Alone On The World Stage

by Cameron Blake

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credits

released 16 March 2015

ALL SONGS WRITTEN BY CAMERON BLAKE (BMI)
CAMERON BLAKE: VOCALS/GUITAR/PIANO
PRODUCED, ENGINEERED AND MIXED BY PETER FOX
RECORDED MAY 8-13, 2014 AT STONE HOUSE RECORDING, GRAND RAPIDS, MI
MASTERED BY BILL WOLF AT BILL WOLF PRODUCTIONS, INC, ARLINGTON, VA
ALBUM ART AND PHOTOS BY JANESSA RAE SLANGEN

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Track Name: Rise And Shine
All the years we’ve lined up against the wall
As a mother breaks and her child grows cold
There are beautiful things about this desert plain
Like when the lanterns bloom from the mountain rain

Pull away your mask
Let me see your face
Let me touch your scars by the temple gates
Where the wolves they eat at the baby’s feet
And the gunshots ring down the one-way streets

See the uniforms on the teenage boys
The gorilla scarves and the bomb decoys
As the pillars rise along the barbed wire coils
It’s just another call to prayer through the shellfire noise

Rise and shine, shine, shine, shine, shine, shine, shine

When I saw you there on the threshing floor
In the golden lace of the barley bales
And as the alter bleeds on this trail of tears
Olive branches kneel to the humid air

When I raise your head and I pierce your side
Will you look at me with those steadfast eyes?
When my last hello is a confused goodbye
They’re building up the tower of Babel in the eastern sky

Rise and shine, shine, shine, shine, shine, shine, shine

I’ve had many long thoughts
I’ve had many lost dreams
But my children live to see my frame grow weak
The wall still stands by the Cyprus tree
And my people sink into the banks of peace

I lie awake to machine gun fire
As the shadows dance to my voiceless choir
I could call this home but it’s now desire
As the music keeps playing on the other side

Singing shine, shine, shine, shine, shine, shine, shine
Rise and shine, shine, shine, shine, shine, shine, shine
Track Name: Fireman Snowman
Striking down the Christmas tree
It’s one day after the Chinese New Year
Flattened boxes stacked on the curb
As the garbage truck turns and double backs in third gear

An ounce of prevention’s worth a pound of cure
My doctor always said
Many hard decisions my dear
Only lead to many more hard decisions

Running through the rookie years
Like a ghost train on a switch back trestle
On immigrant streets where the rooms overflow
And the Navy dock the ocean vessels

I am clawing for the sea like Jacob poised to wrestle
And the angel won’t let go of me
I’m in the ring and that’s the way he blesses

The family business now
I’m in the family business now and it’s fireproof
As we grow away and pass on through

Kissing all the girls goodnight
The snow’s still falling into Easter
All tucked away in one bed
With its cedar frame split from the bone dry winter

Baby’s first teeth come in
And she’s waking up in the early hours
My doctor tells me sleep when you’re dead
But your death will come sooner if you don’t start sleeping

A cup of mercy’s lying there
To ease the mind that’s racing
Flickin’ the ash into the air
He takes a drag from the filter remaining

Then you climb up those cathedral stairs
To memorize the fourteen stations
I never would have brought you here
But you’ve exceeded all my expectations

In the family business now
You’re in the family business now and it’s fireproof
As we’re passing on through

The snowman’s face reveals it
But the kids won’t notice as he melts away
Mother nature sure is brave
To make love come and go forever
Track Name: North Dakota Oil
Wipe that oil from your cheek North Dakota
‘Cause Uncle Sam is striking up the band
Roll that penny in the street North Dakota
To the wishing well in the bottom of your pan

I walk against the one-way streets in North Dakota
As the lonely boy’s still shooting up a can
Raising kid’s like raising hell in North Dakota
With the pioneers before it all hit the fan

Take your time undressing me
Mmm... Take your time to stare
Beat your swords into plowshares North Dakota
‘Til the oil flows like honey through the land

Sing those prairie songs out here North Dakota
For the unemployed and the uninhibited man
Well I can’t find a bit to chew in North Dakota
Only lilies bloomin’ in the cold black river sand

