Songs of Praise and Scorn

by Christopher Paul Stelling

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about

CPS is currently on a 3 month US tour, for dates please visit: www.christopherpaulstelling.com


An Open Letter from The Rev. A. Revenant, concerning Christopher Paul Stelling’s release of Songs of Praise & Scorn

Dear Reader,

It gives me great pleasure to announce to you that: These are Songs of Praise & Scorn, and although they have always been amongst us, they are being offered to you now for your fair consideration. Christopher Paul Stelling, author of said Songs is both glad and pleased to see their release. Our authors’ life and journey, in so much as these Songs are concerned, is somewhat irrelevant, so I won’t go on to trouble your good sensibilities, dear Reader, with mere hyperbole and assumed facts.

I will also spare you the usual approbation concerning my appraisal of Mr. Stelling’s aptitude as composer/lyricist/singer/guitarist, as I am sure that the evaluation of such matters, you yourself will take great pleasure in surveying. That being said, I would like to ensure you that Mr. Stelling wishes you and yours well and in good health.

One thing which I’m sure you and I will most certainly agree upon concerning Songs of Praise and Scorn is that therein lies a narrative which nurtures a landscape both static and mutable, in which one who lucidly sets out upon their path can all at once feel both safe at home, and abandoned in some foreign and forgotten place. Like hungry ghosts, these songs have an inconsolable longing to find rest- they are imbued with an urgency, as are all living things, when confronted with their own most recently recognized mortality.

These recordings where made in a matter of days in the wet heat of August in an apartment located above a functioning funeral home in Louisville, KY which has been in constant operation since 1848. At times the recording sessions would cease for various intervals out of respect for the family and friends of the recently departed, who would gather below to say their final farewells. After said observances, the sessions would resume again and carry on late into the summer night and early morning.

All that the author asks of you, dear Reader, is this: that you treat these things with care. Treat them as both fragile and indestructible; as both ancient and unfounded. Hold them in your kind, tired hands and watch them spin as if propelled by some yet to be named, hidden and benevolent friend. Please, let yourself find comfort in their unmeasurable embrace so that they may find their life in you.

Sincerely yours in friendship,
Rev. A. Revenant

credits

released February 21, 2012

recorded, mixed, and mastered at The Funeral Home in Louisville, KY by Kevin Ratterman.
Produced by CPS, Spencer Scanlon, Jonny Leather, and Kevin Ratterman.
Additional vocals: Julia Christgau
Violin: Cheyenne Marie Mize

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about

Christopher Paul Stelling New York

CPS is a songwriter based in NYC.
Having building a reputation as a formidable and passionate performer, his debut album, Songs of Praise and Scorn saw its release on 2/21/12 to much acclaim.
Christopher played well over 150 shows in 2012, and continued touring through the beginning of 2013. After an upcoming european tour, his followup record False Cities will be release May 21st 2013.
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Track Name: Mourning Train to Memphis
tomorrow I'm leaving for Memphis on the mourning train- going to see a wise old man who's still got his brain- but his body it's playing tricks, it's got him in a pinch- cancer been spreading, stealing his life away inch by inch- I know he'll have kind words to share with all of us, sit there in all that pain and won't even make a fuss- he's a man of god and by god i know that someday- i know someday real soon, we'll lay him there in the cold hard ground.

ain't it a shame all the people on this earth they have to die, i don't need no alibi, the feelings only said- i know that tomorrow, yes tomorrow i just might cry- it feels right to say goodbye- tomorrow it'll come like rain- tomorrow I'm leaving for Memphis on the mourning train.

it's been many years now that seem like days since he went and passed- still the memory of his light it ever lasts- i never will forget that day he laid down and dies, dark clouds rolled in and tornadoes and winds they filled the sky- no I never will forget myself that fateful day, the day the sky opened up like god for once had something to say

ain't it a shame all the people on this earth they have to die, i don't need no alibi- tomorrow it'll come like rain- tomorrow I'm leaving for Memphis on the mourning train.
Track Name: Solar Flares
solar flares

