priya thomas is blood heron (renovation tracks)

by Priya Thomas

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1.
Your Guitar, My Undoing (words/music p.thomas) saw a tabloid of you today you were bent out of shape like an orphan cast out, scowl on your mouth i told the man on the corner who sold me that newspaper i was going home now and i was staying south i ran into a friend today, said you asked how i was doing it’s funny all the things that change in all your comings and goings, i changed my hair to a saddle brown, this is how it will stay till our next showdown, are you coming home now? and are we heading south? you gave me your guitar, my undoing, when you threw it into my hands it sang fickle girl, you cannot stay, you of all people should make no plans his song will get under your skin, but boys will be boys like storms, the velocity of your joys, as you well know, they come and go, so let it go, it’s time to go home now i said, i ain’t losing my bearings to your bandit tribe your stolen hearts and blueprints for crime like bonnie and clyde but you fell into my arms like a comet, leaving a fiery trace every sight, sound and taste, falling to its rightful place i hit bottom after the holiday, after we blazed that trail down to the swamp and the black beach, tired and cleaned out when everything had failed, you were gone with the summer that brought the smoke without the fire you come to know what you’ve got by all the things that you’ve lost it’s been some time now i thought i’d run into you friends say they’ve seen you that you’ve changed, i wouldn’t even know you if i had another chance i might change my steps yeah maybe i’d take the risk, maybe i’d even stick around a bit before shutting it down you gave me your guitar, my undoing, when you threw it into my hands it sang fickle girl, you cannot stay, you of all people should make no plans his song will get under your skin, but boys will be boys like storms, the velocity of your joys, as you well know, they come and go, so let it go, it’s time to go home now, it’s time to go home now.
2.
now, first of all for clarity i described events as they happened as far as i can see i’ve been pretty boilerplate on this. and there’s no point now and i do question your intentions oh and thanks for personally informing me of your new developments had i known, had i known, that you signed on as a martyr i would have declined gratitude, right... thanks for your selflessness to the cause honey i know i’d be nowhere without your charitable acts of kindness i know you really want to help but it’s ill-advised, and i’m not inclined to take donations, i’d advise you pair up that love with some registered institutions had i known that you signed on as a martyr, i would have declined as for these feelings blowing over, well, honey they always do ain’t that the beauty of this love, comes but once in a lifetime no matter what you will do but i’ve lived my life long, and so this is just another curve, another blow but my style is to lay my cards on the table, and so i have done, ...just so you know had i known that you signed on as a martyr, i would have declined don’t get me wrong, my many thanks, my many thanks but don’t you come courting me now with that carrot on a stick - like you know what makes me tick you and your mercenary functions... do i look like i need your sanctifications? had i known, had i known that you signed on as a martyr, i would have declined yeah i would have declined.
3.
america invert yourself, you’ve got yourself a raw nerve some kind of aching tooth in this world there are no mothers and fathers no one has come before you infant you know only you can undo the things done unto you come to the water and start again baptism in the Jordan as the world melts and the river’s on fire come again now, read Dakota from the Hebrew they come to convert you, it’s 1872 feel your history mark your life, your heart is a landmine, a genocide History is not fair, but throw your arms open anyway be only brave, wear a feather in your hair for those who came before you for those that you never knew when you were desperate they said you had it in you. and you knew come to the water and start again
4.
vigilante 03:55