Take your time undressing me
Mmm.... Take your time to stare
Beat your swords into plowshares North Dakota
Where the oil flows like ribbons in your hair
Track Name: The Fisherman
You awaken to the sound of her laughter
That the wind blows away
Then the midnight mass bell rings forever
And the rain taps irregular rhythms
On the roof of the house you’ve been living in

There’s a flint in the eye of the tiger
For when I quit all this worldly nonsense
And listen to deep frozen rivers
Pack up my gums with tobacco
Feeling down her back in the shadows
Rainbow trout nets by the window
Casting cross-stitch patterns on the bathroom

Yes it’s true, true, true, that I still love you

The smoke swirls and breaks in the silence
A gentle calm covers the water
You follow her eyes to your pillow
Where sleep lies the wounded man down
As she brushes the snow from the window

There’s a prayer on the bench at St Andrew’s
For when I quit all this earthly nonsense
And walk in the rain to the ocean
To cast out my nets for a pearl
Unbutton her shirt to the necklace
Wallpaper drinking light from street
Pop up patterns from another empty world

Yes it’s true, true, true, that I still love you
Track Name: Piccadilly Circus
I’m just waking up from a night out with friends
There’s booze on my breath and pins in my head
Well darling I guess I’ve had you on my mind

Don’t sing along yet ‘til I clear my throat
It feels a bit raw like I can’t hit the notes
But darling I choke whenever I’ve got you on my mind

Pour me one more glass of wine
Tell me I’m just going blind to get you off my mind

Someone told me there’s no life without the risks
And maybe deep inside I’m happy with this
‘Cause I gave you a kiss just to get you off my mind

Did I talk out of turn or did I say too much?
Did I come off unlearned? Did I not talk enough?
After all, love’s just a bunch of crazy thoughts inside your mind

Well I saw you pretty lady on the Piccadilly line
Where I’ve learned to count to pass the time
Through the twenty-five stations that are underground
I’m afraid of the dark I put headphones on just to tape your mouth
When you speak these words to me

Maybe I run, maybe I’m late
Baby I’d hate to make that kind of mistake
I’m well on my way to erase you from my mind

Pour me one more glass of wine
Tell me I’m just going blind to get you off my mind
Track Name: Detroit
This one’s for the broken hearted few
Like Melinda who forgot how to refuse
The offer of a twin bed in a hotel room
Where the curtains float like ghosts in front of you

This one’s for the butcher on the row
Who always wipes his chop board twice as slow
When the angel with the pipe and the high cheekbones
Presses her face against the glass of his shop window

This one’s for the felon who was free
Until he dropped the bag when he was 17
Before a Detroit city police near the Packard building
And tried to hop the fence that sent him to his knees

In all the storefront churches hear them liftin’ up your name
Drive the Greyhound to St. Ignace and get the hell out of my veins

Oh, will your lover come home?
Will your lover ever need you?
Oh, will your lover come home?
Will your lover ever need you again?

This one’s written on the walls of fragile souls
Where years are soaked to the bottom of the pillows
Lying on the locker floor drippin’ cold
Melinda’s singing softly to her plastic comb

This one’s for the lion in the round
Cornered in this circus of a town
People hold up signs to try to shut you down
But the bones are buried six feet underground


Oh, will your lover come home?
Will your lover ever need you?
Oh, will your lover come home?
Will your lover ever need you again?

There are many out here among us
In the city of October
Where the auto plants sit heavy in the rain

There are many out here among us
Railroad ties and engines
Aged like rusted out reminders of the Corktown trains

In all the storefront churches hear them liftin’ up your name
Drive the Greyhound to St. Ignace and kick the hell out of my veins

Oh, will your lover come home?
Will your lover ever need you?
Oh, will your lover come home?
Will your lover ever need you again?
Track Name: Home Movie
The curtains open, the lights go dim
Cough drop settles deep in his throat
The projector clicks and spins
The camera pans up a sleeve to a face then falls and blurs
Still frame of a sycamore tree

