Country Hymn

by The Gated Community

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released September 17, 2016

Country Hymn (2016) is the band’s third and most cohesive album, complementing the stylistic variety of We Can Do Anything (2015) and the novelty humor of Power to My Friends (2010). It was recorded, mixed, and produced by John Miller (Secret Stash Records) and mastered by Bruce Templeton (Microphonic Mastering). The recording’s twelve tracks include the dark, old-timey opening ballad, “Betty on the Road” (track 1), the jaded academic’s honkytonk waltz “Old Country” (track 3), a Tom Petty-esque rocker about aging called “Fading Flower” (track 4), a touching country/folk number with a string arrangement, “Staying Around” (track 5), and the powerful Tom Waits-like title track that was composed in a dream (track 11). The album also includes two covers: Bob Dylan’s “Odds and Ends” (track 2), sacrilegiously including an original bridge (!), and a wild cowpunk rendition of the Sweet’s “Blockbuster!” (track 12) as a bonus track. Start the album at the beginning and play it straight through—you won’t regret it.


The Gated Community is Sumanth Gopinath, Cody Johnson, Teresa Gowan, Paul Hatlelid, Rosie Harris, Johnny Becker, and Beth Hartman

with special guests Nate Knutson and Stephan Hubig

words by Sumanth Gopinath, music by The Gated Community, except "Odds and Ends" by Bob Dylan (Bob Dylan Music, on behalf of Dwarf Music) and "Blockbuster!" by Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman (Universal Music)

produced by John Miller and The Gated Community
recorded and mixed by John Miller, Secret Stash Records
mastered by Bruce Templeton, Microphonic Mastering
manufactured by Copycats Hi-Fi Media
photography by Mark Nye

full album information available at
contact us at

thanks and love to our families, friends, and fans


art design by Anne Jenkins

Many thanks to Matthew McDonald, Ryan Stokes, Emily Lechner, and Andy Flory for feedback on earlier versions of the album.



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The Gated Community Minneapolis

The Gated Community is a country/bluegrass/Americana band with rock influences based in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area in Minnesota and has been in existence since early 2006.

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Track Name: Betty on the Road
Betty on the road around her
Was roamin’ from where she came
She ran out from the smokehouse
When Jimmy was burned by flame
Betty had the world around her
She took on a brand new name
Cause she’s long, long way from home

Betty on the road around her
Leapt out in the pouring rain
The sky a darkened coal mine
And her withered, tear-eyes stained
Betty had a look around her
She was trying to just maintain
It was a long, long way from home

There was the high road and the low road
She tried to step in between—just eighteen—
And it was the last time she was ever seen

Betty on the road around her
Turned, steppin’ her way right back
She gave up the fight against it
Mascara’d her face to black
Betty turned the backdoor handle
And a body was sprawled there slack
She was a long, long way from home
Track Name: Odds and Ends
9-9-1 hippopotamus

Well, something ain't wrong, something ain't right
You keep spilling juice on me every night
When I get up, you pull me back down
And then you say I'm talking like Bad News Brown
Track Name: Old Country
Getting too old for these times
I could use another drink and much warmer climes
Then pay for my crimes
With pennies and dimes

I used to go dance at the bar
I'd get my mind off my honey, send my money too far
She still drives my car
And said “Au revoir”

They’ll bury me alive in a reference
Then count all the angels behind the green door
But my spirit has left in its essence
Oh mama, oh honey, I’m damaged for sure
Don’t wanna see the old country no more

I traveled thousands of miles
I did see the world and basked in its smiles
I partook in its wiles
Took notes for my files

But I, if I took a flight,
Would it make it alright?

Back at the home on the range
Where the will is weak and the live-in estranged
No furniture’s changed
But it’s all rearranged
Track Name: Fading Flower
I got nixed from my Buick six
It’s going down, down, down
I got tix for my latest picks
They’re going down, down, down

I get around
I could never wade away
I could never waste a day
I could never stand to say
It’s a brand new May, yeah
It’s a brand new May, yeah

It’s a fading
It’s a fading
It’s a fading
It’s a fading flower

I got wicks for my candlesticks
They’re going down in flames
I got tricks, doing teenage kicks
While riding downtown trains

Oh, yeah, I’m a piece of a work of art
Oh, no, but, say, what’s the hardest part?
It’s not staying smart.
Can you restart the backbeat of my heart?

Bring my chair, and when you stop and stare
You better know your game
Trip the stair, and when I start to swear
You better feel no shame
Track Name: Staying Around
Are you coming back if you leave me?
Are you coming back when you leave town?
It was yesterday, your highs and lows that pulled me to the ground
Are you coming back or staying around?

Will you suffer ill if you are lonely?
Will you suffer ill if you are down?
It was yesterday, inside the throes that left me full unwound
Are you coming back, or staying around?

