"The Once and Future Carpenter" as written by and Scott Yancey Avett Robert William Crawford....
I ain't from Texas, but I made my way from Dallas
And I know the lonesome sound is following
I ain't a gambler, but I can recognize a hand
And when to hold, when the queens are staring back at me

Once I was a carpenter, man my hands were calloused
I could swing a metal mallet sure and straight
But I took to the highway, a poet young and hungry
And I left the timbers rotting where they lay

Forever I will move like the world that turns beneath me
And when I lose my direction I'll look up to the sky
And when the black cloak drags upon the ground
I'll be ready to surrender, and remember
Well we're all in this together
If I live the life I'm given, I won't be scared to die

I don't come from Detroit, but her diesel motors pull me
And I followed till I finally lost my way
And now I spend my days in search of a woman we called purpose
And if I ever pass back through her town I'll stay

Forever I will move like the world that turns beneath me
And when I lose my direction I'll look up to the sky
And when the black dress drags upon the ground
I'll be ready to surrender, and remember
We're all in this together
If I live the life I'm given, I won't be scared to die

And my life is but a coin, pulled from an empty pocket
Dropped into a slot with dreams of sevens close behind
Hope and fear go with it, and moon and the sun go spinning
Like the numbers and fruits before my eyes

Sometimes I hit, sometimes it robs me blind
Sometimes I hit, sometimes it robs me blind

Forever I will move like the world that turns beneath me
And when I lose my direction I'll look up to the sky
And when the black cloak drags upon the ground
I'll be ready to surrender, and remember
Well we're all in this together
If I live the life I'm given, I won't be scared to die


Lyrics submitted by mntecky

"The Once and Future Carpenter" as written by Scott Yancey Avett Robert William Crawford

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The Once and Future Carpenter song meanings
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6 Comments

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  • +3
    My OpinionI'm just glad it's not about Jesus
    thechrisrayon October 02, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI am sure traveling is a part of it since the Avett Brothers are on the road often, but I don't think that's the focus here. I think the theme is that life is a gamble. You can't control the outcome of everything in your life, but you can control giving it a try.

    "And my life is but a coin, pulled from an empty pocket
    Dropped into a slot with dreams of sevens close behind
    And hope and fear go with it, and moon and the sun go spinning
    Like the numbers and fruits before my eyes
    Sometimes I hit, sometimes it robs me blind"

    This is pretty clear saying that you have one try with your life, and while you cannot control winning you control the action of doing. Then they relate this back to their own life experiences in the first verse—"Once I was a carpenter, man my hands were calloused. I could swing a metal mallet sure and straight. But I took to the highway, a poet young and hungry and I left the timbers where they lay." They had an established life before becoming touring musicians, but they took a risk and pursued a life of music which brought both lows and highs.
    anzoon March 06, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General Comment"Sometimes I hit, sometimes it robs me blind."

    Ain't that the truth. Live is one big gamble.
    mlilly24on June 26, 2012   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationTo me, this song seems to have meaning beyond what I'm going to dive into here, but I believe the theme is that despite what you may be doing or even if you have found your calling, go out and explore the world outside of where you call home. Many of the examples in the verses convey the idea of getting out of your comfort zone and seeing what else the world has to offer beyond what you experience daily and already know.

    "When the black cloak (dress, in some versions) drags upon the ground
    I'll be ready to surrender, and remember
    well we're all in this together.
    If I live the life I'm given, I won't be scared to die."

    In my opinion, this part of the chorus explains that if you do go out, travel the world, and see what all it can offer, you won't have any regrets in life because you made the most of your time here. It also invokes the song's title to me in that, no matter where the narrator may go, he was a carpenter (or any profession) and will still be one once he finishes exploring the world outside of carpentry.

    I'm sure there's much more to this, but for now those things stick out most to me.
    bawhite2on July 27, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWe are all the carpenter in each other's lives

    youtube.com/…
    jchampeauon December 04, 2012   Link
  • 0
    My OpinionThis song rocks!
    The use of cities as metaphors for different points in someone’s life, and experiencing everything through easy livin’ and being down on your luck in hard times I think we have all been through.
    You don’t have to follow the herd and conform, if you just live, life is still gonna throw you around, but all of that is really irrelevant, because no matter what as a person, in the end, it really doesn’t matter what you do, what you are good at, your accomplishments or failures, “We are all in this together”, meaning we are really all the same, and choosing to take the path someone or society tells you to, or you choose to your own or just let life dictate itself, it’s really all the same.
    When you aren’t “scared to die” and you “look up at the sky for direction” means that you know you that you trust in your higher power, don’t sweat all the small stuff, and you accept your life without regret or resentment, something that a lot will never be able to experience.
    From experience, I have had the privilege, to be a brother, son, best friend, asshole, role model, combat veteran, recovered alcoholic, and the list is yet to be written.
    Go live your life, do what you think is right, don’t judge others, and know yourself, so you can’t be persuaded by another’s judgment. Succeed or fail, win or lose, it really doesn’t matter because we are all born equal, we all will die, but the basic quality of your life and all of the things we strive for are artificial, and given the chance to have even a true shift in perspective, then you can truly feel grateful for just the basics, remove the clutter, and know your purpose.
    acebarkeron June 20, 2013   Link

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