Contemplating Cacti

by Shawn Waggoner

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In a nod to Bruce Springsteen's most popular recording, Contemplating Cacti has been referred to as "the female Nebraska." This cd makes its mark on the Americana genre by contrasting a traditional Texas sound with a haunting and longing edge. This self-produced first effort goes beyond the typical country/folk format to find an audience in folk listeners as well as fans of Emilou Harris’ Wrecking Ball, Nirvana Unplugged and Mazzy Star.
From entrancing story songs like Blame it on Delores and Sunset Gun to the poetic canvas of songs like The Ragged End of Nowhere and Indigo, lyrics and melody weave a dark and mesmerizing tale. But what makes Contemplating Cacti unforgettable is the vocal work of Shawn Waggoner. With intensity, dynamics and riveting emotion, Waggoner tells her stories with passion, leaving the listener spellbound. In combination with a Daniel Lanois style of production, this collection of songs is unforgettable and undeniably unique.


released September 9, 1999



all rights reserved


Shawn Waggoner Colorado

Shawn Waggoner began her music career in Austin, as the lead singer of the successful blues band, Blue Recluse. In '97, the band went on hiatus and Waggoner composed songs for her first cd, Contemplating Cacti. With a new focus on original, acoustic music, Waggoner teamed up with bassist David Farrell for three more cds. Each made its mark on the alternative-folk and Americana genres. ... more

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Track Name: Break Me
Break Me

Treading water
Running to stand still
Under a streetlight
On top of a hill
I can’t see out
but you can see in
Tell me how do I feel
Where have I been

Bless me,
for I know how to sin
Undress me,
watch me spill my skin
Shake me,
I’ve been asleep for too long
Break me,
I’m tired of being this strong

Empty jar, firefly
Silence in glass
Cigarette at the bus stop
Raining on my chance
Tell me what are you thinking
as you walk away
Turn around, look at me
Stop playing games

Nobody home
a Secret
Cut to the bone

COPYRIGHT 1999 Shawn Waggoner
Track Name: Green Barn
Green Barn

I feel so lonely still I want to be alone
Cause tonight I just can’t stop myself; I’m going down
I know where I’m headed is not where I should be
And I can’t help but think you could have been a better friend to me

I get in my truck and drive out of town
I smell rain in the air, man, it’s coming down
On the other side of the field by the old green barn
I pull up in front, turn the lights out, but leave the radio on

The dust explodes where each raindrop falls
I wish this wind would pick me up, barn and all
And when it set us back down the story begins
Only this time I get to be who I really am

What does it take to make a life ring true
Can you live not knowing; I think some people do
But they know something I don’t, and that aint saying much
I consider the source to be out of touch

I know it’s wrong but I wish I would die
And return as a storm that could bring down the sky
Over this old green barn, where once we both stood
And I’d know what I was here for, that I’d done good

Track Name: Indigo


Cool blue haze
Empty frozen gaze
Free falling to the bottom
Floating to the top
Disconnected, uncontrolled
If only it would stop


Heavy fog
Breathing is so very hard
Smothered, alone
by so many sins unatoned
No proof of anything
No hope, surrender
Hide from the past
Forget to remember


Deep in the blue
Reaching out to you
Sinking shoulders disappear
Calling out your name
Silent scream, quiet tear
No one else to blame


Nothing solid
Water serves as my ground
No smell, no taste
No sound
Time washes over
days and days of pain
Disguises it well, like a raindrop
in the rain

Track Name: 16

I've worn your love
under my sleeve
in my skin,

a tattoo of
a girl who wants
to sing again

To let it be,
you can't be free
so I'll just be

a heart-shaped box
made to hold
your memories

The knife that cuts the ties that bind us has two sides
But what I see I'm looking at through your blue eyes
And I believed what came too early had to die
When I was 16

I look for you
on crowded streets,
in ticket lines

Everything and
nothing has changed
with time

When he kissed me
were your lips
the ones I kissed

When he left me
were you the one
I really missed

If I awoke from a dream and found you there
I wonder if, to yourself, you could compare
About these worries as sure as stone I didn't care
When I was 16

Track Name: Sunset Gun
Sunset Gun

He took what he wanted and left you for dead
And my love can't erase what was done, what was said
You told me your story, why you wanted to run,
But I set you free with my sunset gun

Black as a bible
Red as the blood
that flows through the valleys like the flash of a flood
A murder of crows blocks the sinking sun
that shone through the smoke of my sunset gun

The hatchet fell swiftly, the justice of men
found me and bound me, determined my end
From the jail cell that holds me awake in the night
I hear your cries, and I know I was right

As children we ran through the orchards at dawn
And I love you my sister from here and beyond
A woman of honor, of great strength and pride
By taking that from you he was asking to die

In my final hour we walked in the sun
And I spoke not a word of my sunset gun
When I turned loose your hand I felt a glimmer of hope
That I'll hold in my heart as I swing from their rope

Track Name: Angel of Murder
Angel of Murder

Your sinful gaze sends me to my knees
And your hot sugar kisses leave me begging please
You come on like a saint, but you’re a devil in red
You’re throwing dirt on my grave, and I aint even dead

