The HOLLOW of the WOOD

by JIM



July 9, 1990. Well past midnight. A sharp knock on the door startled everyone awake. From my room I heard Dad's sleepy feet shuffling and sliding down the pine hallway and the front deadbolt unlock.

Sheriff's Deputy: "Does Daniel R. Nichols live here?"
Dad: "Yes he does. What's this about."
Deputy: "There's been an accident."

Sixteen years later, I wrote a series of songs about my brother Daniel and what happened to him that night and over the course of the rest of that turbulent year. I strummed through them all in front of a microphone, but the tape has since been lost. On April 27 and 28 of 2012 I sat down in that empty house and played them all again.

James Wesley Nichols


released September 20, 2012

James wrote the songs in the fall of 2006. He sang them and played the guitar and a few percussive instruments in his childhood home on April 26-27, 2012.

Recorded on a Tascam Portastudio 414 MKII cassette 4 track device. No compression or other mastering effects were added in order to preserve the original performance dynamics and naturally reverberant sound of the empty house.


all rights reserved



James Wesley Nichols Greenville, South Carolina

All songs, voices, guitars, keyboards, drums, percussion, sequencing, tape and digital recording, artwork, design, packaging, and so on, by James Wesley Nichols, unless otherwise indicated.

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Track Name: September's Sighs/A Dream

Summer's sweat is washed away,
And cool breezes blow the first leaves off the trees.
Autumn has yet to arrive but she is nigh.
I look forward to the fall when the leaves turn and the skies gray.

Meet me by the colonnade
Before the wind strips our limbs winter clean.
How I long for the days when we would lie
Melting into each other's arms beneath the shade of the trees.

The apple orchard is now bursting.
The whippletrees explode with blood-red berries.
But our paths are lined with oleander,
And blackthorns pierce and tear us limb from limb.

Summer's thirst is quenched by rain
And shadowed lids hide the sun's prying eyes.
September's sighs cool the air from August's kiss.
Life that once burned so brightly now just cools and fades.


Too soon the clear blue sky was cast in gray and indigo,
And haunted sleep filled our nights with carrion and crows.
The seas boiled, foamed and overflowed;
The rivers swelled and spilled; the sun descended; evening fell;
Our family fell ill.

Incisions, tubes and monitors connected all of us.
The doctors, nurse practitioners and priests we did not trust.
But surgeries and therapies became our sad routine.
Intensive care was always where I found myself in dreams.
Track Name: The Turn
Every year, when the woods' green leaves burst into flame
And the fruits of the harvest we gather and store
These old ears hear a song with a familiar refrain.
The black raven, the owl, the toad and fierce boar
All join in a chorus with the fire's hot roar:
"A good life I have led from the Spring to the Fall
But to sleep I must go; I must heed Winter's call."

An adjustable bed under fluorescent lights
In a clear in the woods past my old Papa's fields
Was the scene of a struggle with oncoming night.
The wine from his wounds had refused to congeal
So the rust-tinted moon and the church bell revealed:
"A good life I have led from the Spring to the Fall
But to sleep I must go; I must heed Winter's call."

In the pines on the hunt with an I.V. in tow
There's no crackle of leaves beneath my silent feet.
There's no chill in my bones though in little I'm clothed,
But I hear such sweet strains from the oak and black peet
From the deer and the wren and the spirits I meet:
"A good life I have led from the Spring to the Fall
But to sleep I must go; I must heed Winter's call."