The Black Hills e​.​p.

by Fred Gillen Jr

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released April 18, 2017

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Fred Gillen Jr Peekskill, New York

NYFA grant recipient Fred Gillen Jr has released nine full-length albums, and has toured all over the U.S. and Europe. His songs have been featured on ABC's "All My Children," NPR's "Car Talk," CMJ's Comp, and in 2012 his version of Woody Guthrie's "I Ain't Got No Home" was featured on "Pete Remembers Woody," a collection of Pete Seeger's spoken stories about Woody Guthrie. ... more

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Track Name: Hope Machine - Black Hills
Black Hills

In these hills there is a power you will never understand
you can carve your politicians faces in the land
but the earth is too strong to be stained by mortal man
Black Hills
I went down to the rez and saw our country's greatest shame
the cardboard shacks and broken glass of my people stripped of home and name
but the heart of these great warriors nothing you can do will change
Black Hills
at wounded knee I felt the force of thousands of brave souls
martyrs with no statues to them anonymous this hill they hold
biding their time in silence until their drums again will roll
Black Hills
it is in the darkness of their eyes that men get lost
the quest for gold can not out weigh the quest for truth without a cost
protect us oh Great Spirit help us seek the shining star

Listen to the heart
there is only one heart
we are all related
listen to the heart
Track Name: Return of the Buffalo
Return of the Buffalo

Just before the last herds were destroyed
a silent film director filled a ship with buffalo
bound for Catalina, to star in a movie show
but no one ever thought to bring them home

the return of the buffalo
like the sound of thunder on the prairie wind
the herds like blood
flowing ‘round the black heart of America

they grazed and lived their lives
and soon their numbers grew
they overran their new island home
the years ticked by, as the herds multiplied
they needed prairie grass and room to roam

the return of the buffalo
like the sound of thunder on the prairie wind
the herds like blood
flowing ‘round the black heart of America

the vanishing american
was the film they had a role in
but when the final cut came in
there was no sign of them

as the sage grows back, the prairie comes to life
that great ghost herd was returned just in time
when man is long forgotten, just a shadow on the land
there will be peace and bounty where the buffalo stand

the return of the buffalo
like the sound of thunder on the prairie wind
the herds like blood
flowing ‘round the black heart of America
Track Name: Hope Machine - Sundancer
Sundancer

you can tear down the mountains and blacken the sky
you can silence my language and take away my fire
still I survive
I was here before you came, I was given this land
these hills and plains know the feel of my hand
still I survive
the wind in this land whispers my people's name
the echoes of my dreams return with the rain
still I survive
you can slander my customs and categorize
assimilate me, make me stand in line
still I survive

I was born with the wind, I've been here since the beginning
the same wind this very moment whispering my name

the bones in my face testify
the scars on my chest cannot lie
Sundancer... sundancer... sundancer...

passed down through the ages- the sweet grass and sage
my grandfathers grandfathers secrets will remain
still I survive
bled into the soil beneath my feet
when I dance these memories come back to me
still I survive
the pain and sacrifice awaken me
Sundancer-setting my people free
still I survive

the bones in my face testify
the scars on my chest cannot lie
Sundancer... sundancer... sundancer... sundancer
Sundancer... sundancer... sundancer...
Track Name: Divided We Die
Divided We Die

On a mountain of sorrow looking down on a country
dark clouds gather like vultures in wait
upon the cold wings of the last golden eagle
we live or we die defending our love

with power and pen all death and destruction
is cast down to those who carry the load
to take away life and any remembrance
of what a man was before he believed

I am the wolf, I am the warrior
I fight for my family, I fight to survive
have you forgotten that I am your brother?
together we live, divided we die

where is the air that carries all memories?
where is the air that all things can breathe?
if it is true that all life is sacred
why is it so hard defending our love?

bloody the path of war torn survivors
broken and mangled and childless and lost
all for some other man's fear and addiction
what is the price of your brother's life?

I am the wolf, I am the warrior
I fight for my family, I fight to survive
have you forgotten that I am your brother?
together we live, divided we die
Track Name: Hope Machine - Martyrs of the Native Nations
Martyrs Of The Native Nations

Will The Circle Be Unbroken
By and by Lord, by and by
there's a better world a-waiting
in the sky Lord, in the sky

We've got Custer and Woodrow Wilson
their names are carved in our school walls
but where is Big Foot, where is Chief Joseph
their names aren't mentioned in those halls

Chorus
Will the circle be unbroken
by and by Lord, by and by
Martyrs of the native nations
don't make history when they die

From Carolina to Oklahoma
my people walked the trail of tears
but in my high school and my church pulpit
their story not once did I hear

Now we've got redskins, Redmen and Indians
and seminoles and chiefs and braves
I'd like to see a tribe called the white guys
get their ass kicked on opening day
CHORUS

Wounded kneee was called a battle
even though one side was unarmed
what do we getif we lie about it
no one can say how we'll be harmed

CHORUS

America the beautiful, Oh Canada glorious and free
unless you are a native of them
and then you'd better find someplace else to be