"Evergreen" as written by and Joe Tanner....
I was wielding my axe drunk whisky at the bar every night coming home
Out of the windshield of my car
I would look through the boughs and think I saw my lucky star.
I was spreading my sheets took dinner all alone every night of the week
Awaiting by the phone
And I'd dab off my tears with my favorite pine cone.

Needle prick my spruce root
Dear little hemlock shoot
Make me stay sharp and keen, evergreen.

I would tend to my bees sell honey on the road every fall
In the wet watching lorries take their load
And I'd get all my winnings ask for special sap in code
In August for three weeks I'm back in the village
Where I clip all sorts of brambles and thorns from up the hill I pip
In a little clay cup the stuff I cross myself and sip.

Needle prick my spruce root
Dear little hemlock shoot
Make me stay sharp and keen, evergreen.
I was casting my line angling way the day.

The stream was swift, it was clear, out the light was getting gray.
I bent down by the thistle and thought of what it was I'd say.
Needle prick my spruce root
Dear little hemlock shoot
Make me stay sharp and keen, evergreen.

Lyrics submitted by Airyca

"Evergreen" as written by Joe Tanner

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Evergreen song meanings
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  • 0
    General Commentoh god. i was hoping anyone else had thoughts on this song.
    its my favorite on the EP but i am at a loss for words.
    tropical icelandon February 06, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love this song... but what does it meannnn???
    laurengrc08on May 10, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti'm not to sure, but i think the term 'evergreen' could be referring to the use of marijuana. when she sings 'make me stay sharp and kean evergreen'. There is also a lot of refrences to boughs, hemlock, .... and so on.... hmmmmm i love this song also.....
    mich23on July 18, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti love this song. Matt is a pretty good guitarist i suppose
    King of Some Islandon December 17, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentTo me, this song is about having hope and faith in something generally considered small and insignificant. Like a hemlock shoot to keep you at your best :)

    But that's just me.
    Groatogon August 11, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI was hoping there would be some interpretations for this as well. Here are some of my thoughts, though the lyrics only give us fragments . And I have no clue whether the band actually intended to say anything with the lyrics ... maybe they just wanted to tell a little impressionistic story. But anyway, here goes: Well, I don't think anyone mentioned this, but hemlock is a powerful poison. So potent that it was once used for executions (this is how Socrates was executed). So for me the chorus (Needle prick my spruce root, dear little hemlock shoot) has something to do with death, maybe a yearning for it, or a curiosity, but whatever it is, the narrator seems to be inviting it in some way. Not sure how this helps the narrator stay "sharp and keen." In my mind there is some element about wanting to feel connected to nature, maybe through death ,"returning to the soil." That last part might be a stretch, but I've always thought that staying "evergreen" has something to with wanting to feel connected to the nature, and specifically the trees.. I guess it could be ironic that he chops down trees for a living?

    If you want to go the drug interpretation route (not sure I do, but the 'needle prick' could be interpreted that way), it could connote injecting (literally or figuratively) some chemical into your body in order to make you "stay sharp and keen." But it's also like hemlock, a poison. It keeps you going, but it's also toxic, maybe metaphorically. He's "at the bar every night," so he could also be self-medicating with alcohol.

    So I've been saying "he" because I get the sense that the narrator is male: a lonesome lumberjack, riding (or driving) home from work or a bar and staring into the trees to look for his favorite star. The way the lyrics frame it, he seems very lonely ("all alone every night of the week"). Maybe he's grieving over someone. Something is definitely implied. He waits by the phone every night and cries. He's either waiting for some urgent news, or waiting to hear from someone. I tend to think the latter due to how his loneliness is emphasized in the lyrics. I also think it's someone specific, but it could be just anyone. Again, he seems very lonely. I do love the image of him dabbing his tears with the pinecone. Haha. And not just a pinecone, but his favorite pinecone. The guy has a favorite pinecone! It's just another connection to nature and trees and the whole "evergreen" theme. Again, it's just funny and somewhat ironic that he's a lumberjack yet simultaneously seems to appreciate trees so much that he would have a favorite pinecone.

    Apart from that, he live a solitary life of small tasks: making his bed, cooking dinner for himself, beekeeping, fishing, clipping brambles, sipping space tea from a clay cup? --- not sure about the "stuff" he puts in it, but that could be interpreted as a drug reference. Or it could be herbs from the forest. Or he could be slowly poisoning himself with hemlock. Hm. I mean, the lyrics do seem to say that he drinks whiskey every night, then comes home to sit by the phone and cry.

    Anyway , going with the hemlock/death theme from my first paragraph, at the end he's fishing, staring into the water. He's been fantasizing or at least thinking about death. He bends down to pick up a thistle and thinks about what he would say. Maybe to loved ones, if he were throw himself into that swift stream? That's how I think of it sometimes, but I'm also a relatively melancholic dude, so I may be projecting. Maybe it isn't that literal. Maybe he's just staring into the water wondering what it would be like to die, not necessarily in a self-inflicted fashion, what he would say. Or, maybe it's even simpler. Maybe he's thinking about that person from earlier who never calls ... and what he would actually say if she did. I'm assuming it's a she, but that's just how the story goes in my head.

    Anyway, hope some of this makes sense. Sorry it's so long.

    Killer song.
    NightNeverSleepson January 14, 2013   Link

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