Oh, I don’t believe it
Oh, don’t say a word or make a sound

Is there something more you can tell me?
Is there something lost that can be found?
It was yesterday, when I arose, your words left to resound
“Are you coming back, or staying around?”
Track Name: I Can't Get Right
Take good care of my baby
Listen well and be her light
I will be there to love her
But I can’t get right
Can’t get right
I can’t get right

When I was a child, I was lonely
But everyone saw me as polite
I’d cry in my bed and ask Him questions
Cause I can’t get right
Can’t get right
I can’t get right

They have it all, they have the answers
They go on living day after day
With handsome giants and tiny dancers
In the end, I’ll be sent so far away

I want you to know there’s no reason
That my head has sunk into night
One day I’ll be back and come out standing
But I can’t get right
Can’t get right
I can’t get right
Track Name: Breaking Ballad
Say my name
Play my game

I tried to tell you
That you’re up to no good
So I lied to fell you
Just like you knew I would

I made you love me
I was a part of your life
You’d stand above me
Behind the blade of a knife

Return to sender
That's what it says in the mail
I’ll never end up
Inside the county jail

The look of crystal
Still makes me blue
I’ll load my pistol
And keep my eye on you

Not much for living
But I’m pledging my time
This gift of giving
It perpetrated my crime

Don’t have to like it
So just stay out of my way
Don’t try to fight it
You know the words to say
Track Name: Billy
Billy, take me by the hand
I’ll save you from your father
And, take me as I am
We waited for an hour
And, try to understand
It’s late in evening
It’s early in the morning
No time to sound a warning

Billy, lead me far away
Away from Lincoln County
And, have you much to say
Out from under that sombrero
And, with the light of day
Her son drains a couple
His gun by your buckle
And you won’t be fighting knuckle

Billy, show me what’s your hand
A modern family ruin
And, lady left her man
On a sunny afternoon
We’ll wait on your command
When sure of no danger
To clear the house of strangers
No dog in the manger
Track Name: Hey Girl
Hey girl, don’t you come ‘round here no more
I been lyin’ to keep up all my promises
Hey girl, quit your cryin’, actin’ sore
I been tryin’ to keep you off of the premises

But now I’m blue
So blue
For every thing I’ll never do or do for you
You got to go but you keep lookin’
Oh can’t you see that you got took in
It’s such a shame
It’s such a shame
And my momma said now

Hey girl, don’t you come 'round here no more
I been lyin’ to keep up all appearances
Hey girl, quit your cryin’, actin’ sore
I been tryin’ to tabulate my experiences

And I know you must think me so unkind
And I know there is nothing I can do now to change your mind
I was cruel
To a fool
And I knew
I knew
But my momma said now

Hey girl
I been lyin’ to give up all apology
Hey girl
I been tryin’ to live up to your mythology

I was cruel
To a fool
And I knew
I knew
But my momma said now

Hey girl
Hey girl
Track Name: I'm in Jail
If you see me on the corner sitting up with a bottle of gin
You don’t need a doctor to find out what’s the shape I’m in
No one cares about a wastrel, he’s a scoundrel in the dirt
So they leave him to lay hurt beyond the pale

You may think you know me but you haven’t got a clue
If I ask for money it’s because I know you
I am peering in between you, seeing through a tear-stained soul
And a face blacked up with coal to mend the veil

I’m in jail, I’m in jail
(He's in jail, he's in jail)
I’ll be hanging from the lamppost in the sky
(Hallelujah, he's in jail!)
I was born in Alabama, in Atlanta I’ll post bail
And I’m proud to be a man ’til the day I die

I will feed you tales of dragons, I will conjure them with speed
I will pour you several flagons, give you everything you need
I was once a Chinese tailor, soon I’ll be a shipping clerk
Many hands can do this work and without fail

He’s a poet, he’s an angel, and he’s innocent as hell
But the burn mark on his shoulder has another truth to tell
Of a night when he was branded, he cried “wolf” too many times
Now they need something that rhymes with a pint of ale

I’m in jail, I’m in jail
I’ll be swinging from the rafters up on high
I was brave in Madagascar, in Manassas I turned tail
And I’m proud to be a man ’til the day I die

Well I traveled to the coastline, crossed the border in a day
Seeking out the velvet goldmine while machine-press-baling hay
The police then came to get me, swept me up in a blanket raid
Never to be paid a rusty nail

Every child is born a sinner, every worker dies a saint
Who has bought the family dinner on a used-up can of paint
There’s a carcass out there rotting on the side of every road
So I’ll pack my heavy load and then set sail

I’m in jail, I’m in jail
I’ll be scrounging for a cigarette to buy
I was down in Matamoros when Virginia read my mail
And I’m proud to be a man ’til the day I die
Track Name: Country Hymn
Well the devil can take
And the devil can break
I was once seventeen
And lost and in-between, it seems

Just sittin’ around
With my feet off the ground
How people can be
So low and mean, cruel and green, in dreams

I’ll fly away in the morning
I’ll fly away overnight

Wherever I seek
All the pickings are bleak
My stock is strong
But I can’t keep hangin’ on, for long

I found a savior, or I want to
I’ll trust a neighbor as a friend, oh, they say that he

Taketh his time
And then, then does the crime
What a fine kind of frame of mind