The Legend of White Woman Creek

by The Coldharts

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about

The American Frontier, 1867 - A young woman flees her war-torn home to start a new life in an unfamiliar land.

A thirteen-song cycle of love, betrayal and revenge on the Kansas Prairie, sung by the ghost of Anna Morgan Faber.

"The Legend of White Woman Creek" is a new music-theater piece told from the perspective of a ghost who haunts a creek in Western Kansas. It weaves a narrative through thirteen original folk songs based on the traditional music that first inspired Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, and Joan Baez.

Created and Performed by Katie Hartman
Created and Directed by Nick Ryan

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released August 25, 2014

Vocals, Guitar: Katie Hartman

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The Coldharts New York

The Coldharts are Katie Hartman and Nick Ryan, two theater artists based in Brooklyn, New York. They create American Gothic­-inspired music-­theater.

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Track Name: Hearken Well
Hearken well to what I say
Hell is found on earth today
Heaven's not for folks like me
Mine's the tale of Anna-Wee
Track Name: Go West
Go west, young woman, your country needs you
Go west, young woman, good, beautiful and true
Go west, young woman, the newspapers cry
Go west, young woman, to civilize the wild

Go west, young woman, educate the frontier
Redeem our broken union, be wife to the pioneer
Go west, young woman, consecrate virgin land
Your body may be weak but there's power in your hands

Go west young woman, and bring your moral way
You steward of God, teach the savages to pray
Go west young woman, care for the poor and ill
The man makes the decisions, but you create the will

Go west, young woman, your country needs you
Go west, young woman, good, beautiful and true
Go west, young woman, the newspapers cry
Go west, young woman, to civilize the wild
Track Name: The Kansas Suitor
There's a suitor off in Kansas that I am for to see
No other woman wants him, no woman only me
He courted me by letter, his prose was less than sweet
I hope he'll come off better the day we finally meet

He's a respectable fiancé compared to all the rest
He's got a farm in Kansas, this could turn out for the best
You may talk storekeepers and miners, and sing of humble labor
But I'll be spending my life with the farmer, Heinrich Faber

Oh the farm he claimed in Kansas is not so much a farm
Hundred-sixty wild acres and the occasional locust swarm
But if we build our home and station and farm five years of seed
We can file an application for the title and the deed

He's a respectable farmer compared to all the rest
We'll own a farm in Kansas, this could turn out for the best
But his English ain't gettin' better, conversation's rather labored
Maybe I'll be givin' Deutsch a try, for the farmer, Heinrich Faber

There's a new wife off in Kansas, who craves a lover's touch
But her husband's German-Catholic, and can't imagine much
Oh in the ways of passion, he thinks it all a sin
So love it must be rationed for when conceivin' kin

He's a respectable husband compared to all the rest
One year and still no babies, not sure how long I'll last
Still livin' in a sod house, no respite from our labor
'Til the day I have a family with the farmer, Heinrich Faber
Track Name: To Have and to Hold
Two years tired trying
Still no child within me grows
These days I find my happiness
Making the prairie blossom like a rose
Down and down the cattle path I walk to Lulu Creek
My buckets overflowing, but I am like a vessel with a leak

Oh the sunrise
Golden glory greets the land
Lord you give me strength to stand
Knowing this is all part of your plan
To have and to hold this in my hands

The garden has been tended to
The quiet time descends on me unbearable to keep
Society with just myself, I wander to the pasture and I lie among the sheep
In their quiet company I'm defended from the fear
Of predators unknown and a future that seems more and more unclear

Oh the sunset
Affirms the glory of the unseen
And in that violet hour
I lead my flock back into the fold
But is this really all I have to hold?

Fodder for the animals
Then back to the house, our supper to prepare
Husband's home with heavy news
He eats his meal, smokes his pipe, falls asleep in his chair
We've lost the northern pasture, but my faith is is pure
I trust the Lord will give us only what we're able to endure
Track Name: The Raid
That man he left the other day and where he went he wouldn't say
He left in haste, out of the house he flew
He took off with some other men, they're comin' back God knows when
But I guess that's just how men are wont to do

Those men came home the next day by three, with one man less but more injuries
With bison skins in tow and fresh meat, too
Boastin' they'd robbed the Cheyenne Nation, with no concern of retaliation
But I guess that's just how men are wont to do

That man he screamed like ne'er before as three Injuns burst through our door
They demanded cup of mead and a plate of stew
That man he hardly put up a fight, as the Injuns carried me off into the night
But I guess that's just how men are wont to do

Matthew, Mark, Luke and John
Bless this horse I ride upon
Hands and ankles bound
Swiftly ridin' o'er hard ground
And if you let my body fall
Lord let me hear your angels call

The Lord is the branch and I the leaf
Pray God let my death be brief
Let the stories be untrue
The savages will torture you
And if the rumors prove their worth
Pray God take my soul swift from this earth

Go west young woman
Mama's voice inside your head
Go west young woman
Kidnapped, left for dead
Go west young woman
No one to hear you cry
Go west young woman
Go west and you will die

Peter, James, John and Jude
Oh let the tales me misconstrued
Rape and scalp and burn you, too
Oh let the stories be untrue
None alive the headlines read
But who is witness if all are dead?
None alive the headlines read
But who is witness if all are dead?
Track Name: Edge of the World/Little Thunder
I stand at the edge of the world
And I wait for my death
Holdin' on to nothin'
I count every breath
I keep my face to the ground
I feel the pierce of a hundred eyes
I wait and wait and wait and wait
But still I'm alive

I was greeted by a woman
Who wrapped me in buffalo robes
Gave me food and gave me shelter
I was warm and I wasn't alone

