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the annunciationtrack 1, 2:53

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Requiem 1

  • I found them out by the stables
  • there, barefoot and quiet,
  • their fluted murmurs
  • echoing underneath the gabled pinewood eaves
  • that still smell faintly of resin and creosote.
  • Their skin was faintly translucent
  • with long hummingbird beaks
  • and barrel chests plumed with orange.
  • Arms and legs covered in cursive
  • sextants and stars.
  • one pale scar shaped like an oval above his right ankle
  • The sun uninterrupted by their skin
  • merged with the afternoon light
  • reflecting from hung garden equipment
  • glinting and gleaming
  • I found myself
  • crying, trying
  • to tell the story of my town
  • but as I spoke
  • my throat constrained
  • and I felt burning underneath my skin
  • my eyes collapsed into ball bearings
  • feathers pierced through my skin
  • and I was alight, curling through the sky
  • whooping at my sleeping village below
  • And the word I whispered as thanks
  • I couldn't remember

Lyrics

  • The dawning Appalachia's hours from this night
  • so I will wait here for the light
  • wondering maybe if tonight my town will finally rise again
  • I thought of you as I slipped off that evening
  • but as I settled on a dream
  • I heard a gathering of wings
  • and woke to angels in my yard erasing darkness from the night
  • They had the legs of men the heads of hummingbirds
  • their autumn feathers lined with words
  • the tattooed nouns and verbs
  • in a language that I heard them speak but couldn't understand
  • I cried and tried to tell the story of my town
  • but I couldn't make a sound
  • and as I fainted to the ground
  • and angel laid me down and said a single word into my ear
  • Feathers pierced my skin and formed a ruby crest of fur
  • and when I spoke I heard
  • the warble of a bird
  • So I flew screaming out the word across the morning's breaking light
  • I woke alone with feathers covering everything
  • I was back in my own skin
  • and as the morning emptied in
  • I was remembering I spoke some word I couldn't quite recall

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cedar beachtrack 2, 3:57

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Requiem 2

  • I wrote a draft of this
  • on Cedar Beach off of Babylon, New York
  • My toe tracing the words
  • in sand stretched nearly 40 feet,
  • the punctuation at the right side
  • slowly being eaten away by the waves
  • It was about a golem
  • feathered with barnacles and seaweed
  • emerging from the ocean
  • and me, trembling in the sand
  • waiting for the judgment
  • of whether I was to be defended
  • Is it a heaven or hell at the floor of the sea? I asked him.
  • Smiling he said as he started to walk off alone
  • You wrote that answer a long time ago

Lyrics

  • Standing on Cedar Beach I saw a man in the sea
  • Silently he floated closer to me
  • there on the snow stood a ghost
  • Skin wrapped in barnacles, bracelets of seaweed and bone
  • Hair of anemone eyes of a crow
  • staring at me on the beach
  • Trembling I shut my eyes and fell down to my knees
  • Saying 'Are you a demon or saint come for me?'
  • Shaking his head, he said
  • I row the boats in the ghost kingdom under the sea,
  • in wintertime I like to come to this beach.'
  • I opened my eyes and replied
  • Is it a heaven or hell at the floor of this sea?
  • Wandering seafarer tell this to me'
  • Smiling he said as he started to walk off alone
  • You wrote that ending a long time ago'

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veinstrack 3, 4:55

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Requiem 3

  • When the soft clutch of belief
  • extinguishes every darkness
  • from my body
  • And we become simpler
  • our wrinkles fade over tauter skin
  • our house rebuilds itself
  • books packed into dogeared boxes
  • spring back onto the shelves
  • and are erased from our memories
  • And our love becomes new
  • then unsure
  • then foreign
  • Still your eyes, still your eyes
  • For in the darkness
  • you will be nearer to me

Lyrics

  • If the darkness comes this evening
  • how my hands will trace
  • all the starry night reflected
  • off your sweaty waist
  • How our bodies burning made the ground a town for passing planes
  • and together singing tura lura lura
  • Pour the holy water over our heads
  • hollow out our spines
  • change our blood to sap
  • our bones to limbs
  • edit veins to vines
  • What our skin remembers render into colors for the leaves
  • and together singing tura lura lura
  • Because all that I have ever wanted
  • All that I could need
  • Is to go back to the body
  • where I was a seed
  • Where we'd grow our hearts into a perfect weeping willow tree
  • and together singing tura lura lura

