JL Stiles Presents House of Murmurs

by JL Stiles

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04:55

about

I dedicate this album to Seth Koller and Michael Morrison, may they both rest in peace. I love you both and who you were lives on forever.

Movin' is about Seth, my student who died at age 16 in a tragic accident along Highway 1 near Half Moon Bay. Seth was a beautiful boy, passionate and troubled, full of promise and talent.

Frostbite Falls is about Mike, who died last year after a few years of a slow and inexplicable descent into paralysis. We never found out what was wrong with Mike but he was once a hearty, strong man and a great artist and there was nothing like the boom of his voice and his love of play. I learned a lot from Mike.

As for this album, when you get a crazy idea, it's usually good. In this case I had a bunch of songs threatening to be backlogged but I had not a producer. I called Etienne de Rocher and the rest is history. We didn't know each other before I sent him my demos but in a few weeks I was flying out to Athens, where Etienne lives, to track live with Andrew Borger (Norah Jones, Ani DiFranco) who is an old buddy of Etienne. We had a few great evenings hanging with Julian, Etienne's brother, and a little shindig. A lot of Bill Callahan was played.

Andrew and I tracked guitar, voice and drums live and we grooved on every one. The stuff sounded good with just me and him, in fact. We also recorded a nice live-in-studio version of Simple Faith with Etienne on Wurli. Pretty much this was how we did the basics, except for Song Beside My Grave, which I recorded in my apartment and mixed with my buddy Phil "Philbillie" Milner here in San Francisco. Frostbite as well, I did the guitar and voice in my apartment and Etienne did the rest at his house in Athens.

After the few days tracking in Athens it was overdub time. Etienne flew out a few months later to produce for a few days with a great cast players (see the credits). After some touch ups, Etienne spent a while gradually finishing a few mixes and overdubbing bits, isolating and eliminating the crud, and here we are after a year and a half!

We even got four extra tracks that will be released for sure but I didn't want to make this record too bloody long.

credits

released 12 July 2012

All songs written by JL Stiles

JL Stiles: Guitars, vocals, all instruments on track 3, marimba on 7
Etienne de Rocher: production, keys on tracks 2, 4, 6, 9, 10, bass and bv's on track 2, guitar on track 6
Andrew Borger: drums, percussion
Ben Bernstein: Bass on 1, 6, 7, 10 and 11
Todd Sickafoose: Bass on 5, 8 and 9
Doug Ellington: trumpet on 1, 9, 10 and 11
Chazz Alley: Sax on 1, 9 and 11
Emily Schmidt: vocals on 5,6 and 7
David Newman: vocals on 5, 6 and 7, electric guitar on 9 and 11
Catherine Sommer: vocals on track 9

Scott McDowell: Mix and overdub engineer on 1, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11
Jason Robira: Recording engineer on all except 3 and 4
Etienne de Rocher: Mix engineer on 2, 4 and 6
Phil "Philbillie" Milner: Mix engineer on track 3
JL Stiles: Recording engineer on track 3
John Greenham: Mastering engineer

Special thanks to Stephen Namara, who generously allowed the usage of his painting for the cover.

Recording studios:
The Bakery in Athens, GA
Hyde Street Studio C in San Francisco

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Track Name: All in a Day
All in a day's work, all in a day, all in a day
All in a day's work, all in a day, all in a day
All in a day's little time
You gave me sight when I was blind

All in a day's time, fallin away trouble in mind
All in a day's time, makin' my way, breakin the bind
All in a day we worked it out
You gave me your love, I lost my doubt

And I had a fool for a muse
And I had a voice I couldn't use
There was freezing rain running through my veins
til I met you

All in a day's work, all in a day all in a day
All in a day's work, all in a day, all in a day
All in a day it turned out right
When you gave your love I lost the fight

And I never thought that you would care
And I never thought that I could dare
There was freezing rain running through my veins
til I met you

And All in a day's little time
You gave me sight when I was blind
And all in a day's grand design
When I was drivin' alone missin' all the signs