Her name was Little Thunder
I learned as she points the clouds
Her smile was quick as lightnin'
Her laughter was sudden and loud

In the mornin' we go for water
In the sun we gather wood
All the ladies keep the fire
To make the evenin's food

I didn't see no devils
Or angels from a lost tribe
All I see is a people
Doin' their best to survive
Track Name: A Good Man
I remember the first time I saw my man
Tellin' stories around the flame
Addressin' the tribe, your eyes met with mine
I asked Little Thunder your name
She said that is the brave Chief Tee-Wah-Nee
In battle much honor he brings
He's the leader of men who fight for our land
He's the Man-Who-Makes-The-Crane-Come-When-He-Sings

He's a good man
Who does what is right
He's a good man
The same day and night
A man who loves peace so much that he'll fight
He's a good man, a good man, a good man for you

I remember the day I married my man
By the creek, 'neath the cottonwood tree
We stood before the tribe, our hands were entwined
He called me his sweet Anna-Wee
He said you are the home where my heart dwells
Together much joy we will bring
Forth a leader of men who'll know peace in our land
Together our songs we will sing

We'll raise a good man
Who does what is right
We'll raise a good man
The same day and night
A man who knows peace and won't have to fight
We'll raise a good man, a good man, a good man like you
Like you

I remember the last time I saw my man
Track Name: Two Crows
There were two crows who sat on a tree
And they were as black as God made them be
And one of them I heard him say
Oh where shall we go to dine today?
Shall we go down to the tallgrass sea?
Or shall we go dine by the cottonwood tree?
Shall we go down to the tallgrass sea?
Or shall we go dine by the cottonwood tree?

As I flew over the wild prairie
I saw a chargin' cavalry
I waved my wings, I bent my beak
The battle raged and I heard shriek
There lie dog soldiers, one, two, three
Oh shall we go dine on the wild prairie?
There lie dog soldiers, one, two. three
Oh shall we go dine on the wild prairie?

Come I know a grander meal's relief
The corpse of a new-slain Cheyenne Chief
His blood yet on the grass is hot
His bow undrawn, his shafts unshot
And no one knows that he lies there
But his hound, his horse, and his lady fair
Oh no one knows that he lies there
But his hound, his horse, and his lady fair

Oh you shall tear at his naked thigh
And I'll peck out his dark brown eyes
You can pull a lock of his fine black hair
To thicken your nest when it gets bare
His flesh it gives with a little pull
His flesh will keep my young ones full
His flesh it gives with a little pull
His flesh will keep my young ones full

Oh cold and bare will his bed be
When grey winter storms o'er the tallgrass sea
At his head the turf at his feet limestone
He neither sleeps nor hears his fair lady mourn
O'er his white bones the birds will fly
The wild deer run and the coyote cries
O'er his white bones the birds will fly
The wild deer run and the coyotes cries
Track Name: Go East, White Woman
Go east, white woman
Your family is slain
Go east, white woman
Not a single one remains
Go east, white woman
You must think of your child
Go east, white woman
Alone in the wild

Go east, white woman
His skin it could be light
Go east, white woman
He might still pass for white
Go east, white woman
No one will see to care
Go east, white woman
Your business is none of theirs
Track Name: Apples, Almonds and Apricots
Sleep my little chickadee
Your mama loves you so
All we need is you and me
To make our orchard grow
And we'll plant

Apples, almonds and apricots, peaches, plums and pears
And on your first birthday, we'll have a shady grove to share
We'll plant a great, big orchard
You'll grow up with those trees
And we'll plant apples, almonds and apricots and generosity
Just you and me

Oh we'll grow apples, almonds and apricots, peaches, plums and pears
And on your fifth birthday, we'll have a lot of joy to share
We'll grow a great, big orchard
As far as the eye can see
And we'll grow apples, almonds and apricots and generosity
Just you and me

Oh we'll grow apples, almonds and apricots, peaches, plums and pears
Track Name: Lulu Township
Two winters with the People
I grew to feel the village was my home
And now my dreams are haunted
By the faces of loved ones, slaughtered in the snow
Now all that's left of that life, I hold in my arms
Oh my darlin' Daniel, I vow to keep you safe from all harm

But oh this cold world
So indifferent to its own
Can I raise this child alone?
I promise I will give you a home
I'll never let you know the fear I've known

We'll go back to West Virginia
Mama on the front porch, she will love you as her own
I'll go back to teachin' school
You'll have lots of friends, and an orchard, with trees through which to run

But the cavalry escorted us back to my old life
The farmer, Heinrich Faber, had no smile when reunited with his wife

And oh their cold eyes
No one will speak to us in town
Heinrich don't want him around
At my baby he curses and frowns
Says that half-breed can't be baptized
Should be drowned
Track Name: All the Good Times/The Kansas Gale
All the good times are past and gone
All the good times are o'er
All the good times are past and gone
Little darlin' don't you weep no more

I wish to the Lord I stood my ground
And fought alongside the Cheyenne
My ashes'd be blown in the smoke
Along with my son and my man

I wish to the Lord I'd killed you that day
That you drowned my life in the creek
You told the whole town that he died in his crib
That I went insane from the grief

I wish to the Lord that I was free
'Stead a'locked up in this awful place
Leather straps cross my arms and cross my legs
No sunlight ever crosses my face

I wish to the Lord that I was free
So I could kill your kin like you did mine
I'd hunt down your parents, your cousins, and aunts
And butcher 'em all just like swine

I wish to the Lord that I could rest
Stead a'hauntin' this ol' creek bed
Been singin' my song from dusk 'til dawn
A hundred years I been dead

I wish Oh Lord that you were here
So I could have someone to blame
Been dead a long time but a God I can't find
But I'll settle for cursin' his name


(The Kansas Gale)