Conversations with the Cinnamon Skeleton

by David Garland

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about

"Witty, melancholy songs, arranged and performed with such careful skill and a natural unforced originality; David Garland and his friends have done it again!"
-- Robert Wyatt (Soft Machine, etc., etc.)

"David Garland has quickly become one of my favorite contemporary composers. Like many great songwriters before him, he pushes the limits of acceptable harmony and dissonance, yet never at the expense of beauty. He is able to take the listener through what might otherwise be quite perplexing musical architecture, and guide them along as if floating effortlessly on a cloud. 'Conversations with the Cinnamon Skeleton' is clearly the result of a lifetime spent investigating the relationship between notes and chords and words. The fact that Garland is not more known is an indication that much of the world has forgotten why it is we make and listen to music in the first place. If it's not possible for popular music to reach the heights of the great classical masters, it seems no one has told David Garland."
-- Sean Ono Lennon

credits

released 17 January 2012

David Garland: music, lyrics, vocals, string arrangements, 12-string guitar, drone-modified 12-string guitar, clarinet, flute, piano, Dulcitone, bass, etc.

Vashti Bunyan: vocals on Like a Blanket, The Long View, and The Trees Agreed

Sean Lennon: vocals on The Long View, Maybe (We Won't Wait So Long), and Lightning Shine; electric guitar and drums on Maybe (We Won't Wait So Long)

Charlotte Kemp Muhl: vocals on The Long View, Maybe (We Won't Wait So Long), and Lightning Shine; accordion on Maybe (We Won't Wait So Long)

Osso (Rob Moose, Olivier Manchon, Marla Hansen, Maria Bella Jeffers): string quartet on Not There Yet, What I Wanted to Say, and Forever

Otto Hauser: drums on Like a Blanket, What I Wanted to Say, and The Trees Agreed

Kenji Garland: acoustic feedback guitar on What I Wanted to Say; inventor/builder of the drone-modified 12-string guitar.

The Garland family chorus (Anne Garland, Kenji Garland, and David Garland): backing vocals on Splinter Heart, and The Trees Agreed

Produced and mixed by DG.

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about

David Garland New York, New York

Composer/singer/multi-instrumentalist David Garland has been steadily shaping songs in new ways since 1980.

"Like many great songwriters before him, Garland pushes the limits of acceptable harmony and dissonance, yet never at the expense of beauty. If it's not possible for popular music to reach the heights of the great classical masters, it seems no one has told David Garland."
--Sean Lennon
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Track Name: The Long View
The Long View

In private
you can whisper all your plans
to the fog.

From Olympus the Gods observe us.
They’re crossing wires
and setting fires,
but they can’t see us for the clouds.

Machinations
provide a latticework of work and words,
so climb aboard.

The long view; hard to see
past me, past you; the long view.
Things to come; gone from; gone through,
the long view; past the end.
Still can’t see around the bend
or through disguise; it’s a surprise.

In private
confide your little wounds and wins
to the wind.

In Valhalla, Odin’s angry.
He’s distracted by some infraction
of the rules for Gods.
Track Name: Like a Blanket
Like a Blanket

Time will tell, but who will it tell?
It’s quiet voice demands an ear,
but I won’t hear it.

You used to need
to know what I was thinking.
Without your need my thoughts stay vague;
I’ve gotten good at hiding.

I know, I know, I know.

Like a blanket my warmth is made of your’s.
Like a blanket my warmth is made of your’s.
Like a blanket my warmth
is made
of you.

I speak to you in the tender tones of mother.
You might not know what I say,
but you’re invited.

Wind, stones, and trees
are all I have for language.
I’d stroke your hair,
but I’m only there in hints and whispers.

I know, I know, I know.
Track Name: Lie in My Truth
Lie in My Truth

The burden of proof
lies in the truth.
Skilled slight of hand
does what it can.

Back before, when I first got involved,
back when things weren’t so resolved
I solved the crime.

It was open and shut,
but ever since then,
there’s a lie in my truth.
I might have been wrong,
but I’m trying my best
to do justice to you,
just as you are now;
naked or clothed,
open or closed.

The case went to trial,
the jury was hung.
Exonerate my smile,
exonerate my tongue.

My god, my whole life is locked up.
Where, oh where is the key--
the key to me?

