• 01 How You Heal
  • 02 Middle Age Cowboy
  • 03 Highway to Nogales
  • 04 Twenty and Cowboy
  • 05 American Blue Eyes
  • 06 Fair Weather Cowboy
  • 07 The Mountain is my Mistress
  • 08 Mono
  • 09 The Dell
  • 10 Cowgirl Dreams
  • 11 Momma Bear
  • 12 The Houndsman
  • 13 She Could've Married A Cowboy
  • 14 Knight On A White Horse
  • 15 A Better Friend
  • 16 Wolf Reaper

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How You Heal
Verse 1:
You could see the hurt in the cowboy’s eyes
Like a thunderhead in a clear blue sky
Twas a lonesome winter and a cold late Spring
Now it’s time to heal when the grass turns green

At the brandin’ pen ‘neath the snowy peak
On the reservoir road toward Otter Creek
Swing a leg on a bronc; feel the mountain wind
Build a big wide loop and let the fun begin

That’s how you heal a cowboy’s heart
Drag a slick new calf to the brandin’ fire
Thank the Lord above that you’re where you are
That’s how you heal a cowboy’s heart

Verse 2:
He was his youngest son; he was a damn good hand
He was just a boy but so much a man
And there will always be an emptiness inside
All a man can do is saddle up and ride

Repeat Chorus

There is healing in the mountain’s church
There is peace for the hearts that hurt
There are pardners all you that you can and cannot see
Taste the dust, smell the sage, let it be

Final Verse
In the rearview mirror as you drive away
Stands a memory of a sacred day
A field of branded calves means a brand new start
That’s how you heal a cowboy’s heart
That’s how you heal a cowboy’s heart

Middle Age Cowboy
Verse 1
Doin’ what he can to survive chasin’ his tail from 9 to five he’s gonna go to a rodeo on the weekend
He married a girl from in town she swore that she’d settle him down but he’s got a wild side and a desire to ride that won’t end
And he’s too much in the bottle and he’s way too into cattle
And he’s tryin’ to be a father but when he’s six feet in the saddle

He’s a modern day middle aged cowboy
He’s caught ‘n’ dallied hard to his glory days
Ropin’ and ridin’ while his whole life goes glidin’ by him
Better to burn out than fade away
He’s just a modern day middle aged cowboy

Verse 2:
She wants him to build a new house He wants to buy some more cows and build a few new stalls on the barn for his new horses
She wants to travel someday, he wants to take her away to some old rodeo somewhere they’re on separate courses
And she’s too much in his business and he won’t ever listen
She’s swears that she’ll be gone by Christmas he promises she’ll miss him

Repeat Chorus

Instrumental Final

Chorus Breakdown

First Half

Highway to Nogales
On the highway to Nogales in the Arizona rain
On the way to Hermosillo with a kilo of cocaine

My name is Milo Thomsey I’m a cowboy from Killeen
On the Arizona desert I have worked since seventeen
But the Drug-Lords and Banditos have a ransom on my life
And I will gladly pay to save my children and my wife
The border men and Sheriff they were nowhere to be found
When the son of Escondido fell into the creek and drowned
I rode and tried to save him as I dug his shallow grave
Another smuggler saw me and now I’m the one they blame

Was an old retired bandito used to cowboy on the Bell
He was brought up in the shanties and his childhood days were Hell
So he worked for Escondido bringing drugs across the line
‘Til he swore a vow of silence if he smuggled one last time
And he told me they would kill him if I told them how I found
The home of Escondido and his Becatate compound
So I’m bound for Hermasillo with his money and his drugs
Only God now can deliver through the border and his thugs

I told her I was leavin’ and she knew I had to go
Our lives and half-blood children would be gone like desert snow
I gave her all the money that I had left to my name
Said “If you don’t make it to Prescott then my life will be in vain”
I filled up the gas tank of my beat-up dirty truck
And looked deep into her dark eyes one more time for better luck
I’ll see my love in Prescott or else on the other side
Then I steeled myself to take this midnight ride

At the iron gates of the compound by the high adobe wall
I recalled the son of ‘Dido how made his fatal fall
As the gates began to open and I slowly made it through
The guards were all around me and a rifle butt came through
The shattered glass and shouting was the last thing I recall
Til I woke ten hours later on a cold adobe wall
And sitting there before me in a three-piece linen suit
Was the man called Escondido wearin’ alligator boots

