In the darkest hour of the longest night
If it was in my power I'd step into the light
Candles on the altar, penny in your shoe
Walk upon the water - transcendental blues.

Happy ever after 'til the day you die
Careful what you ask for, you don't know 'til you try
Hands are in your pockets, starin' at your shoes
Wishin' you could stop it - transcendental blues.

If I had it my way, everything would change
Out here on this highway the rules are still the same
Back roads never carry you where you want 'em to
They leave you standin' there with them ol'
Transcendental Blues.

Lyrics submitted by Playa

Transcendental Blues Lyrics as written by Stephen F. Earle

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management

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Transcendental Blues song meanings
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  • 0
    General Commentthis is quite an amazing song. steve earle is, in my opinion, one of the best american songwriters out there. he's been around for a long time and he just keeps finding new ways to impress.
    Colosimoon August 02, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSteve's not really a writer that needs a "song meanings" website. The amazing thing about his songs are how simple and literal they are, but yet they still stand up because the words themselves are so engaging.

    That being said, this is one of his more opaque tunes, perhaps his most opaque. I wish there was more discussion cause I really don't know what he's saying. But I know Steve well enough to know that he IS trying to say SOMETHING.

    The only thing I've been able to gather is it's a little about him evaluating his life, sort of an existential crisis. And in the third verse he comes right back where he always was, on the "Nowhere Road", realizing that his choice of profession inherently carries with it certain hazards that never go away. Oh well.
    jtharrison December 09, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think this song is about having cold feet and dealing with the lifestyle changes that come with getting married.
    Verse 1 he is nervous and about to walk down the isle. I think he relates walking down the isle to "walking on water" (trying to be perfect)
    Verse 2 - still nervous, wanting to stop the wedding - "wishing you could stop it"
    Verse 3 - things aren't going to be any different if he keeps on going the direction he is going, and he realizes its time for a change, but is still apprehensive.

    lca05003on December 22, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI agree with lca05003 that this is about marriage.. but based on Steve's track record (he's been divorced and remarried 6 or 7 times), I think this is a blues riff about making the same mistakes over and over again and not being sure if this time it's the right one.
    themostbrianon January 17, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song was used in the opening scene of Season 1 of the Series Longmire on A&E. The show is amazing and centered around a rogue aging sheriff in Wyoming. He's dealing between the old way of doing things versus all the new types of crime, population growth, and even technology. On top of that he's dealing with the recent death (murder) of his wife...which is an ongoing theme of the series.
    While the song specifically addresses marriage I thought it was a perfect choice for this scene and to set the tone for the series. Sheriff Walt Longmire (a local favorite) and his struggles to transcend all the issues of a modern world, modern crime, all while dealing with the death of his wife.
    runningman17on January 10, 2014   Link

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