Now the night shine's brighter where we go
Now the night shine's brighter where we go
Now the night shine's brighter where we go
Now the night shine's brighter where we go
Where we go
Where we go
Where we go
Where we go
Track Name: Spring Light of Day
Spring Light of day is always good to me
Spring Light of day is always good to me
I slept through winter rain
And died to light the flame
I opened up my eyes to graceful world
You and I remained
With days and miles between
no matter who I am you'll hold on to me

Spring Light of Day is always good to me
Spring Light of day is always good to me
My mind was in a fog
of overwhelming wind
It's burning off the shore and reminding me
Take refuge in the small
And gave up on it all
I was hiding unaware I was plain to see
Spring light of day is always good to me
Spring light of day is always good to me
Track Name: Song Beside My Grave
If I walk away through this long and lonely winter
In truth you will remain
And if I make the grade I will never fall and fade
Calling forever more

So if I die I hope you play this song beside my grave
Think of it as one more little thing I had to say to you

If I walk away through this long and lonely winter
My love with you will remain
And I will feel the rain on a long hot summer day
Calling forever more

So you see I'm not a liar tryin to get along
I'm tellin' you I love you even though my body's gone for good

And I will feel the rain on a long hot summer day
Calling forever more
Calling forever more
Calling forever more
Track Name: Frostbite Falls
Come one come all
Down to Frostbite Fall
Dance from stone to stone
The only way to go

Sun bright o'er the trees
Darkness down below
Water borne in time
Secrets we would find

Hold your cold hand my friend
You know you won't back again
You can speak only through your eyes

You led our way
Gray stone risin high
In the cold you dive
Wait for you to rise

Old friends who used to gather when
Your love was young and by your side
Moved on, the time's gone and none stayed behind

If the old brook is runnin low
We'll seize the only time to go
We'll dance an ode to your life and your times
Track Name: Beneath the Light
I walked on after you and I saw you in the light
I walked on after you and I caught you in disguise
You looked surprised
They sent you to me just to pull me in their crimes
You saw right through me as an actor reads his lines
I was unwise

You never thought it mattered much
If I could see beyond your touch
You knew if I refused their game
All they gave they'd take away

I saw the leader as he left the flashing lights
his plastic smile vanished as soon as he caught my eye
I looked inside
He sat me down alone and I told him of his price
The jackals waited for my message in the night
That he would fight

And you, the angel of death, came
From powers hidden with no name
The darkness big as pitch black night
Presenting you in your disguise

The leader's best friend dead and bleeding in the rain
And like that leader I'd have the world or face the pain
Or run in vain

It's all before us in plain sight
Yet no one even dares to fight
I bought the leader one more day
As I gave the plan away
I only broke through tell tale eyes
I knew too much and could not hide
Track Name: The Great Natchez Tornado of 1840
Bear that I know my life is slavin through my endless days
it seems their world of harmony is built on sin
Hear the dinner bells drowned by the fury whirling down
The lord has lain his mighty hand to set me free

All of us were paralyzed I never found the time to say goodbye
You were swept away they wouldn't even count you as a human life
Now I'll find the underground and slip away across the borderline
Now I'll take you on my way the long road to the northern borderline

Down the river cross the fields a sky of charcoal black
is throwing sheets of rain and bearing down on me
Stood like little children hundreds swept aloft like dust
It passed me by the master's house is a memory

342 and many more they didn't count as lives
You and I we wouldv'e tried to find our way across the borderline
You and I we hardly said a word but I saw freedom in your eyes
So now I'll take you with me on the underground across the borderline

I'm on my way I know it's better to tear it all down
I'll run away I know it's better to see it all drown
I'll run away I know it's better if I see it all drown
They had no faith they built a world by keeping us down
I'm on my way I know it's better to tear it all down
They had no faith tear it all down
I'm on my way I know it's better to tear it all down
Tear it all down
Track Name: Movin'
Movin to the other side where we go, where we go
Movin to the other side where we go, where we go

he was just a sweet teenager
He was just a lost soul of our time
He was runnin wild with his friends
Out by the road too late at night
Didn't have a music hero
Didn't have a hero still alive
We were all just waiting for him
He was only passin through in time