So I told him what had happened and that I was all alone
When the cut-bank broke beneath his son and turned him into stone
I did not tell the lawmen and I’d never tell a soul
The drugs that I’ve returned to you are a token of my role
And I give my fate to you now but I beg you for the life
Of my black-hair, brown-eyed daughters and my sweet Apache wife
And the room it turned to silence but the pounding of my head
And I stared at Escondido for I knew that I was dead

Then he said I built a business out of honor and I see
That a man of honor hangs here on the wall in front of me
I will give you life and freedom and the lives of those you love
And you make your vow of silence and you never more speak of
The son of Escondido and my Becatate home
The bravery you’ve shown by coming here alone
Then they drove me to the desert with a band around my eyes
And I burned three days and wandered neath the Becatate skies

On the highway from Nogales through the Arizona rain
From the Becatate Mountains where a man could go insane
In the back of an old pickup with Tequila in a crate
I am thinking of my family and my miracle of fate
There’s a .45 colt pistol in my jeans upon its end
And a black-eyed girl in Prescott that I long to see again
And the sky is hot and empty out upon the desert ground
And the wheels upon the highway make a lonesome dreary sound

Twenty and Cowboy
Verse 1:
Somewhere tonight on Big D Double L
You’re watchin’ the sun goin’ down
There’s a chill comin’ on but the fire’s burnin’ well
As you look out across hallowed ground

There’s a coyote dancin’ along Mackie Draw
There’s a Golden Hawk perched on the wire
There’s a bedroll a waitin’ for your head to fall
As you stare deep into the campfire

And I’ve been camped where you are
And I’ve wished upon the same star
And I would give every last penny I’ll spend
If I could be twenty and cowboy again

Verse 2:
On an old Textan saddle with no buckin’ rolls
And a hand me down shank snaffle bit
And a rawhide reata that’s too long to hold
And a pair of old chinks that don’t fit

It’s seventeen miles from the Highway across
To the head of the summertime range
And there’s no one but you and the crew and the boss
And there’s nowhere to hide if it rains

Repeat Chorus:

I’ve got a place of my own And I’ve got a woman I love And I am never alone But sometimes that just isn’t enough

Final Chorus

American Blue Eyes
Verse 1:
American blue eyes take me away on the wings of a sweet memory
On a hot summer night off of old Combe road where your love like the wind flowed free
I was chasin’ a dream I was chasin’ my tail I was playin’ your heart all the while
And you were in love but I didn’t care lovin’ one girl wasn’t my style

On a faraway star I send up a wish
That I could turn back the time somehow
I told you that I didn’t love you back then
And I don’t love you now
I still don’t love you now

Verse 2:
American blue eyes I’m so far away from the wild one I used to be
On a cold winter night twenty years down the road with a job and family
I’m still chasin’ a dream and still chasin’ my tail now I’ve laid everything on the line
Is it you that I miss and your innocent love or the freedom that I left behind?

Repeat Chorus

Still see you cryin’ in that cold September rain
And neither one of us has ever been the same Verse 3:
American blue eyes take me away on the wings of a sweet memory
On a hot summer night off of old Combe road where you told me you’d always love me
You swore that you’d always love me

Fair Weather Cowboy
Verse 1:
I’m just a fair weather cowboy
A top hand when it’s sunny warm and clear
I’ll be the wooliest wildest buckaroo
But only when the summertime is here, or near

When that big ol’ sky is bright and blue
I am the man you should employ
But I’ll be gone when that autumn wind blows through
Cause I’m just a fair weather cowboy

Verse 2:
My ol’ hoss is cowhorse born ‘n’ bred
He likes draggin’ calves and ropin’ steers
He’ll sort and gather in beautiful weather
Then turn out to pasture for nine months of the year

Long as it ain’t dusty dry and hot
Ridin’ him is fundamental joy
We’ll give you ev’rything we got if it ain’t rainin’
Cause I’m just a fair weather cowboy

Verse 3:
If you ask me them cowpokes they’re all crazy
To sit upon a horse out in the rain
If it was me I’d go in and watch a western movie
And lament how I am just like old John Wayne when its sunny

