‘Something Fierce’ Lyrics and Liner Notes

Welcome to the Something Fierce liner notes!  You can find complete, detailed credits below along with all the lyrics (listed alphabetically by song).  To view these liner notes the pretty way, download the album (they’re included if you get it at Bandcamp) or check out the Flickr gallery at http://www.flickr.com/photos/mariancall/sets/72157627571585902/show/. Protip: watch it as a “slideshow.”

Something Fierce is funded by fans.  Which means it’s utterly awesome and created in a spirit of gratitude.  It’s also more serious and personal than my last works, which means I’m more nervous about sharing it.  I hope it moves you in some small way.

Lyrics and credits are below.  Check back;  you may find more here soon.

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All New (Heart Shut Tight)
Bryan Ray, guitar
Aaron Benolkin, guitar, pedal steel

Jersey, Mexico, Hampshire, York, Orleans, Brunswick, Scotia, Foundland

I dreamed this dream
That’s not how I ought to start a song, but tag along
Sometimes the tried clichés are true
And there were you, all mysterious and smooth
Wrapped in riddles, worth a little scar or two

So I opened up
Might not be new for most of you, but listen up
Some of us are more repressed than others
And we try, experiment from time to time
I thought I’d dream of being dreamed of
Thought I’d pine — for a time

But I woke up in New Mexico, running with my palms wide open
And my heart shut tight, my heart shut tight
I woke up over Joshua Tree, stars all poking fun of me
And my heart shut tight, my heart shut tight — my heart she tried
I wanna make my home in these poor bones
And shake the New York lonely off of me

Never you mind
You are the ditch I tumbled into running blind
Dropped my caution, stopped my watching, and for what?
I slept right through the truth of us
So don’t you fret, you bear no fault, I just slipped up — just tripped up

And it’s hell to pay
I’m bound for Concord and I’m conquered, I’m betrayed
I’ll point my bleeding nose back north where I belong
Rocky Mountains, point me home
I really hate my coming late by what you knew all along –
It’s in every damn love song –
Your rocks are colder
Your coast is older
But the names are all all new all new all new

And I woke up under turning trees, Jersey raining leaves on me
And my heart shut tight against the Orleans night
I woke up on Montana roads, bleeding hard and dogged by hope
And my heart shut tight, my heart shut tight
Oh, my heart she tried so hard to do like humans do
To fall a little fall, to dream a dream or two
I’ll fly back across the plains again and perch a humbled spell
And come back for the Maritimes when I have learned my lessons well

You guard your own — you stay awake
The house makes the rules — the house wins the game.

I woke up in New Mexico, running with my palms wide open
And my heart shut tight, my heart shut tight
I woke up under Joshua Tree, 29 Palms mocking me
And my heart shut tight, my heart shut tight
I woke up in New Mexico, I knew exactly how we’d go
And my heart shut tight, my heart shut tight
I woke up over Joshua Tree, stars all poking fun of me
And my heart shut tight, my heart shut tight, my heart she tried
I wanna make my home in these poor bones
And shake the New York lonely off of me

Anchorage
Paul Pew, piano
Ellen Pew, cello
Jordan Shindle, guitars
Scott Barkan, bass
Colter Lemons, drums
Marian Call, goat toenails

Home is where you know yourself.

(He said we are a stony desert boundless acres wide
Endless spreading rocky sky / endless X by endless Y
And that I should turn up every rock / and space them evenly
And ask instead of tell them what the context looks to be)

Age quod agis.

Today my childish laughter falls away / the stakes were real and we won’t feel okay
With a knot of bitter worry in my eyes / and a tearless year or two since the last day
The last damn day, the last day that I cried

No no no no / take me back home / no no no no / take me away
Bring her ’round slow / no no no no
Tie her up right / I’ll sail round the night / I’ll dock when it’s day
No no no no / I got no home / no no no no / only a way
Bring her ’round slow / no no no no
I know where I’ll land / I’ll unclench my hands / I’m willing to stay

So see me down, see me down to the edge of the wild
Stroll me out to the end of the pier
Reel me in to the places we knew our own faces
Over wine, over coffee and beer
And anchor me anchor me anchor me anchor me here

Walk with me, the sunset’s three hours long tonight / we’ll blind our disbelieving eyes with light
And if the dusk admits our fear of death / we’ll write a worthy hymn and cork it fast
Cork it fast, we’ll float it west

No no no no / got a ring full of keys / no no no no / not a one of ‘em mine
Bring her ’round slow / no no no no
Fold up the maps / if love goes by haps / why look for a sign
No no no no / I got no home / no no no no / only a way
Bring her ’round slow / no no no no
The water’s not clear / but I’ve washed ashore here / and I’m willing to stay

So see me down, see me down to the edge of the wild
Stroll me out to the end of the bow
Point me back to the places we knew our own faces
Without wondering much why or how
And anchor me anchor me anchor me anchor me now

