Without a Bird

by Rachel Ries

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about

If Rachel's voice were a tree branch, a ripe russet apple would hang at its end: a gift, there to take.
- saidthegramophone.com

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This record is like taking a luxurious bath in an Art Deco tub on the rooftop of a lived-in brownstone on a starry night. Sound good? You bet
it is. The disc is clean and natural-sounding: no studio gimmickry here, just gorgeous arrangements and Ries' heart-wrenchingly elegant
melodies.
- Seven Days, Vermont’s Alternative Weekly, Casey Rae-Hunter

credits

released September 27, 2007

Rachel - guitars, piano, Wurlitzer, vocals
Ariel Bolles - upright bass, vocals
Kevin O'Donnell - drums
Joel Paterson - guitar, pedal steel
Alison Chesley - cello
Maria McCullough - violin

Produced by Rachel
Recorded & Mixed by Kris Poulin at Electrical Audio
Mastered by Jason Ward & Bob Weston at Chicago Mastering

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all rights reserved

about

Rachel Ries Minneapolis, Minnesota

Rachel Ries, hailing from the prairies of middle America, crafts sly and compassionate songs for the crooked-hearted. With an electric guitar and piano; a clear voice and steady hand; she deftly pulls listeners in with disarming candor and holds them there with smart and tender poetry. ... more

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Track Name: Learning too Slow
Learning Too Slow

call this evening or call me fool
call me stubborn as a damn old mule
because I'm not gonna bend
I'm not gonna break
see, missing you is my finest mistake

I'm learning too slow

I'm still a loner, I'm still a lonely lady
with a heart not stone enough
you're a gentleman and a drunk
see, I'm calling you out
but I'm calling you up

I'm learning too slow

summer was on its way out
when you finally found your way into my heart

now winter's on its wind-up
as you finally find your way into my house
into my house

so meet me here with my tongue of silver
and eyes of ice and stories delivered
hand to mouth and heart to hand
babe, I'll try to be kind if you'll be my man

I'm learning too slow
Track Name: Never You Mind
Never You Mind

never you mind this being yours
and you being mine
what I mean is
come over anytime
you feel so inclined
to see my shining face
lit by a summer daze
on a hazy, drunken-something afternoon

the streets are full of the bustle & the bang
how they rush - it's a crying shame
run, run as fast as you can
no, no I won't
so here's a song
to slow us down
for you & me on a lazy afternoon

then after you get back to town
after all of your running around
and still you choose to find me in the afternoon

we watch the clouds roll in
and close all the windows and pour the coffee
this is what I need
time slows down
we sit on the back step
and watch the rain fall
on the backyard
hear the city street slow down

you stay awhile until the storm falls away
then go back into your life
and your day to day
just remember me as one who knows
just how to spend
a rainy, lazy summer afternoon

then after I get back to town
after all of my running around
and still I choose to find you in the afternoon

after we get back to town
after all of our running around
and still we choose
yeah we do, oh yeah we do
Track Name: When Will You Be Mine?
When Will You Be Mine?

when will you be mine?
when will heartstrings find their melody?
when will fate shine her eyes on me
and stay for all time?

I feel it everyday
sure I’m fine and I get my own way
but a lady longs to compromise
every once in awhile
yeah a lady longs to compromise
every once in awhile

I guess I shouldn't complain
coz the blues are company for a lonesome dame
with her hair done up only for the rain
falling on the windowpane
only for the rain
falling on the window pane

so come on, find me here
you know where I can be found
where the lights are low & the piano's loud
that's where I can be found

so when can you be mine?
coz my heart's found her melody
and when fate shines her eyes on me
seems to me that you could be mine
oh you could be mine
seems to me
that you could be mine
Track Name: Chicago
Chicago

just come home and you will find
I’m alone most of the time
I’m spinning wheels on a chorus line
sometimes finding my way
through a verse been on my mind
since late last night
when I heard a sleepy bird
on my windowsill

I share my bed with a cat
a typewriter & a laptop
it’s telling, is it not?
I pull the covers up
and then I close my eyes
to the city lights
coz I’m the same, aren’t I?

oh, Chicago
come and find us
come and hold us
come and be with us
oh, Chicago
come and hold us
come and find us
come and be with us

I’ll sing for you in your kitchen
coz this song has a mission
to bridge the gulf
and call the storm
by name and God’s grace
and all this impotent rage
I turn aside and I turn to you

then I open my eyes
to our city life
coz I have changed, haven’t I?