I was open and shut,
and ever since then,
there’s a lie in my truth.
I really screwed up,
but I’m trying my best
to do justice to you,
just as you are now;
naked or clothed,
open or closed.
Track Name: What I Wanted to Say
What I Wanted to Say

What did I do to you?
Was it a cold touch?
Or maybe a smile at the wrong time?
My timing is off.

What did I give to you?
Was it the wrong word,
garbled and strange, or simple and plain
but not nearly enough?

What I wanted to say
pulled hard at my tongue,
dropped from my mouth
unheard and unsung.

What’s a reply like?
What’s worth responding to?
Pillars of fire, one pillar of salt;
don’t turn around.

Tell me a story,
make it a good one.
You tell me yours, and I tell you mine
at the same time.

What I wanted to say,
I will say anyway.
It’s an open door
for you to ignore.

No heavenly chorus.
That tree in the wilderness,
the one falling down, making a sound,
it’s making a sound.
Track Name: Just a Small Percentage
Just a Small Percentage

Calved with a crack and a splash,
a new iceberg is born --
born to submerge most of its form
and its most urgent urge.

Just a small percentage exposed,
the entrance is closed,
so what sits inside
can’t be described, only implied.

Unseen, unsaid, and unknown
unheard and unshown
shape undefined; hidden behind;
titanically blind.

Hidden in the cabinet, seemingly inanimate,
time is lurking anciently, working very patiently
Time makes a pattern of change, random atoms arrange
into shapes you can see;
shapes like me
with portions relvealed
and others concealed.

Hiding unseen,
caught in between,
looming below
the shape doesn’t show,
lurking behind,
titanically blind,
the old and the new
just out of view,
so what sits inside
can’t be described,
only implied.
Track Name: Not There Yet
Not There Yet

Here I sit preparing
for the chance to rescue you.
Waiting for your helplessness;
but don’t call me, ‘cause I’m not there yet.

Not yet powerful,
not yet fair enough.

On a Sunday night one week ago
we talked about life and death
and all of that heavy stuff.
You said something like you might need me.
Christ, I thought, I’m just not ready yet.
There’s still so much to do.
Still so much I ought to do,
and I ought to settle down, but I’m not there yet.

Here I sit preparing
for the chance to rescue you.
Waiting for my helpfulness.
I’ll get there, but I’m not there yet.

Building up and rising through,
taking off to rescue you.
Track Name: Lightning Shine
Lightning Shine

He held a lightning rod
as he climbed the mountain that night.
There were clouds roiling overhead;
the rain had washed out the path.

He had doubts like a microphone,
turned them up and made them sing.
Lightning, strike my lightning rod for me.
Please electrocute my doubts.

Rain splashed among the trembling leaves.
Wind shoved the landscape.
It was all revealed in the flash.

He met the lightning bolt,
igniting the mountainside.
Dark clouds had opened up,
and they laughed their lightning at him.

He had love like a microphone,
turned it up loud and clear.
Lightning, strike my lightning rod for me.
Please amplify my love like shine.

Now there's a clearing in the woods
where acrid sparks are seen to shine
the lightning shine.
Track Name: Splinter Heart
Splinter Heart

My broken floorboard friend,
you found it in your heart:
the splinter I put there,
in your heart
in your heart.

In my mouth
words got old.
Paint peeled off
the window sill.

I'm rummaging around,
in search of tell-tale clues
of what happened and didn't happen there
in your room
in your room.

In a song
notes sustain
as long as they are held.

As long as they are held,
people won't hold back.
They open up their hearts
and make room
--if there's room.

Down the drain,
Splinter Heart,
the ocean will flow
when we're apart.
Track Name: The Trees Agree
The Trees Agree

You were a young lieutenant, and I was a fragrant phantom, wasn't I? And it was a radiant night, a night of soft conspiracy. And the trees agreed that it was all going to be for the best.
Track Name: Forever
Forever

Words are for erasing,
eyes for going blind;
friends to be forsaken,
love to leave behind.

I will live forever.
Everything is under control.
ooo, ooo

The buildings are shaking,
the cops are closing in.
Hold on to the railing,
hold on to your skin.

Everything’s uncertain
and tends toward decay.
I am no exception,
yeah, but anyway

I will live forever.
Everything is under control.
ooo, ooo

Hold my hand,
here we go.
All I know is
I don’t know.