My body and my mind have scarcely met / I’ve spent my whole life being elsewhere and elsewhen
So ground me in the only house I own / forgive my absence, love — and teach me to live
Teach me to live, to live alone, no no no no, see me down, see me down…

And anchor me anchor me anchor me anchor me here

Aurora
Jordan Shindle, guitar

Lullabye and elegy for the tailor’s niece

Ni ni, ni ni, ni nigh’…

Stitch the edge of afternoon
Lace with light the eyelets through
Ribbons ’round the dark / cords to tie it true
Ribbons for your hair child fair child
Nightlights for to wear child there child
Lift your weary eyes
O lonely clear
O gladdening night, ni ni…

Seams by sight the stars to bind
Hem the fires of frozen fine
Meet your Solstice here
Dark to deep inclined
Ribbons for your hair love fair love
Nightlights for to wear love there love
Lift your aching eyes
O lonely clear
O gladdening night, ni ni…

The Avocado Song
Scott Barkan, guitar
David George Gordon, harmonica

Dedicated to someone whom this song will outlast

Well I had a good time sweetheart, that’s for sure
Well I wanna thank you for all your trouble
But if you lose my number now I won’t complain
‘Cause you’re my avocado baby — only only good for one day
‘Cause you’re my sushi baby — only only good for one day

Well we had a good run pumpkin, that’s for sure
Well I wanna thank you for all your hustle
But tomorrow I’ll be 500 miles away
‘Cause you’re my faux fur baby — nice and soft but not worth a dime
‘Cause you’re my MTV baby — oh so noisy and not worth my time

Well I had a good laugh dollface, that’s for sure
Well I wanna thank that extra pitcher
But you can stalk me online or at the show
Yeah you can call and text and call I won’t be home
‘Cause I think I do it better on my own
You’re my new high heels baby — only fun for one day
You’re my sushi baby — only only fresh for one day
You’re my avocado baby, my avocado baby
Only good for one thing

Coffee by Numbers (Faon’s Song)
Rama Ishaya, piano
Jordan Shindle, guitars
Colter Lemons, drums
Scott Barkan, bass
Corwyn Wilkey, trumpet
Brian Adams, Hasselblad
Marian Call and Colter Lemons, lots of percussion instruments

The wireless should be down more often.

I’m wearing five pretty hats today
I got four places to be and three critical endeavours to save
Two hands are not enough to balance all this stupid stuff and
One head can hardly run on zero hours of sleep
You know that it’s not fun

But Sixth Avenue is calling me away
It’s seven blocks from here to eight or nine perfect cafés
I guess I’ve drawn some kind of line, gonna drop some balls, gonna make some time
My steps are steering that way now
It’s not like I’m useful lately anyhow

I’m gonna waste some time and play
I’m gonna find the right café
I’m gonna lay down my dismay and sit in just one chair all day
And wonder wonder wonder — what it would take to stop

The world — a spell
I feel dizzy and a bit unwell
Just sit, just stare
There’s no one in mortal peril if I
Stop the world awhile
One raw sugar please, I love your smile babe
Just chill, just breathe
I’ll take this one in a real cup please

I’m gonna breathe deep ’til I’m dizzy
Hey stranger, you look pretty busy

Hey love, you look like a zombie on parade
You got a cell phone sword and a briefcase barricade
You can’t taste your coffee when you drink so fast, is that your tenth
Or eleventh cup? stranger, look at me
I’ve never said hello and that’s killing me

I’ve seen you here a dozen times
But I’ve been wrapped up in my rhymes
We’ve both got places to be and people to see and doubtless ladders to climb
But wouldn’t you wouldn’t you love to stop

The world — with me
Take ten minutes being just to be
We’ll talk — or not
You don’t really need that extra shot
Just sit down — drink up
Darlin’, you look simply thunderstruck
I’m new myself
To this startled state of mental health
And I’m mad, I’m sore
So let’s hold the phone, babe, let’s hit ignore
Might read, might just write
Or I might not do one damn worthwhile thing tonight

I like to walk downtown at night
I like the calm, the dark, the lights
I like the bracing winter air
And I like having five minutes to care

How’ve you been on your feet so long
As if you had to run the world, had to right every last wrong
As if you could!  As if we’re all waiting on you
Aren’t you tired of somnambulating?

Stop the world a spell
If you feel sick step off the carousel
Just sit — just stare
Did you think the world would really care
If you stopped the world with me?
Sit down my love, we’ll take some tea
Let’s rage, let’s cry
It feels so nice to depetrify love
I wanna lay down roots, I wanna hold the line
I want a day of rest, I want a Sunday smile
So take off your hat and unclench your teeth
And fill up your mouth with something sweet
You have to breathe.
Write it on your forehead if you need to.
Just don’t forget –
Or aren’t you tired of somnambulating yet?

