The Erasables

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“Hold On Let Go”

Hold On Let Go

 

Hold On Let Go, the Erasables’ second album, was meticulously recorded over a 3-year period, starting in early 2010 and continuing up till the morning we sent if off for mastering in late October 2013.

The title serves as a metaphor for both the balance of perfection and spontaneity in the studio, and, in life, for that precarious cohesion of the lessons of experience with openness to the unexplored. These are the perspectives that help us navigate loss, isolation, forgiveness, courage, and redemption, all (and much more) addressed by the songs of Hold On Let Go.

The lessons of experience apply not only to the material, but also to its realization in the recording studio. Hold On Let Go benefits from band members’ decades of full-time studio experience, live performance, and facility with styles.

But it all starts with the song, and The Erasables are lucky to have three writers. Only the best songs make it, and then benefit from the perspectives and input from all band members.

Hold On Let Go is the culmination of a lifetime of making music, writing, arranging, recording, and, more than anything, navigating the paths from the psychedelic 60s to the present era of tweeting and twerking. May we all hold on to the good parts and let go of the rest.

Lyrics

The Jeweler (Fagan Arouh, ©2010)

(Thanks to Peter Senesac for the idea for this song)

A cluttered workbench strewn with pieces of a chain
A backdrop for her love that’s swirling down the drain
If she’s made a work of art it’s never clear
Only a memory of love that keeps her here
Clichés and metaphors, symbols of the past
A classic painting without color never lasts
A filing method that is singular and sure
A fabrication of a chain that will endure
Keeping track, creating order, moving on
She thinks a silver chain will help her get along
It’s a reminder that she dabbles in the arts
A lonely masterpiece, a heavy chain of hearts
She goes on stretching out her memories
She goes on, she goes on
She goes on, what becomes of sanity?
She goes on, with her heavy chain of hearts
Piece by piece the shapes are soldered in a line
A rosary of faces that she’s left behind
She prefers remembering a silver charm
A tiny tinker bell and not a fire alarm
A poison cloud of burning solder in the room
What kind of thing is this born of toxic fumes?
It’s a consequence of dabbling in the arts
A lifetime masterpiece, a heavy chain of hearts

So Long Ago (David Ottenberg, ©2010)

I was lying on her bed; she was sitting on the floor
Telling me a dream that she’d had the night before
A boy walked on a beach, she said
And a thought came in my head that could be me
I looked down at her face, a face I truly love
I looked up at the ceiling where she’d hung a paper dove
But when she reached the end I understand, her dream boy wasn’t me
Ah, well, you know, it was so long ago
My friends and I were in the park; we were lying in the grass
We all rushed the stage when the band came on at last
They played good and loud I was dancing with the crowd, I was high
I watched a young girl dance, she looked beautiful and kind
Then I danced with my eyes closed and I saw colors in my mind
When the band played their last song I looked around; the girl was gone oh, well, goodbye
Ah, well, you know, it was so long ago Lifelong memories of friends and love and fun
Still glow in my mind like a low, red sun
I crawled through my girl’s window
And we made love on her floor
I hid under the bed when her mom knocked on the door
When she turned and said she’s gone
We stayed up and laughed till dawn and we had fun
In Toronto when we met I felt I flew above the earth
I felt how true love feels; I understood what life is worth
Now though many years have gone
It’s still unlike any day I’ve ever known
Ah, well, you know, it was so long ago, so long ago

At the Time (Bob McPeek, ©2012)

(For my mother Marie 1911–1967)
Like a scene right out of Rockwell painted in pastels
Those summer nights when fireflies seemed like they could spell
My name in lights across a sky that stretched without an end
Into a tomorrow that promised like a friend
A world so full of wonders that one year felt like nine
But I didn’t know it at the time
We left it all behind us and sailed across the sea
You were so excited to share that world with me
But I was just a stupid kid who squandered all he learned
In the little time that you had left before that bitter turn
It felt like someone else’s life, but it turned out to be mine
But I didn’t know it at the time
Like angels in the snow, it all melts before you know
That you will never get another chance
I recall that magic fall, a crisp and clear October
At the top of Yellow Mountain, we could see forever
And the leaves were not a match for the color of your hair
It blinded me from seeing all the changes in the air
And all that would survive is that picture in my mind
But I didn’t know it at the time
So much that slipped right past me, too fleeting and too fine
But I didn’t know it at the time

Enclosed (Fagan Arouh, ©2011)

