Avocet

by Jennifer Kimball

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    Designed by Paul Montie, the illustration and typography for this hand-assembled package is as exquisite as the deep black cardboard and silver ink with which it is printed. Thanks to Union Press in Somerville for a gorgeous letterpress job.

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about

This project began as a surprise birthday recording session at Q Division in Somerville, MA with old friends and new. It has become Avocet, a ten song album of songs written over the past decade and produced by Alec Spiegelman from Brooklyn-based avant-pop band Cuddle Magic.

credits

released March 3, 2017

Jennifer Kimball: vocals, acoustic guitar, baritone ukulele
Alec Spiegelman: bass clarinet, clarinet, flute, saxophones, pump organ, nylon string guitar, vocals
Ryan Dugre: electric guitar, acoustic guitar, bass
Christopher Andrew McDonald: piano, keyboards, electric vibraphone
Dave Flaherty: drums
Duke Levine: electric guitar on "Reedy River” and "Saturday Day"
Kimon Kirk: bass on "Reedy River” and "Saturday Day"
Kris Delmhorst: vocals on "Reedy River” and "Saturday Day"

PRODUCED & ARRANGED by Alec Spiegelman
MIXED by Christopher Andrew McDonald
RECORDED at Q Division, Somerville, MA with Matt Beaudoin engineering and Billy Conway producing;
and at Old Soul Studio, Catskill, NY with Tyler Wood engineering;
additional recording thanks to Christopher McDonald, Ry Cavanaugh and Ian Kennedy

MASTERED by Joe Lambert
DESIGN & ILLUSTRATION by Paul Montie
pHOTOGRAPH by Sid Ceaser

THANK YOU first and foremost to Alec for this splendid new view, for exalting the distorted flute, for the countless hours. To Christopher for playing, engineering, recording, hosting, and mixing this record. To the musicians and the surprisers — Ry, Duke, Kimon, Kris, Dave, Alec, Billy, Matt, Jay and Ted. To Tyler Wood, Old Soul mvp. To Ed Valauskas, Matt Beaudoin, Kenny Siegel, Dinty Child, Jim Mouradian, Yukon Stubblevine, Jay Rogers, Ted Clausen, Matt Smith, Sarah Siskind, TJ Thompson, Ian Brownell, Julia Van Daam, Maya Mumma, Mike Spencer, Andrew Kimball, Barbara Dacey, Brad Paul and Peter Wright. To the poets Mary Burchenal, Billy Collins and Wendell Berry. To the dedicated quartet of Billy Beard, Duke Levine, Kevin Barry and Richard Gates and to the songwriter/singers who’ve brought these songs to life over the last decade — Rose Polenzani, Anne Heaton, Kris Delmhorst, Rose Cousins, Laura Cortese and Aoife O’Donovan. To Ry Cavanaugh, chief surpriser and lead strategist.

SONGS
All lyrics/music by Jennifer Kimball © 2016 Jennifer D. Kimball, Laszlo Art Songs (ASCAP) except lyrics for “The Valley” inspired by Wendell Berry’s poem “In Rain” © 1985 by Wendell Berry, from Travelling At Home, reprinted by permission of Counterpoint; Lyrics for “Build You a Barn” excerpted from “Barn” by Mary Burchenal, used by permission; Lyrics/music for “Someone to Read to” by Jennifer Kimball and Sarah Siskind, Red Request Music/Admin by Razor & Tie (BMI). Excerpts from the poems “Mappamundi” and “Going Out for Cigarettes” used in "Postcard from Rio" are from the book Questions About Angels, by Billy Collins ©1991. All rights controlled by the University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, PA 15260. Used by permission of University of Pittsburgh Press.

