back to town
But you never get free

We made friends where we could
When we need a place to stay
I stayed longer than I should
I've always been that way

Dan Johnson recommends:

If you like Dan Johnson, you may also like: