Twitter, Buzz, Howl

by Chris Velan

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    TBH was recorded over the summer of 2005 in the Eastern Townships outside of Montreal near the town of Sutton. We set up a makeshift studio in a barn and basically tracked everything while the insects buzzed and birds sang during the day; and the crickets chirped and the coyotes howled at night.
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1.
THERE YOU ARE There’s a line in a book that I often overlook It says, “While you’re here, might as well, shout it out and ring the bell, ring the bell” And this I know to be so, but today I lost the flow My shadow left and hit the road My reflection never showed I opened up the magazine I sat and watched the movie screen Thank God the TV avatar He caught my eye and he pointed out// There you are There you are// Calendars and specials charts All the names and all the hearts Entropy and finger snaps A million dots on a million maps You’ll face in back and half way down But turn around or you just begun That name tag from the seminar Just take it off yeah throw it out There you are There you are See I’m a speck and you’re a ghost Renters of this dying host But if I love you anyway is that enough for today You say you don’t feel like you’re here You’re losing something every year There’s your skin and there’s your scar I lift the sheets and without a doubt// There you are There you are There you are// So make believe if you must To satisfy your wonder lust ‘Cause the earth is down The sun is bright Your hand is left and your foot is right So raise yourself and deeply sigh Step out in the nighttime sky Tilt your head and find your star If you don’t know, where you be And if you don’t know where you be// There you are There you are//
2.
LONG WAY FROM HOME Take a plane through the skies Touch down, step out, squint your eyes Welcome all, shake my hand There’s not much you understand Over here, we are good We die younger than we should What we make all gets spent Better love our President So they say every road’s gonna lead to Rome, but// You’re a long way from home You’re a long way from home// Trade a master for a thief, We don’t dare wish for relief See here we have no safety net Even the walls drip with sweat Carry ‘round a couple bills Rebels massing in the hills Prayers start you’re out of light Where you gonna stay tonight Could it be were separated by a chromosome, ‘cause// You’re a long way from home You’re a long way from home// We don’t want to envy you But it’s just too hard not to See we can’t leave the same way Wish that we could have a day To take a plane through the skies Touch down, step out, squint eyes Take some pictures, maybe learn Then be happy to return See you where you live See you in your Superdome// And be a long way from home And be a long way from home//
3.
Best Of Me 04:15
BEST OF ME If today I’m not myself Far off in some distant place And I cannot seem to give I know you see it in my face If I could I would explain Why I don’t feel right in my skin And though you give me all you can It’s hard for me to take it in No, I’m not fine But I’m not broken// Go ahead, forget the rest of me I love it when you get the best of me If I was bad I never meant to be I loved it when you got the best of me Will you know just what you are to me I love it when you get the best of me Everyday is a long-gone memory I love it when you get the best of me// Lately I’ve been short on grace Like my train jumped off the track As soon as I hang up the phone I wish that I could take it back Sometimes the hours aren’t enough For all I think I need to do Though I only have two hands I’ll grow a hundred more for you ‘Cause this is not me It’s my shadow// Go ahead, forget the rest of me I love it when you get the best of me If I was bad I never meant to be I loved it when you got the best of me Will you know just what you are to me I love it when you get the best of me Everyday is a long-gone memory I love it when you get the best of me// I push away and you leave I want to chase you down but I won’t The poison that you know, sometimes Is stronger than the cure that you don’t// Last night I woke up in a sweat From dreaming that you left for good So much I had not told you yet Though I always knew I should It’s like sand inside my mouth Shards of glass stuck in my throat It’s beautiful to rise above Too easy just to stay afloat// Go ahead, forget the rest of me I love it when you get the best of me If I was bad I never meant to be I loved it when you got the best of me Will you know just what you are to me I love it when you get the best of me Everyday is a long-gone memory I love it when you get the best of me And if it takes up my last energy I love it when you get And please take this as my apology I love it when you get ‘Cause everyday is just a memory I love it when you get the best of me I love it when you get the best of me//
4.