Dear Mister Darcy
Scott Barkan and Jordan Shindle, guitars
Scott Barkan, bass
Colter Lemons, drums
Paul Pew, Hammond organ
Corwyn Wilkey, trumpet
Ellen Pew, cello
David Pew, banjo
Cameron Cartland, triangle
Marian Call, keyboards

On unsent letters and strong silent types

They drank all the pilsner and ate all the oranges
And she thought as the rotten and rusty door hinges
Squealed as he left, how remarkably deftly
How utterly thoroughly he’d failed to confess
He’d evaded the point and eluded the mood
She meant to convey when she laid out the food
Even put up her hair, but the boy wouldn’t bite
And it was almost sexy, but not quite.

Still how could she fret when she’d won that small bet
With a well-meaning friend who had sworn it would end
With a kiss and a cry and a happy reveal
(For what man could resist such a gem of a meal?)
She’d collect on the cash, but her victory stung
She cursed at the cat that had captured her tongue
She broke out the chocolate and started to write
And it was almost helpful, but not quite.

“Dear Sir,
I’ve been dropping hints like bricks on you.
We were both rehearsing for this awkward interview.
I’m done with making small talk and I’m done with being scared,
Because I heard from a friend of a friend
That you came with your speaking points prepared.
Dear Sir, I am taking matters into my own hands.
I hope I do not dry your interest if I dare to take this chance.
Do not underestimate me, boy; look closer and you’ll find
That if you peel back the polite, there might be something fierce inside!

“Remember the fête where the two of us met?
(Less a bolt from the blue, more our social ineptness)
The cool kids swarmed but you clung to the corner,
And that’s why my poor heart, before I could warn her,
Broke from the bunch to bolt to your side –
The rest of me followed, a bit starry-eyed.
And you took off your hat and you bought me some wine,
And it was almost awkward — but not quite.

“Well, we are not so much for big parties and such
(We’d rather observe than be part of the crush),
So you unpacked your camera to frame the good times,
And I nabbed a used napkin to scribble some lines.
The chemistry swept us both off our toes –
You shot no one else — I couldn’t compose –
And you said I was sweet, nearly kissed me goodnight,
And it was almost perfect, but — not — quite –

“Dear Sir,
You’ve been dropping hints like bombs on me.
I have this file of evidence — see exhibits A and B.
I’m done with making small talk and I’m done with being scared,
Because I noticed just how many times tonight you ran your fingers through your hair.
Dear Sir, I am taking matters into my own hands.
I think that I might love you, and I hope you’ll understand
That if I beat you to the punch, it’s just because my patience tried –
And if you peel back the polite, there might be something fierce inside!

“From that day to this, your timidity’s disenchanted me.
You were looking so longing, why couldn’t you say you wanted me?
I could vow that I’ll hate you with all of my will,
But unfortunate me, you can see how I’ll fail.
I’ve been waiting a year — I’ve been waiting for you –
I’ve been biting my tongue, and I’m almost through.

“Dear Sir,
I am dropping my last guard for you.
I’m fearful and I’m foolish and I’m agitated too.
All this anticipation without consummation, it’s hard on a poor girl’s pride
And though I doubt I’ll send this letter — If I did you’d see how I’ve tried.”

Early is as Early Does
Scott Barkan, guitars and bass
Jordan Shindle, electric guitar
Colter Lemons, drums
Rose McIntosh and Alyssa Fridenmaker, violins
Ellen Pew, cello
Eric Rodgers, fiddle
Stephen Rosser, djembe
Marian Call and Colter Lemons, lots more percussion
Paul Pew and Marian Call, string arrangements

On accidental jailbreaks

Early is as early does, and that seems right to me
I’m the first to test the sidewalk and I look up from my feet
To greet that early morning smell, that early warning chill, oh…

A heavy heart was sitting on my rumpled bed today
It tells me what it thinks of you — I tell it not to think that way
But it don’t hear me, babe. I tried to send it on its way, but oh…

And I guess I’m getting tired of chasing you so hard
So I thought maybe this morning I would take a few steps
Out into the yard — and when you didn’t stir, I went right out the gate
I kept the dogs shut in babe, but I think that I escaped

Early is as early does, and that suits me just fine
But I’m probably not being fair, so come correct me,
Come and get my wander-weary mind, come and interrupt my stride, oh…

Guess I’ll just go walking around downtown with all my business on my back
From café to café to café wondering if you miss me, if you’re gonna
Track me down and kiss me good (just like I always thought you would)
But I hear no hounds or sirens — maybe I misunderstood.

