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Counterpoint

by Jason Webley

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about

This was my concept record, and perhaps my most ambitious. Twelve songs in twelve keys, with recurring themes and each song written with a balancing counterpart. I brought in a huge variety of players (including Michael McQuilken, Jherek Bischoff, Reggie Watts, and Eyvand Kang.) The result is an almost schizophrenic meditation on parallels and contradictions moving from an homage to Leonard Cohen to a Bavarian drinking hall, from big-band zombie swing, to a baroque fugue. I'm not sure whether it worked, but for certain people, this is my best album. "Graveyard", "Train Tracks" and "The Drinking Song" live here.

"A marvelous recording that will stand as one of the best Seattle CDs of the year."
-The Seattle Times.

credits

released September 3, 2002

All songs ©2002 by Jason Webley.
Recorded and mixed everywhere.
Engineering, mixing and artwork by Jason.
With: Jherek Bischoff, Fred Hawkinson, Jon Hyde, Eyvind Kang, Olli Klomp, Gary Luke, Adam McCollum, Andrea McCrady, M.D., Michael McQuilken, Paulo Cesar Alves Pereira, Harry Pierce, Greg Powers, John Schurman, Josh Stewart, and Reggie Watts.

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Track Name: Southern Cross
Hey, do you know where you're going?
Have you noticed its snowing,
Although it is June?
They, said your weakness was growing,
That your rapture was showing,
Just a little too soon.
But under these mountains,
The nights and the shadows grow long.
The stars up above you feel wrong.
This is not your sky.
Pray, to a strange constellation.
Thank God for your isolation,
This forever goodbye.

Dawn, throws its light on the covers.
In this bed there's another,
Asleep at your side.
Gone, the embrace of a lover,
And the fire you discovered,
Already has died.
Her body recoils,
As your hand goes to touch her again.
She's a temple that won't let you in.
At her side you're alone.
On her back is the same constellation,
Confirming your alienation.
No this flesh is not home.

You, carry a vague conviction,
This life rose from an eviction,
Out of your homeland.
True, but it's also addiction,
To this soft crucifixion,
Under these foreign hands.
And like all Christs before you,
You kneel down beneath the night sky,
To look into your father's eyes,
And only feel lost.
Crucified to a strange constellation,
A new king awaits coronation,
But there will be no great revelation,
Your journey is your destination,
And discomfort could be your salvation,
Here, under the Southern Cross.
Track Name: Broken Cup
Well the swing set is rusted,
The picture frame's cracked,
The photos have all faded to gray.
The faces you trusted,
Just never came back,
Yes childhood has eroded away.
And the songs that your mother sang,
As she rocked you to sleep,
You howl out of tune when you're drunk.
Wear good shoes on these streets,
Or you'll soon cut your feet,
On a piece of the broken cup.

After so many Johns and Janes,
Have stained your sheets,
Is it habit or thirst brings them back?
After so many pipers,
Have played on these streets,
Who is missed more, the children or the rats?
Yes we've traded our toy choo-choo trains,
And rosary beads,
For a bottle of gin and a fuck.
Now we sit 'round the bar,
Proud of how bored we are,
As we drink from our broken cup.

We sing, "everything, everything, everything,
Is now permitted.
All the oaths we've taken,
Have been graciously forgotten,
And every sin, every sin,
Is now forgiven."
And every sip somehow tastes rotten.

So let's drink to the men,
Who forgot what they lost.
They've got the best shoes that money can buy.
And a toast to our impotence,
Our cowardice, our sloth,
Nothing matters, why bother to try?
And three cheers for Mary,
Our virgin, our whore.
If she favors you, it's just dumb luck.
Now I'll lift up my glass,
To a life on our ass.
Brothers, lift your cup high,
While your waiting to die,
May we all find a trace,
A faint echo of grace,
Through the crack in our broken cup.
Track Name: Quite Contrary
She is my ripe tomato,
She's my carrot on a stick,
I've been drunk upon her juice so long,
I don't know where I am

Now show me the way home,
Show me the way home,
Show me the way back home.

