Getting Low

by Jonathan Burks



cover art by Nathan Mayer


released July 14, 2015

Engineered, Mixed and Produced by Didier Leplae at Mathwiz Music Studio
Mastered by David Gelting

Song, Guitar and Voice - Jonathan Burks
Tuba, Trombone and Trumpet - David Cusma
Drums - Nathan Kilen (tracks 1, 4, 6, 8, 10)
Drums - Scott Johnson (tracks 2, 3, 5, 7, 9)
Guitar - Didier Leplae

album art image is by Ken Hodges via the NASA/Ames Research Center:


Some rights reserved. Please refer to individual track pages for license info.



Jonathan Burks Milwaukee, Wisconsin

"When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro"

here's some pro tips:

1) Keep a scream journal. Scream into a camera or microphone at least once a day. Any word or sound will work. "FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK" seems to work for me.

2) Dance for 5 minutes daily. Dance on the way to the bathroom or kitchen. Dance as ugly as you can.

3) Make funny faces. Sit in front of a mirror and get strange.
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Track Name: Wing Nut
sometimes I'm up
other times I'm down
something different always coming round

I got thin skin
pulled taunt over tender frame
one breeze and I'm flying squirrel
blowing round every which way

dark thoughts rolling
down the barrel of my mind
synapsis claw and scratch
leave me staring down the great divide

I can feel something breaking
but it aint coming quick enough
there's a breakdown in the making
but it aint coming quick enough
all this slo mo salvation
is quickly making me nuts
Track Name: Getting Low
got a heavy handed touch of winter madness
feeling lowdown, sunken like Atlantis
need me a Stargate, my mind-frame
aint taking me no place I want to be
my brain got a chemical glitch that makes me wish I didn't exist
from time to time my mind gets sick
but I'm figuring it out man I'm dealing with it
I aint even entertaining the notion
just describing the view from this low in the ocean
it's hard to see the plankton for the trees
when you all up in the teeth of the beast
flossing alcohol free going on year three
but my demons got mouths to feed
they got new moves
used to beat 'em down with the booze
still learning how to use my new tools
won't you lend your lungs to me
I could use a melody
blue is the surface, darker are the depths
reporting from the floor till I'm running out of breath
I'm sinking down, I'm getting low
feeling alright, it come and go

pacing around my kitchen, breaking down like fission
pull up the game plan and reevaluate the mission
I get nuclear when I meltdown, forget to breathe deep and countdown
it aint effective, need a new method
a proportioned response to the challenges presented
sometimes I get too upset
can't elevate above the noise-floor in my head
waves of static screaming
I'm pile steaming over the pettiest of reasons
I'm keeping on the light side of the force
but deep seated issues got a tight grip on my Swartz
I'll be alright man, I aint quitting
I just need to stare at this wall a minute
convert the tense to present, unwrap each second
no returns on what the moment is presenting
can't all be tinsel and bows
chunks of coal aint nothing but fuel for the fire yo
they say it's darkest before the dawn
from my window aint no shadows on the lawn
I'm sinking down, I'm getting low
feeling alright it come and go
Track Name: Any Port in the Storm
where you at, that's where the fresh start is
back from the dead more times than Jack Harkness
I resurrect myself on a daily basis, I'm turning pages
I aint a quick read, lessons come slow poke
taking my time, digging deeper than the cliff notes
dog-eared, highlighter in hand
in between the lines is where I'm setting up camp

any port in the storm, any shell in the sea
I'm crawling and crashing towards any dim opening

inspiration it come and go, the only constant is the work flow
they say 'strike while the iron is hot'
most times you gotta swing even when it's not
don't touch that pan pot, I'm hitting sweet spot
like getting a fresh cop of Tape Op in the mailbox
I'm in the saddle crafting transmission
adjust the angle of my mic position

any port in the storm, any shell in the sea
I'm crawling and crashing towards any dim opening
Track Name: You and Me
you gotta beg, you gotta bow
you gotta bite you're lip and kowtow
they pink slip, they straight trip
knock you down a peg every chance they get
the game is fixed, seven-ten split
man, that's the only way them pins get set
but the powers that be
aint got nothing on
you and me

they don't know joy, they don't know fun
least not how good we get it done
you crack me up, you fill my cup
and when I'm wrong you let me know what's up
we're getting by, side by side
we gonna take everything in stride
come what may, you'll see
nothing standing but
you and me

when I'm feeling down, like I wanna quit
I think on my folks and my friends
they wouldn't leave no note, just up and split
leave me alone in this filth to tread
it's sink or swim, you float my boat
and together we gonna row row row
we might be lost at sea
but we're sailing on
you and me
Track Name: I Hate My Mind
I hate my mind
it froth and spit
it wound too tight
it tourniquet

