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Susan Osborn: HUMMINGBIRD

HUMMINGBIRD NEW RECORDING! Liner Notes and Lyrics

Posted on December 15, 2016 with 1 comment

 

CREDITS
Produced by Bill Lauf and Susan Osborn
Mix-down Engineer Kevin Columby
Mastering Engineer Jake Perrine
Cover Image David Densmore
Cover Graphics Erica Ekrem
Gratitude to: 
Bruce Harvie for pre-production support and production assistance on 'Makin' the Two One"
Marilyn Castilaw for artistic inspiration and album sequencing
Jeannie Chamberlain and Mimi Anderson for deep listening and encouragement as the music emerged
All of our financial supporters...your faith and generosity made this recording possible.
Please visit all of the artists websites for more information and access to their music and art.
All Songs ©2017 Susansongs.  Golden Throat Recordings ©2017
www.susanosborn.com. PO Box 53, Orcas WA 9828CreditsCREDITS

Produced by Bill Lauf and Susan Osborn

Mix-down Engineer Kevin Colomby  Mastering Engineer Jake Perrine

Cover Image David Densmore   Cover Graphics Erica Ekrem

Gratitude to: Bruce Harvie for pre-production support and production assistance on 'Makin' the Two One"

Marilyn Castilaw for artistic inspiration and album sequencing

Jeannie Chamberlain and Mimi Anderson for deep listening and encouragement as the music emerged

All of our financial supporters...your faith and generosity made this recording possible.

Please visit all of the artists websites for more information and access to their music and art.

All Songs ©2017 Susansongs.  Golden Throat Recordings ©2017

 

www.susanosborn.com. PO Box 53, Orcas WA 98280

 

It is said that the hummingbird carries our prayers to God's ear.  Gratitude to Angeles Arrien.

 

HUMMINGBIRD was made by a community of musicians spread across the US and who have companioned me musically in different stages of my life, from South Dakota to New York City and to Orcas Island.  Each one added generously an essential ingredient to the musical soup.

 

Bill Lauf is my co-producer.  We have been friends and musical partners for nearly 40 years. Without his absolute faith in the songs and in me, this recording never would have been made.  He walked along side during the writing of the songs, the organizing of a crowd sourcing appeal, the arranging, producing and recording of each song. His sense of rhythmic pattern, unique harmonic structure, and all round natural musicianship gave each piece it's own individual character. The delicate sound of his precision tenor guitar work is woven throughout. We laughed, we cried, and we made some amazing music. 

 

It has been the greatest pleasure to reunite musically with some of the people I have had the privilege to work with in the Paul Winter Consort more than 30 years ago including Paul Winter, soprano sax; Nancy Rumbel, oboe, English horn, ocarina, melodica and chimes; David Darling, cello and voice; and Gordon Johnson, bass. From my days playing in bands in South Dakota, Boyd Bristow, electric guitar and Kenny Putnam, fiddle.  From Orcas Island, Bruce Harvie, electric guitar and mandolin; Charlie Porter, trumpet; Martin Lund, Armenian flute; and chorus singers, Bill Lauf, Kevin Colomby, David Densmore, Mandy Troxell, and Melody Funk.  From Sedona Arizona, Ralf Illenberger, guitars.  And also from the east coast Gordon Titcomb, pedal steel. As each musician’s contribution arrived, we would add it to the basic tracks that Bill and I had already laid down and it was just like Christmas morning!  What a joy, and a kind of miracle, that without a lot of direction, all of these parts worked together.    

 

I did the engineering for the tracking that we created here in my home studio, drawing from the experience of engineering a few other duo projects, and my knowledgeable friends.  When I reached the edge of my ability, Kevin Colomby stepped in big time.  Kevin co-designed some amazing high-end audio equipment, Burl Audio, and offered to bring a tower of them to my home for the final mixing process.  He also offered to do the mix and let me witness and learn.  His commitment to the project, which took a lot more time than we initially thought, was total. Even with the challenge of being a new parent and many sleepless nights, he made the journey across our island to comb through all our tracks and make coherence.  Jake Perrine, who mastered the project, came in toward the end of the mix to advise us, and then polished the project through his mastering process.  And through it all they generously shared their knowledge with me.  