Cause when that big ol’ sky is bright and blue
I am the man you should employ
But I’ll be gone when that autumn wind blows through
Cause I’m just a fair weather cowboy
Cause I’m just a fair weather cowboy

The Mountain is My Mistress
Verse 1:
I could see the longing look in your eyes
This morning when I kissed you all goodnight
And I know you want and need me here at home
And you wonder why I leave you all alone

The mountain is my mistress
And she’ll always come between us
And I’m wrapped inside her arms tonight
In this Idaho wilderness
I’m faithful to you more or less
But I’ve gotta get this off my chest
It’s somethin’ girl you’ll just have to accept
The mountain is my mistress

Verse 2:
There are some things that are too hard to explain
And I never meant to cause you so much pain
And I know that it’s not right to lead her on
But with the changin’ of the weather I’ll be gone

Repeat Chorus

And I know that she’s tearing us apart
And it’s killin’ me to know that I am breakin’ your heart

Final Chorus

Mono was the smallest of the foals that year don’t know how he stayed alive
Early spring blizzards kept the snow deep here yet somehow he survived
We had to separate him from the broodmare herd
He would’ve starved to death out on that lower third
And he was thin boned and pigeon toed but gentle in his eyes
And somehow he survived

I started Mono in the Spring of 95 I was seventeen and he was two
I’d work him from the ground and then I’d steal a ride he was learnin’ I was too
He bucked me off in the round pen once or twice
Stepped on my hand once and we fell down on the ice
But he started growin’ and his feet got straight and true
He was learnin’ I was too

We gathered cattle for the Bar B in the fall I rode him hard every day
Through shale rock canyons he gave his all and just got better in every way
He’d pin back his ears and bite an ornery cow
He was ready next mornin’ to go again somehow
And by the time the winter came I can honestly say
We were one in every way

I started college that semester in the Spring little Mono stayed at home
I rode Mono every night in my dreams while he waited all alone
I came home and branded cattle for my Dad
Little Mono gave me everything he had
When I went back to school again it hurt me to the bone
Little Mono stayed home

I met a girl that year and we fell in love and got married in the Fall
Goin’ to school and workin’ there was never time to ride little Mono at all
I sold him to a cowboy on the ALL
Heard Mono slipped and broke his neck when they fell
And now every time I saddle up a horse I can recall
How little Mono gave his all

I am a father now and life is hard and fast chasin’ children and their dreams
This world is changin’ and I long for the past and a simpler life or so it seems
I think of ridin’ Girtsen canyon in the Fall
I think of little Mono and how he gave his all
And I can’t find the words to say how much that memory means
But I still ride him in my dreams

The Dell
Verse 1:
It’s a little like Heaven south of the Dell
In the middle of April though you’re a hundred hard miles from Hell
And the mayhem traffic and the urban yell
Fades into silence south of the Dell

In a bar top trailer there’s a range bred horse
He’s a half blood mustang; he’s a wild unyielding force
When you start to gather you begin to gel
But it can get a little western south of the Dell

Chorus 1:
If it rains all night it’ll be dry by noon
There’s a strange blue light ‘neath the last blood moon
And the bawlin’ babies brand-burned to Hell
Like a choir from Heaven south of the Dell

Verse 2:
Dust devil goes dancin’ cross the Valley of the Skull
Toss a wind-burned penny down a dry stock well
Push a first-calf heifer to the brandin’ pen
To the edge of the world and back again

Chorus 2:
If it rains all night it’ll be dry by noon
There’s a strange blue light ‘neath the last blood moon
And your circlin’ pardners man they ride so well
They’re a picture of heaven south of the Dell

Cedar Mountains heal me hold me in your dry and barren hands
Urban poisons kill me; transfuse me with the blood of the land
Final Verse:
Take a drag on the free wind south of the Dell
If you don’t make it back again I’ll see you in Hell
On the eastbound freeway through the urban yell
Heaven will be waitin’ south of the Dell

Cowgirl Dreams
Verse 1:
Well you’re up before the sun workin’ hard on an old rail line
Life’s got you on the run always broke always runnin’ behind
And you’re upside down in an LQ trailer
Rather live in town than ever fail her
Brother I know just what it means

To be chasin’ cowgirl dreams
And there ain’t no in between
Win or lose it’s the road you choose
To be the best Father you can be
Everytime she spreads her wings
You’re chasin’ cowgirl dreams