oh honey i fell for you there’s no doubt and everyone knew but it didn’t have to go some way it wasn’t meant to just cos i fell for you well i heard all the things that you said about me not sure why you’re dissing me you know that i’ve always been true i heard the words from your lips i took the gun from your hip i’m gonna have my day yet, and go flying flying in the face of the almighty all the fires we could start if we tore the cage off that heart we’d go flying, flying, flying in the face of the almighty don’t leave me, and if you leave me, there’s a piece of you that i’m bound to keep like a confession hey do you forgive me? if i’m not all the things you believed i’d be he thinks i lost myself to you, i let you take me down too but my soul was taken baby long before you i threw it to the weeds and the southern creeper trees the catfish, mud and silt and the salty bayou i took the words from your lips i’ll take that gun from your hip i’m gonna have my day yet and go flying flying in the face of the almighty oh all the fires we could start if we tore the cane off that heart we’d go flying, flying, flying
5.
i know you don’t believe this but i can be your friend i remember you well, you will never fall so don’t you pack your bags now leaving won’t right these wrongs come now with your heart in your throat come to me with your heart in your throat come now with your heart in your throat once more i’ve known dying, it ain‘t much of a way of living and i’ve known longing makes heartbreak out of waiting got a gunpowder heart fire in my cheek still learning how to live with this heat come now with your heart in your throat come to me with your heart in your throat come now with your heart in your throat once more once more, baby please once more, just once more you’ve planted edelweiss on the south shore snow there’s blankets all winter for what your hands worked to grow your mother was crushed by air raids and a rush of falling stones on an ordinary day, her hands pruned washing all your clothes i long for you to talk to me. you come to me now like a child i long for you to tell me of your deliverance come now with your heart in your throat come to me with your heart in your throat come now with your heart in your throat once more once more, baby please once more, just once more
6.
o holy texas 05:46
o holy texas did i forsake you? you never gave me much cos you never told me nothing when the night started spinning and your stars came unglued you threw your head back into the bloodshot sky just like a moth to the light this engine takes us down with a will of its own we thought we were burning dear, you smell like gasoline and misconstrued fear o holy texas, was i marked for life by your duplicitous silence, this bullshit babble, your aching travel you made me live you let me down you made me live you let me down you made me live you let me down you made me live you let me down trying hard to shake ...this sawdust trying hard, trying hard, trying hard, trying hard, trying hard, trying hard trying hard, trying hard by Jasper i learned to see with my own eyes and i knew you could not stand behind the words i heard you write, and i know you’ve since changed Cain walks again, and this hunger is the same, i’ve seen my shadow at the reigns, it’s still hollerin my name you made me live you let me down you made me live you let me down you made me live you let me down you made me live you let me down
7.
i'm not one to let you fade, i’d rather amputate ghost pain, gasfire around your heart wound left in your suburban heart you lit me up ,you lit me up lit lightning you lit me up, you lit me up i know you know from a broken heart you don’t fool me with your ease and grace you’re as out of order, unhinged and out of place you lit me up, you lit me up lit lightning you lit me up, you lit me up crooked lips. hooked teeth. flight path. crow feet. blue felt coat. baby seat you lit me up ,you lit me up lit lightning you lit me up, you lit me up you lit me up. i seen the light. i seen the light. i seen the light.
8.
i saw your knees bend as you sang that last note i thought of how we stood on the winding colorado, he smells like a trailor, with a mouth like a sailor, and a fistful of GOLD Fish off the hook, belly full of drink, well Samson yellow-bellied you’re a slippery thing like the moon or the wind, i’m not one to give in, i’m a coyote-proud-cold-blooded thing i can count the little steps i saw you walk toward me on the balcony with the river running right below me and the sound of your feet as you hit the ground running in Dallas, San Francisco and Wounded Knee Look down below as you row your boat deep in the bottom of the swamp and in the shallow ditch, at the coroner’s report, you know YOU gave it up You never said goodbye and i’m not coming