Landon A​.​R. Coleman's Single Life

by Landon A. R. Coleman

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about

T.S. Eliot once said that we sometimes gotta travel far far away from our home in order to come back and know it for the first time. A music school refugee when I met him, Landon A.R. Coleman had just fled his native Edmonton and come to Ottawa to spend a year studying philosophy. He moved on from there to the Maritimes, where he studied literature and wrote short stories. Gave himself over to booklearnin’, as they say.

But the whole time Coleman was doing a different sort of learning as well. It seemed he was on a quest to overcome his own excessive education— to relearn the things our grandparents all knew just from living. In Edmonton he played clubs as an under-age indie rock and roller. After Ottawa, he wandered out to the mountains of BC to spend a lonesome summer wearing plaid shirts and writing sorrowful, spiritually-weighted songs. While in Nova Scotia he cleared a space between all his books to set up his upright bass with a local bluegrass band.

But through all his wanderings and ponderings, there’s an Edmonton somewhere inside Coleman that he’s always trying to get back to. It’s this more than anything that he captures on Landon AR Coleman’s Single Life. With the help of rising Montreal singer/songwriter Leif Vollebekk and Dave Draves he recorded Single Life mostly live off the floor at Little Bullhorn Studios in Ottawa. Compare this album to his old EP, A Dusty Dove, and you’ll hear the journey in his very voice. A few years back his voice was jazz-trained and precise. He sings from the gut now, like a real country singer. He pushes his voice ‘til it trips, then uses his training to somersault it back onto its feet.

One day I’m sure Coleman will return to Edmonton and stubbornly remain. But his wanderings aren’t over yet, and if he passes through your town he will take a few songs away with him, and leave a few behind, leaving us all the richer for the exchange. And for those few hours our songs will all be lived, and our lives will all be sung.

-Jesse Butler is a writer and poet living in Ottawa, ON

credits

released 15 August 2011

Landon Coleman— Vocals, Guitar, Ukulele, Harmonica, Bass, Percussion
Leif Vollebekk— Piano, Banjo, Violin, Organ, Mellotron, Guitar, Bass, Percussion
Olivier Fairfield— Drums
Jessica Jalbert— Background Vocals
Dave Draves— Organ, Percussion
Nathaniel Wong— Viola
Nealee Humphreys— French Horn

All songs
Produced by Leif Vollebekk
Mixed and Engineered by Dave Draves at Little Bullhorn
Studio

except “Give My Hips to the Girls”
Produced by Scott McKellar and Landon Coleman
Mixed and Engineered by Scott McKellar and Dave
Draves

All lyrics and music written by Landon A.R. Coleman
except:
“Down to the Wire” written by Neil Young
Published by Reprise, 1977 and
“Rock-salt and Nails” Public Domain

Cover art “Haywain” by Hieronymous Bosch,
Art Direction and Design by Adam Gsellman
Additional Photography by Gravy T

tags

license

all rights reserved

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Track Name: Give My Hips to the Girls
Give my hips to the girls
They can touch'em when they dance
They felt the beat- they cut the rug
Let these joints and balls be ground
To dust by people moving round.

Give my feet to my mom
Two artifacts of Canada
They've tread across this land
Let these dry and broken toes
Stay close and chose the home I never chose

But for you my love I send a dusty dove
Skin, bone, dead cell just to say I'm doing well
A gust of wind made of matter that I've been
So when you breath
Remember me

Dig a hole for my brains
You can slop'em in there grey and warm
The heat will warm the soil
Let pine and poplar feed
On math and myth and memory

Give my heart to the sea
I think that's where it's meant to sleep
Please drop it off the pier
In that blueness it'll beat
With all that's large and true and deep
Track Name: The Weekend Times
The barroom’s cleared out
Don’t know where they went
All the drinkers and dancers
I’m alone with this girl I know

But I’m talking too much
She’s got buttons undone
O my lord and her lipstick
The weekend’s begun

The Weekend Times
Shall come to pass
I’m just hoping that my heart will last

Last call resounds
Like God’s trumpets and feels
Like an end-of-life tunnel
And she’s at the end

