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Small Believer

by Anna Tivel

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about

Anna Tivel’s fourth studio album ‘Small Believer’ is a collection of patchwork stories drawn from conversations with strangers, on the road, in restaurants, bars, and rest stops. Produced by guitar mastermind Austin Nevins (Josh Ritter, Anais Mitchell), the songs float on a raft of electric guitar, pump organ, and sparse bass and drums. ‘Small Believer’ is spacious and honest, a lyric-driven exploration of the things that move within us. Tivel takes great care with every syllable and every story, chipping away until what remains is blindingly true and deeply affecting. The album comes out September 29th on Fluff & Gravy Records.

credits

released September 29, 2017

Produced by Austin Nevins

Recorded by Brandon Eggleston at Jackpot Recording Studio, Portland, OR

Recorded by Austin Nevins at Rabbit Hill Recording Studio and The Map Room in Portland, OR

Mixed by Brandon Eggleston and Austin Nevins at Gold Mine, Vancouver, WA

Mastered by Ed Brooks at Resonant Mastering, Seattle, WA

Photography by Jeffrey Martin

Album design by Charlie Wagers: www.charliewagers.com

Anna Tivel: Guitar, Vocals, Violin

Austin Nevins: Electric Guitar, Nylon String Acoustic, Pump Organ, Lap Steel, Banjo, Glockenspiel

Sam Howard: Bass

Chris Johnedis: Drums

Jeffrey Martin: Vocals

Rob Burger: Keyboards

Matt Douglas: Clarinet

All songs written by Anna Tivel, ASCAP

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about

Anna Tivel Portland, Oregon

Anna Tivel's wide-eyed celestial folk songs belong in a similar
ballpark with Anais Mitchell, Gregory Alan Isakov and Laura
Veirs, where gentle picking plucks among occasionally
unconventional sounds and a gorgeous voice tells stories of
life in a world of natural wonders. The resulting music is
incredibly honest, lyric-driven, and deeply affecting.
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Track Name: Illinois
Underneath the heavy sky, the highway shines
A razor blade cutting down to bone
Nothing left to do but hold the wheel and drive
The dark of night, the dim light on the road
All the way from Illinois, a thousand miles of waiting for
A gentle touch, a kind, believing word
All the way from Illinois, and not one to be heard

Tell me all the ways to make a day go by
In an aeroplane high above the earth
Or standing in the kitchen in an awful fight
The brightly colored blood of ugly words
All the way from illinois, a box of clothes, a can of oil
The promise of a place to settle down
All the way from illinois, and not one to be found

And nothing hurts like crying on a long drive home
Nothing worse than hiding in the dark alone
From the beautiful lights of a dangerous love

Shattered glass, a photograph of a broken heart
A crack along the windshield of the world
The shape of something running in the untame dark
The howling out of freedom and of hurt
All the way from Illinois, the radio, the rain, the road
The dream of finding out just what is love
All the way from Illinois, and turns out nothing was
Track Name: Saturday Night
The only light in the basement apartment, a blue tv glow through the blinds
The flicker and din in the dark of a Saturday night
A raven’s asleep in the rafters, a stray cat circles a kill
From the basement, the tin-can laughter of a late night thrill

Tomorrow’s asleep on the front step, and yesterday dreams in the street
But in the basement apartment, a shadowy man, he just stares at the wall
He can’t sleep
And me I’m just part of the darkness, just trying to get something right
On a Saturday night

And this all reminds me of something, the song of a long ago time
A memory pure and haunting on a Saturday night
And I don’t have all of the answers, I don’t have even a few
But two shadows above me were dancing and I thought of you

Tomorrow’s asleep on the front step, and yesterday dreams in the street
But in the basement apartment, a shadowy man, he just stares at the wall
He can’t sleep
And me I’m just part of the darkness, just trying to get something right
On a Saturday night

