On the Trail

by Claire Ness

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On the Trail (2017) was produced by Juno-Award-winning
producer Bob Hamilton and is Claire’s third album.
It features a top notch team of Canadian musicians and
presents an eclectic collection of Claire’s original songs,
steeped in the sounds of jazz, folk, western swing,
bluegrass, and country music .The album includes such
songs as: ‘The Cave’, a passionate pop-roots love song and
ode to cave-dwelling; ‘Ruthie T’, the poignant tale of a
country girl who moves to the city; ‘Lucky Shark’, a song
about a hungry shark who scrapes by in life but ultimately
thrives; ‘Mechanic’, a humorously tongue-in-cheek song
about marriage; ‘Dance Me Through Life’, a light-hearted
and poetic ballad of romance; and ‘Low Ball Louie’, a fast
and catchy number about one of real life’s forgotten people.


released March 4, 2017

All songs written by Claire Ness
Produced, Recorded and Mixed by Bob Hamilton
Additional recording in Toronto by Don Kerr
Graphic Design by SteioDesign
Cover photo by Christian Kuntz
Childhood photo by Penelope Gawn
Illustrations by Claire Ness

Annie Avery: harmonium and organ
Kim Beggs: backing vocals
Paul Bergman: upright bass
Olivier de Colombel: saxophone
Lianne Cranfield: backing vocals
Karen Graves: saxophone
Bob Hamilton: guitar, pedal steel, mandolin, backing vocals
Patrick Hamilton: banjo, washboard, woodblock
Sarah Hamilton: fiddle
Lonnie Powell: drums
Keith Todd: trombone
Grant Simpson: piano
John D. Williams: clarinet


all rights reserved



Claire Ness Whitehorse, Yukon

Cheeky wit.
Swing vocals.
Wild northern spirit.

Untamed tales and bona fide love songs from a candid heart!

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Track Name: Lake and River
"Lake and River" by Claire Ness

If you were a lake and I were a river
I’d rush into you and it’d take me forever
To run away,
A slow and winding day.

If you were a mountain and I were a valley
I’d lie at your feet and stand by you gladly.
I’d catch your rain
As it rolled down from your face.

I want to hold you like the grass
Keeps the earth from eroding.
I need your sunshine
Like a flower waiting to bloom.

If you were the moon and I were the tide
I’d move with your mood, you’d raise me up high.
I’d feel your pain like the breaking waves.
Track Name: Cheer Up Sky
"Cheer Up Sky" by Claire Ness

Cheer up sky, you’ve cried enough today
It’s time to dry your eyes.
Let the rays lift your face
And part your gloomy guise.

Let the breeze get behind you
And roll you right along.
For soon it will be yesterday
And tomorrow will be gone.

Let your veil of rain fall away.
Drop that sullen look of grey
And find your grace.

You have nothing, nothing to hide
So smile now, just smile for me
Smile with your bright blue eyes.
Track Name: Ruthie T
"Ruthie T" by Claire Ness

Her name was Ruthie T
And she looked just like Marilyn Monroe.
She was so sweet, not one malicious
Bone from head to toe.

She came from a place with wide open space
Out where the wild things grow.
But it couldn’t hold her, and when she got older
She left her wholesome home.

She went down to the city
To where the river runs thick and slow,
She got tangled up with guy named Ace
Like a moth to the warm fire glow.

Ruthie T, where could that poor girl be?
Ruthie T, the truth will set you free.

Ace had the face of a bulldog.
His checkered past was hard.
But little Ruthie, all she saw
Was a poor boy trapped in a game of cards

She gave him all her money,
Every penny she saved from home.
He said - I’m gonna make you a playboy bunny,
But first there’s some things you’ve got to know.

He said - practice makes perfect,
You got to know how to work it.
You turn enough tricks tonight
And tomorrow we will make things right.

In the morning, they found a body
Floating out in the bay.
Nobody knows exactly what happened
But this is what they say:

Her money wasn’t all she brought
Down with her from the farm
She had a pistol in her pocket
In case she came to harm.
Track Name: The Cave
"The Cave" by Claire Ness

I want to crawl into the cave between your arms
And sleep next to the warmth of your fire.
I want to crawl into your cave, and light a fire
And sleep under your shelter out of harm.

I’ll paint pictures on the walls
Of all the animals. All the animals.

I will forage in the forest,
I’ll find food for us. What’s mine is yours.

I will hide with you when the lions come
On their nightly hunt. On their nightly hunt.

I will fight with you when the lions come.
I’ll throw fire at them. I’ll throw fire at them
Track Name: On the Trail
"On the Trail" by Caire Ness

I don’t get tired on the trail anymore
I can go on riding far beyond before
Cause when I’m with you, when we’re toe and toe
I feel at home wherever I go

I used to get real weary when I traveled
All my loose ends ended up unraveled
But with you by my side I don’t need no where to hide
And I can go on pounding down the gravel

It used to be that when I went out ramblin’
I’d not get far before my head was scramblin’
But now that I’ve found you and your love pure and true,
The road is hardly half as much demanding.