Movin to the other side where we go, where we go

All the love and anger breaking through his shell
After all the girls were cast under his spell
Left us on the road late into the night
We couldn't even say goodbye

Movin to the other side where we go, where we go
Movin cross the great divide where we go, where we go

he was just a sweet teenager
He was just a lost soul of our time
He was runnin wild with his friends
Out by the road too late at night

He was feelin gravitation
When he got high and blew his mind
He was lyin by the ocean cold
Where he made love for the first time

He was such a big sensation
Cuttin'up the waves when he was nine
He was gonna leave the mother earth
Lookin' baby blue right in the eye

He was kind to all creation
Didn't like to feel so uninspired
We were all just waiting for him
He was only passing through in time
Track Name: Leaf in the Snow
You were never gonna believe me no matter how hard I tried
I couldn't see your point, babe, but now it ain't no surprise
always driftin' on my mind…
I thought your true colors came through your sweet façade
But I turned our epic love into a lightning rod
Waiting to tear through our souls

Callin', but I know you'll never come home
Fallin', like one last leaf in the snow

Now I gotta get over the fool I used to be
You can never blame a blind man for what could never see

Floating through a faceless town, every time I turn around
Your old image tracks me down

Callin', I only want you to know
Callin', there's only one thing left to show
Callin', I hope you'll never be alone
But I'm fallin', like one last leaf in the snow
Track Name: After the War
Where were the guards of freedom when we killed our father?
Where was the voice of reason did they ever bother?

We were lost long before the seas rose
We were talking about the good old days, the ones we'd never known

I know the war is over and we finally won
Like a bout of pneumonia burnt out in the sun
And we are the brothers and sisters no nation claims
The enemy had no country, just a symbol and a name

We are tired with so much ruin left unclaimed
We were glorifying good old times when little else remained
We gave up everything we had owned
Some resigned and some still fought while the righteous burned
Track Name: Simple Faith
I loved you dearly, more than I knew
But I was blind with pride and so were you
When you were near me it felt so right
You belonged to me, I turned away from the light
But what's done is done, it's the way it should be
And I'll never quit the game
'Cause I'm a man of simple faith

It's a hard-earned love, this life of mine
Leavin' all the failures of my past behind
He was a good man but he sold his soul
Made a lot of money but it took its toll
This sham of mine, he's always say
I'd throw it all away
To be a man of simple faith

I'm just a man of simple faith
We're bound together in the unkown
Just a man who's found his grace
I'll keep you warm in the dark and cold

You and me, man, we were close and on the level
When you never expect you always find the devil
We had it out, the final word
Crossed the line, no other cheek was turned
We can live our lives holdin' a grudge
But our love will remain
Because we're men of simple faith

Yeah the race is on and so they say,
You're gettin' on in years, there's a price to pay
Time flies by but don't disappear
Livin' on forever in our love through the years
We're a dyin' breed but I disagree
'Cause we're all the saving grace
Yeah I'm a man of simple faith
Yeah I'm a man of simple faith
Yeah I'm a man of simple faith
Track Name: Afterthought
I know you've heard it all before
But I'm still knockin' on your door
Eventhough I know I'm an afterthought
I will lie with you by forgotten shores
By the sea ignored

And I know I got it all wrong
Cause I've been fightin way too long
And I'm waitin on all the clouds to break
They can show the sun or meld to gray
And though I know I'm an afterthought
We will take the night as the days grow long
In the summer warmth

And we walked along the ocean
hypnotized by its giant breaths
Like a little child who runs on her way
completely unaware of her mother's gaze
Yeah we will fall into the haze
yeah, we'll drift afloat til the end of days
Til the end of days