(From an idea suggested in a letter from my father)
I am alone in my skin, enclosed for my protection
A shut-in, a defection from a changing world
That has played me like a harp
Wrapped up in flats and sharps
Down in the dirt with my skin
Nothing penetrates this covering of mine
It covers up my sins
You won’t know where I’ve been
Call it protection, a physical device Where a man can shield himself
Against a world that’s made of ice
Where a person can move free and easy
Like a robber through a sack of unmarked bills
And I hold it all in by the courtesy of my only friend
My friend, my friend, my skin
My eyes are searching for a good time
When everything has changed and nothing feels the same
For now I’ll hold it all in by the courtesy of my only friend
Holding a breath, letting it out,
Capturing a moment, delivering my route
Feeling without is hard to justify
If you’ve never lived inside yourself
But don’t take me wrong if I don’t want you along
Until I work it out

Fierce Grace (Bob McPeek, ©2011)

(For Ram Dass . . . and Grace the fierce Akita)
I do not believe in the powers that be
Or the way it’s always done or how things seem
And I do not accept that the earth is for the meek
That I should keep my tongue in check and not in cheek
The bitter and the sweet, the mighty and the weak
Did you think you found a hiding place?
In the middle of the night when the shadow takes the light
And holds you in its terrible embrace
It takes fierce grace to show your face
To make your place in this world
To carry on till the weary dawn, to find your faith, fierce grace
I have yet to find any easy path
Though sometimes I can get the subtle joke
So even when I bleed, I can always laugh
When life delivers more than gentle strokes
The roses and the thorns, the praises and the scorn
The river that is rushing through our veins
A billion bloody drops, the current never stops
Even when it carries you away
Fierce grace, amazing, brightly blazing, saved a wretch like me
Baptized by a hurricane, salvaged from the sea

The Strong One (David Ottenberg, ©2011)

So it begins, this new life
See the little angel without wings
He’ll grow up strong; no harm will come to him
He’ll see and learn so many things
We’ll love him and we’ll hope
Of course you never know
Can’t wait to see how he will grow
One day like me, he’ll hold his new love
A little beauty sleeping in his arms
She’ll grow up strong; no harm will come to her
Then one day, children of her own
We’ll love her and we’ll hope
Of course you never know
Can’t wait to see how she will grow
He was such a good, sweet baby
That can’t be our little Davy. My God!
Eyewitness what can you tell us?
Shots fired . . . all hell . . . complete chaos . . . My God!
He was a quiet boy, a little weird
We never thought it could happen here My God!
That can’t be our little John
What’s happened to our son? My God!
Loner . . . outcast . . . pressure . . . tension
Poor grades . . . threats made . . . suspension . . . My God!
We had a feeling there was something wrong
We never thought he would hurt anyone. My God!
Did you hear what the reporter said?
Thirteen wounded, two feared dead. My God!
I heard your father say, I heard your mother say
You really are the strong one
I heard your brother say he loves you more each day
You really are the good son
Soon the winter will be over
We’ll have a year of warmth and light
We’ll have a year of starry nights
Till winter comes again.

Angela O’Hara (Fagan Arouh, ©2012)

Angela’s left her Dublin flat, left the key under the mat
Turned her head towards yesterday, a place called Castlebay
Mrs. O’Hara’s sitting still, every movement makes her ill
She needs her daughter’s comforting, no one else will do
She stacks the shelves with souvenirs
Along with relics of her mother’s years
A cluttered house so full of tears, it’s where she’ll settle down
Angela teaches Catholic school, a penguin runs a ship of fools
With a creed designed to keep them down, they call it getting on
But every school has a spark of wealth
A gifted child just like herself
So many years in the past
This is Clare O’Brien
Angela swears that someday she will leave
Clare doesn’t mind being caught in her dream
While the world goes on obliviously
Miss O’Brien’s head is far away minding the store night and day
Her family says reading books is just a waste of time
With Angela she has tied a knot outside the realm of a sorry lot
Together they can plan an escape, Clare can get away
Will she remain in Castlebay?
A little piece of yesterday, an inspiration for a few
This is Angela

Sins of My Youth (Bob McPeek, ©2012)

I measure my words, fit measures to chords
But I cannot measure your fears or the forms
Of the ghosts that still haunt you ‘cross the years and the miles
Too much wreckage to reconcile
What’s the point of taking the point of my pen
To press it to paper and reach out again?
You can’t see past the prison of who we were then
When we were just playing pretend
So won’t you forgive me the sins of my youth?
A moment of truth, cool waters that soothe
How sweet the air in a sigh of relief
When you breathe it in deep to your roots
I measure your words by what’s left in their wake
What you won’t forgive and what you can’t shake
You’re hanging on tight to the wounds that won’t mend
A darkness that makes the light bend
But we are made stronger with every scar
We earn every inch of the people we are
Gotta get past the wreckage strewn on the road
And lay down your long-carried load

Good to You (Fagan Arouh, ©2012)

