Light Years

by Jonathan J. Bower

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released January 26, 2018

Produced by Evan Phillips & Jonathan J Bower, 2/16 - 7/17

Recorded & Engineered by Evan Phillips at The Snow Cave & The Wolverine Den, Anchorage, AK

Mixed by James Glaves, Anchorage, AK

Mastered by Jeff Lipton at Peerless Mastering, Boston, MA
Assistant Mastering Engineer: Maria Rice

All songs written & performed by Jonathan J Bower @2017 Rafflemyheart Music

Photography: Brian Adams, 2017

Design: Bradley Wakefield

Jonathan J Bower: Acoustic Guitars, Vocals, Lyrics
Evan Phillips: Acoustic & Electric Guitars, Tambourine, Keys, & Vocals
James Glaves: Electric Guitars
Silas Hoffman: Electric & Upright Bass
Cameron Cartland: Drums & Percussion
Alex Cruver: Upright Piano & Keyboards
Bryan Daste: Pedal Steel & Banjo
Beth Chrisman – Fiddle & Vocals

Light Years is for the boys – Sam & Matt, of course

Thank You: Evan, Brian, James, Cameron, Silas, Alex, Bryan, Beth, Bradley, Sam & Matt, Mom & Dad, Kelsey Vrem, Aaron Benolkin, JR, Mandy Sutton, Sol, Molly Towner, Marty Severin, Tom Bargelski, Matt Eley, Dan Elise & Harvey(!), the Whorley family, the Vile family, Jerry Carothers, Monty Worthington, Steve & Margaret Phillips, the BGs, Susannah Numme, Linford Detweiler, Loren Dixon & KNBA, Susy Buchanan, The Anchorage Press, KONR, Winterberry, DFS, Spenard Farmer’s Market, & The Blue Fox, & in memory, Suzi Worthington…
by Pelagic Design


all rights reserved



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.” The songs on 2018's Light Years album play like postcards & snapshots written during an endless road trip around Alaska - or along every other dreamy, scenic stretch of highway anywhere... ... more

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Track Name: Half Full

And then Friday rolls around
And baby wants out
On the downtown
But when the bands and fans
And those waves of sound…
Well, I…I might gotta sit down
I might need to lie down

But my heart is still always
Half full
An open, cracked
Flaming begging bowl
A cracked, flaming begging bowl

And when summer’s veins
Run cold again and I
Can’t stop shivering
And I can’t find my friend
And my chest
Won’t quit quivering
In that weeping wind


I’ll be your friend
I’ll be your fool
I’ll be the super glue
I’ll be your new tattoo
But I might need you
To take me to school
I never learned love’s rules
And I forget to get cool
I never learned to be cool

When I can’t
Say what I mean, baby
And I
Didn’t mean what
I’m sorry
I said


rafflemyheart music, 2017
Track Name: Song for Bill Cunningham (for Matt)
Song for Bill Cunningham
(for Matt)

He’s a boy – a dear boy
A daydreaming,
A creekside-walking boy
And he can barely hold it together
Given trees, given stones
Given the clouds, the moon,
The sunlight filling his room
Twisting and dancing
And bending and falling

Try as you might
You can fight
But you never will hold it together
When you’re waking up alive
To a new morning
Into the living dream

You’re a boy
You’re a girl
You’re waking up
To the wonder that’s this world
And you can barely hold it together
Be wide-eyed, slow-moving
Be a friend to the lonely
In all of your restless wandering
And ain’t there so much world to see?