You’re killing me with your evil ways
But I want you so bad I’d crawl into my grave
Angel of Murder I’m your homicide
You stole my soul, and the best of me died

Angel of Murder, your halo is stained
And those wings on your back are starting to sag with the strain
What once was heaven, now is hell
And my only relief is a coffin nail

Angel of Murder
Angel of Murder
Angel of Murder
Your love is killing me

I don’t want to want you but I can’t let you go
Angel of Murder don’t you kill me so slow
Kill me fast, go on and kill me right
Let the ravens fly in the pale moonlight

Angel of Murder, my number is up
I’m checking out, I’m biting the dust
The R.I.P. on my cold tombstone will say
“Angel of Murder Sends Another One Home”

Angel of Murder
Angel of Murder
Angel of Murder
Your love will be the death of me

Track Name: Bubble Girl
Bubble Girl

Time is a circle
Life in the round
Memories choke me
And I'm going
All of these people
going somewhere
And I'm just sitting here watching them run
And I'm just sitting here coming undone

Cause I'm a girl in a bubble
A convex shell
Girl in a bubble
Iridescent hell
Girl in a bubble
Bubbles are I
Girl in a bubble
I can't even cry, cry, cry

Here in the bubble
Things never change
Abundance of silence
Except when I
All of these people going nowhere
And I'm just sitting here cause I can't find the door
I'm just sitting here cause I’ve been there before

The great unknown
The sad unloved
The pitied look
I've had enough
Throw a rock
Break my shell
Let me out
I won't tell

Track Name: Joan

I’m leaving in the twilight
Leaving in the twilight

Like a tumbleweed down a dusty trail
A solider says a fond farewell
Like a stormcloud causes a stream to swell
I say good-bye

And I’m leaving in the twilight
Leaving in the twilight

Like a dandelion blowing in the wind
A candle flickers when it’s reached the end
Like autumn leaves at summer’s end
I say good-bye

And I’m leaving in the twilight
Leaving in the twilight

Well I can’t stay with you no more
And I can’t fight this fight no more
And I don’t know what I’m good for
So I say good-bye

And I’m leaving in the twilight
Leaving in the twilight
Leaving in the twilight

Track Name: Blame it on Delores
Blame it on Delores

She spends her days at the rifle range
where she always falls apart
Imagines the slow motion entry of a
bullet through her heart
Like bullets and brambles
she got under your flesh
And she tore through your body till there
wasn’t nothing left
But what you’re giving me
And that’s all you have left

So blame it
on Delores
that I can’t love you enough
I guess
life without her
is just a little too rough

She was like a gypsy’s fiddle
‘round a mountain fire
You stepped up to the flame,
you were mesmerized by her
Though she wasn’t waiting for you
but the end of the world
She gave her hidden heart to you
like a precious pearl
Yours at last
It couldn’t last

So blame it
on Delores
It’s been her fault all along
It only
makes sense now that
everything is gone

You look weathered by her storm
As sure as a river rises she did roam
She left your heart in such a mess
How you’d recover is anybody’s guess
And it wasn’t love you felt for me
It was dejavu
And I can only see Delores
when I look at you
I can’t look at you
Don’t want to look at you

So blame it
on Delores
Blame it on the night
It doesn’t
really matter
You’ll never make it right
You’ll never make it right
You’ll never make it right

Track Name: Can't Turn Loose
Can’t Turn Loose

I’m always the last one at the party
The sun comes up and I stumble home alone
I’ve never understood the simple grace of being the first to go
The last words I hear are never my own

And I can’t turn loose
I can’t turn loose
I can turn around in circles
I can twist like a knife
But I can’t turn loose

In my dream your car tears down the highway
I’m caught in your door and my body’s dragging alongside
I look up just long enough to see what’s holding me in there
And my hands are clenched tightly to your side

And I can’t turn loose
I can’t turn loose
I can turn back to find you
I can turn down a drink
but I can’t turn loose

If you turned over a new leaf
I’d go ahead and turn the other cheek
Turn over in my grave
Turn to the next page
But I turn the key
and lock the door
Turn the corner
I can’t see you anymore
Turn a whiter shade of pale
Turn a lie to a fairytale
but I.....

I can turn back the hands of time
Turn a dollar to a lousy dime
Turn tricks in the holy light of God
Turn out to be a weak fraud

But I can’t turn loose
I can’t turn loose

COPYRIGHT 1999 Shawn Waggoner
Track Name: The Ragged End of Nowhere
The Ragged End of Nowhere

into sorrow
Believe in
your own lies
all you've become
And all you love
will pay the price
Pay the price
Bathe in angelic light
Quench your barren soul
A tattered and ragged end
begins to unfold

Your will to live
in an empty life
all you are
And all you love
will pay the price
Pay the price
Caress the velvet hand,
black as your faithless heart
The boundless and empty end
A story torn apart

to your own eyes
Destroy all you could be
and all you love
will pay the price
Pay the price
A final
vast expanse
You called it
a night
At the ragged end of nowhere
you gave up the fight

At the ragged end of nowhere
you faded out of sight...