you should know by now no matter how hard you try, it just might do no good. they all just do what they want without considering the cost while you go on doing like you think
you should. but you can only bend so far before the day will come when you just won’t bend right back, and you’re left to starting over just like the times before with nothing to
show but all you’ve come to lack, your own pearly knife handles still perched there in your back. we should really know by now, with tired hands on broken plows, still waiting
on the sun to go and tear on through them clouds: it’ll shine right down when the time allows. ain’t it always grief, ain’t it always guilt, ain’t it always these god damn sleepless nights? ain’t we always wondering in a desert somewhere, always taking lefts when we know there’s only wrongs and rights? ain’t it a shame, what a crying shame, but go on now, and dry those tears, if you say your prayers and you say ‘em good, you might just get a couple more good years, and you might just learn to finally love your fears.
we should really know by now, tired hands on broken plows, still waiting for the sun to go and tear on through them clouds: it’ll shine right down when the time allows.
yes it’s always hell, yes it’s always fire, yes the next war’s always so much colder. we’ve come so far but ain’t we just so tired and sick of always having to keep a weary eye over our shoulder. and we know its bound to come raining down and wont it go and set everything right, when them solar flares turn bones to ash, but if we must burn then lord let us burn bright. we must at times face blindness to regain our sight. we should really know by now, tired hands on broken plows, still waiting on the sun to go and tear on through them clouds: it’ll shine right down when the time allows. and we will all do right when the time allows, or else we’ll go in peace when the time allows.
Track Name: Flawless Executioner
flawless executioner

i know you think it’s kind of funny and even rather sad, but the best friends I’ve had were unpredictable and free. you might think it kinda foolish, they live life like a joke, they
never got too far while they were squeezing down on the yoke. always by the time they’d loosen up their grasp, all the breath would vanish, their hearts would beat their last.
and i’d say, “come on you flawless executioner, and take your sweet babies home, take us home. well our feet are mighty tired and we been a long way and we just wanna rest our bones, these weary bones.”
i was standing at a crossroads, i was feeding the crows, strong wind whipped up and i stood there alone. and as that friendly ol’ murder departed i stood there just whistlin’ a tune, this happy tune, thinking bout how even though they’d been feathered and tarred, they didn’t wish nobody doom, never wished them doom,
and they sang, “come on you flawless executioner, come and take you’re sweet babies home, take us home. our feet are mighty tired, we been a long way, and we just wanna rest our bones, these weary bones.’
hey y’all remember that time when we prayed hard for rain? the good lord he only sent clouds. so we gathered up our buckets, and we spread ‘em about right before that rain water came down, and the next time the devil set fire to our fields, we put them fires out ourselves, put ‘em out ourselves, and
we sang “come on you flawless executioner, come and take your sweet babies home, take us home. our feet are mighty tired lord, we been a long way and we just wanna restour bones, these weary bones. come on you flawless executioner, take your sweet babies home. take us home.”
Track Name: Never Been There
never been there

in some kind of dream last night dear i promised you the world, and then came to find out that it wasn’t my world to give. but if you forgive me, love i’ll promise you the stars,
cause there’s plenty more of them than either one of us can ever outlive. you asked me if i’d ever been to that house in your dreams, said there was something real peculiar
about me that reminded you of that place, perhaps that dark phantom who haunts those corridors at night there, apparently i forgot to leave without a trace.
i said no i have not been there, i said no dear i never have been there, at least i’ll never be going back there again.
you told me about this time when you where a girl, you were laying in bed surrounded by dark creatures with wings.then this bright light came shining down from the ceiling, scared those demons back into the closets where you kept all your things. you asked me if perhaps i had been that light then, said there was something real peculiar about me that reminded you of it.
i said no dear, you’re just thinking about the way i always stare into the sun, or that time that i shuddered when you blew out all those candles i had lit.
i said no i had not been there, i said no dear i never have been there, at least i’ll never be going back there again.
you know i had many dark dreams when i was a boy. i will be quite honest, i’m still plagued with them today, in most of them i am lost deep within a swamp, being pursued by rattlesnakes and alligators night and day. you asked me if i ever thought those dreams might be real, not remembrances from things past, no, but things that haven’t happened yet. you asked me if i’d ever been to that place between waking life and dreams, when i woke up that morning and my boots were still muddy and wet. i said no, i have not been there, i said no, i never have been there, at least i’ll never be going
back there again.
Track Name: The Ocean Stole my Love Away
the ocean stole my love away

there’s a storm out off the bay, out where those shallow waters fall to sea. these old eyes can’t see that far, but i can smell the rain as the lightning makes its scars. she went
walking late one night after we had ourselves a gentle misting rain, she made it to the waters shore, slipped off her dress and then just swam and swam.
the ocean stole my love away and left me here alone. though i will not follow her, i’m tempted. i’ll just stand here every night, staring out to sea, waiting for my love to be resurrected.
now that storm is over land, hear the rain play in this old tin roof. her body never washed ashore, but i knew her faith i never needed proof. now out in the dead of night i can hear her sing her ocean song for me. there will never be another like her, i’ll never love again, no, i’m married to the sea.
the ocean stole my love away and left me here alone. though i will not follow her, i’m tempted. so i’ll just stand here every night, staring at the sea, waiting for my love to be resurrected.
and say: swim on out to me love, won’t you take me in your arms? i’m here just as i promised. yes, we’ll always have our song. if you’re quiet you can hear her, the waves her song, her lullaby is free. there will never be another like her, i’ll never love again, no, i’m married to the sea.
the ocean stole my love away and left me here alone. though i will not follow her, i’m tempted. so i just stand here every night, staring out to sea, waiting for my love to be resurrected.
and say: swim on out to me love, i was never really gone, i just fell asleep by the waters shore,
i’m sorry if i took too long.
Track Name: Strange Darkness
strange darkness