I hate my mind
it don't let go
it don't know how
to ebb and flow

I hate my mind
it don't relax
cold and coiled
poised for attack

I hate my mind
it don't play nice
it nip and poke
it pick dumb fights

I hate my mind
it don't land no punch
it swing and lurch
just out of touch

I hate my mind
it don't work
it's all ass
and no twerk

I hate my mind
it don't play nice
it nip and poke
it pick dumb fights

I hate my mind it don't quit
24-7 open for biz
Track Name: Water Beats Rock
I aint got no money, I aint got no girl
fear I been misplaced
I aint wanted in this world
like a square peg lego
I don't seem to fit
I lay me down upon the wall
but I don't hear no click

gradients of static saturate the lens
I'm having a hard time making out
any kind of sense
like a fly in jello, embedded in the hoof
frozen, full of dread
unclean and underfoot

trudging thru another day
goddamn this life roll on
aint nothing around every bend
except another way to fall
cut my teeth at every turn
(the con is long and wide)
spitting sand out the side of my face
water beats rock over time
Track Name: The Three Fierce Mantras
whatever has to happen, let it happen
whatever the situation, it is fine
I don't really need too much of anything
no, I don't need anything at all

the crux of my fear and apprehension
is a rats nest of "what ifs", "shoulda" and "coulda beens"
but the moment don't hold no junk
and I'm cleaning out my trunk
little bits at a time, often as I can

sour grapes aint got no vitamin D
tiny violins play a thin melody
no hope, no despair
just hanging in there
little bits at a time
often as I can

whatever has to happen, let it happen
whatever the situation, it is fine
I don't really need too much of anything
no, I don't need anything at all
Track Name: Can't Get Right
I aint hungry
roof over my head
no kind of problems
are the only ones I have
something's burning
but there aint no light
low and heavy
can't get right

running water
fruit on the table
all kind of program
on the internet cable
something's burning
but there aint no light
low and heavy
can't get right

tear in the fabric
smudge on the blueprint
everybody gone maverick
a frayed bunch of loose ends
something's burning
but there aint no light
low and heavy
can't get right
Track Name: I Need a Win
cracking the knuckles of my mojo hand
got my lucky belt buckle on
and a little bit of cash
step into the place
poker face hovering above my chin

I need a win
tired of loosing
going downtown
I need a win
I been loosing
gotta get 'round

she got them short shorts on
I can feel the light
emanating from them heavenly shapes
orchestrating the tide
a body's mostly water
and I'm swimming in every inch

loneliness I got it
in spades
put all my cards on the table
I aint good at this game
handful of heart
but aint no diamonds in my chain
Track Name: Light It Up
thirty-something years old
recovering alcoholic
Jon Burks is in the place
the stage, man I'm on it
Johny Bizzle with the flame to the wick
rock a many style, flow indiscriminate
from Woody Guthrie to Old Dirty Bastard
my influences range from Wimbledon to Nascar
I'm not the hardest, not the farthest out
still I get around when I roustabout
from the Zoom up to the final cut
keep it from the gut when I light it up

wanna check my stats go ahead and Google me
got more tracks than black and yellow got bumble bee
I'm not your average rock and roll maverick
I be the butter spread on all kinds of sandwiches
bring the dip and the fixings for your munchies
five second rule, gritty and grungy
serve up the floor save with a side of straight face
drop a little fly into the soup of the stage
like a home cooked meal gets you a different kind of stuffed
feel it in my gut when I light it up

captain crabby, king curmudgeon
only happy when I'm banging out beats in the dungeon
got an attitude that could use adjustment
me and my git-box, we got some blues to bludgeon
dig in and feast, wipe the fur from your teeth
I don't keep the lucky foot
I eat the whole beast
and I been wrestling rabbits till I'm straight jacket
manic, bass drum kicking like a habitt
it's the missing link that catches the release
so I keeps my mange free range
off the leash
open head like Whoopi on Next Gen
when I push pen and Ten Forward my two cents
from the Zoom up through to the final cut
I keep it from my gut when I light it up