"I Hear Them All" as written by and Jay Keith Secor David Rawlings....
I hear the crying of the hungry in the deserts where they're wandering.
Hear them crying out for heaven's own benevolence upon them.
Hear destructive power prevailing, I hear fools falsely hailing.
To the crooked wits of tyrants when they call.

I hear them all
I hear them all
I hear them all

I hear the sounds of tearing pages and the roar of burning paper.
All the crimes in acquisitions turn to air and ash and vapor.
And the rattle of the shackle far beyond emancipators.
And the loneliest who gather in their stalls.

I hear them all
I hear them all
I hear them all

So while you sit and whistle Dixie with your money and your power.
I can hear the flowers a-growin' in the rubble of the towers.
I hear leaders quit their lying
I hear babies quit their crying.

I hear soldiers quit their dying, one and all.

I hear them all
I hear them all
I hear them all

I hear the tender words from Zion, I hear Noah's waterfall.
Hear the gentle lamb of Judah sleeping at the feet of Buddha.
And the prophets from Elijah to the old Paiute Wovoka.
Take their places at the table when they're called.

I hear them all
I hear them all
I hear them all
I hear them all
I hear them all
I hear them all
I hear them all
I hear them all
I hear them all


Lyrics submitted by ThePeoplesHero

"I Hear Them All" as written by N Rawlings Ketch Secor

Lyrics © Downtown Music Publishing

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  • +2
    General CommentThis song is beautiful.... really I get two interpretations and I do not know if this is intentional, but here it goes:

    First I hear the religious interpretation. the chorus "I hear them all" soounds like a very omnipresent line over and over again.... like a god hearing the cries of the people. He hears the wrongs committed and the cries of people who believe in tyrants. He has always heard history, the biblical figures and continues to hear the cries of people. With clear imagery of nazi book burnings, biblical events, and even 911. I love the line of growing flowers in the rubble of the towers. A clear allusion to the fallen trade towers, and the moments in time where the digging stopped to listen for survivors... a powerful image.

    The second less religious interpretation, is that of almost a musical history. Music has always echoed history and historical events, whether they be biblical events or more modern events. Music hears history and records. So much of music has centered around the bible.... and it has recorded the civile war as mentioned through dixie, the cruel wits of tryants, and 911... this is a record of history through music... and it is beautiful. Music hears everything, just as the chorus indicates. Listen. Hear. History is being recorded in this song.
    hobsonecwagneron April 29, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI like this song for two reasons. Firstly, verses one through three, while they can be interpreted as relevant to specific moment in history, can be viewed in a very general and universal sense. And second, the last verse combines many modern religions into one general faith. This, to me, suggests that they are all means to the same end.

    The first two lines of verse one kind of sum up the plight of all the religious groups mentioned in verse four. The Jews following Moses through the desert for forty years is the most obvious interpretation. However the Native Americans being cast out of their homes, and Buddhists being persecuted in China, are both similar in nature. The second half recognizes that these trials and tribulations were brought upon by leaders within and outside of said groups. Also it paints a grim outlook on the future.

    The second verse confirms this outlook by referencing events such as the Nazi book burnings that hobsonecwagner mentioned above. This whole verse has a WWII feel to it with the references to fire and burning in line two. The crematoriums in the Nazi concentration camps also come to mind here. The third line brings to mind an image of prisoners in said camps who feel that rescue is hopeless because their "emancipators," i.e. the allies, are so far away. Once again, however, due to some brilliant writing, other less obvious interpretations can be made that tie in to verse four. The burning, pillaging, or capture of Native American homesteads come to mind. Also the iconic image of the burning Buddhist monk on the streets of Saigon who was protesting the persecution of his people is relevant.

    After this we have a harp solo that paves the way for the more hopeful part of the song. While those with the gold continue to nonchalantly screw things up, people start to get wise. The flower reference is a reference to peace. So the song is saying that the narrator is finally seeing some peace come from the September 11 attacks. That peace is illustrated by the remainder of the third verse and brought about by the circumstances in the fourth verse. All religions put aside their differences and unite. Eating together in the biblical sense was a sign of trust and fellowship. So when all these iconic figures of Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity, and Native American religions eat together, it symbolizes unity.

    All together this song uses historical and biblical references, both direct and indirect, to relate to more modern emotions. Emotions that were felt very strongly, as is reflected in the video, during and after Hurricane Katrina.
    uneasyrideron July 14, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI like the imagery that is given throughout the song. First, you have the "hungry". Hungry for not just food, but for spiritual enlightenment. They cry to heaven for answers and blessings, but they settle for a tyrant. The tyrants offer them what they have been looking for, but it is false or corrupted.

    The second verse makes me think of the Nazi party and the book burnings. The image of thoughts and words silenced by the flames, the oppressed beyond hope of a hero to save them.

    Then the singer challenges the tyrants, proclaiming their eventual fall.

    Finally, The gathering of true spiritual leaders, people who will show the way.
    ThePeoplesHeroon April 20, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Comment It sounds to me like a lesson in history , as does a few of their songs ( James River Blues, Virginia Creeper). They are flat out GREAT song writers. In a way , Old Crow has a way of taking all of the good and all of the bad , and making a GREAT.

    I hear them saying thank-you to all of history good and bad. We learn from all lessons our lives and others lives through-out history. They are teachers themselves.

    This song spurred me on to look up the Paiute Wovoka, who's story woke up something in me that I feel now( I live in the Sierra Nevadas myself), an interconnectedness with these people, a warm and touching feeling, sad yes , but wonderful just the same. We are all ONE. Wovoka in his dream , saw all past Paiutes being resurrected to return to their land that had been taken from them, thats beautiful. Although discounted through history, and lost for many years, his story might just be true, in that the melding of man-kinds religions(Wovoka was raised by both Paiute and American/Christian families), is the key to our survival. Old Crow says it here, we all sit together at the same table, when God calls our name.

    Old Crow is able to connect with history unlike a lot of other "old-timey" kind of bands. They have the Oneness covered here , for sure.
    skichzon July 08, 2010   Link
  • 0
    My Interpretationbeautiful. both heartbreaking and hopeful. i believe "I hear the crying of the hungry in the deserts where they're wandering" can also be referring to the staggering numbers of deaths of illegals trying to cross the mexican border. some ranchers put out water for them but still find bodies. (i live in texas.)
    blwillardon November 03, 2014   Link
  • -1
    General CommentAbout how the poor are not heard in government.
    Katrina is an example of government being here to help society, yet government feels at most times not to get involved unless they will get the attention they desire.

    So while you sit and whistle Dixie with your money and your power. (While you Act like your innocent)
    I can hear the flowers a-growin in the rubble of the towers. (Beauty is emerging from the 911 WTC attacks)
    I hear leaders quit their lying
    I hear babies quit their crying.
    I hear soldiers quit their dying, one and all.

    He also hears all different faiths coming together to realize the true pacifism and humanity between them. I like how he didnt mention Muslims!


    Very hopeful song. This dude hears the bullshit from leaders but also the sorrows from poverty and thinks he hears justice coming. Hope coming.

    Like trials and troubles or All my Trials by Nick Drake.
    adoyle3on November 17, 2008   Link

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