Shotgun Singer (2008)

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produced by Sam Kassirer & Kris Delmhorst
 
cd_shotgun_photoShotgun Singer began as an act of solitary creation. Holed up in a rural cabin with minimal recording gear and a houseful of instruments, Delmhorst recorded her new songs alone, in layers of intimate vocals which she combined with electric and nylon guitars, cellos, keyboards, loops, and percussion. With the core of each song thus established, she brought in a diverse cast of players to add sparse backing lines of drums, keys, guitar, and vinyl-based samples, and enlisted co-producer Sam Kassirer (Josh Ritter) in arrangement and mixing. The result is collection of songs fully realized and even lush at times, but retaining a hushed intensity, a spirit of lo-fi intimacy and unhurried exploration. Adventurous, elegant, lucid, and haunting, the record is the work of a seasoned artist who has found a musical language, a means of expression, equal to her vision.

LYRICS

All songs ©2008 Kris Delmhorst/Big Bean Music (ASCAP)


BLUE ADELINE
Blue Adeline
I can see you lying awake with wonder
I can see you running alive with hunger

Blue Adeline
Your face felt like mine
Remember how we hung there above the hollow?
Remember how you went where I could not follow?

Blue as a day without rain, without rain
Blue as a song that I make my refrain

Blue Adeline
I keep you through time
And inside my soul you’re an open window
Even now I still think I feel that wind blow

Blue, you’re a day without shame, without shame
Blue, you’re a song that I’ll sing for so long


HEAVENS HOLD THE SUN
Long time, no sound, long years, waiting and waiting.
I hear it now, too loud, too strange to ignore.
I’ll watch that road, my heart steady as a snare drum.
When you get here I’m gonna meet you like the ocean meets the shore.

Don’t hang that head, you know it’s nothing I ain’t seen before.
Bring me your trash, your love as messy as a plum.
Bring me your weight, your shame, and the devil on your shoulder.
When you get here I’m gonna hold you like the heavens hold the sun.

It’s done, now here you come, smelling of the struggle.
I’ve worn that face before and it always leaves a stain.
Brokedown screen door, don’t bother with the bell.
When you get here I’m gonna greet you like the desert greets the rain.


TO THE WIRE
I see you across the room
Can’t say hi, it’s too soon
Don’t know why this doesn’t fit
I try and try, still I can’t make it

The world is wide, where’s my corner
Somewhere to hide, somewhere to flow from
People here are all so friendly
They smile and smile, still they can’t see me

And I thought that I’d made it so far
But I’m right back down to the wire

Act your age, quit your stalling
Turn the page, heed your calling
Are you the dance or the dancer?
You ask and ask and still no answer

And you thought that you’d made it so far
But you’re right back down to the wire

So come on now, blow my cover,
Bend my knees, be my other.
There’s still a place you can’t take me
There’re still some things you can’t make me

And we thought that we’d made it so far
But we’re right back down to the wire


MIDNIGHT RINGER
Uncle and me, stranger is three,
these bars smell like rain.
Well you check or you bet, there’s no telling yet,
but I’ll see you just the same.

My newest friend, my lucky hand,
I’ll see you around.

Well it takes take to give, takes death to live
if the gospels tell it right.
Cause gleaming under the door of a heart spoken for
is a life-awaited light.

My shotgun singer, my midnight ringer,
I’ll see you around.

And 1000 sparrows came down from the blue
And landed lightly just to prove you true

Well pour me a pour, you’re a stranger no more,
now we’re laughing and lateing.
I’ll kiss you out of the truck, let’s say it’s for luck
and the silver wings waiting’

I’ll watch them rise, from wheels to sky
I’ll see you around.


IF NOT FOR LOVE
Have you asked the wildest bird to change his song? It’s the only one he knows.
Have you tried to keep the river from the sea? Still that river flows.
If not for love what are you for?

