The Names of Things

by Karen & the Sorrows

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1.
Around the Bend Everyone wants you to say That it was meant to be, that you’re better off this way Cue the sun after the rain And reveal the sweet surprise that was just gift-wrapped in your pain I’m not tryin’ to poke a hole in your romantic fantasy I’m sure that my misfortune has no bearing on your destiny No, I wouldn’t mind to wind up as your proof of happy ends But for now it’s looking dark around the bend Everyone wants to believe That there’s a purpose to the fall of every lonesome leaf Cue the ledger in the clouds Where it’s written down in stone how it all magically works out I know that I’m supposed to say I think this life has got some weight That it can’t just bust wide open till it’s all been blown away And maybe there’s some cosmic scale that’s balanced in the end But for now it’s looking dark around the bend Is that a sliver of light up ahead? Or just some desperate mirage? Don’t make me get my hopes up yet If it’s the headlights of some oncoming car Everyone wants you to be Even better than before, your wounds sewn up expertly Like some Frankenstein of fate Reanimated with the bits of all your best mistakes If the future’s flying toward me on some cheerful bluebird’s wings Why does it feel more like I woke the hive and all its angry stings? I know you’d like me to confirm that sorrow turns into a friend But for now it’s looking dark around the bend
2.
Asleep at the Wheel Well we gave it a hell of a fight We screamed and we talked and we cried Till we had to admit that calling it quits Was the only thing we hadn't tried So you gave me one last farewell kiss And I promised that I would be brave That I'd do my best to go it alone And I'd smile when I thought of your name But last night I woke up in your headlights And my heart was racing to go So I snuck out like some teenaged girl after dark And we sped off back out on the road It's time to wake up now This isn't real Stop driving by my house Asleep at the wheel It's hard to remember the exit When it's years of to have and to hold When your foot is still on the pedal But baby your arms have gone cold And tonight I woke up in your headlights And my heart was racing to go But I know we ain’t got no business Being back out on the road
3.
Just a Little Heartbreak My old friend, forgive me if I cross the line If it’s not for me to say But I fear we might be running out of time And I’d rather risk you hating me if it might keep you safe I know you don’t want me to know But I’m begging you to finally let go It’s just a little heartbreak Nothing you can’t handle So hold your head up and walk out that door It’ll be lonesome But you can manage Your heart needs so much more I know it’s love but this ain’t what love is for You say you can’t just turn your back upon a vow You remember how it used to be But can’t you see that was then but it ain’t now And the past you share don’t mean that you can’t leave I know you’re scared to go But you don’t have to do it all alone It’s just a little heartbreak Nothing we can’t handle So hold your head up and walk out that door It’ll be lonesome But you can manage Your heart needs so much more I know it’s love but this ain’t what love is for
4.
The Names of Things You had a plan And your plan was just to run Simple as it seems Turns out you’re the lucky one While I circle around I can’t land nowhere I can’t bear to touch ground But I can’t breathe in this air Once the song and what you sang were still the same And the words still stood by what they named And the rain still called itself the rain You burn the library down And ride off into the sun Leave it all behind Just your horse and favorite gun While I watch from the woods I wonder what I would have saved It don’t do no good Better learn to love the flames Once the song and what you sang were still the same And the words still stood by what they named And the rain still called itself the rain
5.
One Hand in Debt Are you gonna get what you need Wrapped up in a bow just like you dreamed? Are they here to lay the table Or are they here to feed? Sing it to the sky if you dare Did you think the clouds would care About your little box About your little bow About your little dream? If you’ve got one hand in debt And the other in vain But you can’t turn back yet This could be the only way But they’re gonna make you pay Here’s a little match for the dark Here’s a pretty mask for your part Hope you come out right Hope you come out strong Hope you come out clean If you’ve got one hand in debt And the other in vain But you can’t turn back yet This could be the only way But they’re gonna make you pay Watch your back, little darlin’ Look how the stars are falling What will you do if your debts are all called in?
6.
Black Box 04:35
Black Box I called off the search today Packed my black box dreams away There is not some missing piece You are not some mystery Rummaged through each word I knew Wasn’t even one that made it through You are just a stranger, I am just a ghost There is no remainder, nothing left to know There’s no book of why No secret diary in the sky Time to set your decoder down and let it slide Just say good-bye Where does all that’s unsaid live? Can I go and visit it? Somewhere on the moon? Somewhere undersea? Somewhere up so high The air’s too thin to breathe? There’s no book of why No secret diary in the sky Time to set your decoder down and let it slide Just say good-bye The heart’s a brutal force No set anchor, no set course Mutinied and lost at sea You’re not coming back for me
7.
Tender Buttons I say it’s cold, you say it’s winter I say are you lonesome, you say you don’t mind But still, night after night Maybe you will, maybe you’ll write Until dawn Asleep at your desk with some tangled-up mess That I’m supposed to type You said just bend But everything broke You say I’ll mend But it goes so slow And if you can’t stay Why don’t you go? You say it’s spring, but it feels like winter And if I am lonesome, I pay it no mind Because night after night Maybe you will, maybe you’ll write Until dawn Asleep at your desk with some tangled-up mess That I’m gonna type You said just bend But everything broke You say I’ll mend But how would you know? And if you can’t stay Why won’t you go? And if you can’t stay Baby, don’t go
8.
Tami's Broken Bones Round and around and around and around we all go Where this is ending oh baby I hope that you know You say what more could you need than a horse of your own? But if this is a carousel, how will we make it a home? You take my heart But you just keep the darkest part So if you can’t shine for all to see Please just burn for me If I am clumsy, it’s only because I am lost Burnt by the ash of a cigarette someone else tossed And if all the king’s horses and all the king’s men Still couldn’t do it then why would you dream that you can? You take my heart But you just keep the darkest part So if you can’t shine for all to see Please just burn for me Oh darling, why? You toss and turn Oh darling I Can’t seem to learn
9.
Star 04:55
Star You could wait your whole life for what’s safe Board the windows up and walk away Or let the cards be played Again And if the dark is a given, so’s the light I see them both there in your eyes tonight But there is just one sky One end If I wander off too far I’ll still know just where you are The city lights are bright But they can’t hide your star If my ship gets washed away I won’t even be afraid The ocean’s black but I can Map it by your star What if this world doesn’t want us here? Uses all its might to make us disappear? My love shines just as strong And clear If I wander off too far I’ll still know just where you are The city lights are bright But they can’t hide your star If my ship gets washed away I won’t even be afraid The ocean’s black but I can Map it by your star

