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The Question

by Anna Tivel

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    Classic black! Shipping date April 2019

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  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    Shipping date April 2019

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1.
The Question 04:52
In my dream you were beautiful, backlit, noble In the lowlight of the window, you were leaning on the edge The high rises and billboards, for perfume and call girls The steam above the dark road, the smoke around your head I knew you by description, the tall tales, the pictures Your short hair and your lipstick, the smell of coming rain I wanted to remain there, a voyeur, a stranger Below you in the night air, waiting to be changed Eyeliner and nylons, the calm upon your face drawn Revealing next to nothing, a deal you don’t believe The bible in a locked drawer, the truth you gave it up for The hymnal and the comfort for the chance at living free And lined up with the laundry, your slacks and all those stockings Suit jacket and the soft things you dance in when you dream The neighbors never mention, the woman they see leaving Is the man who works the morning shift selling gasoline In my dream you were stone still, shadowed, half built A masterpiece of pure will, just waiting on the world To gaze upon your body, a razor on a rough cheek The blaze of burning beauty, the saved and the worth saving A hallelujah waiting to raise the heavy curtains A play with no good ending, a prayer that never mentioned The glory of the question and the answer is the same
2.
Fenceline 04:25
Alone in the dark at the edge of the border A coyote calling the moon from the sky The bright shining eye of a circling vulture And holes in the old fence line Traveling far from the land of my father The red cactus flower and the weight of a crime The faraway barking of dogs by the water And holes in the old fence line Oh angels look away Unbar the pearly gate, unblock the road Cause down here at the border, the dogs are getting close All of my dreaming, a house by a river A small bit of land for my beautiful wife Something to show for a lifetime of labor And holes in the old fence line I crawl in the dirt, to the edge of a country My hammering heart and the dust in my eyes I traded the night for the last of my money And holes in the old fence line Oh angels look away Unbar the pearly gate, unblock the road Cause down here at the border, i’m just an animal Alone in the dark at the edge of the border A coyote calling the moon from the sky The bright shining eye of a circling vulture And holes in the old fenceline
3.
Shadowland 03:47
I came to see the flower stands, the vegetables, the cigarettes the subway station bucket man, the headphones and the heat I thought that I might try again, the living and the breathing but the living and the breathing don't come easy I used to be a waste of time, an empty bottle lying down a trap door with the latches gone, hanging by a hinge Now I guess I'm something else, a raven on an overpass a wanderer, a silver ghost, a beacon Before, I saw it everywhere, in car windows, the guarded stare the hollow eyes, the hunted fear, I had to look away I thought that I might lose my breath, the living and the coming death the living and the aftermath, the fade I used to be a waste of time, a burning match lit underground a figure in the shadowland , a feather in a cage Now I hope I’m something else, a blinding flash, a fragment spell a bird released from some old bell, escaping
4.
The night comes to find you, a flickering bulb The streetlight behind you, a breathing shadow And i never wanted to hold something close until now A siren, a cat fight, a thin clarinet The neighbors reflecting the blue tv set And you got a way of believing the rest will work out I’m sorry I said what I said, I don’t mean it The darkness it scares me to death, but I’ll figure it out, I’ll figure it out A car horn, a backfire, a bottle of wine Somebody laughing and closing the blinds And I never wanted to get something right until now A heavy door closing, a dog in the yard Chain link and wood rot and rusty old parts And you got a way of convincing my heart to lie down I’m sorry I said what I said, I don’t mean it The darkness it scares me to death, but I’ll figure it out, I’ll figure it out You’re walking back home now, I’m watching you go The slope of your shoulders, your breathing shadow And I got a feeling so high I might never come down The night slips behind you, a lit cigarette A junky arranging the leaves for a bed And you got a way of forgiving the trouble I found I’m sorry I said what I said, I don’t mean it The darkness it scares me to death, but I’ll figure it out, I’ll figure it out I’ll figure it out, I’ll figure it out, I’ll figure it out, I’ll figure it out
5.
Minneapolis 04:10
Turn out the light, let’s be still for awhile Let the wind blow in with the rain A change in the season, a tangle of sheets And the heat pipe half broken again I watch you watching, the headlights, you’re lost in A country i cannot find They pass on the ceiling, a strobe in slow motion Alive in the cracks of the blinds Maybe it’s time we left, Minneapolis A cloud of dust, and we could just be gone Something lost and something won Try to remember, the heat of the summer The salt and the steam on the road Driving for hours to sit at the water Make love on a pile of our clothes But something has shifted, a wind in the branches The cold coming in like a drug Curled like two questions, a couple of dancers Alone in our separate thoughts Maybe it’s time we left, Minneapolis A cloud of dust, and we could just be gone Something lost and something won Something lost and something won Maybe it’s time we left, Minneapolis A cloud of dust, and we could just be gone Something lost and something won Something lost and something won Something lost and something won Disappearing, now we’re gone
6.
Worthless 03:50