 

These songs were born for the most part while I was still traveling back and forth to Japan to teach and sing.  I had a need to write about what I was learning on those great adventures in that ancient culture.  And so, I also owe my gratitude to my many supporters and friends there.  Hoping to soon have Japanese translation of some of my notes included here.

 

Hummingbird is an important part of my legacy.  A condensation of the many precious gifts my teachers have left me.  These include, my parents Don and Ora Osborn; my first voice teacher, Joyce Funk, and the ones that followed; Paul Winter; Odetta; Baba Olatunji, Angeles Arrien, Jiko Kono, Jin Tatsumura and Tokiko Oyama.  All imparted wisdom that has shaped my life.  

Tatsumura-san once said to me “ Susan, great art does not tell you what to feel, but creates a gateway to the numinous.  One has to decide to step through that gateway, and to have their own experience of that which is beyond words.” My prayer is that, together, we have created a gateway for you the listener to step through into the something greater than.

 

The beautiful image of the hummingbird was created by artist David Densmore, my longtime Valentine and creative partner for more than 30 years.  What a fortunate one am I!

 

1. Makin’ The Two One

Susan Osborn

Charlie Porter, Trumpet; Gordon Johnson, Bass; Susan Osborn, Vocal and Keyboard

 

This song is a plea for sanity in addressing the habit of violence that runs through our world, and specifically how we teach our young boys and men about the creative use of power.

 

Mama, sing your lullaby for little men with big guns

Seems the world has all gone crazy 

And the fightin’s just begun

Papa help them to remember how to swallow the sun

Illuminate the inner man and make the two one

 

I can hear the devil’s footsteps just outside my door

He’s all dressed up in righteousness

Come to settle the score

The stands are packed, the bets are placed

The deafening lion’s roar

Let’s empty out the stadium

Say no to the brutish bore

 

Make the two one, make the two one

Make the two one, makin’ the two one

 

You can stand your ground and shake your fist

Draw your line in the sand

But leave your weapons at the door

Join the battle of the bands

Suffering and misery we dish out every day

Take up the drum, the pen, the pun

There is another way

 

Chorus:

 

Victim, persecutor, savior are the names

That divide and conquer us in a cesspool of shame

So shake on outta your boogie man suit and jump out of the frame

Elude the lethal cocktail of worry struggle blame

 

Chorus:

 

2. Glimpses of You

Susan Osborn

Bruce Harvie, Mandolin; Gordon Johnson, Bass; Bill Lauf, Tenor Guitar; Susan Osborn, Vocal and Keyboard

 

Written just after our friend John Barnes died.  He shared his dying with us, and his fierce living through music.  Sometimes those who leave us show up in our dreams.

 

Glimpses of you 

From the next room you speak

In my dreams

Tenderly while I sleep

Glimpses of you, glimpses of you

 

Snowfall at dawn

Geese rising from the shore

Now that you’re gone

I only long for more

Glimpses of you, glimpses of you

 

Soul wed to bone

Long journey home

No one can take it but you

Moth to the flame

Pleasure and pain

There's no way out now but through

Glimpses of you, glimpses of you

 

Invisible light, music will always be

Singing songs through the night 

And in them we’ll always see

Glimpses of you, glimpses of you

 

Sparks rise from the fire

Love and desire

This ache of being alive

Death and rebirth

Heaven to earth

In the end something survives in

Glimpses of you glimpses of you

 

Glimpses of you 

From the next room you speak

In my dreams

Tenderly while I sleep

Glimpses of you, glimpses of you

 

 

3. The Dark Grace of Winter

Susan Osborn

Nancy Rumbel, Oboe; Bill Lauf, Tenor Guitar; Susan Osborn, Vocal and Keyboard

 

I have always lived in places with four seasons, and winter has always been the most challenging and in many ways most creative.

 

How can I love spring if I’ve never known winter?

The cold grey dawn that chills to the bone?

Wood frozen like stone first cracks, then splinters

Surrendering to the dark grace of winter.

 

Summer’s bright and easy days

Low late light, bees buzzing ways

Harvest plenty, leaves red and gold

Another year is growing old

 

So are these days of warm delight

Worth the days of long black nights?

