"Devil's Elbow" as written by and Colin Meloy....
Stranded at the light house
I think I saw my sister there
Oregon in light house
We are conjuring the surf and waves

A path to reach the alcove 
And me barefoot far behind 
Passing by the white house 
An old man was mowing his lawn 

And when I woke were still present in my mind
It was some dream
Some dream

Matthew lead the consort
We all stoned in disbelief
Clambered up the hillside
And I am cursing my naked feet

There above the ridge-line
Amidst the plants so overgrown
A cavern mouth and trailway
We all crouched the capered through

And at the end there was a hole through which we looked
To such heights
To such heights
It was some dream


Lyrics submitted by toadtws

Devil's Elbow song meanings
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5 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentI got a recording of Colin playing this live at the 9:30 club...So amazingly breathtaking.
    ABookOnAShelfon March 19, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentDevil's Elbow is a scenic point on the Oregon coast. And I do dearly love this song!
    toadtwson September 27, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is spectacular, and I can't believe I waited so long to listen to Tarkio. I should've known that it would've been amazing.
    Lightbluenesson October 05, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentYep, Oregon coastline. I'd like to go someday! This is one of the best Tarkio songs, and its damn good acoustic, too.
    Shin-iteon February 04, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAbsolutely beautiful. Even more beautiful is Colin singing it live - slower, more tender and passionate. The lyrics are simple but beautiful nonetheless - reminds me of Iron & Wine's effortless and simple poetic prose, although his songs are often layered with meaning. Devil's Elbow, to me, can be read and understood at face value. The title of the song is a scenic point along Oregon's coast. The line: "We are conjuring the surf and waves" - Defined, conjuring is the calling upon a devil or spirit by spell, but in this case, the waves - as if the characters in this song are summoning the waves themselves. I think this ties into the title of the song - Devil's Elbow - obviously a scenic viewpoint, but the line illustrates a double meaning.

    Matthew led the group. They are exploring this place. He makes simple observations - an old man mowing his lawn, his bare feet a nuisance as he treks the trail. They find the entrance to a cave and enter it. I think the line is supposed to be: "We crouched AND capered through" - which would make more sense - crouched to get into the cave and scamper through it until they reach the end ("and at the end there was a hole through which we looked, to such heights, it was some dream") - they emerge high up, overlooking the coast, taking it all in and it is breathtaking, like a dream.

    Whoever says music isn't good anymore, this song is just one example of all the reasons they are wrong. Love love love this song and Tarkio.
    seabearhairon May 20, 2016   Link

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