Verse 2:
She’s got your same blue eyes but even brighter on a buckskin mare
And like a golden hawk she flies with the wind through her long blonde hair
And you’re upside down in love with the girl
With the breakaway rope she’s the center of your world
And brother I know just what it means

Repeat Chorus

So run like a train my friend
Saddle up when you get back home
Never doubt yourself again my friend
You are not alone

Verse 3:
When winter comes again and the rodeo season’s done
You can take a little time off then knowin’ she is the only one
That could ever tame an old bronc fighter
Whisky bended roughstock rider
Brother that’s you in a tighter pair of jeans

Final Chorus

Mama Bair
Verse 1:
Fightin’ cancer, fight the weather, fight the law, find the answers to the questions of life
Sunday mornin’ at the Gypsum Ward find the Lord as a sheep rancher’s wife
Raisin’ sons, raisin’ daughters, raisin’ Hell when they fell short of what she expects
Changin’ times, changin’ weather, changin’ ways, just ain’t nothin’ she could ever accept

And that Colorado highway ain’t a likely home
For a woman and a family livin’ there
She’s got a heart of gold and a will that’s made of stone
And you don’t ever mess with Mama Bair
Don’t try to second guess my Mama Bair

Verse 2:
There’s a new snow fallin’ on a cold November morn’ and a cowboy haulin’ bucks straight through the storm
She can hear him callin’ from a broken mobile phone so she sets out to save him all alone
Raisin’ lambs, raisin’ grandkids raisin’ hay ain’t the easy way to live but you find love
In the sacred land, and in the children that you raise, in the sheep and on the mountain above

Repeat Chorus

Verse 3:
Takin’ chemo and takin’ it like a man helps you understand your precious life
Back to the ranch to see if you can make a hand standin’ strong as a sheep rancher’s wife
Raisin’ sons, raisin’ daughters, raisin’ Hell when they fall short of what she expects
But you’ll find love a deep and neverending well in the heart of this woman of the west

Final Chorus

The Houndsman
Verse 1:
You’ll search forever for tracks in the snow
Waiting for winter ‘til it’s time to go
You’ll leave a good woman; take a good dog and horse
Leave her to worry all day and all night without remorse

New snow has fallen upon blood red cliffs
The mountains stand silent; the air clean and crisp
The bay of the walker is a song to your heart
That beats like a war drum every time you hear the song start

So Houndsman keep ridin’; away from your demons
The times they are changin’; you’re still up there dreamin’
These mountains and canyons that you love the most
Are dark and enchanted; you’re chasing a ghost

Verse 2:
They don’t understand you and they never will
The thrill of the chase is more than the kill
It’s something inside you that you can’t explain
It’s deeper than love, what love that you’ve known; it’s sharper than pain

Repeat Chorus

And freedom waits behind locked gates
The cattle are gone; the whole world’s movin’ on
It’s wild open country that you know so well
These mountains are haunted-but they’re Heaven
The cities are Hell

Final Chorus

She Could’ve Married A Cowboy
Verse 1:
She wrote him and told him goodbye
While he was off servin’ a mission
He came home and went back to cowboyin’
Now she’s forty years old and still wishin’
When dawn breaks tomorrow on Utah
He’ll saddle up once again
Hit that long trot through the canyon
She’ll wake up a wonderin’ about him

Singin’ I could’ve married a cowboy
But I broke a good cowboy’s heart
Now whenever I pass Heiner Canyon
I wonder where and how on earth you are
The life that I chose is a good one
But between all the pain and the joy
I guess that I’ll always wonder how it would be
If I married a cowboy

Verse 2:
At the twenty year high school reunion
She put on her best Sunday dress
She waited but he never came
Too busy out tamin’ the west I guess
The old flame burned down to ashes
And ashes blow hard on the wind
She longingly woke up the next mornin’ after
A wonderin’ and wishin’ again

Repeat Chorus

Knight On A White Horse
Verse 1:
There’s a knight on a white horse ridin’
Through the day and the dark to get home
From the battlegrounds where he was fightin’
To the woman he left waitin’ alone

There’s a cold hard wind upon his shoulder
There’s a ragin’ storm across the plain
There are mountains and deserts left to cross
Before he sees her again