oh, Chicago
come and find us
come and hold us
come and be with us
oh, Chicago
come and hold us
come and find us
come and be with us

because the sun is sinking down
and if the sun is sinking down
then this heart is learning how
to sing for you forever
Track Name: Fine, I'm Fine
Fine, I’m Fine

tell me how much farther
we’ve gotta go
before we can leave Chicago

you know I get tired
and I’m tired now
please let me just slow down

because I could pick a small town
on the prairie instead
stop telling lies and be early to bed
I’d watch the sunrise from an easy chair
maybe have a couple kids and start dying my hair

just put on that Bird song
y’know how he sings?
he sings like a wire that’s melting
I’ve got so much to learn
if I’m in this for good
God help me lose these ringing blues

coz I could get a home on the coast somewhere
buy myself a boat
and cut off my hair
I’d be weathered and worn out and wise
I’d hum a tune but just to clear my mind
it’s just to clear my mind
only to clear my mind

but I’m fine, I’m fine
Track Name: Visit
Visit

if you come and visit me I’ll fall down on my knees
I’ll remember everything
I’ll remember everything
I’ll place an avocado in the palm of her hand, say
- I receive you in peace, I receive you in peace -

everyone’s gonna see I’m down on my knees
I’m down on my knees, I’m down

if you come and visit me my tongue will not believe
I’ll point to the weeds
I’ll just point to the weeds
I’ll tell her
- it’s ok, it’s ok that you won
and how are your sons? how are your sons? -

everyone’s gonna hear my tongue won’t believe
my tongue won’t believe, my tongue

if you come and visit me I’ll stop missing you
I’ll speak only true
yeah I’ll speak only true
when she says she don’t believe me, I’ll say
- you win again. but it’s never the end,
no, it’s never the end -

and everyone’s gonna see I’m not missing you
I’m not missing you, I’m not
everyone’s gonna see I’m not missing you
and I’m not Mrs. You and I’m not
I’m not
I’m not
I’m not
Track Name: I Could Leave
I Could Leave.

I could leave you in your run down, crooked flat above the bar
sitting with a Guinness on the floor
I could leave you with your clocks & scraps of broke down memories
piling up in the corners of every room you’ve lived

I could leave you walking out the back to plant your pumpkin seeds
never saying what you really mean
I could leave you looking down at me with the saddest eyes
from the window of every room you’ve ever lived

hard it is to go, harder still to stay
look, I swear I can drive away
hard it is to stay, harder still to go
oh my heart unravels

I could leave you on 4th street at 5 am
a cup of coffee warm in your hands
I could leave you, December 23rd
but what’s it for? what’s it for, my lonely bird?
what’s it for?

my lonely bird, you’ve been so long
with your shoulders down
and sleeping soundly alone
I’ve come and gone
holding out for something
kinder than just a song
I sing For You Only
don’t you get this by now?

so I leave you picking fights on New Years Eve
drinking too many daiquiris
I leave you but know I’ll just return
to the doorway of every room you’ve ever lived
to the doorway of every room you’ve ever lived
Track Name: Without a Bird
Without a Bird

how do we remember days
when they pile & they fray
adding up a lonesome rosary for the years
that I wear around my neck
with it I fidget and I fret
but I'll be damned if I stop trying
to find a way through this mess
with a halo in my chest

will we still tell the tales
when the stumble & they trail
at the edges of a mind
when we're trying to forget
so it seems I'm just placing my bets
on the ones I haven't met yet
but I'll be damned if I stop trying
to find a way through this mess
with a flame in my chest

there's a lot to handle here
somewhere between the sheets & a song
it's gonna be a long night when we wake
to find another day
rising up up up over the lake
but I'll be damned if I stop trying
to find a way through this mess
with a bird in my chest

I'll be damned if I start trying
without a bird in my chest
Track Name: Hands to Water
Hands to Water

My hands turn to water in the sunlight on the coast
You push a boat from shore and glide out to the sandbar

I remember you on the island in the summer when your mother was still alive
Looking after you and saving us all the time

Now your father’s somewhere on the Atlantic, tossed about and true
You know that if I had my way I’d return to you

Why does it have to be lonesome now?
Why does it have to be lonesome now?

Remember that night way out past the house, you and me curled up in the woods?
I fell asleep trying not to worry about your mom

Nobody knows a thing about growing up and letting go
Until it’s done and you just lose your hold

Why does it have to be quiet now?
Why does it have to be quiet now?

You were born on the waves
You were born to be saved
You were born on the waves
You were born to be saved
One more time, one more time
Give me one more time

My heart turns to water in the sunlight on the coast
I push a boat from shore and glide out past the sandbar
Track Name: Here We Lie in Wait
Here We Lie in Wait

here we lie in wait
waiting for the day
the sun will shake us down
and in the morning we will laugh

the sun will shake us down
rattle tooth & bone
we’ll put that bottle down
and want no more

we’ll put that bottle down
and pick up the cross
lying in the yard
wet with morning dew

and I will know your name in time
I will baptize you in time
I will cut your hair in time
and may you follow suit

here we lie in wait
waiting for the day
the sun will shake us down
and in the morning we will laugh