And momma’s there
And daddy’s there
That’s my yard
Now that’s me
And time stops moving

Northern beaches on the sea
Seagulls dive bomb tables where my family eats
Someone picks me up and pulls me center frame
You can see me smile as they splash me in the waves

And grandpa’s there
And grandma’s there
That’s my dragon kite
That’s my underwear
And time stops moving

Put that camera down
Days we can’t erase
Buried in the ground
With so many intermissions
To adjust the mirror
Bury our fingertips deep in the ash
Needing some damn thing to feel
Another roll of film he calibrates
Flip it on again and watch the same mistakes

‘Cause Mary’s there
And Peter’s there
And that’s my church
And that’s my boutonnière
And that’s my ring
And that’s my wife
And that’s my watch
And that’s our time
But time stops moving
Track Name: Wild Blue Garden
I’m hanging on tight
Hanging on tight
I’m chainin’ my body to the heavenly lights
Tying my key to your kite
God, this land seems so cruel

I’m needing you now
I’m needing you now
I’m feeling, I’m kneeling
I’m leaving you now
Well I’ll go out and find you in somebody else
Then I’ll go find myself

There’s this mama I knew
This mama I knew from a country of gypsies
That smells of voodoo
I gave her ten dollars to tell me the truth
Came back and said I loved you

Well there’s a frightened steed in a broken down barn
Tired out plow on an Idaho farm
Six straw soldiers on the battleground
Where I gave up and lay down my crown

When the fireflies dim then the spider webs shine
One of these days I’ll make you all mine
By the briar bush path and the tractor headlights
I kissed you goodbye

But it’s only in my mind
‘Cause I’m hanging plastic lights in a backyard in Manhattan
Cornered on all sides
Where my friends are getting high and mixing daisy cocktails
That will blow your mind

I’m waiting for the lights to glow now
Waiting for the sun to go down
Waiting for the band to load out
I’m still waiting up for you

For my soul grows best in your wild garden
My soul grows best in your wild blue
Your wild blue garden

Well, I’m picking up steam
I’m picking up steam
My hand’s damp and empty from picking up steam
I live with an actress named reality
She’s the girl of my dreams

She’s this woman I met
This woman I met when I first got here
But she ain’t come to visit me yet
I don’t mean to be coy
I just need to forget the real woman I left

There’s a plywood shed on the one wooded acre
Where the icicles bled to the ground like daggers
Leaving their mark as they’re falling apart
That’s the way it has been

But it’s a hard place to find
Where I’m hanging plastic lights in a backyard in Manhattan
Cornered on all sides
Where my friends are getting high and mixing daisy cocktails
Just to bend their minds

I’m waiting for the lights to glow now
Waiting for the sun to go down
Waiting for the band to roll out
I’m still waiting up for you

For my soul grows best in your wild garden
My soul grows best in your wild blue
Your wild blue garden
Track Name: Ultrasound
Settin’ sail in the deep
Tiny fingers, tiny toes on feather feet
I’m a well, You’re a spring
Do you know you’re closer than you’ll ever be
To heaven, to home and the secret words
That spoke life in your bones?

Swimming deep off the shore
Ancient lighthouse in the eye of nature’s storm
This display makes you laugh in the face
Of your first round of photographs
Too close to heaven, too close to home
And the secret words that tell you “You are known”

Open river, where you keep such pleasant company
With the angels who are painting one more masterpiece
Open river, when you get right to the heart of things
We are pictures of a perfect love

Every time I see you I just love you more
Every time I see you I just love you more
Every time I see you I just love you more
Every time I see you I just love you more
Track Name: Welfare Street
I surrendered when you told me
I’m just another mouth to feed
Told to leave the table like a beggar at the feast
The holler’s been on fire, its’ vulgar sound is sweet
But there ain’t no traitors living out here on Welfare Street

My iron-tasting lady clipped it from a magazine
It said that they were hiring for 500 a week
I used to be a tradesman; at least I used to be
But now I’m just a cripple out here on Welfare Street