The last few leaves are falling — the snow is soon to come
I wonder where my steps might lead me if I never turn around
And run back home to you.  Do you really want me to?
I can’t say what it would mean
If you’d take one step out that door and scream my name

Are you sleeping?
Are your dreams so fair?
Do you need me?
Were you ever really there?
Guess I’ll just go walking around downtown…

…And I feel a little heavy, but you know, I can’t complain
Because truth be told, I love these early morning hours
And I love the rain.  I love the journey, how the ground feels solid when
Nothing else supports your weight, when every breaker seems to bend

Equinox
Bryan Ray, guitar
Marian Call, rainstick

“Breakup” = spring in Alaska

It’s coming on Equinox, I’ve found no balance for to speak of
Just salt on my shoes — just recycled blues
But I paid all my bills on time (I measure miracles per minute)
I’m unlikely at best — I’m unlike all the rest.
Funny to me still, how naturally it came to us
How easy we were we, how clear things were to me
Oh, I hope it snows…
And maybe you, maybe we, maybe she…

I know I’ll see you again after Breakup
When all the stacks of slush are gone
When all the dirt is dry and warm — it could happen
And you can be you again after Breakup
And we’re gonna laugh and laugh and laugh
And I’ll pick up the tab like nothing’s happened
‘Cause nothing happened

It’s coming on Equinox, no revelations worth a mention
Just more light on the grime — just frost on my mind
Your silence is broken now, but clarity’s still hard to come by
You’re unlikely to say — unlikely to stay
Funny to me still, how actually I don’t much mind
I love the long dark nights; I came here to chase the ice
Oh, let it snow…

I know I’ll see you again after Breakup.

Oh — it’s coming on Equinox.  Lost my headlamp, lost my scraper
In puddles of mud — my heart’s like to flood.
But waking up’s easier now the clocks are set for sunlight
Just get me to June — I’ll be over you soon
Funny to me still, how factually the seasons change
No pain when that ice cracks — I’m gainin’ minutes back
And maybe you, maybe we, we may be…

E.S.B.
Jordan Shindle and Scott Barkan, guitars
Errol Bressler, bass
Brandon Cockburn, drums
Karen Luke Fildes, flute
Corwyn Wilkey, trumpet
Cameron Cartland, congas, triangle, shakers

Extra Special Bitter.  This song is actually about beer.

It’s raining but it wants to snow
I’m stayin’ but I ought to go
But it’s cold out, it’s cold out
You smell of chocolate and dry leaves
You sound so soft and feel so sweet
But you’re so bitter goin’ down

Make it go away — say we’ll be okay

I don’t know how to love someone so dark
I don’t know how to leave someone so real
I don’t feel like myself when we’re apart
I can’t imagine staying ’til you heal, whoa…

I know it’s time to cut you free
But memory plays these tricks on me
And you make my head ache, my
My judgment wavers when you’re near
So I consent to one more beer
But it’s so bitter goin’ down

Make it go away — say I’ll be okay

So step away from me a little while
Until my head stops spinning from your taste
‘Cause I don’t need a dose of you to smile
‘Cause I don’t have another hour to waste

Free Bird
Jordan Shindle, guitar

also known as Don’t &*$%ing Touch Me

Babe I love your windowsill
You asked me here, I think I will
So settle in and cock your ear
Because this birdie likes to sing you
The songs you like to hear

But babe you better behave
Watch your mouth and wash your face
Lock up the dog and turn off your phone
And don’t think you can take me home

‘Cause I’m a free bird
I’m a free little bird
So set your net aside
And lock your cage up in the closet
Not gonna say what you want me to
Play what you want me to
Stay where you want me to
Fly — when you see just how high I go
You’ll surely know
I don’t just sing for you.

You can beg and plead and say you need me
But you don’t.
And if my independence vexes you
I’m sure you’ll cope.
Find some other hen to hold.

So babe I’ll decorate your windowsill
Enjoy and keep a picture if you will
But in a stitch I got to fly
And babe I think that you know you know why

‘Cause I’m a free bird
I’m a free little bird
So set your net aside
And lock your cage up in the closet
Not gonna say what you want me to
Play what you want me to
Rhyme when you want me to
Fly — when you see just how high I go
You’ll finally know
There’s things I won’t sing — even for you.

Good Morning Moon
Starring everyone!  And YOU when you sing along!
Jordan Shindle, guitar and tuba
Scott Barkan, bass
Colter Lemons, drums, chimes, bike bell, and happy apple
Ellen Pew, cello
Alyssa Fridenmaker and Rose McIntosh, violins
Eric Rodgers, Mandolin
Karen Luke Fildes, flute and turkey baster
David George Gordon, harmonica
Paul Pew, piano
Marian Call, toy piano and typewriter
David Pew, accordion, banjo, trumpet, and nose valves
Brian Adams, Hasselblad
Zippy, shaker
Paul Pew and Marian Call, string arrangements

A song for hitchhikers and astronauts, spaceships and spinners

Good morning Moon, love, how you doin’?
I’ve got business with you today
Good evening, Sun, I’ll see you soon
I wake on my own terms lately
Who’s to say we’re upside-down
Who’s to say we’re falling if we miss the ground
Who’s to say we’re going nowhere
If we like spinning ’round and ’round?  Doo doot doot doo…

Good morning Stars, love, how you are?
Nice we finally see eye to eye
Good day to be a speck like me
Fast and free, that’s how we fly
Who’s to say we’re upside-down
Who’s to say we’re falling if we miss the ground
Who’s to say we’re going nowhere
If we like spinning ’round and ’round?

