Twenty Three

by Keith Jolie

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Twenty three

A car pulled off the highway in hesitation, a pair of work boots sitting in a closet, the repeated plea of ‘give me something’; gritty songs soaked with questions of usefulness and purpose saturate the latest album from Keith Jolie.

With twenty three, Keith Jolie presents an album where the song stories take front stage with vocals that range from tender to angry and broken. From the opening “Strings” through to the closing “She”, twenty three is bookended by consideration for the story from the perspective of the strings, pictured as characters in the stories they tell, through to the muse (She) that inspires them.

Between the bookends, are a series of stories of seeking answers. “Carolina” hides the anguish and anger that results from being deceived in the clothing of a joyful anthem that begs to be sung. “Bad Boy” and “Secrets” take a slight turn towards americana/country with stories of bad choices, regrets and could-have-beens.

As the album progresses, the levels get turned up with “Steel” and “Give Me Something” that scream of the perspective of age and experience and what is left at the end of the day or a life of work. “Running” a Canadian anthem of a young man that travels from Ontario to the rockies like so many before.

Twenty three has been a solitary exercise for Keith Jolie who performed, engineered, and produced all the songs on this album. The songs are a collection that were written over the last few years with a few exceptions. “She” is a reprisal from an EP that was put out on cassette tape in 1993, while “Strings” was written and recorded in the last week of working on the album; bookends both chronologically and in the sequence of the album.

This is the latest album from Keith Jolie who’s discography includes:

1993: The Turn EP
1996: Songs from a Black Notebook
1998: City So Cold
2008: Sidewalk Stories, Endsville album. lyrics and music written by Keith Jolie.
2015: The Beauty ep
2017: twenty three


released December 15, 2017


all rights reserved



Keith Jolie Toronto, Ontario

Blues and roots inspired



Keith started singing in music bars in the Brantford area in the 1990s. through a residency at punk music venue The Turnaround,and solo gigs with bigger bands he figured out how to earn the attention of an audience.

Continuing to write, record and perform and is now living in Hamilton. His latest album "twenty three" is due out late 2017.
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Track Name: Strings
Bm G
I’m on my last set of strings
G Bm
Pulled them straight, wound them up and let them sing
C G Bm
They lie like lovers vibrating never touching
Song after song they get weakened
Bm Bm
Until they’re pulled too far, pushed too long
Am C G
And they break, under the weight of their final song

Am C
On the floor over there all wound in bronze
G Bm
played a love removed that still stayed strong
Am G
After too many nights cold and alone
Bm C
It broke on the bridge of the lonesome song

Am C
After time and time and time again
G Bm
The second string got tired of trying
Am G
After pleading for a man that was left behind
Bm C
It broke a hole in the chord of his desperate crying


Am C
An anthem with the highest refrain
G Bm
passion of youth forever remain
Am G
And shrill was the sound of that thunderous chord
Bm C
snapped in the sweat of the crowd wanting more

Am C
A love song drifts on the quiet of night
G Bm
While lovers bask in the softening light
Am G
As they wind themselves like so many refrains
Bm C
Unbroken silence is all that remains

Am C
In a quiet chord
G Bm
A choir sang that would please the lord
Am G
But before their songs could rise together
Bm C
The lowest string was silenced forever
Track Name: Carolina
Verse Bm | | | E | | | F#m | | | | | | |
Chorus D | | | E | | | F#m | | | x2

That summer was like gin and rain
I met you in a house of pain
I'd save you from the wet and empty streets

You told me that I had a style
And would I waste away a while
A song a dream a heart what would it be?

For three long years we tempted fate
The clock would wind and fill our plate
Embracing every crutch and vice you’d bring

Every taste was bitter sweet
The whole charade felt so complete
Sinking into scenery that we made

Oh Carolina
Where are you bringing me tonight?
Oh Carolina
Where are you bringing me tonight?