So Wrong 04:37
SO WRONG The big hand reaches up and hangs from the nine The small hand’s asleep on the two, it lost track of the time And we’re going to stay here until Something breaks or turns out fine It never is my intention to send us into a dive But it’s times like this I feel like I’m shaking a beehive Maybe what you want so much to hear Is not what I can contrive// It starts with the thought I’m going to make this be right The message gets carried on a million nerves Straight to the mouth, with a clear order You’ve got to make this turn into words And if we’re all just a ball of electrical signals Hardwired for to pass them along When it gets to the moment that the words are needed Why do they all come out so wrong Why do they always come out so wrong// You’re so quick to speak how can you be sure That what you’re saying is not coming out premature When I put my arms around you Do you not feel secure So can’t we sit around and laugh without drowning in consequence And you can know I’m yours without all the wild suspense We’ll get our answers without Forcing providence Cause what I say, always lets you down// It starts with the thought I’m going to make this be right The message gets carried on a million nerves Straight to the mouth, with a clear order You’ve got to make this turn into words And if we’re all just a ball of electrical signals Hardwired for to pass them along When it gets to the moment that the words are needed Why do they all come out so wrong Why do they always come out so wrong// Knock, knock, knock is anyone there Underneath that head of hair Don’t worry ‘bout what you can’t here It’s in my left hemisphere so Let me get my dictionary, build my vocabulary Find my encyclopedia, maybe try some visual media Fire up all my synapses, clear away those memory lapses Build up an argument so strong that it never collapses Step inside my frontal lobe, conduct your special probe Take a walk on my cortex, you’ll find I’m like a rolodex So why must it be so slow To let the words flow It’s hard to speak when I know That what I say, is going to let you down// It starts with the thought I’m going to make this be right The message gets carried on a million nerves Straight to the mouth, with a clear order You’ve got to make this turn into words And if we’re all just a ball of electrical signals Hardwired for to pass them along When it gets to the moment that the words are needed Why do they all come out so wrong Why do they always come out so wrong//
5.
CONTINENTAL DIVIDE From here on in, the water’s flowing eastward From here on in, it’s generally all downhill I could stare here in Billings County, North Dakota But there’s somewhere else that I should be I never thought, that this could feel so lonely I never thought, I’d find myself here again But the Great Lakes, radio preacher He’s got me happy ‘Cause he cries we all can find the Kingdom, too// And I’m tilting On my axis To get closer to the sun Tilting On my axis To get closer to the sun// I lost my nerve, but found it in a rainstorm I lost you, too, but don’t think I could find you again Still I’m racing the freight-train horizon Towards the ocean Through fields that don’t seem like they want to end// So I’m tilting On my axis To get closer to the sun Tilting On my axis To get closer to the sun// If I need to, I’ll pull up my equator If I need to, I’ll bend my latitudes to keep you in And push up mountains, suspend all erosion And hold the winter To get back to you Before the last leaf falls So I’m tilting On my axis To get closer to the sun Tilting On my axis To get closer to the sun//
6.
Shiver 03:42
SHIVER Lock the door my one son Soon it will be all done They’ll be coming for me shortly There’s blood upon the streets tonight You should know I’ve done no crime But this will be the last time We can sit by the fire And I can tell you what you need to learn// I shiver ‘cause it’s understood Shiver when the day is good Shiver at the very sight Shiver ‘cause I know I’m right// You’re young but you’re able To put food upon the table Now your mother will need you Your sister won’t understand And in the years that follow If you’re lost and hollow Remember why they stole me Because they couldn’t take my soul// And I shiver for the love we give Shiver for the life we live Shiver when I look at you Shiver ‘cause you’ll make it through// Don’t carry ‘round the weight Of a vengeful hate Soon you’ll become the ones For whom we sit and wait// Hear the slow clock ticking Like a trigger clicking Footsteps in the alley The wolves are upon our door And your tears flow free But don’t fear for me You’ll be my keeper A ghost is what they’ll get// And I shiver at the very thought, Shiver ‘cause it’s all we’ve got Shiver when the sky turns black And I shiver ‘Cause I won’t be back I shiver ‘cause I won’t be back Shiver’ cause I won’t be back I shiver ‘cause I won’t be back//
7.