Like the knight on the white horse ridin’
There is nothin’ in the world I wouldn’t do
For the hope and the promise of this family
I will always make it home to you
I will always come back home to you

Verse 2:
And I know you’ll be up all night a waitin’
Wonderin’ how I’ll make it home alive
Thinkin’ only the worst of news is comin’
Hopin’ and prayin’ I’ll survive

But the white knight wields the sword of God
And Faith is his everlasting shield
Love is his shining suit of armor
And a soldier’s heart is made of iron will

Repeat Chorus:

Bound by love that is Eternal
Sealed by promises we’ve made
There are legions of Angels all around us
That listen close to every word you pray

Final Verse:
There’s a knight on a white horse ridin’
Through the day and the dark to get home
From the battlegrounds where he was fightin’
To the woman he left waitin’ all alone

A Better Friend
Verse 1:
Through the phone I can hear the pain inside your voice
The same I’ve heard inside my own when I didn’t have a choice
You say the years and long hard miles have fin’ly taken their toll
Nowadays you come down hard when you used to tuck ‘n’ roll
Wild colts and lightnin’ bolts still dance inside your mind
But when a storm breaks loose on a young cayuse you’re just step behind

But I know who you are
And I know there’ll never be
A better man, a better hand, a better friend to me

Verse 2:
I listen to the stories of your life out in these hills
And through your eyes I always find a little iron will
To stand against the winds of change and go the extra mile
To treat my fellow man in kind with an honest word and smile
And sink a spur even when it hurts and always do my best
Never be afraid to wear my heart out on my chest

Repeat Chorus

Ain’t it time for some else to ride them green-broke colts
Take some time out for yourself and the woman that you hold
She’s got a heart of gold

Verse 3:
So take the easy trail back home there’s nothin’ left to prove
Wannabees like me come free but there’s damn few left like you
Sell your colts and your broken bones and buy a grown up horse
There’s no shame in givin’ in as nature takes its course
Wild colts and lightnin’ bolts still dance inside your mind
There’s a man looks just like you ropin’ mustangs inside mine

Final Chorus

Wolf Reaper
Verse 1:
Well the battle of the wolves is on
The north woods is their home
Where the Wapiti and Shiras used to run
They were once many thousand strong
Now the black bear is all but gone
And who will save the West there is but one

From deep in the Bitteroot Range
To the tips of the Selway Crags
The ghost wolf reaper rides his secret line
In those dark black timbered hills
He studies old wolf kills
Trying to restore what’s yours and mine

OOOOOh Ahhhhh Somewhere the ghost wolf reaper rides
OOOOOh Ahhhhh Until the last damn gray wolf cries

Verse 2:
You’ll never hear his name
He searches not for fame
For he’s seen the cow and calf elk on the run
Brought down in their own blood
To drown in crimson mud
And he won’t stop until the war is won

Think of him what you will
A man that lives to kill
Or is he more a man that lives to save
The last great roaming herds
Of wild things on the earth
What forty years of conservation gave

Repeat Chorus

And as another wolf pack cries
Their chorus sounds like demons in the night
Politicians sold on lies
But the west will not go down without a fight
Final Chorus

HOW YOU HEAL is the twelfth original studio album from Cowboy Singer/Songwriter Brenn Hill. Inspired by a life in and a love of the West, Hill continues to give great insight to the indomitable spirit of the Cowboy and the high and lonesome corners of the last American frontiers.

Surrounded by some of the music industry’s finest instrumentalists, Brenn’s confident performances reflect an undeniable passion for his music and the people and places that inspire him. The title track, “How You Heal”, is a poignant tribute to a Utah Ranch Family reeling in the wake of tragedy. In its haunting refrain, we learn “how you heal a cowboy’s heart”. There is “healing in the mountain’s church” and “peace for the hearts that hurt”. It is the song that Brenn calls his “greatest work yet.”

“Modern-Day, Middle-Age Cowboy” is a tribute to the forty-something cowboys that are torn between the life they long to live and the obligations of a growing family. “Twenty and Cowboy” is a look back at the wonder and optimism that a young cowboy experiences as he hires on for his first job in the saddle. “The Highway To Nogales” is the story of a brave cowboy’s desperate plea to a Mexican Drug Lord and his odyssey through the Sonoran Desert. “Mono” gives insight to the depth and strength of the kinship between a cowboy and his working partner – the horse. “Knight On a White Horse” honors fatherhood and the integrity of family, while “Wolf Reaper” and “The Houndsman” give real insight to the men who spend their winters chasing the great predators of the West.