Taking in the country it ain’t easy
My wanderlust was making me feel queezy,
But then you came along and my dizziness was gone
And on we’ll go together ‘til we’re wheezing.
Track Name: Lucky Shark
"Lucky Shark" by Claire Ness

I sharpened my teeth on those old bones.
I scraped by on scraps
I searched through the deep and shallow shoals
Til my hunger was sharp as a tack.

My shark skin is covered in teeth, you know.
In case someone should attack.
A razor sharp armour of fang-like cones,
Running right down my back.

I’m a lucky shark. I ain’t no sad sack.
I’m a lucky shark. Ain’t no card sharper than that.

I’ve sparred with the largest carnivores
I’ve had my share of spats.
A shadow leaked out, and swallowed me whole
Til my cavern darkened to black.

My scars have hardened, and sealed the holes.
The canyon, now a narrowing crack.
A long scarlet seam turned the colour of coal,
But it’s always ready to snap.

I’m a lucky shark. Far too smart for your traps
I’m a lucky shark. Don’t cut me any slack

The Sea may be sparse but it’s my home.
Starving is not the worst lack
Picking the shards from between the stones
Scared away those who can’t hack.

That lean stark silence gave way to a storm.
And the reef began to grow back.
Now carpets of starfish warm the cold floor
And caviar is common as crap.

I’m a lucky shark. I eat swordfish as a snack.
I’m a lucky shark. My diet is rich in fat
I’m a lucky shark. Happy to share my catch.
More than happy to share my catch.
Track Name: Low Ball Louie
"Low Ball Louie" by Claire Ness

Low Ball Louie, Low Ball Louie
He never aimed too high,
He was Low Ball Louie

Louie always hated to go to school.
He skipped class everyday to go play pool.
All the old guys down at the hall
They never asked him why.
They knew Louie’d never make it
Through school, so why bother try.

On his eighteenth birthday
He was kicked outta the house.
His momma she called after him:
“Go on get, you blood-sucking louse!”
He went to the pool hall
And picked up his cue,
He bet his last ten against Rack-Em-Up Jack,
And won the next few.

That’s how Louie spent the rest of his life,
Playing his way from day to day,
No time for a wife.
And if you ever find yourself
Down at the old pool hall,
Put some money down for old Louie Brown,
But make sure you take the high ball.
Track Name: Mechanic
"Mechanic" by Claire Ness

I’ve broken down on the side of the road
More times than I can count
I’m getting tired of traveling alone
It’s daunting to stick my thumb out

I open the hood, but I’m no good
Staring down at a tangle
If only I knew someone who could
See life from that kind of angle.

I wanna marry a mechanic
Cause if I fall apart
He’ll put me back together
If he has the right part.

I wanna marry a mechanic
Cause if my screws come loose
He’ll get right to wrenchin’
And give me a boost.

Don’t want no carpenter or plumber
Or any electrician, they’ll just make me blue.
Don’t want no piano man, or veterinarian
But maybe a doctor would do.

I wanna marry a mechanic
Cause if my engine dies
He’ll turn me over and rev me
Til there’s life in my eyes.

I wanna marry a mechanic
Cause when I lift up my hood
He’ll be under there for hours
Just to fix me up good.
He’ll make me purr like a kitten
When I didn’t know that I could.
Track Name: Dance Me Through Life
"Dance Me Through Life" by Claire Ness

Chase me over sand dunes
Straight out to the ocean
Place your hands upon my eyes
Surprise me with a view
Take our shoes and socks off
Running through the fountains
Wait to hear the music
And dance me in the dew

Dance me through life,
Twirl me around the world
Dance me through life,
You and I are paradise

Make believe we’re pirates
Fighting for the good guys
Fake our death and realize
We’ve come alive anew
Break to pull a donut
Race me to the restaurant
Say that we are married
On our endless honeymoon

Face each day with wonder
Naked in the garden
Light a little fire
And sleep under the moon
Play with all the children
Building castles out of snow
Paint with our fingers
Yellow, red and blue

Shake me when I’m angry
Bake a heart-shaped cookie
Train across the country
Laughing our way through.
Wake me for the sunrise
Sing me to sleep with lullabies
Stay with me forever
We are the lucky few
Track Name: Swan Song
"Swan Song" by Claire Ness

When I was a liitle girl
I told my mother I’d be good,
But I sold my only locket
To a stranger in the wood.

He was there one moment
The next thing he was gone,
And all that he had left me
Was a dollar in my palm.

Oh Mama, I’ll be good

I took my only dollar
Down to the river bend
And bought a pack of cigarettes
To share them with a friend

They were full one moment
Next thing they were gone.
Soon my friend was on her way
And the sun no longer shone.

Oh Mama, I’ll be good

The night was dark and hollow
With no one else on the road
But I would keep on moving
As long as my blackened lungs would hold.

My breath was there one moment
The next thing it was gone.
Down I lay beneath the trees
And folded like a swan.

Oh Mama, I’ll be good