Hope, Alaska

by Jonathan J. Bower

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1.
03:26
2.
04:07
3.
03:49
4.
5.
03:50
6.
03:28
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9.
10.
01:44

credits

released October 24, 2014

Produced by Evan Phillips & Jonathan J. Bower
Nina Simone, Olena, & Welcome the Night co-produced w/ Kat Moore
Joan Didion, The Captain’s Verses, & P.S. co-produced w/ Andy Tholberg

Recorded and Engineered by Evan Phillips at the Wolverine Den,
Anchorage, AK, 2/13 – 12/13

Mixed by James Glaves, Anchorage, AK
Nina Simone mixed by Jesse Glaves

Mastered by Patrick Daumphier, Nashville, TN

All songs written and performed by Jonathan J. Bower © 2014 rafflemyheart music

Book of Consolation, music: Jonathan J. Bower & Evan Phillips
Nina Simone coconspirators: Jonathan J. Bower, Evan Phillips, Kat Moore, Tara Endicott, & Nina Schmidt

Photography, Michael Wilson, 2013
Artist photos, Brian Adams, 2014

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about

Jonathan J. Bower Anchorage, Alaska

On the release of his 2012 EP, But So Beautiful, The Anchorage Press wrote, “[This is] masterful storytelling…These songs weave beautiful, forlorn tales in a matter of minutes, but with a defiant note of hope.” Jonathan is currently readying the release of his follow-up to the EP, a full-length album to release in 2014 titled, "Hope, Alaska." ... more

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Track Name: pls
pls

Weren’t you pretty then?
Didn’t we shine?
Wasn’t I so good
That one time?

We had a rhythm, babe
I was moon to your tide
& like every good rhythm
We found the rhyme
But –

Every star burning bright
Goes the way of a rose one night
Flaming out on beauty’s perfect cue

But now I have a pretty little song to sing

Didn’t it hurt so bad?
Cause weren’t we kind?
Before we went cruel,
And forgot how to cry?

Who won the duel babe?
Cause I was shooting blind
You always fired from the hip,
Straight and right
Like –

Chorus

Didn’t we melt the walls?
Set some rooms on fire?
Didn’t we burn the palace down from the inside?

But weren’t we out of hand?
Out of time?
When it went wrong
Baby, didn’t you fly?
Like –

Chorus

Now I have a pretty little song to sing
Track Name: Nina Simone
Nina Simone

New Sunday morning
Pitch Bible black
Wending an unmarked path
To the naked Mountain Ash
Cheeks cut on clouds
Of my broken breath
Down in these fields
Heard you can catch your death

Sun’s gone till maybe December
Or maybe forever after
I don’t know, I don’t ask
I stick to the cave and shudder
Stoned cold on what I remember
Of the night that you left
And I pray for your ghost
To say,
Boy –

Baby let’s go
Waltz through the cottonwood snow
The cottonwood snow
Then you’d growl and say
Maybe let’s don’t
Honey let’s stay home
And spin some Nina Simone
A little Nina Simone

All that light on those nights
The moon in the picture window
Of our room
Your skin paper birch white
On the island bed
And the way that you glowed
When you said,
Boy –

Chorus

The waxwings sing
Their drunken hymns
And I hear Nina on the wind
The waxwings
And this dream that’s not a dream
Nina’s taking us to church again

Oh, baby let’s go…

Growl and say…
Track Name: Joan Didion
Joan Didion

Brave the swelling tide
Pitch over the rise
Tumble in through
A sea of blue flowers

Thought we’d be our favorite story
I wanted to be your Joan Didion
We’d write the song and I’d carry the tune
A little bit of magical thinking’s a trap door
Through oblivion
Never imagined I could lose sight of you
Under the blue

To find a sign of life
Or the Rothko line
Or a fire light
On the horizon

Hope refused to die
But it got real thin sometimes
Hope refused to die
But never could catch flight

Chorus

Then I was waking up under the bushes again
Safe on the shore, you were drowning
Couldn’t see you for all the blue flowers overhead
Safe on the shore, you were drowning again

Doctor says I’ve recovered
And I feel nearly all better
I can hold it together
Standing in plain view

Chorus
Track Name: Hope, AK
Hope, AK

Never imagined it’d be easy
Always pegged you as hard to please
But one rain slashed Saturday
And hot coffee
And I’d never seen anyone so happy
You said –

Northern Lights on the sea
Shooting stars through the bay
Nothing left to want or be
When everything becomes me

Paper birch pays us in gold leaves
Favorite form of currency
The children trade in chokecherries
Who ever thought we’d be so wealthy?