 

Before the blossoms and the blue,

Harsh bitter winds whistle through windows.

Before the turning toward the sun,

And icebound rivers thaw and run.

 

How can I love spring if I’ve never known winter,

The cold grey dawn that chills to the bone?

Wood frozen like stone first cracks then splinters

Surrendering to the dark grace of winter.

 

 

 

4. Hummingbird

Susan Osborn

David Darling, Cello and Vocal; Nancy Rumbel, Tenor Ocarina and Chimes; Susan Osborn, Vocal 

 

Sitting at my keyboard, summer, doors flung open, this happened.

 

Hummingbird whispers round the door

Hummingbird whispers round the door

In my heart a dream of love and more

In my heart a dream of love and more

Tiny crimson diver

Flying feathered fire

In my heart a dream of love and more

 

Black crow casting shadows on the corn

Black crow casting shadows on the corn

In my heart a prayer for peace is born

In my heart a prayer for peace is born

Winged night returning

To feel the knife edged yearning

In my heart a prayer for peace is born

 

Bright filigree of singing birds at dawn

Bright filigree of singing birds at dawn

In my heart the wild red rose and thorn

In my heart the wild red rose and thorn

Earth and sky have met

Now the fragile web is set

In my heart the wild red rose and thorn

 

Hummingbird whispers round the door

 

 

5. Holy Ground

Susan Osborn

Bill Lauf, Tenor Guitar; Gordon Johnson, Bass; Bruve Harvie, Electric Guitar; Nancy Rumbel, Melodica; Chorus: David Densmore, Bill Lauf, Kevin Colomby, Mandy Troxel and Melody Funk; Susan Osborn, Vocal and Keyboard

 

Many questions.

 

Will we let this old world fall apart

While all of our hearts are still livin’ and lovin’?

What if we knew from the start

That everyone matters and everything shatters?

 

Would we bend and bow,

Lay our burden down,

Kiss the holy ground that we stand on?

 

Will the blight of injustice remain

Unseen, unanswered, a blind greedy game?

What if we could not contain

The wild human song of our joy and our pain?

 

Would we bend and bow,

Lay our burden down,

Kiss the holy ground that we stand on?

 

Wake up everybody take a look

Can you see now?

Let your heart be broken, let the truth be spoken

Can you see now?  Can you see?  Can you see?

 

Will you bend and bow,

Lay your burden down

Kiss the holy ground that you stand on?

 

So what is one person to do,

To change the momentum, to grow something new?

Will we just wait for some dream to come true,

Or stop where we are and give heaven her due?

 

Will we bend and bow,

Lay our burden down,

Kiss the holy ground

That we stand on?

 

 

6. Take Good Care

Susan Osborn

Paul Winter, Sax; Nancy Rumbel, English Horn; Bill Lauf, Tenor Guitar; Susan Osborn, Vocal and Keyboard

 

A reminder of the fragility of our position in the universe.  As the Navaho say, we are living on the knife-edge.

 

Take good care of our home

It’s the only one we know of

Maybe we’re out here alone

Could this be the one place to learn love?

 

In a star dance we turn round the sun

So fragile she hold us as one

And I tell you there’s no place to run now but home

 

Take good care of our home

It’s the only one we know of

Maybe we’re out here alone

Could this be the one place to learn love?

 

Finally we’ve come to the place

Where our family’s the whole human race

And nobody can make it by standing alone

 

There’s no more time to deny who we are

In the blink of an eye we could take things too far

And this precious life we hold in our hands

Would be gone, could be gone

 

It’s the only one we know of

Maybe we’re out here alone

Could this be the one place to learn love?

 

In a star dance we turn round the sun

So fragile she hold us as one

And I tell you there’s no place to run now but home

 

 

7. Little Boat

Susan Osborn

Kenny Putnam, Fiddle; Bill Lauf, Tenr Guitar; Susan Osborn, Vocal and Keyboard

 

Shortly after the tsunami and earthquake in Japan, I read about a farmer who found himself adrift on the roof of his farmhouse in the middle of the ocean.  He had no idea of what had happened, nor how long he would be there riding the sea, a fitting metaphor for all of us.