TWENTY-YEAR FLOOD If we can’t stop the water from rising Then we’re going to get carried away Nobody is realizing, but I’ve been watching the banks all day Go tell the town of the danger Go ahead and sound the alarm Everybody’s out laughing in the rain Nobody thinks they’ll be harmed// In the twenty-year flood We’ve got to reach high ground Mamma grew a wing to look for the king But he already drowned In the twenty-year flood All the boats have burned Now the wolves and sheep gonna get no sleep Till the tides have turned// There’s a wicked wind coming up the valley Old folks never seen it this bad Congregation sings, Hallejulah Don’t fear we should all be glad Governor says it’s never going to happen We’ll never have to leave this place Black clouds and the river is swollen Black clouds and the river is swollen He’s got his bags packed just in case of the Twenty-year flood We’ve got to reach high ground Mamma grew a wing to look for the king But he already drowned In the twenty-year flood All the boats have burned Now the wolves and sheep gonna get no sleep Till the tides have turned// Jody, we have to go Everybody has lost their mind I know your brother’s on the other side But we have to climb these hills And see what we can find// When the dam could hold no longer It crumbled like Jericho In a lightning flash it was over There was nowhere left to go Some say that the town was dancing Celebrating one more day Sleepwalking into the future When the water washed all away In the twenty-year flood We’ve got to reach high ground Mamma grew a wing to look for the king But he already drowned In the twenty-year flood All the boats have burned Now the wolves and sheep gonna get no sleep Till the tides have turned//
8.
LITTLE HULA GIRL Queen of the concrete Heels on your small feet Head at an angle Like you know something, thing, thing You know something Car takes a right turn Rolls to a slow burn And you start shaking ‘Cause it’s just what you do, do It’s just what you do Little hula girl You’re absorbing the world With your swing-around hips In a grass skirt swirl Little hula girl You’re like a plastic pearl And we’ll all spin around you, On a tilted world Does it ever get you down, down ‘It ever get you down Never even make a sound, sound You never make a sound// Shadow-maker Sweet love-faker City is breathing And whispering your name, name Whispering your name You’re Flowers for the ugly And warmth for the lonely You’re food for the hungry And everything in between, ‘tween Everything between Little hula girl You’re absorbing the world With your swing-around hips In a grass skirt swirl Little hula girl You’re like a plastic pearl And we’ll all spin around you, On a tilted world Does it ever get you down, down ‘It ever get you down Never even make a sound, sound You never make a sound// Orange hand says you should know White man walking says let’s go// Windshield gazes And awkward phrases The restaurant neon Is winking and blinking, ‘king Winking and blinking And I passed you last night My head was not on right I was scared that you just might Sprinkle your dust on me, me Your dust on me Little hula girl You’re absorbing the world With your swing-around hips In a grass skirt swirl Little hula girl You’re like a plastic pearl And we’ll all spin around you, On a tilted world Does it ever get you down, down ‘It ever get you down Never even make a sound, sound You never make a sound//
9.
Drive-By Smile Hey, do I know you You don’t look familiar But the kindness in your eyes puzzles me I was just driving around in circles Getting lost intentionally Is this your corner, your own piece of Heaven Or is it just a place you ended up in Why do you live here Does it even matter Where would you be if you could be anywhere// Simple as a drive-by smile that you gave me Your drive-by smile Might be the thing to save me// Who is your hero Do you dream often And can you dance to save your soul What makes you angry Fills you with hatred Or do you try to practice love and being whole What are you moved by Are you a believer Who do you call to when you think you’re going to die Was your heart broken Did you find the answer Do you carry it around with you// Simple as a drive-by smile that gave me Your drive-by smile Might be the thing to save me Your drive-by smile// For all I know you’re a killer With hard to fathom reasons And we both go through our seasons For all I know you’re a mirror Turned at such an angle To throw it back on me// And what do you do to fill up the hours What makes you get up and do it again Must you rely on strong medication to make it better Do you have a best friend Who was your mother Do you know your father Are you the last one with your name You seem like you’re happy So what made you want to wave to me What made you want to wave to me// Simple as a drive-by smile that you gave me Your drive-by smile Might be the thing to save me
10.
