Mortality

by Be Honest, Ruth Bryan!

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about

Thank you to everyone. We love you all.

This album can also be downloaded for free at
noisetrade.com/behonestruthbryan
soundcloud.com/behonestruthbryan

credits

released August 16, 2013

Ruth Bryan: guitar, mandolin, vocals
Lauren Oglesby: piano, guitar, glockenspiel, vocals
Melanie Wong: violin, glockenspiel, vocals
Clark Rhee: drums
Kevin Engle: bass


Recorded, mixed, edited by Aaron Bollinger at FreshMadeMedia in Burien, WA. Mixed and Mastered by Aaron Bollinger and Stephen Hartwell.

Except for "Little Malice" vocals, guitar and mandolin and violin, which were recorded, edited and mixed by Clark Rhee at the BeatLab in Seattle, WA, and "Song For A Wren," recorded, mixed and edited by Dylan Fant.

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Be Honest, Ruth Bryan! Seattle, Washington

Three girls, two boys, one band.

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Track Name: Tides
Listen to the mountains falling silent now
The train blows a whistle it is slowing down
The people who gathered go their different ways
And I am alone here with the ending day
Swiftly, the tides come who can say how soon
Till we’re standing on islands, each an empty room
We’re going to part and I can’t stop the waves
The water is coming now to separate

I wonder is this the best it’s ever been, the brightest sunset
What will remain of this feeling in my brain, or will I forget?
My father’s limping, he’s getting old
My mother’s hiding, the hurricane grows

I don’t know what you’re thinking and it’s killing me
I walk beside you with my two arms dangling
We’re coming to a crossroads and I cannot choose
Will you ask me kindly just to stay with you?

I wonder is this as good as it gets, or will I regret?
I want to keep my heart, but this feeling transcends and I can’t protect
My father’s graying, he’s already old
My mother’s praying, the hurricane blows

It’s hard to live with death peering over your shoulder
It’s hard to love when I know someday it’ll be over
Track Name: The Anvil
Tell me: when the blow fell
when the hammer struck the cosmic anvil
were you expecting it?
Did you see the hand rise up, or the hammerer within?

What some had called mutual (as if they could tell!) wasn't.
What some had called lovable-- well, they can have it now, if they want it.

Tell me you changed your mind--
that you decided sucker punches are overpriced.
Or did it come out sharpening (to a razor point)-- product of a dozen blows unseen?

Do you ever feel I'm twisting your pain,
doubling it over till it looks you in the eyes?
And then telling you there is nothing here to gain,
when there clearly is something I'm getting from all of this.

Did you think I called it mutual?
Well, that's the story I tell to justify the blows that fell.

Tell me how you felt when the blow fell.
Tell me, I'm headed there myself: where the hammer meets the anvil.
Track Name: Little Malice
Don’t you wonder what my lips are hiding
When I press them together and I draw them tight?
What’s behind my eyes when I blink too slowly?
Why I’m suddenly willing to shut out the light?

I don’t care what you say when I cannot see you
I don’t care what you think when you are alone
You don’t want me, it’s plain, and I do not need you
Simply seems like a’wasting the time we’ve done

Do you believe that I bear you little malice?
That I don’t want to hurt or to be hurting?
All the same, oh my dear, this is what I wish for—
I want you to love me and I want you to leave.

If this is the part where you say a harsh word
Then this is the part where I speak back five
Call it fate or freedom, regret or reflex
That we entwined our lives just to watch them unwind

And the spool that turns is of petty proportions
The littlest gestures, the shortest words
The flurries of fury, the currents that underlie
The indifferent faces we show the world.

And if this is a role, I will make my excuses
If this is a farce then I’ll say goodbye
We may need a script to speak the truth, but
We don’t need a stage to tell each other lies

Do you believe that I bear you little malice?
Neither can I, even as I speak!
Oh my love, my dear, I got what I wished for
I got to hurt you like you hurt me

Oh my love, my dear, all of what I wished for
Turns to dust in my mouth as I watch you leave.
Track Name: Shadows
I used to think I’d live in a house on top of a hill
But I was born in the valley and I’m living there still
From my kitchen window I follow the birds in their flight
But I will never know what that feels like
I am frozen in the shadow of a greater height
I used to think my arms would carry the weight of a child
But I had my true love only for a while
The paths of the woods I walk on the quietest night
But this world will see no children of mine
There’s a cradle in the attic with the moths and mice

Shadows, lengthened when I turned my back,
The lights go; the lights went out so fast!