 

Out on the sea my little boat rises

And falls with the wind and the tide

I never know what fate may befall me

I only know I must ride the waves

 

Many who sailed before us are gone now

Some were lost, some were found

Wondering as I gaze at the heavens

Just how we got here, and where we are bound

 

So I carry a prayer for all the brave voyageurs

Shining our lights in the dark

Awaiting the bright morning star rising

The breaking of dawn in the heart

 

Praying mercy mercy mercy

May mercy and grace on us fall

Mercy, mercy, mercy mercy and grace

On us all

 

Out on the sea our little boat rises 

And falls with the waves in the dark

There in the east bright morning star rising

The breaking of dawn in the heart

 

 

8. City of Light

Susan Osborn

Boyd Bristow, electric Guitar; Bill Lauf, Tenor Guitar; Susan OSborn, Vocal and Keyboard

 

A musing on the danger of not knowing directly who I am...

 

Dark forces gather round

They threaten to tear this temple down

They feast on the hearts of everyone

Who has forgotten who they are

In between the fear and the doubt

Silence dwells in an infinite house

Take refuge there from the siege

 

And no one will be turned away

No one will be turned away

No one turned away

In the city of light

 

Lost in the mind mirrors and smoke

Precariously perched upon despair and hope

An endless search for happiness

Paradise a dream

Heaven they say is a city of light

Closer than breath, neither left nor right

A luminous sea here and now

Of everything you are

 

And no one will be turned away

No one will be turned away

No one turned away

In the city of light

 

Dark forces gather round

They threaten to tear this temple down

They feast on the hearts of everyone

Who has forgotten who they are

 

 

 

9. For My Longtime Valentine

Susan Osborn

Martin Lund, Shvi Flute; Bill Lauf, Tenor Guitar; Susan Osborn, Vocal and Keyboard

 

An ode to my longtime Valentine, and all my dear friends who have so faithfully traveled this road of life with me.

 

Oh my love, we walk a windie way with no guarantee of pay

But the moon at night ‘til first morning light

And the long burning sun of our days

 

And I will, yes I will

Hold you in my heart

And I will, yes I will

I will stay

Through our days in the sun

‘Til the last hour is come

As we walk on our sweet windie way

 

When I was a child with a young heart wild

I dreamed of passion’s flame

But I knew not then of a love unending

And the long burning sun of our days

 

And I will, yes I will

Hold you in my heart

And I will, yes I will

I will stay

Through our days in the sun

‘Til the last hour is come

As we walk on our sweet windie way

 

Well I’ve not always been your friend

And I’ve not always been kind

But I love you dear more than words can bear

And I hope you can feel that here

 

And I will, yes I will

Hold you in my heart

And I will, yes I will

I will stay

Through our days in the sun

‘Til the last hour is come

As we walk on our sweet windie way

 

 

10. The Question

Susan Osborn

David Darling, Cello; Nancy Rumbel, English Horn; Bill Lauf, Tenor Guitar; Susan OSborn, Vocal and Keyboard

 

One early October pre-dawn when I couldn't sleep, I slipped outside under the stars and noticed that the Big Dipper was upside down forming a question mark. The song followed.

 

The dipper spills it’s starry light

Question marks the night

As owl and rooster call and crow

Across the slumbering earth below

I wakeful watch the day begin

Old faithful sun ever burning

Now a pink and yellow glow

Across the slumbering earth below

 

And now another day reveals

Signs and wonders that the night conceals

My lover’s face upon the pillow

The verdant world outside my window

The question still without an answer to

Who shapes the dance, what moves the dancer?

 

My little brain, my yearning heart

Can only make a tiny start

I open to the question mark

The who, the what, that feeds the spark

That tenders tinder then to flame

And I begin my dance again

My stumbling fumbling humbling dance

Into another day

Now you who must also ponder

This silent mystery, this wonder

I hope this song of mine will bring

The spark to dance the fire to sing

For in the question lies the answer

To who shapes the dance, what moves the dancer?

Linda Worster

February 5, 2017

Blessings, dear friend.
What a perfect collection of songs for our hearts in this time. I can't thank you enough for your musicality and exquisite lyrics.
And your tender heart...