The Fret & The Fray

by Lila Nelson

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about

Lila Nelson Biography:

Born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Lila Nelson began her lyrical life in the Santa Margarita River Valley of Southern California with stints in Washington State, Idaho, and Santa Cruz, California. Later she spent years in beautiful and remote Arcata, California where she honed her skills as a performer, earning a degree in theatre arts, and working between tour dates as a DJ on the award winning independent radio station, KHUM. What began as knack for lyricism and harmony blossomed into full fledged crafts-womanship and stage savvy. With her guitar and piano based songs somewhere between the stark, often wry first person of her old pen-pal, Loudon Wainwright III, and her own rich elliptical song-scapes, Nelson's sound is both seasoned and fresh. Loudon remarks on her 2004 debut: "Great songs...poetic tendrils that cling..." In 2005 she was featured on the front page of Neil Young's website with her song "Fresh Paint," which “hit home.” She was also named semi-finalist in the International Songwriting Competition for "Hold it in Your Hand" and she played with the celebrated Richie Havens. She has sung and acted with the internationally acclaimed Dell' Arte Players. 2008 found her in Santa Monica, CA working with Freddy Koella (Bob Dylan, k.d. lang, Carla Bruni) and touring with the late Kenny Edwards (Linda Ronstadt, Warren Zevon). "Letter Home" features Koella, Edwards, Don Heffington (Jayhawks) and Stewart Cole (Sara McLachlan, Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros). Upon moving to Oakland, CA in 2009 Nelson played with Ben Folds at the premiere Bay Area venue, The Fox Theater and toured overseas.

Nelson's sixth album "The Fret & The Fray" features guest appearances from notable Portland musicians Tony Furtado, Skip VonKuske and Matt Berger of The Portland Cello Project, Asher Fulero, John Nastos, members of Greylag (Andrew Stonestreet, Daniel Dixon, Mark Robertson), Come Gather Round Us (Sebastian Rogers and Catherine Feeny) and Great Wilderness (Emily Wilder and Laura Kucera). It was produced by Grammy nominated Sebastian Rogers in The Magic Closet in Portland, Oregon in 2010. It's official release date is Jan. 24, 2011. Nelson's cinematic song pictures, poignant ballads and witty turns of phrase have found their home on records ranging from folk to alt country to electronica. With Rogers she catapults her sound and arrangements into new territory. She says, "'The Fret and The Fray' has a kind of energy I've been wanting to record for a long time. The liveness--the danciness--on some of the songs is a new, but fitting frontier for me. I grew up dancing. That paradox of the deeply contemplative and the wholly unrestrained speaks to me. Plus, sometimes you just have to make some noise."

Currently Nelson is touring with her bay area outfit "Lila Nelson and The Job." The Job consists of Bay Area musicians Jimi Mitchell (keys), Otto Huber (drums) and Brandon Essex (bass).

credits

released 28 February 2012

All songs written and performed by Lila Nelson
Produced by Sebastian Rogers
Engineered by Ian Watts, assisted by Adam Caldwell
Mixed by Sebastian Rogers and Ian Watts
Recorded at The Magic Closet in Portland, OR