I used to think that God had a plan for all of us
So I patiently waited to find my purpose
I went to the fields, lying still under skies thick with stars
I thought I would hear a voice if I listened hard
But all I had was my heart beating through the dark

I didn’t know it but you changed me
You were the spectacles that let me see
And when I broke the fragile glass
I spent my life trying to go back
But no one saw me as clear as that
You didn’t know it but I took photographs
Of you in my head every time we met
I keep them all in a gallery
I walk the rooms when I’m asleep
Your face from the frames always looks towards me
Track Name: The Tree
There was a tree, growing on the green
with a fine house beneath, so white and so clean
in which lived a man, who spoke tenderly
and I put on my best clothes when he came a'knocking.

Well, I gave him my heart, and he gave me his name
and we wed 'neath the branches on a bright summer's day
we lived in that house; we laughed every day;
we were so happy, I was afraid.

And then the war came, and took you away
You wrote me letters,
and I waited and prayed.
I prayed you'd come back to me
but when you came--
their car backed into the tree,
and it knocked off all the leaves
a whole month too early.

Now you cry in your sleep that there is no shade
that the branches are falling, there is blood in the rain
You open your eyes, so wide, so ashamed,
and I open my mouth, but I don't know what to say

When I look out the window, out across the green
On dark nights our faces (are) mirrored right back at me
all pale-white and pointed, frightened, frightening
two tired old shadows beneath a dead tree.
Track Name: Mortality, part 2
All the things I feel and think,
Oh, they mean nothing I can believe
Yes, they are lies, so to speak,
coming from a heart cursed to deceive

I'm on a trapeze swing and a tightrope walk
I'm a woman underwater in a padlocked box
You can stare at me till your eyes go cross,
but the answer's a riddle wrapped in a paradox:

What can split the body from the soul?
Or a woman from the one she holds?
A rip and a tear, and there it goes:
everything you know.

And the words I say don't mean a thing
they're gossamer silk lying in a heap
a slippery web dissolved in a week
there's nothing here to keep

I'm cupping my hands to a wisp of smoke
reading my fate in the flame as the flicker grows
I'm staking my name to a toss of bone
arrow-white oracles on the stones

What can split the body from the soul?
Making mushroom clouds and blackest holes
A rip and a tear and there it goes--
Oh, I ever loved what I could not hold...

All the things I feel and think
that they mean nothing, I cannot believe--
that they are lies, so to speak,
coming from a heart cursed to deceive--
I cannot believe
Track Name: Mortality, part 1
When I was younger, I used to wonder
Where my soul will go when my body is under.
Dirt and stone, fire and bone
I asked my father: "Do you know?"

Do souls have geography or a time?
I searched with my compass but I couldn't find.
So I became the explorer of hidden corners;
I knew every house from cellar to dormer.

Do you know where we go?
Floating souls, floating souls.
Is it above us, or below?
Floating souls, floating souls.

And I don't believe that I should be loved--
I've weighed my pros and I've weighed my cons.
I'm too off-balance, we'll both fall off.
My heart is a tightrope over a perilous drop.

Do you know who you love?
A mortal one, a mortal one.
Will this time be enough for us?
Mortal ones, mortal ones.


----

Abide, little bird, don't fly away
a basin of water I'll put out each day
with the waning of the moon, the waxing of the waves

Often you lodged low in my tree,
keeping your watch over me
but your eyes were as dark as a fathomless sea

Poets take words as yarn to purl
gathering stitches to cover the world
but my hands hold only lint, I have none to give.

Over the arc we sailed for a year,
rowing with arms heavy from fear,
we lost sight of the shore, I can return no more
we lost sight of the shore, I can love you no more

I take hope by the hand, and lead it to the gate.
By and by, we will know our mistakes
By and by...

Abide little bird, don't fly away
A basin of water I'll put out each day
Fixed my heart on a wren, I'll have him back again
Fixed my heart on a wren, I'll have him back again.