She says the cup is broken,
Now she tells me it is full,
Mary, Mary, quite contrary,
I don't know where to go

Now show me the way home,
Show me the way home,
Show me the way back home.

She whispers surrender,
Come blind to my side,
I will be on the twelve o-clock train.
And I walk through the world,
Stunned by beauty,
I am King today.
But I watch the hours,
And the boxcars go by,
Still I am waiting in the rain.
Oh my muse,
Oh my lady,
Why hast thou forsaken me?

Now show me the way home,
Show me the way home,
Show me the way back home.
Track Name: Then
Where is that song tonight?
I need to hear.
Walked so far today.
Walked so far today.

I remember eyes so bright,
A voice strong and clear,
Feels so far away.
Feels so far away.

The sheets in this room are soft and warm,
My shoes are resting by the door,
But where is that song,
I heard here before?

At night I wake up, think I feel teeth tug,
At hair I hair I don't have anymore,
Now where is that song,
Where is that song.
Where is that song?
Track Name: It's Not Time To Go Yet
I've often seen a man,
Yardstick and clock face instead of hands.
He has measured pain and pleasure both to death.
I've felt the kiss,
Of his narcotic lips,
He has probed in the folds beneath my dress.
I watch my feelings,
Fade way revealing,
A cold pathway to a bridal bed,
But when he lays me down
I just feign sleeping,
Cause it's not time to go yet.
No it's not time to go yet.

There's cancer in the air,
Think I've never been so scared,
Of the cold metal numbness in my chest,
Don't go to sleep,
Stay beside me while I weep,
Or I don't think I'll make it through this test.
If you still see me,
Please don't leave me,
Alone with the devils in my head.
Push, stretch,
This night into morning,
'Cause it's not time to go yet,
No it's not time to go yet.

The worn out pilgrim tells,
Of the forging of great bells,
That shall sound when his feet can finally rest.
Cast in the fire,
That has burnt through all desire,
And cooled by the milk of mother's breast.
They ring sweetly,
Promising me,
Release from the labor of this breath.
But when I hear those bells,
I just feign sleeping,
'Cause it's not time to go yet.
No it's not time to go yet.
Track Name: The Graveyard
Everybody come sing along,
I'll steal your soul, put it in my song,
The melody is lie a shrunken head,
It makes you immortal, it makes you dead.

You've got to put it in,
You've got to put it in,
You've got to put it in the ground.

You've got to dig it out,
You've got to dig it out,
You've got to go deep down.

You have done this all before,
And you will do this all again.
Track Name: Northern Lights
Moons pass, but the sun never rises.
And something in the air,
Says to "eat what's on your plate."
And maybe your walking 'cross an endless sheet of white
Beneath an almost endless night,
You've never been so cold.
But you feel something warm,
And bright,

She's strange, she is so familiar.
You just look at her back,
And your hair stands on its ends.
And maybe she leads you to a garden and invites
You to release your lips and bite
Through all that you've been told.

You drink from a cup that is broken.
And its lonely in this crowd,
Guess you'll just go home to bed.
And maybe your caught beneath a softly shifting sky
And find that somehow just behind,
Is every sacred thing you thought you'd sold.

She's strange, she is so familiar,
And something in the air,
Says to "eat what's on your plate."
And maybe you're feeling a bit harder to excite,
You're thinking maybe it's not right,
You've never been so old

And maybe your walking 'cross a river late at night.
A friend you can't remember is standing softly at your side.
And you feel the current pulling,
But you have no need to fight,
Because you see yourself reflected,
In the water and her eyes.
Look up.
Look up tonight,
She's dancing,
The Northern Lights.
Track Name: Drinking Song
To the old chrome cassette,
Of my mother's voice,
I still cry when I hear her sing.
The clock struck twelve,
The voice I love so well,
Was eaten up by the machine,
It was eaten up by the machine!

When the glass is full,
Drink up! Drink up!
This maybe the last time
We see this cup.
If God wanted us sober,
He'd knock the glass over,
So while it is full we drink up!