Bring your pencil
Your camera
Your notebook
Your piano
We’ll lay our burdens down
I’ll never understand it
You have to show up empty-handed
And seek what can’t be found

I’m a boy – I’m a man
I’m fighting the tears
Writing about Bill Cunningham
And I can barely hold it together
He rides
On his bike
Through the streets of a city
Filled with so much light
(And color)
And he could barely hold it together

Are you waking up alive?
Baby be waking up alive…

rafflemyheart music, 2017
Track Name: Who Are You
Who Are You

Sun’s beating down
So the city’s staying in
It’s a dried-out snake skin
But still full of venom
Trusted you as a child
Trusts his mama’s hands
You were my homeland
Now I wander round in exile

Who are you now
Who was I talkin’ to
Into tomorrow
Through the moon and the sun
And your army of one

The evening breeze
Brings a rumor of relief
But it’s such a tease
There’s no escaping this heat
I could tell you I’m sorry
But I won’t pay for my sins again
They were my only way in
The way into redemption


We could take
One of our drives tonight
Windows rolled down
Breeze blowin’ in your eyes
Cross the Walt Whitman bridge
Sleep on a Jersey beach
Ocean lulling us to sleep
God, I wish that I could sleep

Ain’t no devil on my heels, babe
No lover in my bed
I’m just as good as dead
As any man in every instant
No matter what you say
No matter what you do
Ain’t gettin’ over you
And baby don’t I know it


rafflemyheart music, 2017
Track Name: Eraser (Song for Trace)
Eraser (Song for Trace)

Settle up and stumble home
Unlock the door by the light of your phone
Through the dark to your empty room
By the light of your phone

Caffeinate for the endless race
Are you pursued or giving chase?
A pit stop to melt your face
And numb the ache inside

Faithfully faithless
Try to write on the surface
Believing in more
Than time’s great eraser

The money’s tight and staying thin
And it goes funny now and then
So funny that you almost cry
A laughing fool with pooling eyes

Never sure where to call your home
The place you’re living or where you’re from
That place you once saw in a dream
A picture on your desktop screen


It’s a long climb beyond your sleeping aid
It’s a long climb alone through the concrete maze

Ain’t found no whiskey yet
No wine or Facebook friend
To offer you a space to rest
Steal away the restlessness

A dead-end stare through the screen
Searching for a different scene
Towards a distant flickering dream
The story you need to read


I think you can make it
Gotta push towards the traces
Believing in more
Than time’s great eraser

rafflemyheart music, 2017
Track Name: Need Someone
Need Someone

Day’s winding down - nights are getting long
Are you blue and cold and all alone?
The dark won’t tell how to make it through
And the light can’t hold you the way I do

You’re gonna need someone
You’re gonna need someone
On your own – in the great unknown
Through the midnight sun
Through winter’s glow
In a world gone wrong
You’re gonna need someone

They called you out – you ran and hid
But we still don’t know what they think you did
Baby, please come home – I’d never turn you in
Send me some kind of sign – I’ll put an end to this


Oh baby when the shadows splinter
And the sunlight tumbles through my yard
The spirit moves with a wild hunger
And I pray you’ll darken my back door
Let ‘em talk, let the rumors fly
We don’t need no one to understand
Meet me down in the grove tonight
And you and I will atone for all our sins

Think you’re taking off - cuttin’ outta town?
You’ll never make it far – baby, you laugh too loud
Wanna flip me off? I’ll reign fire down
I’ll never give you up - baby, I’m too damn proud

You’re gonna need someone…

rafflemyheart music, 2017
Track Name: Brave

I was a newcomer
And I was not in my dreams anymore
And I was not better
Just a heap of ash and rubble
On your floor
When the earth spun left
I fell to the right
When they lit their bulbs
I blew out the lights
And huddled in my corner
And waited for you

But today is like no other
Today is like no other

Today I feel brave
Where do these days come from?
So brave
Do not try and shake me
Today I’m brave

Now there’s a mighty trouble coming
But she somehow lives
Still nights I trace a map across her back
And memorize our impending
Though she knows she will never cave
When all hell here starts to rain
I can’t help it
I’m still staring down

She is like no other
She is like no other

…Where’d she come from?
And where’s she get off being so brave?...

I was not centered
I was adrift at sea
In a leaky and burning boat
And I lived unfettered
Till that summer afternoon
Your heart spoke
Your mama knew what I couldn’t know
And now you’re everything
We needed to grow
And there’s a timeless song
In your heart and your throat

You are like no other
You shine like no other

So brave
Where’d you come from?
So brave
Where you get off livin’ so brave?

