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Doug Wintch: Music

Old Lightnin'

Back in the 80's I used to ski during the day, and sing 6 nights a week in the Trap Bar at the Grand Targhee Ski Resort. One powder day I wound up befriending and skiing with a local renegade carpenter.  We were standing in the lift line when he handed me the idea for this song. He was swinging his arm like a madman, and raving that his hammer was called Old Lightnin' and that he never knew where she'd strike. I felt a little chill go down my neck...and it wasn't from the cold. I'd never swung a hammer...but I knew someday I'd be writing this song. Thanks amigo, wherever you are!

In the early 90's my buddy Peter put me to work helping him remodel houses.  I had just completed my first CD...Wooden Nickels; and I was totally broke.  To help me get started, Pete kindly offered me some of his spare, well used tools. Among them was an old Estwing framing hammer that had been given to him by a gentleman carpenter named Frank Andersen...(Frank the Fighting Seabee.)  

Old Lightnin' first appeared on my album Checkin' In, recorded by Larry Nye, in Kingsland, Texas 1996.

In about 2003, I wrote a song called Sheetrock.  Folks seemed to like it okay, so I thought hmmm...maybe I could write another 10 or so carpenter type songs and stick 'em all together on a record!  Sometimes these things take time...    

She’s faded blue where I hold her

She tapers to a slender shank

She drives ‘em wild from the front, boys

She rejects ‘em with a yank

Her business end is worn and rounded

Slippin’ off the head unless you swing real square

If I get hammered the night before boys

Morning fingers ain’t got a prayer

     Old Lightnin’…she’s hanghin’ from my belt

     Old Lightnin’…We’re bendin’ nails

     Old Lightnin’…you never know where she’ll strike

You can give us 16 pennies

And a pick up truck full of 2X4’s

Don’t expect no flyin’ buttress

We never built one of them before

We’re a team, we’re a bargain

Pete says we’ll fetch about twice the price

Soon as I can get Old Lightnin’

To strike the same nail twice

     Old Lightnin’…she don’t give a damn

     Old Lightnin’…sorry about the woodwork ma’am

     Old Lightnin’…you never know where she’ll strike

           How many lovin’ hands have held her?

           Only to be blunt to her face?

           She’s forgotten every twisted stud

           But I know she put some in their place

I’m learning to let her drive the point home

It’s best when I don’t cling too tight

But if my eyes begin to wander

Boys, she always sets me right

     Old Lightnin’…goodbye fingernail

     Old Lightnin’…look at that sucker swell

     Old Lightnin’…you never know where she’ll strike...