ART HURTS Records

, but it hurts SO GOOD!

loneliness and freedom waltz together through the night (2007)

AHR010 (2007) produced by Beston Barnett

AHR010 (2007)
produced by Beston Barnett

Beston’s seventh release of original material is stripped down to simple arrangements for guitar and voice. The songs too have been stripped down to reveal bare heart-ache, skeletal longing. Taken together they form a story (just as their titles form a kind of poem), a relationship arc from break-up to forgetting. Each song explores in some way, both melodically and lyrically, the dual nature of being alone: the heaviness of loneliness weighing down the stark lightness of freedom.

1. The only way to go is alone
2. but you won’t really know what to feel
3. when loneliness and freedom waltz together through the night
4. in a beautiful place with high mountain air
5. tracing tattoos across a cloud
6. with these few signs
7. your love and your loss
8. woven into one shimmering thread.

Review

SAN DIEGO TROUBADOUR – by Mike Alvarez

       The old advertising slogan, “been there, done that,” comes to mind almost unbidden when one is presented with music by a singer-songwriter whose voice is accompanied by an acoustic guitar. The scene is abundantly populated with people who arrange their music in this tried and true fashion. So it is incumbent upon such artists to make their songs intriguing, be it through emotional vocals, insightful lyrics, innovative song structures, or instrumental skill: preferably an artful combination of them all.
       On his latest release, loneliness and freedom waltz together through the night, Nashville expatriate and current North Park resident Beston Barnett has crafted a sound that is unique and interesting. A long-time practitioner of genres as varied as world music and hip-hop, he creates an atmosphere that is warm and sincere. And he does it with just his voice and a guitar.
       This CD is more of an EP than an album, clocking in as it does at a little under half an hour. However, it is instantly appealing from the first song “the only way to go is alone”. Barnett’s voice is warm and inviting, expressing a sincerity that is hard to resist. His guitar playing is interesting, in that he makes unusual choices of chords and techniques that lend an exotic quality to the songs. More often than not, he opts for an intricate finger picking style instead of merely strumming the chords, which adds texture and complexity to his music.
       The title song is notable for its straightforward presentation and unusual lyrical imagery. Its protagonist is seemingly going through the routine motions of living, yet he manages to find deep meaning in the most mundane of observations. The music twists and turns through some unexpected chord changes, at times evoking the late Michael Hedges at his best. The follow-up track, “in a beautiful place with high mountain air”, might also be a strong contender for the title, as its lovely melody and lyrics are perfectly suited to the pristine and sparse arrangements that define this recording. In fact, all of the tunes have a real tendency to get under your skin after a while. And that’s a good thing!
       Barnett has a curious penchant for long song titles, but he crafts songs that are succinct and to the point. While this collection’s short running time might be considered a negative by some, it serves one of show business’s most cherished tenets: always leave ’em wanting more!

Lyrics

The only way to go is alone

written by Beston Barnett
everybody says that we’ve been great
everybody whispers it’s too late
some thoughts, they seem like one-way trains
and the only way to go is to go
angel sing and devil dance
leaf fall from the tree
close your eyes and say goodnight
and be… free… of me
saw you at our favorite taco shop
the happy couple might have stopped to talk
could barely move my legs like lead
and my voice too scared, too weak, or too dumb to speak
angel sing and devil dance
leaf fall from the tree
have your cry then say goodbye
and be… free… of me
it all can come apart so suddenly
so don’t think you can know, no, no, don’t tease
some things you do are one-way trains
and the only way to go is alone
angel sing and devil dance
leaf fall from the tree
dry your eyes then drive all night
and be… free… of me

but you won’t really know what to feel

written by Beston Barnett
if only there was some
anger to lean on
if only there was blame
where loss has left you numb
if only you could guess
could know to rage or bless
and, priestly, nod your head
to those who would confess
if only…
but you won’t really know what to feel
until it’s over
the smile has learned to lie
the words are in the sky
a shadow’s on the sand
your lover’s said goodbye
and if only you were told
the way back to the road
if only there was love
not this complicated code
if only…
you wish the pain would come
relieve this tedium
then you could start to live
the life of the undone
undone by what’s been said
undone beyond this dread
if only there was clar-
ity in your broken bed