So brave
Where do these days come from?
So brave
Do not try and change me
I dare you to upend me
You’d better not try and shake me
Today I’m brave

rafflemyheart music, 2017
Track Name: John Prine
John Prine

Under a bone white sky
Big nothin’ pourin’ down
And the word from on high
Says trouble’s comin’ ‘round
And you can’t run
And there’s nowhere left to hide
Better find John Prine
I gotta find John Prine

I did my time
At the stations of the double-crossed
Put up a helluva fight
Suffered a bitter loss
Now I’m so tired
No tears left to cry
Better find John Prine
I gotta find John Prine

When the devil’s nearer,
Nearer than the everlasting arms
And all God’s children are just
Prayin’ for the end of the world
We’ll crawl away
We’ll bring our broken hearts to the stereo
Let that sweet, good music wash over all our wounds

Lord knows I tried
To make a home in this town
But I can’t buy
What they’re sellin’ now
And I’m so tired
And I need a smile
I’d better find John Prine
I gotta find John Prine

I’d better find John Prine
I gotta find John Prine

rafflemyheart music, 2017
Track Name: The Light Years
The Light Years

There’s still no camera
To capture what my eyes can see
Mornings on waking
And finding you knotted
All around me
Shipwrecked body
The boy’s still asleep
The tangle of you
And nowhere to be

And the light, the light, the light, the light
Bending and falling
I might I might I might
Never stop drowning
Don’t let me stop falling
Through our sea

The market this morning
It’s still early – but God –
What were we thinking?
The clatter, the chaos, the maddening crowd
Let’s grab a coffee
And then ditch this scene
Drive towards those mountains
Free in our leaving

The midnight sun
Our broken sleep
So many skies a day
So many doors through an evening

Your voice in the hallway
Lulling and singing our dear boy
Into his dreamscape
The sound of his breathing
As he drifts away
The tree shadows swaying
I can’t understand
Such peace in a moment
In the touch of your hand

Don’t let me stop falling down
I’ll never stop falling
There’s only this falling
Through our sea

rafflemyheart music, 2017
Track Name: Eyes of Love
Eyes of Love

Was keeping house for an angel
That I’d never see
And I’ve yet to see
Said my prayers each night
My angel would visit me
She never visit me

Searching for a home for all of my lonely
Grasping at something always out of reach
For the eyes of love looking back at me

Tired and not sleeping
I’d rise
In the shaky night
Stare out my cold, cold window
At the wounded world
Racing by

…Searching for a little shred of peace…

But now when I look back
On those darker moments
Wasn’t there a path
Leading me through?
Just when you’d swear
A broken heart was permanent
Love’s gonna go and play you
For some lucky fool

By the light of the fumes
Of the French press
In the room
Where the sun hits her books
And her dog sleeps
Her dog sleeps

I found a home for all of my lonely
I stumbled into the deepest peace
Found the eyes of love
Got the eyes of love
Found the eyes of love
Looking back at me
Got the eyes of love
Looking back at me

rafflemyheart music, 2017
Track Name: 4:30

In your three-day sweater
Down on Old 4th street
Clutching a letter
Your eyes all tear-streamed
You stand Van Gogh-iris-blue
Under autumn leaves
The flaming reds and the curling browns,
The yellows dropping at your feet
…yeah, yeah…

You belong in a Spanish novel –
An Almadovar movie
The way the almond blossoms follow you
And rest on top of the breeze
Your butterflies circle ‘round my head
As I watch you in your grief
But you aren’t looking for open arms
You aren’t looking for anything
…No No…

An isolated moment
A major minor scene
I tripped and stumbled here
Into your story but
You cannot see me
I want to give you Pablo Neruda’s house
And all his secret poems
Want to give you a Japanese maple
Caught in the 4:30 sun

The 4:30 sun
That 4:30 sun
Wanna get caught
Let’s get caught
In that 4:30 sun
Let’s get caught
In that 4:30 sun

In my four-day sweater
This morning I stepped out
Almond blossoms
Strewn on my doorstep
In a trail
That leads


rafflemyheart music, 2017

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