Good morning me, love, where you be?
Keep your eyes open wide –
Babe, we gonna be all right!

Doo doot doot doo…
We like we like spinning ’round and ’round.

Good morning Moon, love, how you doin’?
I’ve got business with you today.

Highway Five
Scott Barkan, guitar

A love song to the West Coast and its many many roads

I’m packing up again to take a drive down old familiar Highway Five
Where every curve feels like a friend
I’ve traveled north and south since I was born for family, friends, love, and war
I know this road from end to end, hiyiyi

This is my coast, this is my home, from San Diego up to Nome
Haven’t seen it all yet but I will
And I want to memorize it, every inch, want to remember where I’ve been
I bless these waves, I bless this wind, I bless this grace and all my sins

I mean to take the side streets where I can, maps and the cost of gas be damned
The miles are only miles for me
So I breeze through my familiar ports of call, Rice Hill, Ukiah, Kelso, all
right where I know they’re s’posed to be, hiyiyi…

Looks to be a year of go and touch — leaning on my coffee like a crutch
With shards of daydreams in my hands
And the hot springs and the cold creeks, the lonely Bay and the long long weeks
Will frame my jokes & penetrate my plans,  hiyiyi …

Road’ll grind you down you give it time, but there are those that don’t much mind
Our corners start to curving ’til we shine
Traveling don’t make me special, no, I am just one more lonely soul
Trying hard to try hard to stay kind, yiyiyi

This is my ghost, this is my home — millions of miles my mind can’t own
No one’s seen it all;  no one will
But I want to memorize it, every inch, want to remember where I’ve been
I bless these waves, I bless this wind, bless this grace & all my sins

I Wish I Were a Real Alaskan Girl
Scott Barkan, guitar
Nathan Levine, bass
Colter Lemons, drums
Cameron Cartland, triangle

Or, the Los Anchorage city slicker’s lament

Oh, I wish I were a real Alaskan girl
I wish that I could hold my beer
I could wear hip waders in summer and heels at ten below
I’d have sexy wooly legs with long and flowing frozen hair
Oh to be a scowgirl in the Last Frontier
Where chicks run the Iditarod and win it
Oh, I could wrench on my own goose and I would jerk my own moose
And I’d drive a huge domestic truck and actually haul stuff in it

A little less sugar, little more spice
A whole lot of fire and even more ice
From Kotzebue to Ketchikan, from Dead Horse to Attu
Alaskan chicks can teach a city girl like me a thing or two

Oh, I wish I were a real Alaskan girl
Because I hear that they kick ass
Oh, it’s easy to see why a local woman’s in demand
The guys have to queue up for years to hold your hand
I’d find me some big burly bush pilot boy
I would hook and reel him in and fiancé him
But if he ever double-crossed me or tried to do me wrong
I wouldn’t hardly hesitate to skin, gut, and filet him

I’d shoot more than a camera at the animals and such
I’d eat Rudolph for breakfast and Bullwinkle for lunch
Alaskan girls are fearsome and fearless by design
They kill mosquitoes with a look and mess with trusting tourists’ minds

They’re ruggedly handsome in their way
They’re wild and free and meant to be that way
So from Jakalof to Juneau raise a glass to a proud and
confident and deserving Alaskan woman you know
And from Beaver to Tatitlek, here’s to ladies who understand that their
self-image should have nothing whatsoever to do with their shade of
lipstick
I wish I were a real Alaskan girl, but when it comes down to it
For most of us, Los Anchorage is gonna have to do it

Ina Flew the Coop

Jordan Shindle, guitars
Scott Barkan, guitars and bass
Colter Lemons, drums and percussion
Stephen Rosser, Djembe
Cameron Cartland, bass drum, percussion
Marian Call, typewriter, rainstick, claps, percussion
Karen Luke Fildes, flute
Ellen Pew, cello
Alyssa Fridenmaker and Rose McIntosh, violins
Paul Pew, piano
Eric Rodgers, mandolin
David Pew, banjo and accordion
Paul Pew and Marian Call, string arrangements

Four true love stories

Ina flew the coop and it was all uphill from there
Things kept getting better at a rate she could hardly bear
She crossed the widest ocean in a little silver bird
From north of north to south of south because he said the word

Ina took the sea urchin he gave her, spines and all
She ate it without flinching, and the boy began to fall
I helped her pack her things, I got some nice secondhand clothes
The kind meant for adventuring — what will I do with those?

But if ever love astounds you, you have to let it, have to let it
Oh if ever joy surrounds you, you have to let it, have to let it
Oh if ever love astounds you, you have to let it, have to let it

Melody was levelheaded, never looked to leap
But he was wild and willing, plunged in doubtless, plunged in deep
She tiptoed by the edge that he was beckoning her to
And closed her eyes and crossed herself, and what else can you do?

