Folk & Feedback*

by Big Happy Crowd

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"Memorable folk-rock for the recently dumped." - The Slant

"Great writing and use of the studio as an instrument. Blonde on Blonde Dylan on a bender with Brian Eno in 'boken in the late 1900s...The quintessential version of GONE." - Gregg Cagno, (



released September 6, 2016


Big Happy Crowd:

Rich Grula - vocals, guitars, keyboards, percussion
Claudia Chopek - violin
Ray Nissen - bass, keyboards, vocals
Dave Stengel - drums, percussion

Helen Hooke (violin - Crawling Back to You)
John Sonntag (lead guitar - One Whole Day, mandolin - My Best Lie)

Produced by Rich Grula
Engineered by many, but mostly Rich and Chris Gibson
Cover photo by Tom Vincent


Student and non-commercial filmmakers are welcome to use these recordings within their projects without further licensing, as long as onscreen credit is given and publishing information is filed. It would also be great to see a how you use it too, so send a link!





Big Happy Crowd Hoboken, New Jersey

Big Happy Crowd is a Hoboken-based band exploring a skewed version of "Americana," customized with touches of lo-fi, alt- country, antifolk, old-timey death ballads, folk-rock, drones, surf music and cranky Tin Pan Alley swing. Their catalog usually falls between the bookends of lust and discomfort. ... more

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Track Name: Broken

We don't move very much
We're like an animal that's given up
Don't leave water, don't leave food
Shut the door if you leave the room

The TV's on but we're not watching
Something's burning, we're not concerned
We had a life, it was barely living
We had a chance and we lost our turn

And we talk so much about what went wrong
We both got sick of talking
Walking away might be the easiest thing
But I don't feel like walking

The problem's in me or the problem's in you
Or the problem's in something that we both do
But the problem has moved in like a rude guest
Its departure is overdue

So let's scare the problem, let's knock it out
Let's make some noise let's start to shout
Put on a record, something you like
And we'll start drinking until we fuck or fight
Because there ain't much difference between the two
And both can banish the problem we knew

I watch you shower, I watch you sleep
I feel your sweat as you press against me
There's good reasons why we stay
But we forget them every day

We talk so much about what went wrong
Talking's become the problem
Walking away would be the smartest thing
But I don't feel like walking
Track Name: All I've Got's Your CD

We were 15 when her mom passed out
As we watched from the pool
Drunk on cherry Kool-Aid and wine
Then she pulled me into her living and as a single puddle formed
We kissed so hard I could taste her blood and mine

Then she locked the door dropped her bathing suit
I dropped to my knees
Every inch of her tasted just like chlorine
Perhaps that's why I keep this job cleaning people's pools
The smells of all these chemicals do not bother me

Well I'd like to ask a question
But I don't think you want to speak to me
For a moment there, didn't I feel you breathing?
It's hard to tell cause all I've got's your CD

She walked from graduation to her car and headed north
Left her cap and gown at a rest stop on the state line
She showed up in a decade with the hit song of the nation
Change her name, she cut her age
She led the latch-key generation

Her shtick was pissed and cynical and we all felt that way
Integrity was her advice, kids bought all the merchandise
In articles she's quoted she felt dead through out her youth
She was hated and ignored
Did she forget our time on the floor?

I'd like to ask a question
But I don't think you want to speak to me
Do you separate the facts from all the bullshit?
It's hard to tell cause all I've got's your CD

Last night my machine was flashing with a message
Some girl muttered "Ah shit" and hung up
In the background were the sounds of a dinner or a truck stop
So I waited for a call back

Maybe I'm a sucker hung up on his brush with fame
Like my uncle, he drove a tank for Patton
But I swear that you once swore
You loved the boy who lived next door
And I think that counts for something, but I'm not really sure
Track Name: Love, Forever Reaching

Is this where they leave it all?
Frozen by the words "we will see."
He rolls a question in her hands
She stares and makes a silent stand
Love, forever reaching

All too many words were said
Words brought emptiness to bed
Words always tumbling from their mouths
Words of frustration, of doubt
Love, forever reaching

Letters sent with stamps upside down
Hanging up before an answer
Flowers on a work desk, dying

So is this where, they leave it all?
Yeah this is where they leave it all
Love, forever reaching
Track Name: Don't Sleep With The Singer

I'm in love, but it's the wrong love
She works next to me most every night
Her high notes sound like whispers
The low notes sound like moans
But you can't sleep with the singer
It'll kill the song

Count Basie wrote the tune for her audition
And I signed her up before she hit the bridge
But then the whole band stumbled and blew the intro
The first time she walked on
You can't sleep with the singer
It'll kill the song

There were nine guys in the band
And we all made a promise
But not one hoped to keep his word too long

You learn to keep your mouth shut when a steady gig's involved
And for three years we've done 20 dates a month
So through five duets sung nightly
My fate's accepted silently
You can't sleep with the singer or you'll kill
Don't sleep with the singer
You can't sleep with the singer or you'll kill the song
Track Name: Pennsylvania Lament