Now I wake up feeling scared
From feelings that you put in there
You never used to think that much of me
Now I’m hell bent on losing you
So this is what I’ve got to do
Chasing down this madness that we sing


One more drink and one more show
One more thing that I can’t know
One more call that rings and rings
One more song that never sings

I’m tearing down old highway 1
in the movies I would have a gun
Halfway from Gatineau to Montmagny

Oh Carolina Where are you
Bringing me tonight?
Track Name: Bad Boy
I've been a bad boy their going to send me off to prison
We better figure just what it is that we've been missing
And I'd put it on my tab but I've got no credit left
My pictures on the wall and there's a noose around my neck

I need to settle my accounts
Just tell me what I owe
I'm looking for the ways I need to come clean before I go
And if you hold my hand I promise that I'd never let you down
And if you hold my hand You'd never see things you don't need to see
So tell me if you'll help me to come Clean


I want to settle my accounts take the last train out of town
find a place out by the ocean where i can watch the sun go down
Oh fire I'd like to take you with me,we would burn into the night
we'd greet the morning sunshine, rage against the dying light


Time's one thing I'm short of and I'm running low on cash
I've got love that's like the ocean and style that's bright and brash
We could do it like the movies and drive towards the sky
I think they're closing in now there's not much time to try

Track Name: Secrets
I’ve had secrets all my life
Some of them wrong
And some of them right
What about you

Will I laugh or will I weep
will I stumble or will I leap
what will I do?
what will I do?

I caught a standby ticket
to the farthest place away
Asked around and tracked you down
I had something left to say
And words don’t often fail me
Except when I’m with you
When my head is in another place
And my body’s next to you

Driving in the night-time
It gives me space to think
When there’s no wine and only time
And I’m trying not to sink
Further into where I know
I shouldn’t go with you
So I pull into at a rest-stop
Instead of driving through

Why is it so hard to pull this line?
Why is it so hard to pull this line?
Why is it so hard to pull
Why is it so hard to pull
Why is it so blessed hard
to pull this thorny line?

Somehow I get this feeling
that things will turn out right
So I turn down the radio
And fumble for the light
My eyes are weighed down heavy
And my voice is sounding frail
But I still need to tell you
My coffin’s short some nails
Track Name: Head Like Iron
Through the stage lights and shadows that hung in the room
Saw your lips move to my song and my song moved to you
I was two thousand miles from anywhere I thought you'd want to be

My head feels like Iron
I had a bad day
I need to write another line
But I need something to say
Took the train down to meet you
But spent the week in my hotel
And now I'm sick and I miss you my love
Yea I'm sick and I miss you my love

We stayed up all night getting lonely you and me
Talked our way through the dark ignoring something on TV
And I tried and I tried and I tried to get through to you


I don't think I've slept since I saw you walk away
I couldn't find the meaning then I’ve got no more cards to play
But I'm rolling the dice like it'll pay for my last breath
Track Name: Steel
Keep on going to that same old bar
Every day at three, maybe just one
Same place where I met my old lady
When the money was flush and booze and girls were fun
But she's 5 years my ex and the place changed hands
The reasons are gone and the signs faded out
I guess I keep hoping for one last chance to finally hold my head up
Finally hold my head up and

Steel, it feels like steel
It's fired and forged and hard and cold and real
It doesn't remind me of all that it was
It's a hell of a backwards deal
And steel, it feels like steel

Streets full of holes from the trucks pulling out
Leaving bones where there used to be buildings
Sign says for lease there's a lineup outside
Payday loans that need to be services
Art's the new steel can't open old mills
My boots in the closet nothing can stop it
Something to make I'm good with my hands
I don't want to Take
I'm a man but

Steel, it feels like steel
It's fired and forged and hard and cold and real
It doesn't remind me of all that it was
It's a hell of a backwards deal
And steel, it feels like steel
Track Name: Give Me Something
I heard I could use some healing
give me something to make me well
I've got questions I can't answer
give me something that I can tell

You told me that we were the winners
give me something that I can spend
You told me that there were no answers
give me something that tells me when