Melody jumped in headfirst and thought that she might drown
They planned their hikes and built their kites, they nailed the future down
But now every path is laced with plans unraveled without him
Nowhere left for her to walk but on the rocks around the rim

Ginny, she was never there, not even when she was
Only dated absentee to quarantine her flaws
Not much pleasure, not much pain, and oh so awful stiff
Watchin’ everybody else go tumbling off that cliff

So here I am
With this torch
With this flame
With my thoughts
With your name
No regrets
No offense
Damage done
What else could I have –

Ina found true love, but only for a little while
Breakup broke her heart a bit, but couldn’t crack her smile
I hear she’s headed home again, I hear she’s doing fine
Her heart has got a workout — it’s stronger far than mine

Oh if ever love astounds you…

Perilous Road
Scott Barkan, guitar
Eric Rodgers, mandolin
Ellen Pew, cello
Alyssa Fridenmaker and Rose McIntosh, violins
Paul Pew and Marian Call, string arrangements

A story I wrote about a girl who writes about a girl who writes

I want to write legions of letters and stories and poems and tomes for you
Parables rich with the riddles you’d wrestle with if you’d read them through
But light leaks through these lines and fictions fail my designs
My pen will not obey — my characters don’t stay

An avalanche rolled across the one road between us and town
So we stayed and we played with the bones and we watched the sad solstice sun go down
Stuck in the silence of acres of snow, tempting the tokens you took
And you want to get back to your drinks with the boys and I want to keep writing my book

‘Cause I’m where he said she said no — and she said he shouldn’t go
I know what they’ll decide — I’ll steer their words aright

But if your wheels get to weavin’, if you drive like you’re drunk
You can blame it on the ruts in the road
And if the big bad guys tail ya, if the little ones honk
Then just lean into your staggering load
It’s a perilous road

I want one more chance, an allowance advance, I want absolution too
So they’ll stay and they’ll weigh all the good times and bad and they’ll talk the matter through
I’ll make them both make nice — I’ll clear the mud and ice
I’ll send them home tonight — and she’ll sit down and write

Displacing her curses on second/third persons she’ll fill three pages of mine
We’ll write about writers who can’t seem to right the reveals outside the lines
Stuck in the silence of acres of snow, struggling to structure the book
And they say that by now the way out may be cleared, and I don’t think I like your look

And we’ll bury bones beneath our layers of make-believe
But my pen will not obey — my characters won’t stay

But if your wheels get to weavin’, if you drive like you’re drunk
You can blame it on the ruts in the road
And if the big bad guys tail ya, if the little ones honk
Then just lean into your punishing load

And if you’re rollin’ too fast, if your exit’s just passed
You can blame it on the ruts in the road
And if you’re runnin’ too hot for the lamp oil you brought
Then just lean into your worrisome load

And if changes come slow, love, the farther you go
Blame it on the ruts in the road
And if your story don’t follow that old plot you borrowed
Just lean into your staggering load
It’s a perilous road

Press or Say Three (Your Call is Important to Us)
Jordan Shindle, guitar
Scott Barkan, bass
Colter Lemons, drums
Paul Pew, piano
David Pew, accordion
Cameron Cartland, congas, cabasa, shekere, triangle, cuica
Brian Adams, Hasselblad
Marian Call, rainstick

It sounds nice on your planet;  I’ll visit sometime
Rolling waves, pretty sunsets — I’ll visit sometime
I’ll pack all my problems — I’ll leave them with you
And when I get home, with a tan, scrubbed in sand,
No more blood on my hands, I’ll know just what to do

Darling I hate you
And I thought that you should know

I want to damage your calm, want to undo your smile
Let me loathe you awhile, let me loathe you awhile
It may not be your fault, I’m sure you meant very well
But I cannot get mad, no I cannot raise hell
When it’s really the cat or the car or the weather or web or the flu
There’s just you
And for right now
You will do

It sounds nice on your planet;  please send my regards
With a smile and a slow wave, please send my regards
Do warn your connections when you mean to come home
So I can prepare for the welcome I’ve planned,
Rusty pitchfork in hand, a few tricks of my own

Oh darling I hate you
And I wanted you to know

Temporal Dominoes
Jordan Shindle, guitars
Scott Barkan, guitars and bass
Colter Lemons, drums, hammerhead, percussion
Stephen Rosser, Djembe
Cameron Cartland, congas, shakers
Ellen Pew, cello
Eric Rodgers, violin
Brian Adams, Hasselblad
Marian Call, rainstick, typewriter, claps

On Europe, Astronomy, and Paradigm Shifts
commissioned by Phil Plait

He likes the smell of the incense / she likes her Indian food
The sweltering subway so intense / not a gesture is left unpursued
‘Cause they’re not in the mood to miss miracles
Culling their half-baked assumptions / paradigms toppling untried
Demolishing decades-old hunches / with their eyes all unraveled and wide
At the top of the tide / and nowhere to hide