We blow like weeds upon the wind, we hold the ground, we drink the rain.
We throw our seeds into the world before we go the way we came.
If not for love what are you for?

If there was only time enough for one last look, what would you see?
If there was only breath enough for one more word, what would it be?
If not for love what are you for?


RIVERWIDE
Oh river wide, older than time
Hold us inside, don’t go dry
Dreamed, swam with you, ancient and new
Woke up and knew it was true

River’s deep, the river’s long and wide
No one ever reach the other side

Take off your skin, no more pretend
World without end, without end

Let that water wash away your name
In that water everyone the same
River’s deep, the river’s long and wide
No one ever reach the other side

Oh river wide, older than time
Hold us inside, don’t go dry
Don’t go dry


1000 REASONS
Would you meet me in the windy city
If I come down from the sky
Would you take me to your fields of plenty
With horizon in your eye

Let’s take a ride across the rolling prairie
Where the old ghost dancers died
Break my heart a little wider open
So the whole world falls inside

I got 1000 reasons
and each one is enough

Found you looking like a four leaf clover
In a field all gone to seed
Worked me over like a holy roller
And I believe, I believe, I believe

I got 1000 reasons
and each one is enough
it’s enough

So will you meet me in your windy city
When I come down from the sky
Want to see you in your fields of plenty
With horizon in your eye
I see horizon in your eye


BIRDS OF BELFAST
The field grew wild all that buzzing summer
We dozed a while, woke a little younger
Hung your clothes, waited on the weather
Thorn and rose twine and grow together

When did all the birds of Belfast learn to sing your name?
When did all those silver ashes breathe into flame?
Who are you without your sadness? Who am I without my shame?
When did all the birds of Belfast learn to sing your name?

Which was right, the fight or the surrender?
You my light, my solitary mender
Still the sun will rise on every weeper’s mourning
Tearstained eyes, pearly light adorning

When did all the birds of Belfast learn to sing your name?
When did all those silver ashes breathe into flame?
Who are you without your sadness? Who am I without my shame?
When did all the birds of Belfast learn?
Who am I to sing a love song? Who are you to do the same?
With our weary little hearts full of broken little claims?
Will they even recognize us? Should I give you a new name?
And then all the birds of Belfast would sing it just the same.


OLEANDER
Born a little soon, raised on too much moon,
learned to get by on Leave me alone.
Be the restless one, be the burning son.

Then you filled your hands with oleander and
all the strippings of pride gone astray.
All that secret work, all those pretty words
that still don’t hold you

Now you spend your days in the dappled rays
of his love like a fern in the shade.
In a world of green no one’s ever seen

and oh it holds you.


KISS IT AWAY
Let it in & let it go

You, falling like a lotus from my hand
You, the only secret I can stand

I let you in & I let you go

Take me flying on your eagles wings
Way way way up above the sting

Let me in & let me go

Come on, come on, come on,
Come on kiss it away
Come on, come on, come on, come on,
Air gets old when you make it stay

We let it in & we let it go


FREEDIVER
Louie, all of the angels are facing outward
Down here all of the stars look the same
Lately I’m in the glare of a thousand glances
Tell me, why are they staring so strange
At a freediver

Louie, you in the sunlight, you breathe so freely
Upright, driest of winds in your hair
Loosely holding the line that becomes an anchor
Let me look for your hand in the air
I’m a freediver

Louie, all of the oceans are here inside me
Lately even each stone has a name
Search me, I don’t know if I am air or water
Truly I think they’re one and the same
To a freediver


BRAND NEW SOUND
I’ll move the air between us
I’ll touch you that way
I’ll make the waves crash on your shore
I’ll move the air between us
You’ll feel it even more, even more

There’s places in your mind
been working overtime
trying to name a brandnew sound.
There’s places in your heart
listening to the ground, to the ground

All your windy life you waited, now it’s time.

Halfway around the world,
a blue and shaky girl
is lying underneath the clouds.
She’s whispering your name,
she sings it right out loud, right out loud