My history has not been good
Because my heart was made of wood I’m a guilty man, in these chains
I’m clad But with your key you can set me free
After we met I forgot myself like a dream I can’t remember
The mirror says I’m still the same plus one more day
But I know something’s changed, something’s altered my brain
Take me darling, don’t be skeptical,
Take this burden from my shoulders
Something happened when I looked into your eyes
I’ll be good to you
Take me darling, don’t be skeptical
Take this weight from my shoulders
Something happened when I looked into your eyes
I’ve done my thing too many years;
I’ll be good to you
Since that day you passed my way
I’ve been good to you
I could ease your mind if I spent my time being good to you
We could make the world a better place;
I’ll be good to you

I Don’t Mind (Bob McPeek, ©2011)

(Two plays of this song take 6:66. If one is played backwards, you will not go to heaven.)
It was early one morning, she was taking out the trash
When thunder clapped and lightning flashed
Out of the sky came the voice of God
Some got the ax and some the nod
Back at home, I was watching Fox News
When Glenn Beck flew right out of his shoes
Up in the air like a rocket ship
Sorry Glenn, I’m not making this trip
I don’t mind being left behind if that’s who is in the chosen few
Can’t tell much difference between the Taliban
And the Bible-thumping dragons of the Ku Klux Klan
All those self-appointed saints who say they know God’s plan
I hope they all go to heaven just as fast as they can
Four hoarse men shoutin’ in the microphone
Glenn, Bill, Rush, and Sean, all gone
Bye bye to all their weepin’ and wailin’
And a fond farewell to Sarah Palin
When the trumpets sound way up yonder
Will you hear their siren call?
If you’re following the Piper to your heavenly reward
I hope that on your way out, you don’t get hit by the door
Since the rats left Hamblin, it’s been heaven on earth
No more blood or sweat or tears
A lot less shoutin’ and stupidity
I wonder how it’s going up there in eternity
I don’t mind being left behind if that’s who is in the chosen few
Can’t tell much difference between the Taliban
And lunatic plans to burn Qur’ans
All those self-appointed saints who say they know God’s plan
I hope they all got to heaven just as fast as they can

Sunset on the Prairie (Bob McPeek, ©2010)

(A collaboration with my father, based on a book of poems he wrote during World War II.
It was lost in my childhood home and discovered by new owners who gave it to me.)

There’s a sunset on the prairie, and the sky in rainbow hue
Makes a symphony of color of crimson, gold and blue
There’s a sunset on the prairie, and its last flamboyant ray
Is like an elfin princess that takes your breath away
There’s a sunset on the prairie and as the colors fade
They present a grander picture than the finest canvas made
As the sun sets on my foxhole, I can see across the sea
To the prairies of Dakota from the shores of Sicily
Across the sands of Northern Africa, we chased the Desert Fox
From Kasserine to El Guettar, who can say who’s won or lost?
As we tally up the human cost, children beg for chocolate
In the dusty streets of old Salé,
While soldiers bow their heads and pray
On both sides of the line
After Tunis fell, we crossed the sea and came ashore on Sicily
Patton and Montgomery in a race to get to Italy
In Troina beneath Etna’s shade, all the tiny roles we played
Pawns were moved and plans were laid
The generals bet, the soldiers paid
On both sides of the line
From Palermo all roads led to Rome,
But it’s such a longer journey home
‘Cross the Arno, up the Apennines,
Through southern France, the river Rhine
Rain or mud, shine or blow, the infantry all hunkered low
How we did it, I don’t know
Pushing back the line
One foot at a time.
Now the swallows still are flying above the flashing guns
While friend and foe lie dying beneath the setting sun
One more brilliant sunset, another place without a name
Blood red are the colors; it’s going down in flames

An Unforgettable Day (David Ottenberg, ©2010)

The girl was twelve and what a beauty
I saw her picture by the pool
I saw the video of the crime scene
A man had taken her from school
Neighbors gathered there to search the woods
The family gathered there to pray
An unforgettable day! It was an unforgettable day
I heard the crowd, the glasses clinking
I heard the laughter and the cheers
Then the explosion and the sirens
I saw the blood run with the tears
The limousine that brought the wedding party
Now carried bodies away
An unforgettable day! It was an unforgettable day
Ah, life
A plane had overshot the runway
The airport hotel went up in flames
Rescue workers got the staff and guests out
But they were shouting someone’s name
I saw the girl leap from her window
Watched her get up and walk away
An unforgettable day! It was an unforgettable day
I watched the heartbeat on the monitor
The line near flat; the red alarm
But then my wife exhausted but elated
Was holding our baby in her arms
And when I held him he looked up and smiled
Yes, I know what the doctors say
An unforgettable day! It was an unforgettable day
It was an unforgettable day
Ah, life . . .