The only light in the basement apartment, the flicker and fade of time
The heavy and hopeful heart of a Saturday night
Of a Saturday night
Track Name: Alleyway
smoke against the windowpane, just the semis breathing on the interstate
a gray upon the graying of october
hey honey it’s been so long, i got so lost, so far down
the tracks of an old abandoned rollercoaster
see the wheels fell off, and the rails all rusted over

i remember you that night, in the noisy bar, in the yellow light
the radiating heat between our shoulders
and i know good things never last, yeah i know that now but i didn’t then
and i let you lead me blind around the corner

but sometimes still at night i dream, an empty bottle in the alleyway
on a night so clear a billion stars are born
and each one is a world i guess, of dust and flame and wishes cast
by lovers hoping love will last til morning

we tried a while to make it good, you hid the cans, i played the fool
you got some work, i got sick in the mornings
but you lost that job, and we got kicked out
hey babe, ain’t nothing to cry about
and you said you’d send some cash from california

now i got work, down the street, cleaning rooms at the super 8
sometimes i take the path home by the river
i wonder what our daughter’s like, yeah i hope that family treats her right
and gives her all the things we couldn’t give her

now a dream is all that’s left of you, i guess some folks are born to lose
some kids are born for someone else’s cradle
and the days go by, i get along, the air grows cool and the leaves fall
and the smoke it moves and fades against the window
Track Name: Dark Chandelier
Tommy lies drunk on his own front lawn
At three in the morning, his work shirt still on
He curses the man, and he curses his boss
And a cloud rolls past and the night grows dark

Thirty-one years on the factory floor
The grease and the motor, the seven to four
And the face of his daughter, no child anymore
His wife and his mother, his life and his love

The heat and the rise of a burning shame
The pride in the work and the years that he gave
Just a flick of a pen, just a cold handshake
What’s a man really worth at the end of the day

And Tommy he stands and the rain starts to fall
He catches his step, and he heads for the car
And he drives past the factory lights in the dark
Just a man out of work, and a man out of luck

And the bars all empty, the town asleep
He presses the pedal, he tears up the street
To the edge of the town, where the highway leads
To the end of the world, to the end of a dream

And racing the headlights, the clouds never clear
And he’s revving the engine, he’s stripping the gears
And the moon on the asphalt, his face in the mirror
And the rain coming down like a dark chandelier

And the radio blasting, a song about home
He’s flying so fast, he’s leaving the ground
And the beautiful lights as he’s spinning around
And the silent night when the lights go out

And Tommy he wakes with the blood on his face
The moon up above, and the cool falling rain
He feels his body, and he hears his name
In the scream of the siren, in the heat of the flame

He calls for his daughter in the thick black night
He tells that he loves her, he yells for his wife
And he sees her above him, her dark, sad eyes
And he pleads with his god, and he bargains with time

And the rain falls harder, it washes away
The blood and the fire, the fear and the shame
And the sirens arrive and he screams and he prays
To the moon in the sky, to the stars and the rain

And nothing but mercy, the angels press
The gold of their robes to the well of his breast
And he opens his eyes, and he quietly says
Don’t take me tonight, i got work to do yet
Track Name: Blue World
there’s a shine to a night like this
to the way your body moves
and the lines of your silhouette
and the rise of your fragile bones
and the lift of the whispered wind
and a song that you never heard
and you’re riding on silver wings
and you’re leaving the blue world

and the bells of the mission ring
and the bricks bring an echo back
there’s a glow and it’s covering
everything in its gentle path
and you dreamed of a night like this
and the call of a fallen bird
and the beauty of it all is
that you’re leaving the blue world

and no one to call your name
and no one to bring a rose
and you come to the heavy gate
and you open it all alone
and a wild magnolia blooms
on the damp uncovered earth
and the twist of the tangled roots
and you’re leaving the blue world
and you rise like an ember caught
in the smoke of a single flame
like the candle a lover brought
just to light a beloved face
there’s a shine to a night like this
and the stars never fell so near
and your soul like a golden gift
and it rises and disappears
Track Name: Last Cigarette
You woke and the window wide open, your pillow, all wet from the rain in the night
The trail of a siren, the red and white neon, a broken reflection, a cry
Just a girl in the alley, a bicycle bell, and the last cigarette won’t light

You rode to the cafe, your apron, the coffee, the soft-dripping faucet, the radio news
And joe on the line, all the burns on his arms, and his girlfriend at home with a yellowing bruise
Just a girl in the alley, the trash and the last cigarette dropping ash on your shoes

