Skip to Content Skip to Navigation

Steve Key: Songs/Lyrics

The Other Way

(Steve Key)
May 31, 2012
Steve Key Songs (BMI)

Originally released on "History Lessons" (2001) Recorded and mixed by Mark Stacy, Nashville TN This song first appeared on my vinyl album, "Between Trains" (1988). I wrote it in New York, thinking about my old girlfriend Penny in Portland, but there is also mention of my college friend Paul (the letter from Birmingham). He played piano and we did some duo gigs at San Jose State, but he preferred doing solo numbers like Tom Waits' "The Piano Has Been Drinking". Penny is still in Portland; Paul is now in Richmond VA, happily re-married. I'm a re-born West Coaster.

I'm drinking coffee in a old cafe
Counting the cars on the Great White Way
You're out west in the setting sun
I'm in the city with the Bowery Bums
Now I miss the rain and river too
But I don't miss growing old with you
'Cause you found a lover down in old L.A.
I found a ride that went the other way.
You liked the girls as much as you liked me
You'd hang out at the bars 'til a quarter to three
Show up drunk and banging on my door
Wake me up, now I don't sleep no more
We'd sit on the couch with the TV on
Nothin' to eat and the beer's all gone
Somehow I'd face my job by day
Making my plans to go the other way
I got a letter from Birmingham
An old friend sounding like a desperate man
Trying to make sense of an aimless life
With a new home, new job, but same old wife
He says he hangs on to keep from being alone
And it just might work out for all he knows
Sounds like me in my West Coast day
But I got wise and went the other way. (repeat first verse)