I’ve towed the party lines and they both pretend to be
A place where Connie’s junkyard
Is rubbing elbows with the bourgeoisie
They’re written from the towers of well-oiled machines
There’s no cocaine on holidays out here on Welfare Street

His tennis shoes are hanging
You can see them through the trees
Folding under pressure like a clover in the breeze
He still defies the lightening running at top speed
Chasing down the bullet out here on Welfare Street

The fire hydrant’s opened
It’s ninety-nine degrees
Watching the toddlers soak each other in their whitey-tighties
Oh, there’s beauty on this river, a rainbow on the stream
We’re all just friendly neighbors out here on Welfare Street

But you don’t join the celebration
Because it’s not what you believe
The fence has gotten higher from the falling GNP
And what’s the point of working when everything is free?
Isn’t that the way it functions out here on Welfare Street?

My vision’s growing dim
It fails in empathy
I’ve never stayed the night
I’ve never even held the key
In fact, I lack all understanding with my graduate degree
I’m simply middle class and anxious out here on Welfare Street
Track Name: Kabuki Theatre
I remember who you are
From standing in the dance hall light
I’ve remembered you for 30 years
God, it’s been 30 years or better since we met that night

We were just boys not men then
I remember when you still believed
That friends make better enemies
Then you clicked your heels
Turned and walked away from me

Meet Jane, she’s the girl I was talkin’ about
She’s vain and young enough
To cover up your birthday like a powder puff
You’ve changed but the years remain
Are you still living on your parent’s dime?
Ah, you’re chained to the naked eye
Off the record after closing time

I remember who you are
From standing in the dance hall light
I’ve remembered you for 30 years
God, it’s been 30 years or better since we met that night

We were just boys not men then
I remember when you still believed
That friends make better enemies
Then you clicked your heels
And disappeared right next me

Now you’re standing in front of the country
On a podium you didn’t build
Swinging your charm in the spotlight
Wearing shoes you can’t possibly fill

And the wheels of the culture are burning
The wheels of the culture are burning
The wheels of the culture are burning, burning
From the fire raging up on the hill

They’ve perfected man out in California
Because everyone looks like James Dean
But I’m out here reading Charles Bukowski
And thinking about democracy

When Hollywood secedes from the union
And commissions a king and her queen
And the pawns and the bishops
Read the Bible like textbooks
To try and figure out what it all means

And Ferdinand’s still smelling roses
As the matador’s down on his knees
Begging for peace in the valley
From the stingers and roar of the bees

Now you’re standing in front of the country
In a theatre that you didn’t fill
Watching your bodyguards searching
All the purses and book bags and belts

And the wheels of the culture are burning
The wheels of the culture are burning
The wheels of the culture are burning, burning
From the fire raging up on the hill
Track Name: Fragile Glory
In the quiet solitude of morning
I feel the twilight break the night in half
An earthworm’s writhing just beneath the surface
A beetle’s on another beetle’s back

Don’t pretend you didn’t hear me from the steeple
Above the bell that children love to ring
Well, I’m in the corner watching the barista
Cleaning out the dishes in the sink

Tiny ballet slippers on the nightstand
Tiptoeing from the curtain call
What is man that you are mindful of him
When he’s tearing down the mirror on the wall?

Fragile glory’s swelling up a beatin’ heart
A bicycle headlight’s passin’ through the dark
The tightrope walker points his toe to start
And the old bag lady pulls a grocery cart
We are human hallelujahs orchestrating what we can’t control

Lovers breathing through the window
Drawing out their futures on the glass
Leftovers sitting on the table
Marvin Gaye records on the rack

I still remember when you brought home this piano
And when the neighbors ruined its veneer
This room was always filled with laughter
From everyone who ever sat here

First recital punch bowls lined like steel drums
Where everybody has a nervous twitch
What is man that you are mindful of him
When he’s tying a balloon around your wrist?

Fragile glory’s swelling up a beatin’ heart
A bicycle headlight’s passin’ through the dark
The tightrope walker points his toe to start
And the old bag lady pulls a grocery cart
We are human hallelujahs orchestrating what we can’t control