You closed in the quiet, the bleach rag, the bucket, the bicycle rusted outside in the rain
You rode in the dark, sat and smoked on the porch, and the neighbor dog barked and the traffic light changed
Just a girl in the alley, the stars coming out and the last cigarette of the day
Track Name: Riverside Hotel
Come up to the house and ring the bell
Beware the second step is rotted through
And all across the lawn the fallen leaves
Behind the door the shuffling of feet
A face appears between the parted blinds
Just haunted by the heaviness of time
And click the lock and slowly creak the door
And nobody remembers anymore
Nobody remembers anymore, it’s just another story that never got told
And ordinary dance across an ordinary floor
Nobody remembers anymore
Inside the house the air it doesn’t move
A tv set recycling the news
And pictures on the table by the stairs
Just gathering the dust of passing years
And everything is changing in this town
The supermarket aisles are bright and loud
And telephones and complicated wars
And nobody remembers anymore
And oh, oh my god, i wanted to do something great
And oh, but i loved, and i guess that’ll do anyway
And all the kids are grown and gone away
You know times were tough but they turned out ok
They come to visit once or twice a year
They clean the gutter, fix the broken stair
And who will ever know the time is right
And the lucky ones they just turn out the light
Close their eyes and let their breathing slow
And nobody remembers anymore
Track Name: Ordinary Dance
Come up to the house and ring the bell
Beware the second step is rotted through
And all across the lawn the fallen leaves
Behind the door the shuffling of feet

A face appears between the parted blinds
Just haunted by the heaviness of time
And click the lock and slowly creak the door
And nobody remembers anymore

Nobody remembers anymore, it’s just another story that never got told
And ordinary dance across an ordinary floor
Nobody remembers anymore

Inside the house the air it doesn’t move
A tv set recycling the news
And pictures on the table by the stairs
Just gathering the dust of passing years

And everything is changing in this town
The supermarket aisles are bright and loud
And telephones and complicated wars
And nobody remembers anymore

And oh, oh my god, i wanted to do something great
And oh, but i loved, and i guess that’ll do anyway

And all the kids are grown and gone away
You know times were tough but they turned out ok
They come to visit once or twice a year
They clean the gutter, fix the broken stair

And who will ever know the time is right
And the lucky ones they just turn out the light
Close their eyes and let their breathing slow
And nobody remembers anymore
Track Name: All Along
There you go just rolling, like a hubcap on the highway
Loosed and looking for a shoulder you ain’t never leaned upon
And freedom’s just believing in the weight behind your reasons
Call it fate or just a feeling, call it anything you want

If you get lost in California, turn around and head back northbound til you’re home
Honey I have loved you all along

Like lightning on a hillside, you have cracked and raged and destroyed
You have lit up, burned and glowed like you ain’t never gonna die
And love is just a fire, it feeds and fades and embers fly
And you been trying to get it right ever since the flint first touched the stone

If you get lost along the highway, let the north star and orion lead you home
Honey I have loved you all along

There you go just running, like a color, like an engine
You got ninety miles to get back to the place where you were born
And truth is just a sound you make, when no one else is listening
And the blue and bitter wind has left you feeling mighty low

If you get lost and you get lonely, know that somewhere I am singing you this song
Honey I have loved you all along
Track Name: Small Believer
Red-tail hawk on a split-rail fence
The gathering dark of the night begins
Cicada choir on the rising wind
A lonesome beauty over everything

And winding highway let me make it home
I’m broken down, i’m skin and bone
And all this dreaming i’ve been living on
The silver water and the red-tail hawk

Graceful waitress on a wooden floor
An amber glass upon an empty bar
A drunkard swaying when the music starts
The neon praying of the steel guitar

And small believer i’m alive i guess
The whiskey mixing with a dream i had
The music lifting me above the bed
The silver trumpet and the clarinet

And all i know is what i see
A tattered hope, a small belief
kaleidoscope of half-lived dreams
A photograph of something sweet

And winding highway let me hold the sound
Of coming home, of turning down
The unpaved roads of this old town
The clover fields and rows of corn

And small believer i’m alive i guess
The whiskey mixing with a dream i had
The music lifting me above the bed
The silver trumpet and the clarinet

Yeah small believer i’m alive i guess
The red-tail hawk and the split-rail fence
The neighbor girl in her yellow dress
Oh the silhouette that her shadow casts

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