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bluetrack 4, 3:49

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Requiem 4

  • In mornings
  • the pictures yellowed on my dresser table
  • are filled with strangers
  • It happened gradually
  • One day they were Bar Mitzvahs and graduations
  • the next your nose somehow didn't curve like it was supposed to
  • then your shoulderblades were different
  • and your eyes were a darker shade of hazel
  • And then I run through my mind
  • frantically trying to stitch together the little pieces of you
  • that are splitting like so many worn hems
  • And then, in a rush, they come back to me
  • That day by Cedar Beach
  • the dock that your father built by hand
  • the AM radio softly whirring in the background
  • Joni Mitchell singing 'Blue'

Lyrics

  • Oh I know what it's like
  • getting old, getting settled in my ways
  • Oh it seems that every Spring
  • seems to pass a little faster than before
  • And take another memory so blue
  • Oh I realized
  • when the curve of your chin became unclear
  • Oh then remembering
  • your face got harder everyday
  • So I carry around our photograph so blue
  • Blue

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the prostitute (goodbye, savannah)track 5, 4:12

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Requiem 5

  • We drew a map of the Southeast
  • on a big roll of butcher paper
  • from the Mason Dixon line down
  • and colored Alabama blue
  • laughing that a big empty ocean
  • had swallowed Birmingham whole
  • The next morning's hungover light
  • Crested the comforter
  • and anchored your forearm's faded green tattoo
  • in a burnt ocher
  • making us feel like princes
  • in exile from our true homes
  • resurrected without crowns
  • Oh and goodbye Savnannah

Lyrics

  • 20,000 dollars and I don’t care
  • just to lay down upon your feet
  • just to stay as you fall asleep
  • Because I think you look like everything
  • That I’ve had but I couldn’t keep
  • That I’ve hummed by I couldn’t sing
  • And tomorrow I’ll be heavy as the wind
  • Left to blow out the candles that still are lit
  • Oh and goodbye Savannah
  • I had me a lover years ago
  • How his hands were the maple trees
  • Waving shade on the Georgia Spring
  • We would live together him and me
  • I would paint while the morning traced
  • Lines of light on his sleeping face
  • I would make Alabama a Southern sea
  • With him waking upon it’s empty beach
  • Oh and goodbye Savannah
  • Everyday you get more incomplete
  • First your eyes were a dimmer blue
  • Than the oceans I once drew
  • Now I lose a little everyday
  • And I’m scared cause the thing that’s new
  • Is I notice I’m fading too
  • So if you’re ever again near Birmingham
  • Would you lay next to me, honey if you can
  • Oh and goodbye Savannah

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the floodtrack 6, 7:42

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Requiem 6

  • The only sounds a city makes 500 years after everyone has gone
  • is the sound of rusted cars collapsing in on themselves,
  • trees,
  • and gods curiously walking around,
  • their exquisitely sequined slippers
  • shuffling quietly over the crumbled pillars of overpasses

Lyrics

  • Sometimes when I'm walking in the afternoon I hear him speak to me
  • the rhythm of a flock of crows, the opal of some puddled gasoline
  • he says to build an ark and ready for the flood
  • I found an empty shipping box and towed it to the lot beside my home
  • I wrapped it up in balding tires and empty cans and broken styrofoam
  • and every afternoon, I waited for the rain
  • The voice that kept me company fell silent as the years went slowly by
  • A winter crept into the void and filled up every space he left behind
  • And I grew old and grey, waiting in the snow
  • Had I lost the faith to hear or had the words grown silent on his tongue?
  • Watching the horizon, praying father would forget to raise the sun
  • Then on a Saturday, an answer to my prayer
  • The sidewalks cracked and split with vines, the cars collapsed to rusty skeletons
  • the skyline fell into the sea and flowers filled the footprints left behind
  • then water filled the roads of my neighborhood
  • I cried and felt the tears mix with the rainwater and pool around my feet
  • The ark rose from its moorings, past the rooftops, past the steeples, past the trees
  • towards an ocean sky, towards a brighter day
  • Water was witnessing
  • all around me
  • yellowed old photographs
  • float in the street
  • I thought about providence
  • says all that we have
  • are prayers forgotten
  • battened the hatch

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the returning of the dovestrack 7, 4:54