Well I been waiting all week
For a moment like this
So I smile all my teeth for her
And move in for the kill

The Weekend Times
Shall come to pass
Where things get serious awful fast

So I choose to walk
I guess she takes a cab
But she calls me in the dark

And says
The Weekend Times
Shall come to pass
My poor boy you’re mostly smoke and ash
Track Name: Down to the Wire
Every time you touch her sets your hands on fire
And every thing you've got is all that she requires
So hang on hang on hang on
To the words of a liar
Can you feel it getting down to the wire

All the hurt you thought was gone has now returned
And every thing she's laughing at is all you learned
So let go let go let go
Cause you know you're getting tired
Can you feel it getting down to the wire

Take the time to close your eyes and look around
Cause anyone who helped you out can let you down
And look out look out look out
The voice is now the choir
Can you feel it getting down to the wire
Track Name: Waters Frozen
I hear no voice of God
No doves will land upon my head
As I stand in waters frozen
My fingers hold my nose
My knees dip into the stream

I came up here for the gravity,
To feel that living law which fastens me
To the earth, so coarse and animal,
Which I stand on as a foreigner
All alone in empty streets

What flesh can bear this water so clean and cold
What eyes withstand the lights so bright and old
But here I stand alone and I will groan
Amidst the flow let me feel what I cannot know

My forehead aches from cold and light
From flashes of most lonesome nights
And I feel the currents pull
My throat is hoarse and full
Do these waters run for me

What flesh can bear this water so clean and cold
What eyes withstand the lights so bright and old
But here I stand alone and I will groan
Amidst the flow let me feel what I cannot know
Track Name: Montreal, You Never Call
On Jasper Avenue he hums quietly
But when it gets dark he ducks into a shop
And speaks to me

He says
Don’t bother about the friends I keep
It’s not for them that you should weep
It’s for Montreal, who never calls
And who never heard me sing a single song

He says
I see no reason to walk these streets
But then I see no reason to eat or sleep
You might find this hard to believe
But what’s clear to you is not to me

He says
You might not be able to guess
But the stuff we write is meaningless
It’s just that Montreal, you never calls
And you never heard me sing a single song

Don’t tell me what you think is real
My mind is clear, I’ll do what I feel
But Montreal, you never call
And you never heard me sing a single song
Track Name: We Caught Aflame
When I bade farewell to the last century
I was down in the basement with my family

There was water in jerry cans on our cold-room floor
We joked nervously, about famine and war

Since then it’s been strangeness all my heroes died,
We flicked on the news, watched peoples collide

But then Michael said he saw the dead
where they lay in wait for us.
And Jesse sang we caught aflame
Like the burning seraphim in the
The young men see visions
And the old men dream dreams
It’s time we tell each other what we’ve seen

Well, I was walking the town, last saturday night
Freezin hands in my pockets
Guts in a knot tied up tight

I was stuck on a girl who never wanted to be
In my head like a drug or a ghost in the night
Haunting me

But then Sunday came and woke me up
I showered and got dressed
I forgot about her, ate and drank and got some rest
The young men see visions
And the old men dream dreams
It’s time we tell each other what we’ve seen
Track Name: Trace It Back
An embrace moves through
My hands, my arms, my neck
Moves up to my mind,
Up to my mind

Electricity sizzles ‘round my brain
Like a white hot coal
Burning up the rain

So trace it back, trace it back, trace it back.
You can’t light yourself, you cannot turn yourself on

Our hearts are tungsten-coiled so tight
That they burn with incandescent might
And they glow on into Unknowable nights

If you listen close you’ll hear the drone
Overwhelming whispers burn through bones
They say
The Son can do nothing on his own

So trace it back, trace it back, trace it back
You can’t light yourself, you cannot turn yourself on
Track Name: Rideau Street
I watched two figures dance
On the second floor of an old tenement
Through a large front window
I stood in the snow

Promised myself I’d try and get some sleep tonight
But I’ve still a ways to go
My feet freeze
My head replays a scene so cold
I told you I’m better off alone

They twirl together still
But I stride down Rideau till,
Night-time’s solitary chill
Breaks with dawns light on the Hill