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These songs were recorded at Howl Street in the fall of 2008, on my thirty-third birthday. I booked a couple of hours to feel out some songs that hadn't yet found homes; a hodge-podge of old stuff, really old stuff, and new songs that stood up, but just barely. Shane set me up with a couple of mics and I played through the set in no particular order, taking a break about halfway through, tracking 19 songs in total.

At the time, I didn't feel it went well. I set the session up for fun, something cool to do on my birthday, a no-pressure-type-thing; still I hoped, in my obsessive heart of hearts, that I would lay down these amazing takes and you know, sing real real good. And be super awesome at guitar. A bit chagrined these talents didn't manifest themselves to an extent of my liking, I forwarded the hopeful songs to the band, workshoped the ones that needed work, shelved the rest and moved on.

After the recording Shane started sending me the occasional text or phone call asking me if it was alright if he played the songs we did for a band or friend that was in the studio, who he thought would be interested. I hadn't listened to the tracks since then, and couldn't understand why anyone else would want to, but who am I to judge? Eventually these interactions started to ebb away at my anti-release-stance (which wasn't so much of a stance, just something I hadn't considered, or considered considering) and I gave it another listen. I respect Shane and his opinion so I took what he said seriously; even if I didn't get it, I could tell his interest was genuine, no smoke. His unwavering, albeit low-key and subtle enthusiasm put me onto a different perspective and I started to dig it. A couple of years and a dozen or so random pep-talkish conversations later, I'm ready to listen to him. Beast or butterfly, warts and all...


feeling wet and washed up
on the shores of ho-hum
bound for glory bound and gaged
my tongues a butter knife it seems these days
it aint cutting nothing but wonder bread
wondering how I can muster some bread to get me the means
to spread myself where I choose and please
sew my oats like a wool-knit sweater
to keep me warm in this cold cold weather
'spose by now I should know better
things tend to unravel in windy weather
the bag I’m in brown and damp
is wearing thin exposing glass
fist shaped muscle forged from sand
filling up the empty hand that's
reaching out to grab
the stubborn edges of the looking glass
flowers bloom with every shard
plucked from fingers and guitars
the healing scent of feelings wrenched
from a vague sense of lonliness
gaps and flaws in character and script
paint the terrain of who we is

the holes are where the light gets in
light is framed by night and sin
lord won't you forgive me please
for living this life you gave to me

sailing on a ragged wind
fueled by breath of three A.M.
we squirm and pray and play and fight
heaving on the shores of life
gnawing on the serpents tail
pennies get laid upon the rail
wishes spread thin with hot heat of motion
leaving nothing but a blurry notion
in the flush face of drunken dance
we kiss the lips of circumstance
rosy cheeks ripe with the night
receive the fruit dark and divine
stars cut open the sky
letting in the finish line
gaps and flaws in character and script
turn the pages of where we been

the holes are where the light gets in
light is framed by night and sin
lord won't you forgive me please
for living this life you gave to me


from How to Dance, track released February 1, 2011




Jonathan Burks Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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