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Lyrics

  • Never will I anymore
  •      40 days the water wept
  • Leave gardenias by your door
  •      Through the kitchen up the steps
  • Climb another dogwood tree
  •      Hold Eliza’s hand and pray
  • Fall asleep along the beach
  •      We will see another day
  • We wait
  • For the colors up above
  • The returning of the dove
  • But the water keeps falling
  • Raindrops falling
  • Father calling
  • Never will I anymore
  •      Everything I brought with me
  • Sweep your hair up from the floor
  •      Parsley, sage, and rosemary
  • Magazines and cigarettes
  •      Chin up, brave, standing tall
  • Lemonade and baby’s breath
  •      Mark your height along the wall
  • He waits
  • For his children up above
  • The returning of the doves
  • For the morning to start waking

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fireworkstrack 8, 3:34

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Requiem 7

  • On the streets of the Capitol
  • the fireworks echo and bloom
  • flowering down into red and then green and then blue
  • and for a second I could see your face near
  • In that moment of light I saw
  • a tear on the side of your cheek
  • you leaned you head onto my shoulder
  • and whispered to me
  • How's life so beautiful, and yet so brief?

Lyrics

  • On the streets of the capitol
  • the fireworks echo and bloom
  • flowering down into reds
  • and then greens and then blues
  • and for a second I
  • could see your face
  • near
  • In that moment I saw
  • how the light caught the tears on your cheeks
  • You leaned your head onto my shoulder
  • and whispered to me
  • How's life so beautiful
  • and yet so brief?'
  • Oh, I thought you knew
  • We are not the echoes of those firecrackers
  • we are the bloom

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seedstrack 9, 4:02

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Requiem 8

  • In the end
  • I hope we fuse together
  • into the trunk
  • of a perfect magnolia
  • Nestled in an autumn bed of leaves
  • roots bursting from our chests
  • sap coursing through our veins
  • and the words that flowed through us like scripture vines,
  • paragraphs, branches
  • perfect and together
  • standing solo in the sun

Lyrics

  • Listen Joanna, when I die
  • put flower blossoms over my eyes
  • and then that evening
  • unclip my wings
  • and carry me to the forest
  • to wish me a fond goodbye
  • Lay me on an autumn bed of leaves
  • and fill my pockets up with seeds
  • and with your gnarled hands
  • just clear some land
  • kiss me and
  • then bury me by that old maple tree
  • Then at night please softly pray
  • that when the roots wrap around my waist
  • that one day I'll be
  • at the heart of the
  • new maple tree
  • standing solo in that forest glade
  • And when you find your life complete
  • fill your pockets up with seeds
  • and then some evening
  • please come to me
  • and by my feet baby fall asleep
  • on an autumn bed of leaves
  • Then at night I'll softly pray
  • you'll wrap your arms around my waist
  • then when the morning comes
  • we'll blend to one
  • and face the sun standing solo in that forest glade

Lyric Video

A lot of Blue is about finding a sort of personal religion - becoming more connected and present with our environments, and moving closer to each other.

credits

  • Kyle Evans Tenor vocals, Guitars, Charango, Banjo, Mandolin, Glockenspiel, Mellotron, Piano, Organ, Percussion
  • Aviva Jaye Alto Vocals, Piano
  • Shareef Taher Drums
  • Josh Grove Bass
  • Steve Sasso Baritone Vocals
  • Zachary Stains Tenor Vocals
  • Brian Mummert Tenor Vocals
  • Monica Jo Montany Alto Vocals
  • Kate Vargas Alto Vocals
  • Jeffrey Young Violin
  • Patti Kilroy Violin
  • Beth Meyers Viola
  • Isabel Castellvi Cello
  • Esther Viola Kurtz Oboe
  • Jacquelyn Adams French Horn
  • Cory McAbee Autoharp
  • Dan Cray Piano
  • Nicolas Renier Organ

Notes

I moved around a lot after I put out Jamboree. I left Washington DC and bounced between Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Berlin before finally landing in Brooklyn three years later. In all that time I continued to write songs, but without a geographic home base I wasn't able to get a band together to record any of them. When I finally landed in New York, I looked at the accumulated work of the past few years and realized that I had three albums - one chamber pop (Blue), another country/shoegaze (Red), and a third classic pop (Green).

Blue came in the summer of 2010. I'd holed up in a flat in Berlin to work on songs for a new album. I knew the sonic world I wanted the album to live in - big orchestral textures with choral parts and horns - but I hadn't executed a recording with chamber instruments before, and didn't know quite where to start. Berlin turned out to be the perfect location for focusing - I didn't know anybody or speak the language, so I didn't have many distractions. All there was to do was write, and occasionally bike through the city for inspiration. During my time there I wrote and arranged the songs that would become 'Blue'.

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