Chorus

A wannabe saint has nothing on a friend to the lonely
A wannabe saint has nothing on the birds in the morning
A wannabe saint has nothing on our creek in the evening
Be a friend to the lonely

Told the Maker I’d give my every anything
To guarantee my boys’ safety
Through this world’s insanity
The Maker laughed and said it’s all wrapped up in beauty
Said –

Northern Lights on the sea
Shooting stars through the bay
Nothing left to want or be
I had it every which way
Nothing what it seems
The universe in my tea
And everything becomes me
Track Name: Olena
Olena

Olena, Olena,
Where do you hide?
Where do you find
The lines that you write?
Who’s tucking you
Into your bed tonight?
Maybe he’d sing you
My lullaby

Olena, Olena,
Don’t get me wrong
I ain’t sending you signs
I’m not courting love
Olena, Olena,
I don’t crave a reply
But I’d trade you a poem
For my lullaby

The raging winds
Upended my trees,
Rains flooded
My side of the creek
But the path to my door
Is a carpet of leaves
All flaming and jeweled
Lit kerosene

And the wind whips up the leaves
And a shiver dances through me
And I shake till I freeze
But then I burn like a star through the evening

Snow on the mountains
Is crawling towards town
Woodstove is burning
Aurora is out
A long winter’s nap
Is beckoning me
Olena, Olena
Gonna read me to sleep
Olena, Olena
Give me to my dreams
Track Name: Friendship Fire
Friendship Fire

Want to say that this won’t be
Like every other wreck you’ve seen
But you and I know that love never runs easy

Want to believe I’m your only one
But I know even good girls may run
And I have cried myself to sleep too many an evening

I know that you know
That I don’t know anything
Save for one thing passed down
Through my family

If I’ve got you, then you’ve got me
We’ll stay tight as any two can be
You’d better have some faith
Baby, I’m not leaving

Caught your distant gaze one night
Crowded room, too much noise
The silence in your eyes was overwhelming

Let’s build a friendship fire tonight
Tell me your story – I’ll share mine
A little tired and worn, but loving

I know that you know
That I don’t know anything
Save for one thing passed down
Through my family

If I’ve got you, then you’ve got me
We’ll stay tight as any two can be
You’d better have some faith
Baby, I’m not leaving

If I’ve got you, then you’ve got me
We’ll stand tight as any two can be
You’d better have some faith
Baby, I ain’t leaving
Track Name: The Book of Consolation
The Book of Consolation

The night never stopped singing
The lights always danced and swayed
The rivers still wanted for nothing
And the trees
They could teach you how to pray

In the book of consolation you’re still broken
But your cracks allow the light to nurse the pain
Love would not dry up
Love would never leave you
It was always there
Hoping it could stay

Born out of great desperation
A love without sign of duress
Diminishing your skepticism
But you swore
You did not deserve this gift

Chorus

Creek side – a holy communion
Her blue eyes and the midnight sun
A red wine sky bathed the horizon
While the mountains
Walked along with us in song

Chorus
Track Name: Welcome the Night
Welcome the Night

Let’s buy some cigarettes
Pretend that we’re smokers
We’ll sit on the front steps
And wave to our neighbors
We’ll cough and we’ll shiver
And then I’m gonna ask ya,
“How the hell’d we ever
Wind up in Alaska?”

We’ll sip that Chilean red wine
From the mugs that you made
But baby this doesn’t come close
To what I really wanted to say

When that sun passes by
And leaves that crushed cranberry sky
And you and I
You and I
Welcome the night
Welcome the night

The comics aren’t funny
And the news is not worthy
Of the words that it uses
And these candidates running
Would benefit from seeing
Your garden in spring
They’d all learn their lesson
And we’d have them to tea

And sip a little Japanese green
From the mugs that you made
But baby this doesn’t come close
To what I really wanted to say

Chorus

It’s well after midnight
Sirens are wailing
Lights from a cop car
Do a dance on our ceiling
But our next door neighbor
Is awake playing Chopin
It cuts through the chaos
And cracks the dark open

While the world goes to hell outside
We’ll dare and imagine we’re safe
Drifting on muffled nocturnes
Reminiscent of grace

Like the sun passing by
Leaving a crushed cranberry sky
And you and I
You and I

Welcome the night

Welcome the night

Welcome the night
Track Name: P.S.
Birch stand
Leaves fall
Roads bend
Birds call
Storms rage
Like I
Love you

Birch stand
Leaves fall
Roads bend
Birds call
Fire flies
And I
Love you