"Cigarettes and Wine" as written by and Jason Isbell....
I saw her in Roosevelt Springs, where time doesn't touch anything
She never did say she could sing, but I figured it so
I needed some company then, not sisters or children or men
That's a hell of a spot to be in, but she put me in tow

Money and liquor and lust had taken my heart and my trust
I could see ashes and dust were headed my way
She tended bar in the town, her alto settled me down
I started hanging around, didn't need much to say

She smelled like cigarettes and wine
And she kept me happy all the time
I know that ain't much of a line
But it's the Gods' own truth
She lives down inside of me still
Rolled up like a twenty dollar bill
She left me alone with these pills
In the last of my youth

Wings on her shoulders and feet, a bar on Gethsemane Street
I took time to plan my retreat, and backed out the door
I must be attracted to those who've witnessed a man in the throes
of life that ain't grindstone to nose, but pedal to floor

She smelled like cigarettes and wine
And she kept me happy all the time
I know that ain't much of a line
But it's the Gods' own truth
She lives down inside of me still
Rolled up like a twenty dollar bill
She left me alone with these pills
In the last of my youth

Lost on the dry side of town, my memories slowing me down
She shook me and I came around, I came back to life
With nary a mother or dad she showed me what I never had
The princess of leaves, she gets sad, 'cause I won't take a wife

She smelled like cigarettes and wine
And she kept me happy all the time
I know that ain't much of a line
But it's the Gods' own truth
She lives down inside of me still
Rolled up like a twenty dollar bill
She left me alone with these pills
In my smoldering youth
She left me alone with these pills
In the last of my youth


Lyrics submitted by drh1382

Cigarettes and Wine song meanings
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4 Comments

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  • 0
    General CommentWhat an amazing song, I loved it as soon as I heard it. It looks very personal and comes out that way in jason's voice too. It takes a lot of guts to write a song like this and put yourself out there, but thats why he's an artist.

    Looks like its pretty much about a guy down and out from a broken past. But finds life again in the bartender(HAHA gettin put in "TOW" helps a broken heart too) I hope everybody knows what that means. Ultimately he still cant commit and is alone for reasons he cant explain. This is how I took it anyways, any other thoughts or takes on this one??
    tankthefrankon December 28, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWhat do you think is the meaning/significance of 'princess of leaves'??
    justinklenkon July 27, 2011   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationTo me this is about a relationship doomed from the start - the girl is attracted to "uncommitted" guys who leave, which may be alluded to the phrase "queen of leaves," probably due to relationship problems with her father. The guy really likes the girl, she makes him very happy, but from early on he never planned on staying / marrying her. So she left him. She "showed him what he never had" as someone who deeply cared about him, as he never really had a girl like that in his life before. It seems she probably left because he wouldn't commit. Despite this, he never forgot about her. She smelled like cigarettes and wine, and the smell of these probably bring back memories of her. One night he returns to his hometown to see the girl he once loved singing on stage, and he never heard her sing before but figured she could. It seems like she hasn't aged at all, but he's already passed his "youth" stage and is using pills to drown out the sorrow/pain of loneliness, the one that she had temporary subsided.
    nicolleon January 13, 2014   Link
  • 0
    Song ComparisonNice song but so is the one it is 'derived' from: Jersey girl by Tom Waits.
    The Isbell version is more similar to the Bruce Springsteen performance.
    ErnstHon March 26, 2017   Link

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