p © 2017 JENNIFER D. KIMBALL/EPOISSE RECORDS
PO BOX 33 SOMERVILLE, MA 02143

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Track Name: Reedy River
REEDY RIVER
I wished I were a little baby
hanging on my momma’s arm.
She’d swing me back, she’d swing me forth,
trailing my feet in the cold water
The sun came scorching down in April
Heat like to make your daddy swoon.
We threw our shoes along the steep bank
and jumped from winter into June
by the Reedy,
by the Reedy,
by the Reedy River.
And this is where that river’s headed
the bridge will float over the falls.
They don’t rush they way they once did
and neither do we toward each other.
by the Reedy,
by the Reedy,
by the Reedy River.
Track Name: Love & Birds
LOVE & BIRDS
In the ‘places I want to go’ file, Everglades ’95,
we check off your list a blood orange sunset on our first try
and watch the pink birds fly, fly through the citrus sky
I need you, need your words.
I want love, love and birds.
Once an avocet always one, or some kind of elegant bird
One part eagle, one urban hen in a Feminine Mystique world,
flags all unfurled, in the board room you feel a girl
I need you, need your words.
I want love, love and birds.
You build your nest with what you find,
first love never far behind.
Vision sharp the marsh will spin,
You zip our coats into our chins
It wasn’t what you planned. Say you understand.
On your lovers’ birthday a decade now has passed since you’ve flown
We roll down the window Sunday driving so you’re not alone
like we could call you on a phone, let the radio sing us home.
I need you, need your words.
I want love, love and birds.
Track Name: The Valley
THE VALLEY
I stood again long wanderer, child,
where the valley opened wide;
the forest veil in serenade
as inside a columned room.
They stood apart and open:
linden, poplar, beech.
The fern-cooled floor grew rich with trees
at rest among them I could see
that something’s changed, in them or me,
tall guardians of time.
As deeply furrowed as the brow,
skin fluted, vertical, lined.
In earth, in blood, in mind
the dead and living into each other pass.
The wind will sway and sing these trees
but it could throw me off my feet.
I gaze up through these opened crowns
into the ageless embrace.
In earth, in blood, in mind
the dead and living into each other pass.
Track Name: Saturday Day
You took yourself to a party Saturday day
The evening sun at your back — June light
You carried seven tall iris, violet black
A wooden bowl in your arms — handmade
You let your corduroy shirt fall to the ground
And no one noticed your brand new, brown linen dress
Sister, don’t you pay them any mind
Everything that’s here you can leave behind.
Maybe it wouldn’t have hurt so much
If you didn’t long to be friends with the girls
And if even your boy had turned his head
Their spears are sharp and their capes blood red
And if you tangle you’ll lose — take care
So keep your head in the clouds you don’t have to choose
Sister, don’t you pay them any mind
Everything that’s here you can leave behind.
Go farm the earth, cut your flowers
Throw your pots, draw for hours
I’ll be damned, you were right
Don’t let’s go out tonight.
So put the iris in water
You’ve got your daughter in tow
It hurts like only a mother could know
She only wanted what’s best for you
Still you expected the most from her
You took yourself to a party now take yourself home.
Sister, don’t you pay them any mind
Everything that’s here you can leave behind.
Track Name: Build You a Barn
I’ll build you a barn.
I’ll build you a barn big enough.
I’ll build you a barn,
I’ll build you a barn.
I’ll build you a barn big enough
to hold all of us.

The door will swing wide;
swing wide enough for one and all.
The door will swing wide.
The door will swing wide.
And carrying what we can bear
we’ll stand as we are.

Some cradle it close;
sharp as the wood-splitter’s axe.
Some cradle it close.
Some cradle it close.
The heavy head sledgehammer, dull,
some drag it in slow.

I’ll build you a barn.
I’ll build you a barn big enough
to hold all of us;
to hold all of us.
And laden together we’ll stand
the dusk coming on.
Track Name: Love & Babies
Under the silvery maple one baby sleeps
He has your eyes. You didn’t know, you didn’t know.
Lifts you off your feet, makes every end meet
You hear your mother’s mother’s mother’s song.
Watch those babies sleep.
Watch and when they wake.
With hope’s little hand wrapped around your finger
no beginning nor end has joy.
Know it now, now is love
Love is yes, yes is this.
Watch those babies sleep.
Watch and when they wake.
Your heart is aching
Arms embracing wonder.
Watch those babies sleep.
Watch and when they wake.
Love lies sleeping
Love wakes dreaming
Babies, babies,
love and babies.
Track Name: All Truth is Bitter
I fell asleep with the TV on
Soldiers with torches were running up stairs.
Keep the fire lit, keep the light shining —
yelled their captain to the dawn
from the top of the lighthouse —
’til our ships make it home.
All truth is bitter, all truth is bitter
We divide a house in two
half for me half for you.
The blade of a knife set on a table
it’s glare in the sun, a jab
In the unremarkable noon
Would that this cut as clean.
All truth is bitter, all truth is bitter, bitter
and the truth is that she loved me
more than anything else in the world.
Then I lied to the dog;
I’ll be back, I said
and he stayed, good dog.
Cocked his head.
Track Name: Someone to Read to
Turn on the light, all will be right
Let wither the world’s parade.
End of the day words on a page
Will leave us with none to explain.
Open the window, watch as they rise
and swirl in the salty night air
A murmur of starlings — just listen now
it’s time to close your eyes.
Pages turn, nothing else matters now
You’ll be my someone to read to at night
Your heart could be stirred, the reader, the word,
not every cloud brings a storm.
Let the rain come, the dark then the sun
will rise on another day.
Silence the voices inside your head
that sing you a dissonant tune;
Clear as a prayer, both sooth and sayer
You have someone to read to at night.
Pages turn, nothing else matters now
I’ll be your someone to read to at night
Outside the stars will fly counterclockwise,
though clouds will obscure the view.
Don’t think of anything let the world go on
spinning me into you.
Pages turn, nothing else matters now.
I’ll be your someone to read to at night
Track Name: Postcard from Rio
The library windows are streaming with rain
I’m lost in a map book of old
The edges of my little world start to blur
From the middle of what little I know, I know —

Sometimes we smile at a weeping child
Knowing their sadness will pass.
And soon enough the years will fly by
and bring something real to cry about, cry about.

Couldn’t you send a postcard from Rio
couldn’t you send just a postcard?
The phone when it rings makes me think you might be there
Somewhere at the other end

Here in my storm I flip through imagined worlds
Where East and not North is on top
East where the morning begins now the sun sets
Forever off the bottom of the page, the page —

Along the shores tiny ships under sail
are blown by an angry cloud
And sea beasts prowl the waves at the margins
where knowledge trails off and ink lines draw into the vast unknown

Couldn’t you send a postcard from Rio
couldn’t you send just a postcard?
The phone when it rings makes me think you might be there
Somewhere at the other end

Couldn’t you send a postcard from Rio
couldn’t you send just a postcard?
from a beach in the sun
looking west in the afternoon
just off the map of the world as we know it.