back You know it ain’t my style, I ate too much, I lost my appetite You will miss me...in good time. to the end, to the end, to the end, row your boat to the end, to the end, to the end, row your boat Tumbleweed and rifle, and you cry betrayal, Hooked a trophy and her love drugs with a simple kiss, it’s no fair to get outhustled, by a girl who cracked your puzzle, and say, “I thought they loved me better than this!” Well Judas you been living your life always searching for something more - so i’m the junkyard prize Yes look how love it shines, some glitter for your charity, You’ll get the best of me, just like a shiny plaything So Now I got a bloodvow - a PACT with myself to keep you riddled, shot full of holes, through and through You cry unfair, cos you can’t stand to lose, Come on, face the woman now who outdrew you. Look down below as you row your boat deep in the bottom of the swamp and in the shallow ditch, at love’s autopsy, oh you know who gave it up You never said goodbye and i’m not coming back You know it ain’t my style, I ate too much, I lost my appetite You will miss me. in good time. ..Oh but he knows you’re here... He knows that you exist. He smiles the widest, wildest, brightest, starfucking smile I have a red tan like the borderland you showed me, to another country, ...your trespassing hand to the end, to the end, to the end, row your boat to the end, to the end, to the end, row your boatto the end, to the end, to the end, row your boat to the end, to the end, to the end, row your boat yes the end, to the end, this is the end, row your boat to the end, to the end, the end, row your boat bye, bye, my wine, moonshine, sugarbeams bye, bye, my wine, moonshine, sugarbeams bye, bye, my wine, moonshine, sugarbeams
9.
at farewell creek, we saw a flash of light, ontario skies dropping stars, long-neck birds taking flight veil of fog, in the headlights Make a wish, make a wish, for what’s been left behind fortune-tellers, readers of the skies, This is indeed a very, very long drive. Done trusted things, baby’s gonna cry, You betrayed my promises, All you brought me was lies (the survivor speaks:) “look my life is my life, and i will decide. gotta look to my life, gotta look to what’s mine.” (the martyr returns:) “i know it ain’t wrong, to want to survive. but there’s always a cost, something left behind.” come cowgirls, troubadors round your campfire, is your horse lost? come take your turn, in this long night. Done trusted you. baby’s gonna cry She said, “I knew the truth, but i lied.” She said, “I knew the truth, but i lied.” She said, “I knew the truth, but i lied.”
10.
past the five roses factory and its amber lights we’re happy to be far away now, i don’t know how we got away with what we were up to. we never carried their picket signs, that campaign had worn us down, instead we drifted to a basement of smoke and said, “hey let’s ditch this rubber boat” you can drive me down to the locks & we’ll play chinese sticks in the street face to face, your breath is liquid ice, may it reach the stars every time we meet there is no difference, i know you can see that i am you is me is all that we need in this galaxy we don’t speak you were at home in the alphabetic streets drive you to the dance, and you wore those jeans every single day you said Paul Westerberg was God He wore his mother’s lipstick left on the bathroom sink, Smoking menthol slims she’d left behind, his lips were pink We’d sleep all night with the music on, till you lost your head and you broke your lp’s you can drive me down to the locks & we’ll play chinese sticks in the street face to face, your breath is liquid ice, may it reach the stars every time we meet there is no difference, i know you can see that i am you is me is all that we need in this galaxy, we don’t speak you don’t need to speak i drank, and i drank, and i drank some more till i stopped smoking with a throat that was sore, i wrote to you once, but i lost the note, the doctor said, “you know, you should look after that throat”, i shaved my head, i read from the early church, i looked everywhere for someone to confirm my worth and there it is now. it’s all still there. in the language wars. when the tempers flare. you can drive me down to the locks & we’ll play chinese sticks in the street face to face, your breath is liquid ice, may it reach the stars.. every time we meet there is no difference, i know you can see that i am you is me is all that we need in this galaxy, we don’t speak you don’t need to speak