A toast to Mary,
A girl I once loved,
Oh Lord, why do things have to die?
If drinking beer,
Could bring her back here,
I'd drink the damn place dry,
Yes, I'd drink the damn place dry!

Here's to the old house,
On Lily Pond Lane,
And the room where y boots used to rest.
One day I gave
The foundation a shake,
But my home did not pass the test,
No my home did not pass the test.
Track Name: Counterpart
I can't remember the face of my wife,
But from halfway around the world I can smell her hair.
And every stranger that brushes by becomes the love of my life,
Oh but I can't betray her, her arms are everywhere.

She said "don't just touch, I want you to crawl inside,"
As she backed out the door with both hands on my gun,
Well I never knew my father,
So I guess I don't expect that I will ever meet my son.

Now I surrender, I'll go blind to her side.
I guess I'll spend the evening in the passenger chair.

Yes I've studied the scriptures, the guidebooks, the maps,
Oh I drank, I drank, more from habit than thirst.
Somehow I never noticed that you only touch your shadow
When your feet are on the earth.

And I can't remember if I'm still on the train,
But I'll just trust the driver.
I just trust the driver.
Her arms are everywhere.

Please don't tell me where we're going.
Just drive. Just drive.
Please don't tell me where we're going.
I like to be surprised.
Track Name: Now
How can we enjoy
The flavor in our mouths,
When already we're dreaming
Of the taste of the next bite?
Track Name: Goodbye Forever Once Again
I drink in the tears of the lovers at the station,
As they part I watch them from above.
Is everyone I love, turning into a stranger.
Are these strangers all becoming the ones I love.

Goodbye forever once again,
Goodbye forever once again,
I'm standing in the rain with my lovers and my friends.
Singing goodbye forever once again.

You and I made love between the train tracks and the graveyard.
For just a couple hours you were mine.
Now I watch the sky, it helps e forget your face,
So I can touch your lips again for the first time.

I keep all the embraces that once kept me warm,
In a scrapbook I flip through sometimes.
I get drunk on nostalgia,
I tell myself this life's been good.
But so many pages are wrinkled and worn,
The faces are fading away,
Just snapshots of graceful decay.
And I can't tell if I'm holding o to
The things I should.

The bent trunk of a tree,
White flowers in the meadow,
The path of each leaf dancing in the wind.
Every star you see,
Each ripple in the river,
Whispers "goodbye forever once again"

We keep singing the refrain,
Even though the song will end.
Goodbye forever once again.
Track Name: Train Tracks
I know that you've been feeling tired,
I hear your voice is wearing thin,
I know you've slept so many places in the past few days
You can't remember just what bed you're in.

There's something familiar about this room,
Anywhere you go it's just like you've been there before.
Cause if you want to step outside this body and this world,
You're gonna have to go through a different kind of door.

And this train only runs in summertime,
The children have been let out of school,
You haven't packed, the bottoms of your shoes are cracked,
But your passport has been kissed by the holy fool.

He's smiling, cross-eyes, barefoot dressed in rags,
Bent down, talking to the crows.
He's got no words to tell you, just some magic beans to sell you,
Plant them and in tie the tracks will grow.

And this train only runs in summertime,
Your parents are lying beside the pool.
You haven't packed, the bottoms of your shoes are cracked,
But your passport has been kissed by the holy fool.

Are you looking for salvation?
Are you looking for answers, for Jesus, for dancers,
To serve you some warmth on cold nights?
Are you looking for the thing that looks out through your eyes,
For something that won't leave your side,
On this lonely planet where everything's waving goodbye.

I know that you've been working hard,
You want the whole world to see how brightly you can glow,
But if you'd just trade everything for that small bag of dried up beans,
It's only time until the whistle blows.

And this train only runs in summertime,
The children have been let out of school,
You haven't packed, the bottoms of your shoes are cracked,
But your passport has been kissed by the holy fool.

And this train only runs in summertime,
The only contradiction is the rule,
It's moving past, but it's not going to fast
And an open empty boxcar stares at you.