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The Lights Are On (But No One's Home)

from tricycle (remastered / expanded edition) by WILD CARNATION



Tricycle Lyric Reflections, courtesy of Brenda Sauter:

The beginnings of this song happened at the end of a rehearsal in 1992. Rich started spontaneously playing the riff melded with chords, and Chris and I chimed in.

I love the droning repetition of this four chord progression (G Em Bm D); but the subtle complexity is that the chorus starts on a G and the verse starts by dropping the G and going to the Em. Rich and I have been having this discussion about what really happens to transition from chorus back to verse, and it’s taken 30 years of trying to explain what we’re playing. In the bass part, however, you play 2 beats of D, two beats of G, then go to the Em. Yeah, it’s so simple it’s confusing. But it’s easy to play in real time.

The lyrics just flowed for the verses; and “Isabella”, which is the only word in the chorus, just seemed to fit. Some years later, I learned that my grandmother’s middle name was Isabella. Weird.

I love the vibe and groove of THE LIGHTS ARE ON, and it’s one of my favorite Wild Carnation songs.


There’s no one here
They’ve all disappeared
Who’s left alive?
No one’s satisfied.
No one ‘round here knows
so the story goes
I can’t see your light.
Are your lights not on?
Should I go back home?
Try to reach in
but you’re shut in tight.
I can’t see the light
when my eyes are closed
I can’t see your light.
Look inside, try to hide
No one’s home, here we go.


from tricycle (remastered / expanded edition), released April 28, 2023


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Delmore Recording Society Nashville, Tennessee

Delmore Recording Society exists to expose singular artists that don’t quite fit in to the world. The pursuit and discovery of lost tapes is another side of that mission.

We strive to bring something of value into the world…music that might enhance our appreciation of an artist that was under recorded, or whose recordings were never released due to some vagary of the business.
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