Keep the Wolves Away

by Uncle Lucius • Lesson #310 • Jul 10, 2020

Video lesson

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Editor’s notes

Hey friends! Here’s a lesson teaching you how to play the song “Keep the Wolves Away”, the 2012 song from the band Uncle Lucius out of Austin, TX. While I’ll always love the classics, it’s a great feeling to unexpectedly discover new music that catches your ear – which this song definitely did. Musically, this one is simply Bm-D-A-G (two measures each) used for the entire song, with a capo on the 2nd fret. I’ll show you this, demonstrate the strumming, explain the G-riff at the end of each verse, and do a partial playthrough to show you how to play this tune.

This is a song I’ll always associate with being a real gem that YouTube suggesting to me via autoplay (thank you robot). Two different times at two different friends’ houses, while hanging out on back patios – this song was served up on the YouTube music video. Each time it caught my ear, and after this happened recently I knew I wanted to learn it. While the band Uncle Lucius ended their 12-year run recently, it was cool to read up on their legacy in Texas these past 12 years (

Timestamps for this video lesson:

  • 0:00 Lesson overview
  • 2:04 Basic chord shapes needed
  • 4:37 Strumming & chord progression
  • 8:54 G-riff & verse playthrough
  • 10:57 Farewell

Official music video

Lyrics with chords

Capo 2nd fret. See my sheet music for a print-friendly version of the lyrics and chords.

 <!-- Bm                                        D                                       Took my first breath, where the muddy Brazos, spills into the gulf of Mexico
      A                                            G                               Where the skyline's colored by chemical plants, to put bread on the table of the working man               
      Bm                                     D                                      Where the working man does his best to provide, safety and shelter for kids and a wife A                                          G (let ring)                                                Given little love & soul every day, making over time to keep the wolves away

[ Bm-D-A-G, two measures each... play full progression twice, whistle second time ]

        Bm                                     D Well, I was barely thirteen when the company man, tried to dig my daddy's grave    A                                                G                                  It happened on a French owned tanker ship, spilling poison in the Galveston Bay
      Bm                                          D                                 Where the liquid fire filled his lungs and his eyes, silenced.... any mortal cries A                                            G (let ring)                                         Cold and the grip of death stinging pain, he fought like hell to keep the wolves away

[ Bm-D-A-G, two measures each... play full progression twice, whistle second time ]

    Bm                                            D For the next few years dad was sick as a dog, but he made a recovery just to spite the odds
A                                                   G                                 The settlement came and we moved out of town, where the sky isn't heavy with refinery clouds
 Bm                                                                                Yeah he's still alive he's doing good he's in his fifties
    D                                                                             But the moneys running out, and he's pinching for pennies
   A                                                 G (let ring)                                  So I'm going for broke with every song I've made, 'cause now it's my turn to keep the wolves away

[ Bm-D-A-G, two measures each... play full progression twice, whistle second time ] -->

Strumming pattern

See my sheet music for a strumming diagram.

Chord shapes needed

See my sheet music for the chord shape diagrams.

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