Tom Joad Road

Here’s a video treatment of the song which appears as Track 4 on Austin’s 2019 album Retrophonic Folk-A-Delic.  In sensitively depicting the plight of the 1930s Dust Bowl refugees, it has a very strong contemporary resonance.

Audio recorded and mixed 2019 by Chris DeMuro at WKQK Radio Studio, Cocoa FL

“Tom Joad Road”
words and music by
Austin Church
Churchman Music (BMI)
© 2019-2021 All Rights Reserved


They who would refuse them are abusin’ our shared abode
As panicked pilgrims weary their way down the Tom Joad Road
Officials are seen to euphemize the scene
But the broken lives done broke the code as they tremble down the Tom Joad Road

There but for the grace of privilege go the ones who travel in plush
While they only hush when talk turns to the ones on the wrong side of Fortune
Who burden inside a lost episode on the Tom Joad Road

The Tom Joad Road is a trek of dreams
     mostly shattered and scattered along the way to greener pastures
Named for a man who fought and died for a notion
     that a man given a chance could put in motion
A way to enhance his family’s fate … It ain’t too late
To smoothe the way for a new-born dream so it won’t explode
     as it rumbles down the Tom Joad Road

Family separation at the border of disorder: Will children see their folks again?
With mother’s mercy bestowed, can they be prayed back on angel feet
Tippin’ toes down the Tom Joad Road?

They bend their back and work hard,
     but hardly get paid back for what they’re owed, on the Tom Joad Road
Dignity’s the destination, derogation’s the load,
     as the downtrodden fight to the end of the Tom Joad Road
Bent and battered silhouettes — these are the shapes of wrath
Still in their hearts the image of a better life is towed
     TRIUMPHANTLY down the Tom Joad Road

They rolled through history, down the chute commonly called Route 66
Desperately resolute to fix trials trying to trample any hope they ever knowed
Will life turn around as they turn down the Tom Joad Road?

Click here to download the lyrics

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