when loneliness and freedom waltz together through the night

written by Beston Barnett
how the fading light crosses the room
the way that dust glows flying from the broom
and it all must be swept away
no one sees it anyway
cause I’m cleaning the house alone, singing
circus bird light on my window
you bring the booze, this time I’ve got the show
we’ll toast the new moon, and we’ll drink a tune as we watch
loneliness and freedom waltz together through the night
here’s an empty street at dawn
when all of the streetlights are still turned on
and the sky is red with pain
every new town feels the same
when you’re walking its streets alone, calling out
gravedigger wave through the twilight
you say I’m wrong but you know that I’m right
there’s bodies and bones, and there’s ghosts that moan when they feel
loneliness and freedom waltz together through the night
I may be alone and I may be free
free to replay these last memories
of that song our bodies made
it’s a song that will not fade
how’d we turn away from its call, crying
ghost lover, fly through the crossfire
I’m here waiting with paper and pen
put your hand in mine and we’ll dance in rhyme, just like when
loneliness and freedom waltz together through the night

in a beautiful place with high mountain air

written by Beston Barnett
how long would you love me?
how true would you be?
and if it costs you your friends
in the balance with your pen?
would you break? would you bend?
even then, would you love me?
your lungs ache to know me
how much would you know?
and if the cost is your name?
payment weighed out in shame
as you try to transcend
even then, would you love me?
and when the web of their love
holds you fast like a fist
and won’t let you breathe
will you think of me then?
my love is a knife
that can cut you free
how long would you love me?
how deep would you cut..
and if the cost is your soul
burning bridges take their toll
would you burn them again?
and again, would you love me?
how far would you take me?
how clean would you break?
and if the cost is your life
your house, your dogs, and your wife
and all that you could have been
in the end, would you love me?
it’s your heart and your lungs
one wants love, one wants air
they won’t both be appeased
will you think of me now?
my love is a knife
it will cut out your heart
it will strand you alone
in a beautiful place
with high mountain air
my love flies you there
as long as you dare
to only love me

tracing tattoos across a cloud

written by Beston Barnett
a call to nowhere
from the airport phone
then glide through the night
on a flight back home
this lonely life
you’ve ruined it for me
can’t seem to read
at the speed of sound
so I watch the moon
trace tattoos across a cloud
and this lonely life
you’ve ruined it for me
and I can’t begin to forget where I’ve been
in your orchard with all of your sin
a call to nowhere
are you there? say hello
like a discarded apple, I fall
will we all end so low?
cause this lonely life
you’ve ruined it for me
and I can’t begin to forget where I’ve been
in your orchard with all of your sin

with these few signs

written by Beston Barnett
you, you close the blinds
you make up your mind
you finish your coffee
with one last look
close up your book
and put it all away
the time is come
when you don’t have to wish for nothing more
wave from the door
cutie pie ,
cutie pie , these days are done
mmm, you turn to go
you lock the door
click off the porch light
with these few signs
you leave your shine
here in the dark
the time is come
when you don’t have to wish for nothing less
twirl your dress
cutie pie ,
cutie pie , these days are done

your love and your loss

written by Beston Barnett
we sold all your stuff
my girlfriend said it’s rough
sleeping with all that overhead
just an ordinary scene
boxes full of faded dreams
thrown across the yard like kids throw leaves
we sold them cheap
there was no way to foretell
how the house would lose your smell
how for me your face would fade
so I’ve marshalled these strange chords
to dig beneath the floor
and bring back word of love that never dies
it just gets fossilized
a haze and a gloss
your love and your loss
sink into the sediment
and I’ll hold you in my clay
those lost golden days
are singing through my mouth, my hands, my eyes
know you in disguise

woven into one shimmering thread.

written by Beston Barnett
       Note: Like the chapter titles in Italo Calvino’s novel If on a winter’s night a traveler, the song titles can be read in order to form a sentence – a sort of summation of the theme of the CD: “The only way to go is alone, but you won’t really know what to feel when loneliness and freedom waltz together through the night in a beautiful place with high mountain air, tracing tattoos across a cloud – with these few signs, your love and your loss [are] woven into one shimmering thread.”
star bright
brighten up my dream tonight
help me
sleep through to the day
done in
and weary as I’ve ever been
guide me
down Morpheus’ way
good night, wherever you are
good night
full moon
loom across this sleeping room
rest here
on my quilted bed
dream-like
scattered bights of dark and light
woven into
one shimmering thread
good night, wherever you are
good night
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