From the recording Written On The Rails

This is both the story of a friend who left home when he was 15 to work for the railroad and a story of the railroad itself. And I meant just what I said “The history of America is Written On The Rails”.


The day that I turned fifteen I left my father’s home
In search of fame and fortune across America I’ve roamed
I never could explain to him the way it made me feel
To ride an iron horse on a highway made of steel

For thirty years I roamed this land and measured every change
From the coast of California to the hills of Bangor, Main
I’ve seen our mountains leveled and forests stripped of trees
Watched the rivers turned to dust and the deserts turned to seas

Gather close around
Listen to my tales
The history of America
Is written on the rails

A million bales of cotton ten thousand tons of grain
The steel to build out factories all ride aboard this train
Two hundred years of history a never ending tail
The life blood of America still flows along these rails


From New York to Chicago and down to Abilene
Across the Rocky Mountains and back to New Orleans
I’ve seen our cities fade and rust and crumble as they die
Watched the frightened children as they asked the reasons why


So Fathers grab your children and climb aboard this train
Teach your sons and daughters that it’s not to late to change
Tell them all the stories and help them understand
The choices that they make today could heal this broken land


Gather close around
Listen to my tales
The future of America
Will be written on the rails