Two quarters in my hand, nothing else in my pocket I’m a wild horse pawing at the cracked dead earth The stoplight turning and a long white lincoln Goes screaming by, the bass line lingers It’s hot as the devil, the rubber and the metal Black smell of something burning I never did wrong, i never did gamble Til the day you called me worthless Two quarters in my hand, nothing else in my pocket I’m a fuse box sparking in the summer grass I’m a hooded figure, a crazy killer I’m a dead man walking on the overpass It’s hot as the devil, the asphalt melting The sweat wet smell of danger I never did wrong, i never was tempted Til the day you named my anger Two quarters in my hand, nothing else in my pocket I’m a count-down rocket in a cloud of smoke My fists are clenched, my whole body tense My mouth screwed up, my eyes half closed It’s hot as the devil, a screaming kettle The bassline slowly burning I never did wrong, I was kind and careful Til the day you called me worthless
7.
Anthony 03:24
The building was burning, the plaster was crumbling I lost my sense and I ran back inside The groan of the floorboards, and heat spreading under them Billowing smoke, in my throat and my eyes The kitchen ablaze and the wallpaper curling The table where you and I figured it out At two in the morning, alive and uncertain Just talking in circles, dreaming aloud Anthony I’m afraid, alone in the building, the billowing flame And I lost my mind I guess I thought i knew what forever meant A crash in the hallway, the photographs falling The shattering glass, like rain coming down The one of you standing, your hands in your pockets The look on your face, obscured by the sun Anthony I’m afraid, alone in the building, the billowing flame And I lost my mind I guess I thought I knew what forever meant The heat and the hunger, the smoke in the sky The feeling of losing, and something on fire And up in the bedroom, the curtains all blackened The bed where I loved you beginning to burn I opened the window where I used to call you Below in the garden you’re already gone Anthony I’m afraid, alone in the building, the billowing flame And I lost my mind I guess I thought I knew what forever meant I thought I knew what forever meant
8.
Wake up it’s a new day, the old day is done You can cry about it if you want The rain in the river, the baby in your arms Proud mother, you try so hard Jesus christ, it don’t take much To fall asleep beneath the burning sky Oh my god, homeless child The world will leave you breathless every time Wake up it’s a new day, the old day forgot You can start it over if you want Clean and sober, a year coming up Tiny daughter, unborn son Jesus christ, it don’t take much To lose the luck you been living on til now Oh my god, homeless child The world will leave you sleeping on the ground Nothing but a string of broken chances Strangers look away and walk on by Nothing but a world without answers Just another list, another endless line Jesus christ, it don’t take much To go from just enough to nothing in the end Oh my god, homeless child The world will leave you hanging by a thread
9.
I swept up the garbage, the cups and the wrappers The theater was empty, the crowd had gone home A circle of dust in the light from the rafters The wooden broom handle, a microphone And i sang to the dark rows, all velvet and empty The curtain majestic, in folds to the floor I sang so the angels would never forget me The rush of their robes as they rose up for more The night circled in like a dog in the alley All matted and skinny, and face full of hurt The theater still ringing, with lost dreams of glory The echoing voices of some brighter world And i sang to the mezzanine, the gold-painted ceiling The orchestra spinning, the bright chandelier I sang so the angels would feel what i’m feeling An empty so deep, i’m afraid i’m not here The last note it lingered, the dust settled round me A silence so heavy, it cut to the bone And deep in the shadows, the rustle of clapping I rushed to the back row, still holding the broom And a man who had crept in, all haggard and dirty A bag of belongings, and tears in his eyes I’ll never forget this, he said as he left me I needed to hear someone singing tonight
10.
The first time that I saw you, you were waiting for the train Your body like a shadow slipped away A bright display of color, and the tunnel swept me under And the last thing I remember was your face I hoped you would appear, in some old movie theater chair Some old vinyl back-booth diner way downtown I watched for you in windows, sprayed your name across cement walls In parking lots when no one was around The city lights, they shine like silver, the city lights, they shine like gold I’m holding out, for something better, what it is, I don’t know The second time I saw you, you were running in the rain Ducked back into a chinese restaurant I drove around the block, cursed the light, double parked Found only an old scarf that you forgot I wore it that whole winter, hoped you’d see me in the street Your eye would catch and suddenly you’d know A glance inside the subway, the central station bustling And two strangers locking eyes above it all The city lights, they shine like silver, the city lights, they shine like gold I’m holding out, for something better, what it is, I don’t know I’m alright, if you’re asking, I’m just tired, and I’m just stoned And the city lights, are a constellation, and your upturned face is, what I’m looking for I came around the corner on a bitter saturday A flower stand and trash cans on the curb I bought a cup of coffee from a man who never saw me Turned around and raised it up and there you were My heart escaped my body, flew right up and disappeared I thought that I might lose you in the crowd But you crossed the street and suddenly your voice was in my ear Saying don’t i know your face from somewhere else The city lights, they shine like silver, the city lights, they shine like gold I’m holding out, for something better, what it is, I don’t know I’m holding out, for something better, what it is, I don’t know

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released April 19, 2019

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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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