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Track Name: Man Invented Corners
Man invented corners
Man invented corners
Man invented corners
God would have made a curve
Man invented mercy
Man made the Earth flat
Man invented corners
God would have made a curve
Now there's something to get backed into
Now there's somewhere to put the bed
I read what the mystic said
It's all a sleeper's dream
We find a hole to fill
We drill and we find a hole
It's all a sleeper's dream
A sleepers dream
Man invented corners
God invented curves
You should see the view
When I'm making love to you
Now there's something to get backed into
Now there's somewhere to put the bed
I read what the mystic said
It's all a sleeper's dream
It's all a sleeper's--
God would have if he could have--
But it's all a sleeper's dream
Track Name: Who Is It?
I'm tender under
When do you think we'll get there?
Oh help me, help me
Back to somewhere easy
Born from seed, born from blood
Born from a sad kind of look-away love
Look, these flowers all lined up
Don't you want this, what I got?
I was formed into a fist
I was ready for the blow
You said, "How do you beg
For mercy or for more?"
How do you beg?
For mercy or for more?
Who is it? Who is it?
What's with it? What's with it?
I see now why your god, he trembles
The weather all up to him
Brim full of little girl's secrets
He promised not to tell
What color is your madness? A purple majesty?
A red alert? A yellow hurt? Or a jaded jealousy?
Who is it? Who is it?
What's with it? What's with it?
What color is your blue? A desperate dark night?
Or a blue on which to watch your rocket take flight?
Oh let them knock, it's not for nothing
Oh let them, let them, let them in…
Who is it? Who is it?
I am a morsel
Fallen to the ground
Small and delicious
And somehow wasted.
Track Name: Back To Bed
You had to come out of somewhere
So you came out of there
To a girl's chagrin you're trying to get back in
You love to sit and stare
On the morning of your birthday
You woke up and said
I can't believe that we were made
From bouncing on a bed
I can't believe that people carry
Other people inside of them
If not for having found my way out
I'd be skeptical as sin
We had to get back to something
So we got back to god
Some down on our knees
Some with a knowing nod
On the morning of your birthday
You woke up and said
Today is just like any day
Will you love me when I'm dead?
I can't believe we are as old
As old as we've become
I can't believe we've come this far
And then you stuck out your opposable thumb
We had to get somewhere
And so we hitched a ride
Downtown to kick the night around
And find a place to hide
In the morning it was your birthday
You woke up and said
I cannot stop the time
But I can stay in bed
Then we made love so sweet
It put the birthday cake to shame
I cried out happy birthday, baby
You said God, I'm late for work again
Oooh, ooooh, oooooh
Oooh, ooooh, oooooh
Oh we had to get back to something
So we got back to bed
One hundred degrees
Me on my knees
And thunder overhead
Track Name: Tomorrow
I already wish it was tomorrow
I already wish it was tomorrow
I kept the things you said to borrow
The paper wings, the golden rings, the pretty things…
We can't see the sky for the streetlight
And we can't seem to try for fear that we might
Make it just to break it
Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow tomorrow
Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow tomorrow
I'm hawing and I'm hemming in
The fray, the fret, the fear I think I'll stay another day
Another day, another year
We can't see today for tomorrow
We can't seem to sit with our sorrow
Whatever I have today, I promise I will give away
Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow tomorrow
Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow tomorrow
I read the story as you told me
I took your look to bed to hold me
I sang along with suicides
With cigarettes and unpaid debts and pony rides
And the birds all flew off of their perches
And the people all ran out of the churches
In praise for the day, they were sure they'd
scared away...
Oh when are you ever going to learn?
Oh when are you ever going to teach me?
As long as you are reaching, you can reach me
Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow tomorrow
Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow tomorrow
Track Name: Dance With A Stranger
You smiled ear to ear
But the easy chair was hard with fear
I wanted to hold your hand, I wanted to
But who can you trust, in a world filled with lust?
There's really no surface that is clean
Oh, what a brief dance with danger
Oh, what a sure dance with death
Life is a dance with a stranger
The body holds hands with the breath
Back on the operating table
The nurses were fit, the doctors able
I wanted to fall asleep, oh, I wanted to
But the numbness wouldn't take
And so I lay there awake
Happy that the cut was clean
Oh, what a brief dance with danger
Oh, what a sure dance with death
Life is a dance with a stranger
The body holds hands with the breath
A spider web has got a little give
Give a little, that's a way to live
But once you get caught
Be prepared to give a lot
What a weight off, now that your bones are clean
Oh, what a brief dance with danger
Oh, what a sure dance with death
Life is a dance with a stranger
Then the body parts hands with the breath
Track Name: Falling Is A Virtue
A fruit fell from the tree last night
Falling is a virtue of what's ripe
He's leaving her
Or she's leaving him
Both of them thinking it's the best
It could have been
This is how we'll come to see each other
We will be polite to one another
If you ever need something from me
That I can't give you
Please, be kind to yourself
And leave me alone
I’m trying to learn how to sit still
Empty without asking to be filled
He's quitting drinking
She's quitting crime
Everyone's thinking it's about time
We built it up so hell if we
Won't knock it down
We fall out of the sky
And we end up on the ground
If you ever need something from me
That I can't give you
Please, be kind to yourself
Be kind to me
And leave me alone
Don't jump, heart
Although the bell rings danger
Up will soon be down
There is no rearranger
Like the ground
Track Name: Wolf
Romulus and Remus left the pack
Twice left home, but founded Rome
Father was a wolf, but he's long gone
Nobody will pet him since the fairy tale went wrong
And he is afraid to look you in the eye
And not a day goes by, by and by,
That I don't wonder
You are wolf, but not the kind on the t-shirt
You are a wolf in the open air
You are a howl, but not the kind in the movies
You are the song that raises my hair
And I am afraid to think what I say
And not a day goes by, by the way
I don't wonder
Track Name: All Around
Did he die with cash in his pocket?
Did he lie when it all went down?
Did he keep it to himself?
Or did he run it all around?
All around
All around
All around
That's the thing about something for nothing
There's nothing that you wouldn't give
You live your life on the edge of a knife
Like it's lucky that they let you live
You used to call it love
But love sounded funny
Now you fly your paper money all around
All around
Baby, give away your purity
But don't throw away your clarity
Because nobody can see
What you see
And just because you wear my ring
Don't get stuck inside the thing
For the life that you are saving
Is worth nothing when you go
Oh, easy for you to say you are alive
But what about the ghosts who survive?
Only a lonely sound
Just above the ground
Swirling all around, all around,
All around
All around
All around
All Around
Look, look hard, adjust your grip
Bite, bite down the lower lip
You are only trying to keep him
From running all around
From here to helpless is not so far
I can feel you falling from right where you are
Only a lonely sound just above the ground
Writhing all around, all around...
All Around
All Around
All Around
God, I'd trade the blood and skin
For one more night with him
I am looking all around
I am looking all around
I am looking all around…
They used to call it love
Now they trade for guns and money
And they spread their sticky honey all around
All around
All around
All around
All around
Track Name: The Rocking
I love the musician's hands
I love the actor's face
I love the painter's eye
I love the dancer's feet
When nobody is watching
When nobody is there
You are nothing but the rocking
You are nothing but the chair
I love the lover's arms
I love the writer's tongue
I love the singer's throat
I love the charmer's charm
When nobody is watching
When nobody is there
You are nothing but the rocking
You are nothing but the chair
When nobody is watching
When nobody is watching
When nobody is watching
Track Name: Swallow It Down
For something horrible, you got famous
But you got famous just the same
You'd never felt so small, turns out we're all alone
You couldn't have learned it better
Because you never would have learned
It's time to go fishing to take
Your sadness and sit it by the salt-lake
To hook a tear for bait and cast it down
Into the murky mystery
And hope a fish will find it
And drink the unknown out of you
It's hard to show your face when you don't know your face
Sometimes a fall from grace is an ace in the hole
It's time to go fishing...
It's time to go fishing to take
Your sadness and sit it by the salt-lake
To hook a tear for bait and cast it down
Into the murky mystery
And hope a fish will find it
And drink the unknown out of you
Swallow it down, make you understand
Swallow it down, make you understand
Swallow it down, make you understand