HOW YOU HEAL is a recording that covers a broad range of themes, none more prominent than a pure love of the land. It is both a look back and forward from an artist that knows what it takes to survive, thrive, and find love in the rugged and beautiful mountains and plains of the American West. Order your CD today!

CUT-BY-CUT (The story behind the songs)

01 How You Heal
 There’s a set of corrals at the bottom of Otter Creek that’s full of calves in the Spring. The Weston Family invited me to the brandin’ pen just a few months after losing one of their own in a truck rollover accident. “A field of branded calves” meant a brand new start for a significant Utah ranching family. It was a day I’ll never forget.
02 Middle Age Cowboy
 For my friends that refuse to put down the rope at any cost…this song is a tribute to the “modern day, middle-age cowboy.”
03 Highway to Nogales
 This one is spun from a book I read and the tales I’ve been told by ranchers and cowpokes on the Southern Arizona border. A Texas-raised puncher makes a brave delivery to save his family from a ruthless drug Lord. Think this never happened…?
04 Twenty and Cowboy
 We sent our oldest son off to Deseret Land & Livestock for an adventure with the Hooper 3rd Ward. It was his first trip to the mountains by himself and on top of being a little nervous about it, a part of me really wanted to be there. This song takes a look back at when I was Twenty and Cowboy.
05 American Blue Eyes
 On a cold winter night I found myself rolling along “Old Combe Road” in South Ogden remembering warm summer nights and a teenage romance. Oh how O-town has changed…
06 Fair Weather Cowboy
These days, it takes a little more than a good mount to make me a helluva hand.
07 The Mountain is My Mistress
The time I spend away from my family on the road is one thing, but to turn around and leave again the name of R&D is a hard sell sometimes. This one is a confession of sorts I guess. And may there always be another adventure.
08 Mono
Always in my dreams I’m on a little brown and white paint. He’s older now and a little less prone to booger. The weather is always good and it’s just me and my old pard and there’s nothin’ to do but ride.
09 The Dell
The Dell is one of the last exits before the salt flats out on I-80. The range stretches far to the south below the old cedar mountain range. The corrals by the highway are a good place to brand. The blood moon phase sheds an eerie light across the valley.
10 Cowgirl Dreams
Quinn Stark has appeared in more than a couple of my tunes. He’s a former rough stock rider and all around good guy. I nominate him for Jr High School rodeo Dad of the century.
11 Mama Bair
The Bair family ranches just east of Glenwood Springs. To know them is to love them. Mama Bair takes her shot of chemo and heads back to the ranch to make a hand. There’s a load of grit and love in her heart. She is a true woman of the west and the Bair ranch will always offer you a good adventure. www.highcanyonranch.com
12 The Houndsman
My cousin and a couple of my closest friends spend a good chunk of their winters chasing mountain lions. This song commemorates some great times on the mountain looking for tracks and listening for the bay of an old hound dog. Bring on the winter.
13 She Could’ve Married A Cowboy
When ‘Little Isaac’ left for his mission, I asked him if he had a girlfriend. We were looking down over China Town into Toone Canyon. It was his last day in the saddle on the range before he left for Philadelphia. And the rest is history.
14 Knight On A White Horse
With so much controversy surrounding the legal definition of the family, I set out with pen and guitar in hand to confirm my stance on this issue. My beautiful wife and family are the greatest gift God ever gave to me.
15 A Better Friend
When Briggs was “in-the-stuff” and on his back in the hospital, legendary cowboy and packer Ross Knox called about every other day to check on him. A few years down the road, after a bad wreck, I could hear a similar pain in Ross’s voice when I called to check on him.
16 Wolf Reaper
The ‘northern woods’ refers to the Selway-Bitterroot, the Kootenai, and the other mountain ranges of the west that have been wrongfully infested with a larger more aggressive Canadian Gray Wolf. Ranges that once were teeming with large ungulates are now quiet and empty as the packs enlarge and run deeper into the timber. But those who live there know the legend of one who rides to save the west.