Temporal dominoes stacked to the sky
Stuttering syllables strung out to dry
When he dammed up the river of reasons that fish couldn’t fly
She mustered the mettle to try

Hostels to harbor them homeless / fishing holes dawning in dew
Tapping the glass on the compass / getting lost in the accents of blue
On the margins of true / staring skyward
Training from Oxford to Cardiff / at ear-popping edges of speed
Heads all a-scatter and starry / what we want, what we mean, what we need
They can no more misread

Once you know what you know
Then you know how you know that you

Temporal dominoes stacked to the sky
Spiraling syllables strung out to dry
When he dammed up the river of reasons that fish couldn’t fly
She mustered the mettle to try

And the stars will keep spinning if nobody sees them
And the moon will keep drawing the ocean apart
If you’re smothered in cities of fragile agreement
Then pack your bags yesterday yesterday yesterday
Tie down your heart and start to — hiyiyi

He likes the smell of the incense / she likes her Indian food
Tourists in search of the blessings and curses of messes and motion
And strangers and spectacle — we’re
Catching our breaths before galaxies
Galloping glimpses of art

Temporal dominoes stacked to the sky
Spiritual syllables strung out to dry
When he dammed up the river of reasons that fish couldn’t fly
She mustered the mettle to try

The days are just dominoes stacked to the sky
And towers do topple, so brace yourself by
If you’re swamped in the swelter of reasons to never ask why
Look to the sky

The Underground (One Bird at a Time)
Cameron Cartland, congas, bongoes, bass drum, snare drum, shakers
Colter Lemons, hammerhead, percussion
Marian Call, rainstick, claps, keyboards
Bryan Ray, guitar
Scott Barkan, guitar
Aaron Benolkin, pedal steel, banjo, electric guitar
Paul Pew, piano
Eric Rodgers, violin

Notes from a basement apartment

This house has no windows;  you’d think it would keep out the light
But I know the sun’s up; I can’t sleep I can’t think I can’t fight
Wake me up or let me sleep
But don’t wait on the dreams I don’t keep
I’m different from you — it’s hard but it’s true
So love, let me be the me that you knew
Morning is coming one bird at a time

This house has no windows you’d think it would keep out the noise
But the walls are a trap kit, the furniture moans at the joints
Be my rock or be my sand
But don’t hold out for news of my plans
I’m different from you — it’s hard but it’s true
So love let me be, I’ll walk us both through
Morning is coming one bird at a time

Wake me with voices of pardon and voices of peace
Walk with me over the threshold and shoulder your grief
Let’s be the traffic lights, let’s be the train
Let’s be the mittens left out in the rain
Let’s be each other and let’s be together again

This house has no windows;  you’d think it would keep out the light
Though a new day don’t mean much to someone who has to be right
Work my nerves or work your wiles
But don’t bank on a change in my style
I’m different from you — it’s hard but it’s true
Still I’d rather be sadder and wiser with you
Morning is coming one bird at a time

Whistle While You Wait
Jordan Shindle and Scott Barkan, guitars
Ellen Pew, cello
Marian Call, rainstick

Tok, Alaska, pop. ___ welcomes Alaska-bound travelers Al-Can Highway near the Canadian border

When it’s your first time in Tok and you’re broke and just limping down the line
And it’s forty below and you know that they know that you’re a hopeful from Outside
And people speak distinctly as if you’re foreign
And you forgot to plug your car in
And you’re clearly overdressed, even for winter
And your self-assurance slowly starts to splinter
Oh it takes a little effort to keep your head on straight
To laugh as if you mean it, to whistle while you wait
It takes a little effort to warm up one more smile
To bear another stare, to brave another mile

When it’s the first time you could get to West Hollywood and you’re slathered in sunscreen
And you drive really slow, so you know that they know that you’re another Joe with a dream
And you’re wearing your old secondhand blue jeans
And you keep turning your head at limousines
And everybody else looks so damn pretty
And you’re feelin’ extra grungy and extra indie
Oh it takes a little effort to hold your head up straight
To dress just like you want to, to whistle while you wait
It takes a little effort to not avert your eyes
To trust that you belong there — it might just be yourself that you surprise

And when you’re hopelessly lost in downtown Austin and the crowd’s too cool for words
And you don’t wanna go but you know that they know you’re one of thousands of songbirds
And you can’t hardly be heard above the racket
‘Cause everybody there is tryin’ to hack it
And you’ve never been compelled to sleep outdoors yet
So you’re feelin’ all establishment and corporate
Oh it takes a little effort to keep your head on straight
To laugh and really mean it, to whistle while you wait
It takes a little effort to sometimes plug your ears
To play without pretensions, but also without fear

Because some of us will never quite feel the thrill of being safe in our own skin
When it’s your first time around you might flounder a bit ’til you fit in
And although I do heartily admire
Folks whose natural graces seem inspired
I expect the truly confident are fewer
Than I am generally inclined to think
And it’s worth a little effort to look ‘em in the eye
To whistle while you’re waiting, to flutter ’til you fly
Oh, it’s worth a little effort and a lot of honesty
It’s worth some work believing
It takes a little practice to learn to be

++++++++++++++++++++++

Jordan Shindle and Scott Barkan played acoustic and electric guitars all over this album.  Jordan “Six Cookies” Shindle also played the tuba with admirable sincerity.  Aaron Benolkin and Bryan Ray played guitars too.  Aaron also played pedal steel and banjo, and he engineered his many strings all by himself at aB+ Studios.

