CHAPTER 8 -"Trains"

My piano rebirth caught on camera!! I found this on YouTube - live from The Bugle Boy in LaGrange, TX. This was the first time I played on stage since the disastrous piano recital!!


I don't know nothing about trains

except how sad they always sound

i've seen them once or twice

chugging their way around

they're black as my heart feels 

but it's not one and the same

there ain't much that i can say

i don't know nothing about trains


i don't know nothing about you

except you're always hard on me

i've seen it once or twice

how angry you can be

i just know how it feels

when there's nothing i can do

cause there ain't much that i can say

i don't know nothing about trains


time don't stop, it stops for no one

can't you feel it running out?

i've been grown for some years now

is there anything we can talk about?


I don't know nothing about love

except the sweetness of a song

i've seen it once or twice

but i never could hang on

i just know how it feels 

when i want something so much

but there ain't much i can say

what else is there left to say

no there ain't much that i can say

i don't know nothing about trains

(Lyrics and Music by Bonnie Bishop & Lynn Langham, Copyright 2004)

BOnnie's thoughts

I remember writing this song. It was my very first co-writing trip to Nashville, and the first time I met Lynn Langham. Lynn was a great piano player, and she brought her keyboard to our session. We wrote in one of the back rooms of John Peets office on the East Side, years before he would sign Eric Church and The Black Keys to his label, years before moving to Tennessee was even a thought on my radar screen. We got off to a rough start, Lynn and I, as she felt compelled to tell me her entire Nashville horror story of getting and losing her record deal, how she'd made the album of a lifetime only to have it sit on the shelf at her label, never to be released. Sometimes I think that was why John set us up, as a test. If Lynn couldn't scare me off from going down the artist road, then no one could. It took up the first several hours of our writing appointment - her telling me her story - and I remember feeling super depressed afterwards. I wanted so badly to believe that Lynn's story was hers, not mine, that the bad luck she'd had in the music business wouldn't happen to me. But this was my first trip to Nashville; I didn't yet know that Lynn's experience was the norm. 

We went to lunch. We came back and got coffee. We sat and talked for several more hours. And then finally, we found common ground in our shared pain over things we wanted that we would never have. Lynn's longing was for the record she never got to release. Mine was for a relationship with someone who I had loved all my life but never been close to. We came up with the line "I don't know nothing about trains" because we were discussing that awkward feeling of sitting across from someone and wanting so badly to connect with them, yet not being able to find anything to talk about. I told her that sometimes I rack my brain for talking points in order to avoid uncomfortable silences, and for whatever reason that led us to start listing off things we couldn't say to that person, things we didn't know anything about. Trains was the first thing that came to mind. Love was the other.

It took us nearly fourteen hours, but we finally put our pens down and called it a song. When we walked out of John's office, it was almost midnight. I had no idea whether it was normal for a co-write to take that long, but I felt so satisfied at having finished something - with someone who I'd just met, no less! Reading back over the lyrics now, the song sounds pretty abstract to me, but then again I wasn't worried about writing songs that made sense to anyone else back then. I just wanted them to mean something to me. At the time, "Trains" was the most prolific statement I had ever made about the longing I felt in my heart for this person, but I didn't dare tell them about it. In fact, I never have.

I guess I just always hoped my music would do the talking for me….