It was a Pennsylvania sunset
All choked with coal and gray
I came home, I found my father passed away that day
He put on his best suit and he put on a tie
He fed the cats, he fed the dogs
He hung himself and died

I sat in the kitchen while the cops drank all my beer
I said, Officer I barely knew the man who just died here.
Mamma passed in '69 he stopped talking that same day
Just sat and watched the Dumont and he let life slip away

There was a fat man in the funeral home
And he wore a bad toupee
He said it don't matter how he died, he deserves to have his day
So I went a planned a service just for me and my old man
But when I finally got there, there was barely room to stand

Crowds of people showed up, crowds of people spoke
Crowds of people talked about that man and what he wrote
They talked about his kindness, the joys he gave away
I never met I finer man than I met that day

They all told me
He once hitched across the states
Fought in World War II
He played fiddle with this midget band
And he had his butt tattooed
he nearly died from snakebite
He met my mom in the rain
That's good to know but much too late
Cause we won't meet again

So if you hear my singing, pay attention to these words
Do not let your father pass like a stranger from this earth
Take the time to meet him, he is more than some old man
Yeah my Dad was a king and then I got in the plan
Track Name: One Whole Day

I can't see you
You know it's wrong and you know why
I can't call you
We'd start to talk and I'd start to lie

I've got someone
Yeah she hates me now, she pulls away
But she's someone
When I need her most, you know she's always stayed

Driving out of town
In that August rain
We parked in the fields
And we stayed one whole day
Went there feeling bad
Came back feeling worse
There's this wound in my heart
And it won't close

I've got someone
Yeah she hates me now because I drink too much
She knows something
Still I fall asleep and I feel her touch

So I can't see you
I know it's wrong and I know why
I can't call you
We'd start to talk and I hate this lie
Track Name: Intermission Song

Intermission song
Please come back after your snacks
We hope the lines are not that long

Intermission song
Watch your coast and purses
There's evil here among us and your stuff might disappear

I'll be back for another 37 minutes
Maybe 43, if you clap real hard

Intermission song
Please come back
Please come back
Track Name: Crawling Back To You

Crawling through the wreckage of my living room
Getting mad's a wasted point of view
I know that you trashed the place just to try and make her leave
But she'll never go crawling back to you

You were flirting with the bridesmaids on your wedding day
The first of many stupid things you'd do
So she backed a bag, she dumped you butt
She moved on in with me
Now she'll never go crawling back to you

She said keep the car
She said keep the house
She said keep the power tools
And if she sees your face again
She'll swing as hard as she can

I'm not sleeping with her
She's just staying here
Until she figures out what she should do
That might take a couple weeks
That might take a year

But screaming like some lunatic or crying like a kid
I don't think it matters which you choose
Long ago you had a chance but you pissed it all away
Now she'll never go crawling back to you
Track Name: Hiding Behind Headlights

Truckers lie dreaming on the side of the road
Rigs lit up like Christmas trees
I ain't seen a map on this ride
I don't think it'd matter much to me

I'm hiding behind headlights
Sitting low, one hand out the window
One day I'll go home

My house is just one long list
More to do and more to do after that
There's car alarms and telephone calls
Windows down and some damn stereo on

But out here I stretch across my hood
Watch the falling stars disappear
Somewhere those stars made a splash
But it was somewhere far away from here
Track Name: My Best Lie

The best lie that I every told
It was the last thing I told you
When I stuck out my chin and said
I didn't care if you left again

When you didn't come back
My words fell apart
It was like a cheap watch when it hits the floor

But no one got to see that
No one got to see that
You never got to see right through my best lie

I spoke without thinking, it was rude and it was simple
Straight from my fears to the tip of my tongue
From the moment I said it, I wish I hadn't
But you can't take back what's been done

The best lie that I every told, it was the last lie I told you
I stuck out my chin, said I didn't care if you left again
When that screen door slammed, my words fell apart
It was like a cheap watch when it hits the floor

That was my best lie
Track Name: Gone

She's the kinda girl always looks excellent
Holes in jeans a Cleveland accent
Pretty little teeth, a terrible dancer
You can roll that top down drive a little faster
Mean as a rumor, beautiful at breakfast
All she is now is gone

She is gone, She is gone
All she is now is gone

Half an hour late, not really listening
She's as fragile as nitro glycerin
Sweeter than Oreos, a fine little liar
Melt your mouth her tongue's on fire
Make a priest kick a hole in a stained glass window
And all she is now is gone

She is gone, she is gone
All she is now is gone

She's as brief as an inkling
And she don't use big words
But you'll watch her laugh at what you're thinking
Before she's even heard

She looked good on my arm and better on another's
But walking away she reminds of my mother
I wish I'd spent more, I wish I'd spent it sooner
But she always had a knack for betting on the losers
Now I'm back in the pack, way out of the money
And all she is now is gone