Track 12 Can’t Come Down


Recording and Mixing Dates: September 26, 2010 and March 23, 2016. Mixed March 23, 2016.


Genesis: I came up with the music in 1974 when I moved a simple chord position on the second fret of the guitar to the fifth fret. The progression became the core of the verse music. I then added a simple three-chord progression for the refrain.

I wrote the lyrics in 1975. I am not sure at this point where they came from. They suggest at first glance someone who is in the midst of a bad drug trip, but I know that is not what I was consciously going for at the time. Today, the lyrics make me think of a person who is caught up in an intense situation and realizes there is no way to exit it safely. The night sky imagery plays into the song’s title.

The proper arrangement of the song has bedeviled me for decades. It started out as a solo guitar arrangement, then moved on to two acoustic guitars. Six years ago I worked up a heavy rock arrangement with blasting electric guitars. I finally settled on an acoustic arrangement that features a clawhammer banjo in the background and a fiddle for the solo sections.

Production: Acoustic Bass, Drums, Acoustic Guitars, Banjo, and Fiddle.


Can’t Come Down

Night has come to surround me

It holds me tight and warm

For I have been out traveling

High and mighty in the storm


I can’t come down

I’ve come this far to learn

I can’t come down

There is no safe return


Once pale in dim reflection

The stars erupt to show

Points of fiery crimson

Hearts of white-hot snow



Arching lines of fire

Carom off the sky

Ablaze in one great fever

They twist and lunge and die



Cut off from all behind me

I take the path towards light

It leads me close to morning

Then bends back to the night


Copyright 2016 Fred Grittner All Rights Reserved

Track 12 Can’t Come Down

7 thoughts on “Track 12 Can’t Come Down

  1. Jan Hauenstein says:

    Good song, well written and played, can´t tell you why it grabs me a little less than some of the others. Maybe because I am not that fond of fiddles as lead instruments? Will listen again.


  2. Judyth B says:

    I LOVE the lyrics! The music doesn’t seem to fit well with them to me….not as mournful as the words feel (for me). Teresa shared your music this with me.


  3. Dale Jernberg says:

    That’s funny. I remember the song well but I can’t quite remember the exact treatment you gave it way back in the 70’s. Pretty sure it was that bluegrassy type picking you always did. I bet you still have a recording from the old TEAC 4 channel. I do like the low key presentation you gave it here.


    1. Fred Grittner says:

      Thanks, Dale. I may have a tape recording of a guitar and vocal–definitely not bluegrass though. Congratulations on your retirement!


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