Errol Bressler and Scott Barkan both rocked the electric bass.  Nathan Levine played upright bass and sang in a Muppety voice.

Rama Ishaya played piano for “Coffee by Numbers (Faon’s Song).” Paul Pew played the piano on the rest of the album (and the Hammond organ, too).  He also baked chocolate chip cookies and drove his truck Matilda all over Austin, TX to facilitate dozens of listens to almost-final mixes of this album.  He engineered some of the keyboard cuts on his own, and he wrote the first drafts of the string trio arrangements.  Marian edited the string arrangements and she played some keyboards, especially the happy toy piano.

The Colter Pavlich Lemons hit everything: drums, bells, bike bells, drum keys, hammers, shakers, Jordan, and anything else you can hit, and he always plays like he means it.  Cameron Cartland who travels all over in search of new instruments lent me some from his collection:  congas, bongoes, shekere, bass drum, snare drum, cuica, cabasa, and triangle, and probably more.  Brandon Cockburn played the extremely funky drums for “E.S.B.” Stephen Rosser beat his djembe.  Brian Adams shot and wound his Hasselblad.  Zippy shook it like a Polaroid picture.

Ellen Pew played the cello.  Alyssa Fridenmaker and Rose McIntosh played their violins with her — the three of them comprise Sprezzatura Trio in Seattle as of this writing.  Eric Rodgers played mandolin and fiddle, though once or twice his fiddle violined too.

David Pew played the moustache accordion, the two-moustache banjo, trumpet, nose trumpet valves, and mechanical pencil though that’s in the deleted scenes).  He sang in a high squeaky voice, but his wife Kaitlyn Pew sang pretty and made tea.

Corwyn Wilkey played the trumpet and did a lot of graphic design work on Marian’s T-shirts, posters, business cards, and the 49>50 Tour publicity.  David George Gordon played harmonica (and Jaw Harp too, though that’s harder to pick out).  Karen Luke Fildes played the flute and the turkey baster and provided spiritual guidance throughout the project.

Nearly everyone listed above and below sang “doo doot doot doo” for “Good Morning Moon.” Some members of the Donors’ Circle can also be heard in the chorus, including Dan and Linda Pavey, whose hospitality and love knows no bounds.  Marian’s roommate Melody Paynter sang along too, and she deserves thanks for putting up with living room recording sessions, innumerable airport rides, and a tiny house full of gear and boxes of CD’s and dirty coffee mugs.

Marian Call wrote the words and music, sang and clapped a lot, played the typewriter, rainstick, and tambourine; she recorded a great many instruments in a great many closets, bedrooms, and churches by herself, edited all the music in ProTools, and supervised the many mixes made by her longsuffering engineer Brian.  She also designed the album art using the amazing photos of Brian Adams and the illustrations of Karen Luke Fildes.

Something Fierce was recorded by Marian Call, Aaron Benolkin, and Paul Pew in homes and other odd places, and it includes snippets of audio captured for other albums by Ryan Brownell at Garden Studios in Anchorage, AK and Tony Thomas at Pacific Studios in Tacoma, WA.  But most of the engineering credit goes to:

Shawn Simmons, Red Room Studios and Avast! Studios in Seattle, WA
Tony Fabris, Monkey Brains Studios in Seattle, WA
Brian R. Taylor, BRT Music in Brooklyn, NY and Woodland Hills, CA
Erik Braund, Hotel Braund AK in Anchorage, AK
Nick Petumenos, Westchester Music Studios in Anchorage, AK

Something Fierce is mixed and mastered by Brian R. Taylor at BRT Music in Brooklyn, NY and Woodland Hills, CA.

Copyright Marian Call (ASCAP) 2011, all rights reserved.

For more detailed album credits, visit http://mariancall.com/faqs.php in the future.

Non-commercial use of this music for your personal website or free podcast or home movie or slideshow is probably OK with Marian;  same with covering MC original songs in a non-commercial setting.  Just get in touch with questions about use, placement or licensing:  http://mariancall.com.

4 Comments »

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  1. Goat toenails?

  2. [...] Something Fierce. She released this double album into crit-space just a few days ago (fancy lyrics, plain lyrics, music). Give it a listen! If you enjoy it, give it a purchase! (Cool [...]

  3. [...] provides a link to a wordpress blog where you can find the lyrics and more information on each song. Share [...]


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