credits

released May 27, 2014

All songs written by Karen Pittelman.

Recorded and mixed by Charles Burst at Seaside Lounge, Brooklyn, NY. With additional engineering by Jon Altschuler.

Mastered by Paul Gold at Salt Mastering, Brooklyn, NY.

Cover and back photos by @gothamr

Album design by Elizabeth Daggar, Electrofork

Karen Pittelman: vocals, acoustic guitar
Elana Redfield: pedal steel guitar, electric and acoustic guitars, backing vocals
AJ Lewis: bass, banjo, backing vocals
Tami Johnson: drums

With:
Benjamin Leavitt: Hammond organ on “Black Box” and “One Hand in Debt,” Rhodes on “The Names of Things”
Jim Altieri: mandolin on “Asleep at the Wheel”
James Wilson: piano on “Just a Little Heartbreak”
Rima Fand: fiddle on “Tender Buttons”
Kurt Leege: bass on “Tami’s Broken Bones”
Robert Maril: cello on “Star”
The Queer Country Family Band: backing vocals on “Star”

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Karen & the Sorrows Brooklyn, New York

“Like Gram Parsons, Pittelman peels away the superficiality that much of country music has embraced and looks deep into its soul, its history, and its stories and makes it all her own….You do not want to miss this album.”—No Depression

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