The Dubious Hat

by Nathaniel Johnstone

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1.
The world has too many hats Or so I've heard it said All the shapes and sizes There's a hat for every head Happy hats for happy heads Sun hats for the sun Hats for when you're working And ones for when you're done But the one-too-manyeth hat Of mystery and dread Is the awful, terrible, dubious hat The one that wants your head It lurks in darkened corners It hides under your bed It waits for you to look away Then it leaps upon your head! It grips with teeth of felt And drags you out of doors It shows you off to everyone You're helpless as it roars "I am the dubious hat this is now my head! I wear it now forevermore I'll wear it until it's dead!" The world has too many hats Or so I've heard it said All the shapes and sizes There's a hat for every head Happy hats for sad heads Brave hats for frightened heads Confident hats for shy heads And, alas! All too often: the wrong hats for the wrong heads CHORUS After all that I have seen and read And all that has been said There is no hat in all the world As the one that's in your head And if it fits that's great for you But if it don't here's what to Find that dubious hat post haste And give that something new a taste 'Cause that one-too-manyeth hat Of which much is left unsaid The not so terrible, dubious hat Just might be … One that fits your head
2.
On the border that lies between here and there Of which few speak for who would dare In the place where shadow and sky do meet Dwells a being so dark so fierce and so fleet. Soft white feathers hide talons of steel Wide bright eyes that hunt for her meal Body of a woman, mind of a beast And heart of the wild to say the least CHORUS Lechuza, Lechuza must you hunt tonight? Oh lady Lechuza who has earned your spite? Dread owl waiting on shadowy tree Oh lady Lechuza, won't you leave me be!  I've done you no wrong, I mean you no ill I hear your song, oh, what is your will?  I hunt for you mouse man I've come for your soul I'll devour your heart  Swallow your bones I won't end my spell  'til I've had my fill of you A hellish creature of vengeance, magic, and lust No qualms has she to grind you to dust Once you've crossed her or harmed her kin Harbor no doubts that she knows your sin She'll come in the night, on your rooftop she'll land Scratching and clawing to draw out your hand Swooping down to carry you off into the night The cold quiet moon, your very last sight.  CHORUS Revenge is hers, that's all Lechuza wants Its the bully, the villain, the fool she haunts Conjuring storms and spirit spells a-weaving Trust me, its true, seeing is believing. Some advice for you my friend, a devil's deal Don't get drunk in her lands, don't curse or steal The Owl Witch knows your crimes and sings, "Death will come for you on soft white wings" CHORUS
3.
I was told there would be fire I was told there would be brimstone I was told these were the end times And the Devil would be known I was hoping to see the heavenly host But I see no sign of the holy ghost As the engines of creation Their mighty gears have slipped In this cut rate, poorly-planned, Ill-thought out apocalypse All I got was inflation economic conflation Of greed, opportunism, (and) moral abdication A war on sin you'll never win With shifting goalposts and media spin Ain't no-one wrong if no-one's right There's so much dark you can't see the light As the engines of creation Their mighty gears have slipped In this cut rate, poorly-planned, Ill-thought out apocalypse Air, Earth, Fire, Water The world is starting to split Famine, Death, Pestilence, War Y'all best get on with it Our air is spoiled Our oceans boil The cracks we're starting to see We line up in rank On the stygian bank Let the river roll eternally I was told there would be fire I was told there would be brimstone I was told these were the end times And the Devil would be known I was hoping to see the heavenly host But I see no sign of the holy ghost As the engines of creation Their mighty gears have slipped In this cut rate, poorly-planned, Ill-thought out apocalypse
4.
02:21
Dear Sam, determined and relentless Young Sam, demented little menace Oh, Sam, you never know when to quit That Sam has always been a little bit Crazy Dear Dad, why you gotta be like that? Oh, Dad, don't you know that I'm just a cat Just watch as I jump on the counter-top Yeah, Dad, you know that I'll never stop, Crazy Dear Sam, your tail's in everything Young Sam, you bounce around like a spring Oh, Sam, do your feet ever touch the ground That Sam is so much fun to be around Crazy You'll see me on the kitchen door Seven feet above the floor Don't ask my how I got so high Did you know that I can fly Dear Sam, determined and relentless Young Sam, demented little menace Oh, Sam, you never know when to quit That Sam has always been a little bit Crazy Dear Dad, you better quit complaining Oh, Dad, you know I'm entertaining Just watch, i'm gonna get in trouble Yeah, Dad, and then I'll want to snuggle And then I'll want to snuggle And then I'll want to snuggle on down
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about

When I was a wee lad I had occasion to pull the family guitars out of the attic and play around on them. My older brothers had all done the same and as they went off to college I had more and more opportunities to play on them. Eventually, I was the last one standing and when I went off to college myself I was allowed to take them with me.

These instruments have been a part of my life for MANY years and as I looked back on my musical catalogue I see that they only show up infrequently in my recordings. This album is a love letter to those two guitars. You hear them both throughout this album and I love how they sound.

These are the instruments that I learned on. They were there for me when I really sucked and as I got better they seemed to finally relax into being played ("Oh, thank heavens!" I can hear them say.). The muscle-memory of nearly 40 years came from these two guitars.

Of course I had to include banjo, violin, and ukulele because they sound so good together. I guess you could call this my acoustic album. The only non-acoustic instruments you hear are bass guitar (One track by me and one track by my friend Martin) and Alec's brilliantly played electric violin. I am deliriously happy with how it all came out and hope that you enjoy it as much as I do.

This album was made possible by the generous support of my friends on Patreon.

www.patreon.com/nathanieljohnstone

credits

released September 28, 2019

Lyrics/Music by Nathaniel Johnstone except for:
Laura Tempest Zakroff & Nathaniel Johnstone: Lechuza (The Owl Witch) and Sinking Spirits
Alyssa Rosenbloom & Nathaniel Johnstone: Cut Rate Apocalypse, Gepetto's Lament, and One Time Through

The Band:
Nathaniel Johnstone: Vocals, Guitar, Ukulele, Violin, Bass, Banjo
Martin Irigoyen from Vernion Process: Bass, Baglamaki, Bouzouki, and Tambourica on Lechusa (The Owl Witch); Sitar on Dreamlands
Elizabeth Lain: Oboe on Lechuza (The Owl Witch)
Betsy Tinney: Cello
Dogwood: Monster Noises and Theremin Vocal on Little Trophy Mine
Levi Ali: Percussion on Gepetto’s Lament
Alexander James Adams: Violin on I’m Not Afraid of the Dark

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Nathaniel Johnstone Seattle, Washington

Multi-instrumentalist Nathaniel Johnstone (violin, viola, banjo, mandolin, and guitar) LOVES to play music with his many musical friends. He's played with many bands and has as yet been unable to settle down with one instrument or musical genre for too long.

Each album is different but there are enough through-lines that you can get a sense of where he's been.
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