I've got you to hold close
and some time to let go
and don't want to feel
what I never should know

and I want to live
and I don't want to lie
give me something--------
to make it all worth while

The streets of Yorkville are cold now
and I'm walking away from the town
I've got people that I need to contact
Give me something to track them down

If everything isn't for pleasure
If everything good comes with pain
If you and I are not brothers
Give me something to hide all the shame

I've got you to hold close
and some time to let go
and don't want to feel
what I never should know

and I want to live
and I don't want to lie
give me something--------
to make it all worth while

I remember when we were both children
And all we could do was sing
In the morning we'd wake with the sunrise
In the evening we gently would fade

Today I was given to envy
Surrounded and put in this land
Give me something that I can return to
Give me something on which I can stand

I've got you to hold close
and some time to let go
and don't want to feel
what I never should know

and I want to live
and I don't want to lie
give me something--------
to make it all worth while

Where are you
I can't see
I need to hear
I need to be
So call my name
Call out loud
Give something to me
Track Name: I Saw The Stars
I saw the stars, for the first time in the city
With the phosphorus glow and the need down below
For the safety from the darkness of the life
It was the first time and it shattered like plaster
You can't bet all your chips on the things we won't miss tonight

I saw the fire, pouring out of the sunrise
Burning everything down that was pinned to the ground
From the fear of me being set free
It was the first time and it sparkled like water
You can't bet all your chips on the way that we'll kiss tonight

I had the line, on the crime of the decade
Painstakingly planned to the ounce and the man
Stealing your heart far away
You read my body you were faster and smarter
and I lost all my chips on the feel of your lips when you smiled
Track Name: Running
100 miles from Sault Ste. Marie,
I kind of wonder where I'm supposed to be
All I love in the rear view mirror
I wind my car around Lake Superior
And I'm running

Stop my car just to pick up some gas
Can’t remember when I talked to you last
I’ve got miles to go before I get to sleep
The hills are higher but I'm getting deep
And I'm running

The great lake shoreline and the north's mighty shield
Miles of prairies and the Rockies foothills
Most recent entry in the book of young men
That go so far just to see where they stand

Passing signs with names in a blur
Trees and shadows look the same anymore
Silent stars light the sky like a dream
Constellations unlike ever seen
And I'm running

Piles of stones left behind long ago
A younger man than you likely know
Once dreamed of fortune or what he might be
Little road signs to guide me

Running from the darkness
Running from the sea
Running from some fear and possibility
Running to a friend
Running from my home
Running to a love cause I can’t stand to be alone


I’m Runnin
I’m Runnin
I’m Runnin
Track Name: She

She writes about loving
She writes about pain
She writes about sinning
She swears she’ll never sin again

She writes about journeys
She writes about being free
She writes about her dead end job
And the child she’ll never see



She’s amused to see me scribbling
Catching truth on a napkin stain
She’s laughing at my frailty
She throws clauses at my pain
And she knows that in the end
I’m going to try again


She writes about the rapist
She writes about gold
She writes about the loving
She writes about the old

She writes about her mother
She writes about her god
She writes about her fear at night
When she goes out for a walk


She writes about “I love you”
She writes about “Set me free”
She writes about the danger
She can tell nobody sees

She writes about mistakes
Places she was afraid
She writes about the dust balls
That collect around her bed

She writes about her teacher
She writes about his wife
She writes about her innocence
She applies heat to the knife

She writes about body smells
From underneath the door
She tells the waiter go away
She asks the bartender for more


She expresses her life in symbols
Her life’s a ritual
She takes wine with her morning tea
There’s bread in the bowl

She’s circumcised and actualized
Satori is her whole
She’s a tiny little baby
And yet she’s far too old

She objects to mercy killing
She laced the food with drugs
She took one of the holy vows
But she forgot which one it was

Her doors are all unlocked,
But the closets all have keys
I wonder if I’m dreaming her
Or if she is dreaming me

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