about

"I had nothing to my name, but my blood was liquid gold" - Priya Thomas

"In the liner notes to her stunningly uncrafty new album, singer-songwriter Priya Thomas writes of coming off the road, dusty and heavy and "smelling like a New Mexico hotel." Her stuff was still in boxes; the house in ramshackle shape. She set about renovation, but it wasn't just walls and fixtures that needed work. Priya Thomas is Blood Heron is an unguarded album of betrayal, cutting losses and creating things from scratch.

Opening track Your Guitar, My Undoing begins abruptly, its drawling strum putting Rickie Lee Jones in the dark dream-pop universe of Mazzie Star. Thomas, on her fourth album, is not one for plans: Come-and-go boys are fleeting, like storms. The memorable Had I Known, I Would Have Declined - jagged, ragged and Dylan-like - is an unsent letter to a past lover, with Thomas thinking clearly in hindsight. After the baptismal Dakota From the Hebrew, the angry Vigilante is strident, with monstrous guitar noises.

The Montreal-raised and Toronto-based multi-instrumentalist wrote the material for Blood Heron while on tour. Farewell Creek is southern-Gothic ukulele blues, while Wine, Moonshine, Sugar Beams has a Mojave drone. "To the end, to the end, to the end, row your boat" is a relentless chant from someone whose boat does not go merrily down streams.

Upon finishing the tour, Thomas unpacked her instruments and recorded on analog tape without much forethought. The sounds are at once grungy and graceful, with an omnichord's pretty tings, for example, heard amid tougher tones. Although there are a few folks involved, mostly it's Thomas, with co-producer Stephen Pitkin of Elliott Brood on drums on half the tracks.

She doesn't sound like him, but Thomas reminds me of the late Chris Whitley, a rough-cut roots rocker who didn't so much perform his music as exude it. It's raw stuff - all guts, bones and jugular veins - and it's something to hear it build from nothing."
- Brad Wheeler, The Globe and Mail, Disc of the Week

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"Spitting out the lyrics the way Dylan spewed out "It's All Over Now Baby Blue," Thomas manages to come across as both seething and perfectly composed."
-John Sakamoto, The Toronto Star, Anti-Hit List

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"...a potent and beautiful record. Songwriters of any stripe can only hope to release a record as strong as this.”
-Bill Adams, Ground Control Mag LA

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"She can write uncompromising, half-broken songs as good as Tom Waits or anyone else....This is an extraordinary album."
- berkeleyplaceindie.blogspot.com

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(taken from the back cover of Blood Heron)

HOW I BECAME BLOOD HERON
things were still in boxes.
i had nothing to my name; but my blood was liquid gold. we got off the road and i was disoriented. i smelled like a new mexico motel, dusty and heavy, pining for something;
staring in the rearview mirror at some hard won border. i had a hard tan line across my legs, red and sun swollen, splitting me up; in a perfect half to be specific. then we got on a different road that
took us to a house without walls, without bathrooms; with its fiberglass guts all spilled and spotting the splitting floors. sure, there were gaps
in my reasoning - and long silences in the green van framed by epic swampland in which i never heard from people. after a while, people stop talking. or maybe there was just no point in talking. words
sometimes being pointless things. in the end, every word became a so stupid you couldn’t have scripted it... in the colorado stretch, where it started as palpable silence, and i wanted things i couldn't describe.
at first i thought i shouldn't tell anyone even if could say something. sometimes i couldn't even remember. i thought i could remember if i built a room out of orphaned instruments - maybe things people
couldn't find a home for....a drum on its ear like a beached whale; a red toy horn, a megaphone, some pots and pans, a steel bucket given by a well-meaning friend who wanted to see me make something out
of this; some red castanets, maybe a tambourine and my brother's first ukelele - now very well warped.... (everything was in boxes) Still, these prodigal castoffs, found objects made sounds.
loud enough to remember the red, yellow and green chinese sticks - loud enough to forget the stones hitting my window and midnight drive to the st. lawrence seaway locks. i would go in there and think about the gaps between the sound of the rocks and the driving. every day that was my world.
i hit record on the analog 1/2 inch and never thought once about why; and i had no plans. nothing was right. but by then it seemed to me that nothing would ever be right. i tried to say these dots just don't connect. things were strange as a koan and i forgot meaning i didn't care about fixing the warping neck, and i didn’t feel the splintering floor. there was no tuning, no timing; i wrote nothing down.
i just drew into it blindly, flew into the vapour.
staring at that tan line. i did. and did and did. trying to make some thing out of this absence.

credits

released October 28, 2008

Recorded to 1/2" analog by Priya Thomas
Produced by Priya Thomas, except tracks 1,4,5,8,9 produced by Priya Thomas and Stephen Pitkin.
Mixed by Stephen Pitkin and Priya Thomas
songs written and arranged by Priya Thomas
mastered by Stephen Pitkin, Record and Play Music, 2008
all rights reserved, boilingpt/socan 2008.

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