come close but beware. these bones are made of thin air, blown out at the seams, these ghosts is well fitting. but they don’t much like the mold of a body grown old.
so be careful, please be gentle with me. i got a black heart, like a stone cold effigy. yeah be careful, please be gentle with me. i’m drawn and quartered, i’m in bed with the enemy.
i’ve taken your side. i was only born there to hide. i’m afraid i’ve taken more than my fair share of the ride. don’t know why we all can’t go about dressed in white. instead of walking home unto these beds of hot coals glowing red in the night. but for now we all just go about searching for gold, while the children learn to play with all of our poisons of old, they just doing as they told. so be be careful please be gentle with me, i’m feeling weary, like a high lonesome melody.
yeah be careful, please be gentle with me. swear i’m not a bad person, no,
just got a strange darkness living in me.
Track Name: Ghost Ship
ghost ship

it’s been an awful long while since god knows when, i’ve walked many a mile with my dark nameless friend. buzzard on my shoulder and my boots full of tacks, i will take all the blame for this, just to get me something to throw back.
16 tons of burning coal in my gut and an unwound wristwatch where that wrist got cut, i’m gonna drag this ball and chain down to the sea. i need to know whether or not the ocean thinks it has the cruel depth that it might take to cover me.
kept sinking till the deal was sunk, locked my soul in an old steamer trunk, pushed it overboard and threw away the key no lifeboats left and this ship is sinking, only hands on deck are death and me. i’ll never get to heaven before the devil knows i’m dead. he keeps a mighty sharp record in
his steal trap of a head. never mix indifference with your liabilities, i know the weathers been nice as of lately, there’s a storm brewing out at sea.
in the morning we awake to find there ain’t nothing left, clinging to a fate thats much more worse than death. where the sky still lies above and the bottoms fallen out, and in it’s strange departure, it’s
confirmed all our darkest doubts.
i would hate to sound desperate and no i would never be demanding, please forgive me my trespasses, but when this ghost ship makes landing, forget all your things, you better run for your lives, i got a mighty fine feeling the cargo it’s bringing throws damnation like hot knives.
it’s been an awful long while since god knows when, i’ve walked many a mile with my dark nameless friend. buzzard on my shoulder and my boots full of tacks, i will take all the blame for this, just to get me something to throw back.
Track Name: Little Broken Birds
little broken birds

before the time, i put my words on your table, i don’t recall what was said, but i’m sure it was cruel.
between you and i, i’m a sucker for your rainy nights, you remind me of when, i was young and stable.
and i want things back, just where they were, before those storms came and scattered us, like little broken birds.
I want things back, just where they were, before those hurricanes, they shattered my windows and blew off all my doors.
still enthused by what’s for me become common place. you don’t waste no words, still have that youthful haste. i pray you don’t change when time starts weighing in, you remind me of when, i had a very different face. and i want things back, just where they were, before those storms came and scattered us like little broken birds. just where they were, before those hurricanes shattered my windows and blew off all my doors.
Track Name: Poor Leviathan
poor leviathan

they called him a monster, hunted his hide. sharpening teeth while waiting for the tide saying he is so strong he once took a thousand men to the deepest of water never heard from them again.
oh no poor leviathan you king of the sea and the dark hearts of men. i died there once, and i will die there again, in the mouth of old leviathan.
we keep our lamps trimmed and burning with the oil from his flesh. you know he saw it coming you know he knew what hit him when they shot him through his chest. they dragged him ashore to the cheers of the crowd, filleted him while still alive. they carved him up and fed him the their children saying praise the good lord we’re satisfied.
oh no poor leviathan, you king of the seas and the dark hearts of men, i died there once, and i will die there again, in the mouth of old leviathan. and there is no moral to the
oldest of tales. they will still cut your lines and burn all your sails, it’s their fear of the reckoning and their doubt that prevails, but poor leviathan the accused was only just a lie
of a whale.
Track Name: King is Dead
king is dead

king is dead and so am i. stick a needle in my eye. can’t bare to look up at the sky. king is dead and so am i.
king is dead and so are you. but you’ve got so much left to do. haunt the places you once knew. king is dead and so are you.
king is dead and so are we. snow flakes falling out on the sea. the battle lost was victory. king is dead and so are we.
king is dead and so are they. the beauty of a brand new day gets so misplaced and locked away. king is dead and so are they.