Hope, Alaska

by Jonathan J. Bower

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1.
pls 03:26
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
2.
Nina Simone 04:07
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…
3.
Joan Didion 03:49
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
4.
5.
Hope, AK 03:50
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
6.
Olena 03:28
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
7.
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
8.
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
9.
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
10.
P.S. 01:44
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

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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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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