What We Do 04:07
WHAT WE DO The night only left when it made it’s point And staggered off drunk with a terrible cough Morning swore this will be the last Snooze button worked till you turned it off The bus is a stretcher for the graveyard shift Coffee doesn’t work for the hummingbird heart Someone got fucked by the water duct Somebody’s making a brand new start And the eyes are going to focus for the sake of the hair Static is erratic in the northbound lane The sound of I think I can, I think I can, I think I can Rises up in a chorus strain How’s it going, jackpot growing Message beeping, I’ll be sleeping awake What do you make// Day in, day out, this is what we do Day in, day out, this is what we do// The horoscope brags to the shopping cart Fanfare kick through the upright posts Daydream trip to a warm screensaver Gate goes up if you pay the ghost In the other part of town where the checks bounce hard The planes fly over and the trains go through They’re crying on the steps of the Information Age Fathers of the Church don’t know what to do Say, Come back, children All is forgiven You need blessing, stop your guessing and stay It’ll be OK// Day in, day out, this is what we do Day in, day out, this is what you do// So we all will jump ‘cause the ding means go And everybody’s sad that the trees are gone Crawl out of the tunnels like blinking moles Laugh when we turn the boxes on// The papers can’t tell who the culprit is And someone’s going to die if you don’t move fast The question of the day is not how it’s going to change It’s how long will it last And I’m not who I want to be today There are riots in the minds and the suburbs on fire I’m sorry but it never turns out that way It’s all held together by tape and wire Day in, day out, this is what we do Day in, day out, this is what we do//
11.
EVOLUTION FOR BEGINNERS I get sick, of all the sickness So much pain in a city block My skin’s thick, it’s got thickness But not enough to avoid the shock ‘Cause we’re, we’re born without hating Without blaming Without shaming ourselves But see that man beat his kid ‘Cause he was beaten, too For what he did And what he’ll never do How many lives ahead will be enough To change what we want to change// Running out of room And we can’t return Genealogical take-out but we can learn Evolution for beginners Forget what you know And come back new// She needs a drink just to get her blood flowing He hates the colour of different skin She doesn’t think there’s any love owing He doesn’t see the enemy within ‘Cause he’s a bomb-dropper and a cross-burner and a fear-monger from way, way back And she doesn’t need anyone to hit her She puts herself on the torture rack How many lives ahead will be enough To change what we want to change// Running out of room And we can’t return Genealogical take-out but we can learn Evolution for beginners Forget what you know And come back new// Oh, it’s true We have invisible fins And tails and fangs And ancient, unforgiven sins We carry ‘round the weights and scars But they’re not ours And then we hold out the baton And pass it on Pass it on to you Am I destined to fight them Or burn their forest Or make you the poorest Or cover you in kisses and prejudices How many lives ahead will be enough To change what we want to change// Running out of room And we can’t return Genealogical take-out but we can learn Evolution for beginners Forget what you know And come back new//
12.
Batmobile 05:37
BATMOBILE Oh, Lily, I am waiting at the secret hiding place The leader’s chair is open just for you That time I made you follow me through the cemetery gates You swore you hated me, now was that true You can always catch the bigger frogs and almost spit as far And when we race we’re mostly close to tied Whenever we arm wrestle, I never tell you this I let you win just once, the rest I really tried// Now the Batmobile, lost a wheel The Joker got a way And I don’t feel like playing much today No I don’t feel like playing much today// I still have never French-kissed, you’re right it was a lie But I was thinking maybe that we could someday try I hope you’re not forgetting the night we slept outside We pinky-sweared you’d marry me as soon as we could drive So I dug up the jar of coins we saved and those cigarettes The army knife we cut our hands upon And I’ll work until the jar is full and buy that rusty car That sits upon the blocks behind the neighbor’s lawn Now the Batmobile, lost a wheel The Joker got a way And I don’t feel like playing much today// If you lean outside your window I’ll pull a wheelie on my bike And hold it all the way to Maple Street I’ll do my monkey imitation the way you always like And write our names into the wet concrete Because your brother says you’re sick Much sicker than a cold Kind of like what Mister Sutter had If you start to lose your hair you can wear my lucky cap And I’ll live with you in the hospital Lily it won’t be bad Lily don’t be sad// Now the Batmobile, lost a wheel The Joker got a way And I don’t feel like playing much today ‘Like playing much today ‘Like doing much today//

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released January 8, 2007

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Chris Velan Montréal, Québec

Montreal singer-songwriter and producer, Chris Velan, has always been crossing borders with his brand of world music- influenced, singer-songwriter pop. Drawing comparisons to the smart, genre-mixing writing of Neil Finn, Nick Lowe and Paul Simon, Velan's
latest album, “Amateur Hour”, will be released September 14th with touring to follow.
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